There is nothing like a CEDO field adventure to engage your students in experiential science!

CEDO offers a variety of hands-on activities and presentations about  the northern Gulf of California and Sonoran desert, as well as intercultural exchanges and opportunities to interact with local people. In addition, we offer unique opportunities to get involved in our research and monitoring of local ecosystems, biodiversity and human impacts.

You will need fill out our Field Station Reservation Form to reserve the use of the CEDO Field Station, and for additional Academic Services you will need to fill out our Academic Services Request Form, both of which can be found on our Reservation and Fees page.

Schedule your visit today, we can’t wait to host your group at CEDO!

Available Field Trips

Estero Morúa Excursion: This 3hr trip to Estero Morúa, our local wetland just 20 min drive from CEDO, provides students with the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of a typical estuary in the upper Gulf of California, and to understand the dynamic nature of geological processes involved in its formation. This trip teaches students to appreciate the ecological role and diversity of organisms that use estuary habitats as well as some of the human uses and impacts. This excursion is best during a relatively low tide.

Tidepool Exploration: This 2hr excursion to the northern Gulf’s rocky intertidal zone teaches students about the formation of “coquina” reef, patterns of biological zonation, adaptations of species to microhabitats, and the great diversity of life living in our epic tide-pools. This excursion is best during a peak low tide.

Cholla Bay: This half-day trip to the extensive mud flats of Cholla Bay provides students with the opportunity to discover the huge diversity of life in this highly productive bay. Experiencing this habitat provides a strong contrast to both the surrounding desert and nearby estuarine ecosystems, and provides a useful introduction to human impacts, such as unplanned coastal development. This excursion is best during a relatively low tide.

Dune Discovery: This 5hr trip involves 2hrs of walking to and from the sand dunes that we will be visiting. Students will have the opportunity to visit North America’s only “erg”, or sea of sand, while learning about dune geography and the unique adaptations of local reptiles and other dune life. This is a great follow up to having visited the Grand Canyon, as this is where the sand eroded by the Colorado River found its resting place.

Pinacate Volcanic Region: This full-day excursion to El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve takes visitors into the heart of a volcanic field to learn about the geologic processes that formed the Reserve’s epic “maar-type” craters and lava flows. Every visit to the Pinacate is unique, as the flora and fauna are constantly in flux.

Isla San Jorge Sojourn: This half-day trip to Isla San Jorge (Bird Island) gives students an up-close look at the abundant wildlife found on this rocky island, including the Gulf’s most important California sea lion colony and one of the most critical sea bird nesting areas. Students will learn about the formation, biodiversity and conservation of the Gulf Islands, which comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If the weather is good we will snorkel with the sea lions and explore the fish and invertebrates of the island’s rocky reef. On the way to the island we might spot dolphins, whales, sharks and rays.

Community Partenered Tours

Oyster Experience Tour: Become an oyster farmer for a day at Punta Roja, one of the local “organic” oyster farming cooperatives. Take an inside look at a sustainable maritime economy, meet the local oyster farmers and learn about their livelihood, while learning how to prepare typical seafood dishes and sampling the tasty harvest.

Trona Mine Tour: A tour at Punta Coyote. More details coming.

Classroom Presentations 

Even at our field station we can take virtual journeys into local habitats and cultures via our educational presentations, available to any group of 5 or more people including visiting schools, other organizations, and the general public. All presentations begin with a general introduction to CEDO and our eco-region, and can then be custom tuned to one or more of the following themes.

Natural History of the Northern Gulf : CEDO is located where the harshest part of the Sonoran Desert, the Gran Desierto de Altar, meets one of the most productive seas in the world. This slideshow presentation provides an overview of the biologic wealth of this amazing ecosystem, and the long human relationship to it.

Estuarine Life: The shores of the Northern Gulf of California are punctuated by “negative estuaries,” or those that are more saline from a lack of fresh water input. Nevertheless, these crucial wetlands play a vital role in the health and productivity of the entire Northern Gulf. Learn about these biologically diverse habitats and how oyster growers use them for low impact, sustainable activities.

Intertidal Life: In Puerto Peñasco, the tidal range stands at 24 vertical feet (8 meters) and is among the most extreme in the world. When the tide recedes, up to five kilometers in some locations, it uncovers tidepools teeming with life. This slide presentation is a perfect prelude to an intertidal exploration or monitoring trip.

Pinacate Volcanic Region: This is an introduction to the geology, history, and biodiversity of the Pinacate, a vast area of windswept dunes, massive lava flows and giant volcanic craters. Humans have occupied these rugged lands for over ten thousand years, leaving many traces of their presence. This is one of Mexico’s most pristine Biosphere Reserves, and abounds with ecological marvels that we will share in this talk.

Marine Mammals: The Gulf of California is home to dozens of species of cetaceans and other marine mammals. CEDO has been studying these animals and working for their protection for over 25 years. This presentation not only reviews this history of research and conservation, but also helps prepare students and volunteers for participation in ongoing marine mammal research projects at CEDO.

Conservation in the northern Gulf of California: With a focus on CEDO’s current conservation priorities, this presentation introduces strategies for successful natural resource management and protection. We will be perfectly candid and share what has worked and what hasn’t throughout our 40-year history of working with local communities to care for this eco-region.

Intercultural Exchange Program

CEDO arranges intercultural exchanges with local schools and civic groups of all ages. Give students the opportunity to learn about Mexican culture by experiencing it firsthand. We tailor this activity to each individual and group, and activities might include attending a local classroom and learning alongside your compañeros, participating in an organized sporting event, or cooking chiles rellenos with an expert cocinero(a).

Participating in CEDO’s Research & Monitoring Efforts

CEDO is always carrying out a number of research and monitoring projects that contribute to our understanding and ability to conserve this bioregion. These projects are often carried out with the help of local community groups and citizen scientists, and include:

Sea and Wading Bird Survey: A survey of the avian diversity and abundance in local estuaries contributes to our database of resident and migratory species. One key species is the least tern, an endangered sea bird that nests on our local dunes.

Intertidal Transect: A survey documenting spatial and temporal changes in the invertebrate and algal life of the intertidal zone. Data has been collected at the same sites for more than 30 years!

Sea Lion Survey: Groups visiting San Jorge Island can help tally one of the largest California sea lion populations in the Gulf of California. A local sea lion monitoring group made up of local fishermen and their families is currently heading-up this program and working to help free sea lions that have become entangled in fishing gear under the guidance of local authorities.

And More! Contact us for more information on how you, your students and your school can get involved in our research and monitoring projects.

Community Service

CEDO also welcomes you to participate in events such as our Environmental Contest, Coastal Clean-up, and Wet Feet Ocean Camp. For more information on how you, your students, your school or your organization can get involved contact us today.

We also have opportunities for visiting research assistants and interns: on our Get Involved page.