Grand Canyon Association (GCA), a nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park, established the Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) in 1993. GCFI’s mission is to share the rich cultural and natural history of Grand Canyon National Park with park visitors, employees, residents, and students, as well as nonvisiting enthusiasts. Through both on-site experience and outreach programming our participants explore the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas in depth.
Over one thousand participants take part in one or more of GCFI’s 100-plus classes annually. Collectively, GCFI’s expert instructors provide over 40,000 educational contact hours each year in support of Grand Canyon National Park. GCFI’s outreach program, which includes Travelin’ Trunks and videos for loan, reaches thousands of students in classrooms across the country.
The Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) is a program of the Grand Canyon Association (GCA). GCA is a nonprofit membership organization that supports education, research, and other programs for the benefit of Grand Canyon National Park and its visitors. Since its inception in 1932, Grand Canyon Association has provided Grand Canyon National Park with over $20 million in financial support. Members of GCA receive discounted tuition on most GCFI classes.
For over a decade, GCFI has been working closely with the National Park Service (NPS) to provide educational opportunities that complement the park’s own interpretive efforts. Each GCFI class is reviewed by an interdisciplinary team of NPS resource managers to ensure that it meets the educational goals of the park and does not pose a threat to the canyon’s precious natural resources. Here’s how Grand Canyon National Park’s Chief of Interpretation describes the relationship between the two organizations:
“In 1993 the National Park Service encouraged our longtime partner, Grand Canyon Association (GCA), to initiate a program of multi-day, in-depth, experience-based learning opportunities for visitors that would complement the park’s own ranger-led interpretive programming. GCA responded by launching the Grand Canyon Field Institute that same year. In its eleven-year history, GCFI has grown from five classes a year to over one hundred. Subject matter has diversified to offer experiences as interesting as the people who participate in them, with each course led by expert instructors. Grand Canyon Association and its Field Institute have been valued partners in meeting the educational and recreational goals of Grand Canyon National Park, and the needs of park visitors. GCFI has the full endorsement of the National Park Service.”