Willow Bend Nature Challenge

Enjoy spending time outdoors (even right outside your house)? Love wildlife and plants? Want to learn more about them? Or are you an expert in your field and can help identify observations? Join the Willow Bend Nature Challenge.

Willow Bend, in partnership with City of Flagstaff Open Space, Coconino County Parks and Rec, and the Junior Entomology Academy will be hosting a community wide Nature Challenge for Flagstaff and Coconino County during the month of June. By participating you will automatically be entered to win awesome prizes each week! Plus you can help contribute important information to citizen science projects, learn new things, and connect with other nature lovers, scientists and experts in our area.

The Willow Bend Nature Challenge will be done through iNaturalist, a free observation platform that can be used on your smart phone or computer. It acts as a place for people to record observations, learn how to identify organisms and interact with other enthusiasts and experts. Observations from iNaturalist also contribute to biodiversity science. Anyone can freely access and use this information.

HOW TO JOIN THE NATURE CHALLENGE?

If you don’t already have an iNaturalist account downloaded on your phone or computer go to the iNaturalist page to learn how to create an account, or view this tutorial video. It’s really easy, iNaturalist is designed to be used by everyone!

Once you have an account:

NOW WHAT?

Start recording observations (view this “making” observations tutorial to learn how). These can be flowers, trees, insects, reptiles, mammals, birds etc. Observations you make in the Coconino County area will automatically be included in the project and contribute to the City’s and County’s biodiversity database.

WIN PRIZES

Each day the Willow Bend team will highlight the “observation of the day” and share it on our Facebook page and Instagram. Each week all project participants who made observations will automatically be entered into a raffle and win weekly prizes. The final challenge winner(s) will be selected on June 30th.

QUESTIONS?

Feel free to contact us with any questions at info@willowbendcenter.org. We are here to help you take on the challenge successfully!

 

05.18.2020 This Week’s Virtual Learning With Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are providing environmentally focused programs through social media. We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. Missed it? See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday, May 20th, 11AM – Life of a Flower: 

Learn about the magnificent flowers around us! Basic flower parts, how a seed is made, why are flowers so important and more! If you want to follow along while we dissect a flower during the program you can have some flowers ready. Please do not pick native flowers. You can remove invasive weeds such as toadflax, or purchase ornamental flowers from the grocery store.

flower parts worksheet-follow along during virtual program

Friday, May 22nd, 11AM – Bald Eagles: 

Learn about the bald eagle life cycle, ecology, and conservation in our FINAL program for the Spring of 2020 semester.

Make a Bald Eagle Puppet

05.11.2020 This Week’s Virtual Learning With Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are providing environmentally focused programs through social media. We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. Missed it? See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday, May 13th, 11AM – The Three Sisters Garden

Planting crops that complement each other in some way is known as companion planting, and the three sisters is a classic example of plants that enjoy each other’s company! Learn fun facts about corn, squash, and beans  and why these plants make great companions.

Resources and Activities: 

Friday, May 15th, 11AM–  Life in the Hive

This program is all about the honey bee. Learn about honey bee anatomy, their lifecycle, and what life in the hive is like. Plus, find out what a beekeeper does and what tools they use to check on their hives.

Activities Pages: 

See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

05.04.2020 This Week’s Virtual Learning With Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are providing environmentally focused programs through social media. We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. Missed it? See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday, May 6th 11AM – Climate Change and Renewable Energy. Have you ever heard the term “climate change”, but wasn’t quite sure what it means? Ever wonder what are green house gases? are they good, bad or ugly? What are renewable energy sources?  Answers to all these and some fun hands on wind energy activities on this program.

 

 

Activities: 

Materials needed:

· five 3 oz. plastic cups or snow cones
· two plastic soda straws
· one pencil (with unused eraser)
· single-hole paper punch
· scissors
· tape
· one push-pin
· permanent magic marker (or spray paint)

 

Friday, May 8th 11AM– Climate Change and Renewable Energy (Solar). Quick review from Wednesday’s program (Climate Change 101). Learn about the sun, solar power, make your own solar oven and other fun facts about renewable energy.

 

 

 

Activities:

See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

4.27.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday April 29th, 11am: Life of a Dead Tree. Dead trees have plenty of life in them! Snags (standing dead trees) play a vital role in the life cycles of hundreds of species of wildlife. Learn all about snags and how you can explore them on our next adventure.

Activity

Based on the lesson, can you draw at least three animals that may use this snag for habitat? Then, can you pick one of your animals and make a haiku about it?

 

Friday May 1st, 11am: Wacky Weather! Do you know the difference between weather and climate (and why you cant use them interchangeably)? name some common weather patterns, play the cloud game, and other fun weather facts! (Click the images to download the activity and print.)

Weather Word Puzzle

Pine Cone Weather Journal

Evidence of Weather Spring Scavenger Hunt

04.20.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday April 22nd, 11amSustainability at Willow Bend. Celebrate Earth Day! Join us for a fun and engaging tour of our sustainable building and learn about some sustainable actions YOU can take at home!

Sustainability Word Search

Draw Your Own Sustainable Home

Build a Home on Sustainability Street

Friday April 24th, 11am: Seed Starting. Celebrate Arbor Day! Learn how to start seeds at home and other interesting facts about trees and plants!

Make a Leaf Rubbing

Plant Observation Journal

The Arbor Day Foundation has awesome games and activities that help you learn more about trees and why they’re so important to our world. Visit this site to celebrate Arbor Day!

04.13.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are delivering environmentally focused programs through social media.We offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. In addition we will post the schedules and activities each Monday on this blog. 

All virtual programs will be streamed LIVE on our Facebook page..


This week we are teaming up with the Public Library for their Spring Library Challenge! The library will have weekly missions where you and people all over Flagstaff can earn points to get your librarians to do some crazy things! Sign-up for the Spring Library Challenge. 

 

This week’s ‘s programs:

Wednesday  April 15th, 11am: Birding 101: Learn how to identify common birds, when are the best times to go birding, and some things you might need for a successful birding adventure.

Bird Crafts

Egg carton bird masks

Egg Carton Bird Feeder – You could use the rest of the egg carton to make a bird feeder, following this simple tutorial.

Papercraft Oscillating Woodpecker Toy – and directions on how to make it work!

Birding Activities

Birdfeeder Checklist – Here’s a list of “backyard birds” you may spot if you’re sitting at your window. They are especially attracted to bird feeders!

BirdSleuth Explorer’s Guidebook –  We thought this activity book made by Cornell Lab of Ornithology was too cool not to share! Pick out one page to do…or do them all!

Birds of the Coconino National Forest – This checklist contains information on over 300 species of birds found within the Coconino National Forest. It has been divided into two areas: above 5,000 feet elevation and below 5,000 feet elevation. Produced by the United States Forest Service.

or VIRTUAL BIRDING: The Cornell Lab Bird Cams – A virtual window into the natural world of birds! The Cornell Lab Bird Cams connects viewers worldwide to the diverse and intimate world of birds.

Friday April 17th, 11am: Wildlife Tracking 101: Learn how to identify basic wildlife tracks and look for other wildlife signs.

Activities

Animal Tracks and Signs Matching Activity

Tell the story through tracks: Pond Scene

tell the story through tracks: Interaction Scene

 

 

Want to see other virtual lessons we have taught? View the videos and activities here.

Don’t forget to enter our Virtual Earth Day Art Contest!

04.06.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

All virtual programs will be streamed LIVE on our Facebook page.

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday April 8th, 11am: Incredible Insects. Learn about the life cycle and body parts of these fascinating creatures through song and insect exploration. Plus join our exciting cockroach race! Cheer for your favorite little creature.

Download and draw your own insect.

Friday April 10th, 11am: Geology Rocks. An introduction to igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, including examples from northern Arizona.

Activities:

Geology (Virtual!) Scavenger Hunt (print and complete while watch the program)

Try to get them all!

 

Click image to download activity

Rock Cycle Song (to sing along on video!)

 

Programs from previous weeks can be found at our Virtual Learning Hub

04.06.2020 – Enter to win prizes in our Virtual Earth Day Art Contest!

Enter the Willow Bend Virtual Earth Day Art Contest for youth artists of all ages! Take on the challenge of creating a piece of 2-D art, using any medium or combination of media, that illustrates the theme:

Celebrating our Earth

Rules and Regulations

  • Children and youth (18 and under) can participate in the contest.
  • Submission must be two-dimensional and needs to on regular, letter-sized paper (8.5 by 11 inches).
  • Art work can use any medium or combination of media.
  • Only one entry per contestant.
  • Contestants can be from anywhere in the world.
  • Contestant may not enlist the help of others for their entry (other than to submit).
  • Artwork must be original and not violate any copyright laws.

    Deadline: April 20th at 5 p.m.

Contest themes: The art contest’s focus is “Celebrating our Earth”.

Themes can include any of the following:

  • Wildlife
  • Outdoor spaces (landscapes)
  • Promoting sustainability
  • Use of renewable energy

Age categories: 

There will be winners for three age group categories:

  • 7 years old and younger
  • 8-11 years old
  • 12-18 years old

Selection Criteria:

Entries will be judged based on creativity and connection to contest themes.

Submitted artwork will be judged by the Willow Bend Board of Directors. All artwork and announced winners and prizes will be posted on a virtual art gallery and presented on April 22nd, 2020 (Earth Day!).

How to Submit an Entry:

  1.  First, fill out the Parental/Guardian Earth Day 2020 Virtual Art Contest Permission Slip
  2. Next, e-mail an image of your entry to melissa@willowbendcenter.org .
  3. You’re all entered!

We look forward to seeing your entries and thanks for celebrating Earth Day with Willow Bend Environmental Education Center!

 

03.30.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we will begin providing environmentally focused programs through social media.We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our FB page. In addition we will post the schedules and activities each Monday on this blog. 

Program Schedule for April 1st and April 3rd:

Wednesday April 1st,  11am, Seeds on the Move: Seeds need to move and grow just like we do! This program will cover several methods of seed dispersal and end with a fun seed sprouting demonstration. You will need a plastic zip lock bag, a paper towel, and a seed (beans can be an option though they don’t always sprout).

Follow up activities include seed art templates. Just click on the image to download. Of course, you can also make your own!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 3rd,  11am, Exploring Earthworms Why are worms so important for the planet? What do they eat? How are their body parts different than ours? We will answer all this and more. Virtually meet our worm friends, and listen to a “heartworming” story.

Worm Search!

Click the image to download activity

 

 

 

 

Did you miss last week’s lessons on recycling and habitats? View the videos and activities here.