Zion National Park Picture, Zion Natural History Association logo
News Release 2008


Zion Canyon Field Institute (ZCFI) director, Michael Plyler, and Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association (RRCIA) Interpretive Planning Director, Athena Sparks, are proud to announce the establishment of a new partnership wherein the two groups will offer courses emphasizing the commonality of the two ecosystems with component halves of each class occurring in the respective public lands of each group.

Zion National Park is situated at the confluence of the Colorado Plateau, the Mojave Desert, and the Great Basin. Red Rock Canyon is prime Mojave Desert, but like Zion, shares geology with the Colorado Plateau and botany and biology with all three ecosystems. The shared classes between ZCFI and RRCIA will examine the shared overlap of the two ecosystems and their differences. The geology courses in particular will help the participants understand the bigger geologic picture of both regions and the transition between the two.

The first collaboration will occur this fall when ZCFI and RRCIA will host a photography workshop on two separate weekends. The workshop entitled “Photographing the Sandstone Canyons of the Ancient Navajo Desert,” will occur over the course of two separate weekends in October and November. On Saturday, October 25 & Sunday, October 26 join ZCFI Director and accomplished photographer, Michael Plyler, in Zion National Park during the fall foliage display for two intensive days of photography when big tooth maple and box elder are at their “showy” best. Two weeks later (Nov 8 & 9) we explore visual possibilities in Red Rock Canyon where the same Navajo sandstone that is found in Zion is called “Aztec.”

As the partnerships progresses potential future classes will include besides the aforementioned geology courses, ethnobotany, biology, and archaeology. Also an examination of Colorado/Virgin river hydrology and water issues pertinent to the two locations. Both Ms. Sparks and Mr. Plyler are excited at the possibilities.

Course Tuition for the photography workshop: $350 (both weekends or $175 for a single weekend of the participant’s choice depending on availability). Limited to 10 students.

To register with ZCFI please call Michael Plyler, 435-772-3264.

Complete Schedule of 2008 ZCFI Workshops and Seminars


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