Please be aware that due to the COVID-19 pandemic the station is currently closed until further notice and a reopening date is uncertain. While we hope to reopen in time to host our courses this year, we will fully refund your course fees if the pandemic necessitates the cancellation of any of our courses or if you must cancel due to the pandemic. Please see our cancellation policy below for information regarding participant cancellations under normal circumstances.

Fungi of the Sky Islands 


Cost: $1,160.00

Boletus rubriceps

Join us for an exciting and engaging 8-day program, Fungi of the Sky Islands! The Sky Islands of Southern Arizona are a biodiversity hotspot hosting unique and fascinating organisms in 5 of 9 life zones covering an elevation range of approximately 6000 feet (the elevation range of the Chiricahua mountains is approximately 3,600-9,759 feet). The mushrooms of this region are understudied and include a number of endemic species. Rarely seen and undescribed species will likely be encountered during the program.

The Fungi of the Sky Islands program will be led by mycologist, taxonomist, and author, Christian Schwarz. Along with a team of instructors with varied backgrounds and specialties, we will spend most mornings in the field collecting macrofungi in diverse habitats. The afternoons and evenings will be spent at the Southwestern Research Station where we will analyze, discuss, and document our collections to the Fungi of the Sky Islands iNaturalist project. We will be preparing a select collection of voucher specimens for herbarium deposit. One day of the program will be dedicated to a hands-on DNA workshop where we will learn the fundamentals of DNA analysis as it pertains to mycology, as well as perform a simple method for extracting DNA from the mushrooms we collect. We will then send our prepared DNA into a lab; later, we will be able to add DNA sequences to enrich our iNaturalist observation records. The observations we make and the iNaturalist records we produce will help paint a more complete picture of the Fungi of the Sky Islands as well as the North American Mycoflora and be an open resource for further mycological studies by any mycologist, whether a hobbyist or a professional.

2020 FSI Course Description

Fungi of the Sky Islands 2020 online application

Trees of the Chiricahua Mountains: A Course on the Biology, Ecology and Drought Adaptations of Desert Trees


Cost: $725.00

View of Cave Creek Canyon from Vista Point in Portal, Arizona.
Rose Rothpletz

A meeting of arborists, naturalists, and biologists to study trees and their adaptations in the Chiricahua Mountains of Southeast Arizona. The course schedule will be similar to the 2019 course described in the brochure link below. 

Trees of the Chiricahuas online application

SWRS Coleoptera Course: Beetle Morphology, Classification and Identification


Check back soon for course dates and registration link

A beetle
Megapurpuricenus magnificus

The SWRS staff and course instructors are excited to offer our first course focusing solely on Coleoptera. Southeastern Arizona has one of the most diverse beetle populations in North America, making it an excellent location for beetle research and education. The course will include a rigorous examination of over 100 families of beetles, half of which can be collected during the course. The course is intended for students, biologists and entomology professionals. The instruction team will include Richard Leschen as the lead instructor and Steven Lingafelter and Christopher Carlton as coordinators. Brittany Owens, Matthew Gimmel, Wendy Moore, Eugene Hall and Margarethe Brummermann will act as course assistants and lecturers.

Biodiversity and Animal Behavior of the Chiricahua Mountains: a Summer Field Camp

Not scheduled for 2021

A wide view of the entrance to Cave Creek Canyon in Portal, Arizona.
Dr. Howard Topoff

As the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum describes: The Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona include 5 recognized ecological life zones and contain some of the richest reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth. This workshop provides an introduction to the fauna and flora of the Chiricahuas, and includes several studies of the animals (insects, reptiles, and birds) that are adapted to the high desert and mountains. Understanding of the behavior of diverse species helps us appreciate human evolution, and increases our ability to preserve biological diversity through conservation. Our base is The Southwestern Research Station of the American Museum of Natural History. In addition to our own projects, we will have the opportunity to interact with other scientists, attend their seminars, and even accompany them into the field.

For more information, please visit the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum webpage.

Bat Conservation International Workshop


Four people standing around person holding something in her gloved hands. Some are wearing small head lamps.

BCI presents a comprehensive curriculum for an introductory field workshop designed to train serious students of bat conservation in the current research and management techniques for the study of bats. Following an intensive 8-day, 7-night agenda, BCI biologists and professional colleagues will bring workshop participants a combination of lectures and discussions, field trips to view bat habitat resources, and hands-on training to catch and identify bats. Participants gain experience with various capture techniques including mist-netting and harp-trapping. They also use night-vision scopes, bat detectors, AnaBat recording equipment, radio-tracking devices, and light-tagging materials to investigate bats.

For further information visit:

The Ant Course


A large room full with people at desks looking into microscopes.

Designed for systematists, ecologists, behaviorists, conservation biologists, and other biologists whose research responsibilities require a greater understanding of ant taxonomy.  Emphasis is on the classification and identification of more than 50 ant genera of North America.  Lectures include background information on the ecology, life histories, and evolution of ants.  Field trips teach collecting and sampling techniques; associated lab work provides instruction on specimen preparation, sorting, and labeling.  Information on equipment/supply vendors, literature, and myrmecological contacts is also presented.  

For further information:

The Bee Course

This course will not be offered in 2021

The AMNH Southwestern Research Station serves scientists studying the flora and fauna of the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona.

Designed primarily for botanists, conservation biologists, pollination ecologists, and other biologists whose research, training, or teaching responsibilities require a greater understanding of bee taxonomy. Emphasizes classification and identification of more than 50 bee genera of North and Central America (both temperate and tropical), and the general information provided is applicable to the global bee fauna. Lectures include background information on the biology of bees, their floral relationships, their importance in maintaining and/or improving floral diversity, and the significance of oligolecty (i.e., taxonomic floral specialization). Field trips acquaint participants with collecting and sampling techniques; associated lab work provides instruction on specimen identification, preparation and labeling. Information on equipment/supply vendors, literature, and people resources is also presented. 

For further information:

Payment Methods for Courses/Workshops Hosted by the SWRS

Preferred methods of payment are personal check, traveler's checks, certified check, or money order, made payable to SWRS. If you need to use a credit card, please purchase a certified check, traveler's checks, or money order with your credit card. We ask that you keep in mind the Station is a non-profit organization and fees for credit card charges continue to increase. Otherwise, call 520-558-2396 if you need to pay with a Visa or MasterCard credit card. 

If you reside outside the United States, please submit your payment in the form of a certified check, money order, or bank transfer in the net amount of your fees in U.S. Dollars. As above, if you need to use a credit card, please purchase a certified check, money order, traveler's checks, or arrange a bank transfer with your credit card. Please contact the Station to obtain details for a bank transfer to SWRS. Otherwise, call 520-558-2396 if you need to pay with a Visa or MasterCard credit card.

Transportation costs between home and Tucson (air) and the SWRS (auto) are to be borne by all participants. As participants register, we will send out email addresses so participants can contact each other to carpool to and from the station.