Trica Oshant Hawkins

Research and Outreach Associate

After receiving a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Renewable Natural Resources from the University of Arizona, Trica lived in Sonora, Mexico and guided natural history and diving expeditions in the Sea of Cortez. She left the Southwest for three years to serve as Education Specialist for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. Pining for the Sonoran Desert, she returned to her desert home to envision and co-found the Environmental Education Exchange with the mission of increasing environmental literacy in the region through collaborative environmental education programs. Since founding the EE Exchange, she has worked with numerous institutions and organizations throughout the region developing and presenting science-based programs and curricula on natural and cultural history, presenting capacity-building workshops, conducting educator trainings, and developing strategic master plans. Trica recently completed a Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology with her thesis focusing on the collaborative effort to restore bighorn sheep to the Catalina Mountains. Her thesis work has led her to several current partnerships including working with the Arizona Wildlife Federation and the Desert Laboratory at Tumamoc Hill. At the Desert Lab, Trica assists with communications, community outreach, and education. She is currently working with U of A students to implement the phenology and mammal monitoring components of the Tumamoc Ecological Monitoring Project. In her efforts to revive the Tumamoc Phenology Trail, she recently became certified as a “Local Phenology Leader” and is working to involve community scientists (aka citizen scientists) in the collection of data on various plants along the Tumamoc road.


A Case Study Analysis of Collaborative Conservation: Restoring Bighorn Sheep to the Santa Catalina Mountains. Thesis research, paper, and presentation on the collaborative effort to restore bighorn sheep to the Catalina Mountains.

(Hawkins, T. O. (2017). A case study analysis of collaborative conservation: Restoring bighorn sheep to the Santa Catalina mountains.)


Linking Hispanic Heritage Through Archaeology. Field and lab archaeology program developed and taught in partnership with the National Park Service and University of Arizona. Program targets Hispanic and Native American high school students and teachers in Tucson and engages participants in archaeological investigations of pre-historic to present-day cultures in the region. 2012 – 2017.

(Pavao-Zuckerman, B., Oshant Hawkins, T., & Bond, S. (2016). Linking Students to Latino Heritage Through Archaeology. Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage, 3(3), 202-219.)  


Science in the Cienega. Developed an inquiry-based field experience for middle school students and teachers focusing on habitats at the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve. Trained local docents to guide the program. Developed for the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. 2012.


Inquiry in the Garden. K-8 digital curriculum developed for the Desert Botanical Garden. Phoenix, Arizona. 2009. (Note: To access the activities, it is necessary to register on the digital curriculum site. Registration is free.)


The North American Model: The Past, Present, and Future of Wildlife Conservation. High School curriculum and PowerPoint presentation developed for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Phoenix, Arizona. 2009. (

Stormwater in the Desert: A Middle School Activity Book. Activity book and associated, web-based activities about runoff and rainwater harvesting developed for the City of Tucson Transportation Department, Stormwater Management Section. Tucson Arizona. 2008.


Sweetwater Wetlands. Activity Book and Field Guide. Student and adult versions developed for Tucson Water with funding from the Arizona Game and Fish Department Heritage Fund. Tucson, Arizona. 2007.


On the Air. Exploring Air Pollutions Sources and Solutions. Sixth grade teaching kit and curriculum developed for Clean Air Partners. Metropolitan Council of Governments, Washington D. C. 2006.

Powering Our Future – Renewable Energy Education Curriculum and web-based learning activities developed for the Salt River Project. Phoenix, Arizona. 2005. Includes the middle school science unit ‘Climate Change Science and Solutions’ that engages students in the Phoenix area in the study of the science of and solutions to climate change, with emphasis on regional issues and opportunities. 2011-2013. 


Invasive Plants of the Sonoran Desert. A Field Guide. Written and produced with Nina Chambers for the Sonoran Institute, Tucson, Arizona. 2003. (

Juntos: Intercultural Environmental Studies in the Western Borderlands. Developed with funding from Ford Foundation Mexico. Published in collaboration with the State of Sonora, Mexico, Secretary of Education and Culture. 1999.

Our Water Our Future / Da Drops. Upper and lower elementary water conservation outreach programs developed and presented for Tucson Water. Annual program revisions and trainings for new presenters. 1997 – present.

Past Projects and Publications

1994 - Sonoran Desert Ethnobotany Outreach Kit. Developed a "hands-on" outreach kit of props and materials for the Tucson Botanical Garden targeting Tucson upper elementary classrooms.

1993 - Juntos: Teachers and Children of the Desert. Developed a 3 part multi-cultural EE program on the natural and cultural history of the Sonoran Desert.

1992 - Marine Ecology - Options for the Landlocked Classroom.   Conducted bi-annual teacher training workshops in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico.

1992 – 1994 - Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists Field Trip Program.  Developed pre- and post-visit educational materials to supplement existing on-site field trip activities for school groups.  (Funded by AZ State Parks Heritage Fund.)

1992 – 1993 - Coconino National Forest Environmental Education Plan: Assessment, Recommendations, and Strategies.  Report prepared under contract (RFQ R3-04-92-39) for the Coconino National Forest.

1992 - The Oracle Odyssey Environmental Education Program.  Produced three environmental education programs for Arizona State Parks - Oracle Center for Environmental Education focusing on interrelationships, habitat, and biodiversity. Programs included design and development of pre-visit, on-site, and follow-up activities, and recruitment and training of volunteer program guides.