Camp Borrego

5th Grade Environmental Camp


“Every child needs nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or set of abilities. Every child.” -Richard Louv

Studies show that children who regularly spend time outdoors are healthier and better equipped for life. Our environmental education camp offers a chance to learn and explore the outdoors. 

Since its inception, Camp Borrego has introduced thousands of socioeconomically disadvantaged students from San Diego and Imperial Counties to the wonders of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the satisfaction of living and learning together in nature. This fifth-grade environmental education program offers many students their first, perhaps only, outdoor learning experience as well as their first experience in a state park. Best of all and thanks to our generous donors, students attend Camp Borrego at no cost to their families.

 Throughout their three-day adventure, the students are introduced to the varied natural and cultural resources of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. They are exposed to intriguing wildlife, scientific research and new careers they might never have considered, like wildlife biology or paleontology. Camp Borrego participants hike into Borrego Palm Canyon, meet park rangers, stargaze, visit an ancient Native American village site and much more.

Scholarships & Funding: 

What better gift can we offer the next generation than a passion for discovery, connection to their land and heritage, and commitment to caring for their natural world? Anza-Borrego Foundation is proud to bring this experience to underprivileged youth.

ABF’s Camp Borrego is funded entirely by donations and grants. We are grateful for scholarship support received from individuals, like the Carl Ellsworth and Patricia Mary Miller Scholarship for Youth Education, as well as private foundations and other organizations.

With the support of organizations like California State Parks Foundation, we can provide critical access to local youth to outdoor programs such as Camp Borrego that would otherwise not happen. Thank you, California State Parks Foundation, for your support!

Carl Ellsworth and Patricia Mary Miller Scholarship for Youth Education Photo of Carl Ellsworth and Patricia Mary Miller

A $10,000 annual scholarship has been set up in honor of Carl and Pat Miller with the Anza-Borrego Foundation. The Carl Ellsworth and Patricia Mary Miller Scholarship for Youth Education will help many kids enjoy and learn about the Park.

The donor, who would like to remain anonymous, had this to say about Carl and the reason for the scholarship:

“Carl was just an awesome guy! He was to me an inspirational teacher, a role model, a teaching mentor, and a true friend. When I was in high school, he lit the fire for me and many of my classmates to learn and love Science, especially Biology. There were a several of us who became Mr. Miller apprentices. Mr. Miller saw our potential and encouraged us to go further in our study of the natural world. Because of him, through Mira Costa Community College, I ended up taking field biology classes in Baja California, Mexico and Australia. Mr. Miller introduced me to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in 1985 when he invited me and a few other aspiring naturalists to go hiking in search of Bighorn Sheep. A couple years later, he even joined me and some friends 400 miles south of the border on one of our many Baja trips.

Carl inspired me to follow in his path into education, and now I’m fortunate on a daily basis to have the opportunity to teach the nature of science and the science of nature to my own students.

Carl LOVED Anza-Borrego Desert State Park! I know that he would be so happy to know a scholarship created in his name could help introduce many students to the wonder and beauty of Anza-Borrego State Park for years to come.”

Carl’s great legacy will live on through this scholarship of sharing his love for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with others. If you’re interested in contributing to this scholarship, please email Bri Fordem at

How can I support Camp Borrego? 

If you’re interested in supporting this program, contact ABF (link sends e-mail).  You can also impact students’ lives by donating online today. For just $218, you can send one curious fifth grade student on an adventure they’ll never forget!

We will also be looking for support for the new Camp Borrego Facility. For information, please click here. 

This program is currently only available for local Borrego Springs 5th-grade students in our temporary facility. We are in the planning phase of creating a permanent and expanded program and facility that can serve more students from other areas in the future. Learn more about our expansion here.