Kids Holiday Gift Making Event

Join us at Willow Bend Environmental Center From 10:00am to 2:00pm December 7th.

Need holiday gift ideas? Join Willow Bend as we make fun holiday gifts out of reusable materieals. Linda Kranz will be showing us how to make amazing rock paintings just like in her books. We will also have a few other fun gift making projects. Supplies are provided. Drop in event-No reservation needed.This event is free but a $5 donation is gladly accepted. Brought to you by Mountain Sports.

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Voice Your Choice For Willow Bend

Voice Your ChoiceMountain Sports-Flagstaff is doing it again! As a member of 1% For The Planet, Mountain Sports grants one percent of sales to local environmental and conservation organizations through the Voice Your Choice event and Willow Bend is honored to have been selected to participate. Come on down to Mountain Sports November 1st through the 15th and cast your vote for Willow Bend (you get one vote per customer, per day. No purchase is necessary).  Please help show your appreciation by visiting Mountain Sports and voting, and sharing this through social media.

 

 

Sustainable Building Tour

This Saturday, October 12 from 10 am until 2 pm, is the 2013 Sustainable Building and Creative Spaces Tour!  It all begins at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center where tour-goers can pick up a packet and map showing all the stops on the self-guided tour.  These local places showcase sustainable and innovative approaches at home and in the community.

Sustainable Tour

The tour is put together by The Coconino County Sustainable Building Program in partnership with the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program, The Northern AZ Branch of the USGBC, and Willow Bend Environmental Education Center.

Some of the features on the tour that you can learn about include:

Adobe & Strawbale Construction
Solar Thermal-Hot Water
Insulated Concrete Forms
Rainwater/Greywater Reuse
Xeriscaping/Gardens
Accessory Dwelling Unit
Passive Solar Design
Solar Electric-Photovoltaics (PV)
Community Enhancement
Environmental Education

At each stop you’ll have a chance to talk with the homeowner, or representative of the location to discuss its unique features.  Hope to see you on Saturday!!

 

Supporter Spotlight – The Wildland Trekking Company

“TOUCHING PEOPLE’S LIVES IN A POSITIVE WAY”

“We believe that philanthropy brings good karma” Brad Ball explained after his company made the largest unrestricted gift ever received by Willow Bend. Brad and his partners, brothers Steve and Scott Cundy, started The Wildland Trekking Company in 2005. This summer they hired 13 new people expanding their business to 65 employees. The business specializes in guided backcountry hiking tours, as well as lodge-based and camp-based hiking tours. They offer trips in national parks such as Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and throughout the Colorado Plateau including Zion, Bryce, Glen Canyon, and the Grand Canyon, which is their most popular destination.

Brad Ball stands in front of one his company’s fleet vehicles.  The Wildland Trekking Company supports Willow Bend because of our focus on children and environmental education.  Brad said that he and his partners “believe in the power of individuals and small organizations in making change and having an impact.”

Brad Ball stands in front of one his company’s fleet vehicles. The Wildland Trekking Company supports Willow Bend because of our focus on children and environmental education. Brad said that he and his partners “believe in the power of individuals and small organizations in making change and having an impact.”

The business was originally based out of Brad’s garage; expanding to the “shed-stage” as Brad described it, “was a major milestone.” After 5 years of over 100% growth, in 2010 they moved into their current location, a warehouse on Huntington Drive.

“One of the keys to our success is the lateral communication we encourage from the staff. We surround ourselves with the very best people we can find.” The three partners also have different perspectives on the business and “that helps us make successful decisions.” Brad and Steve met while working for the New Mexico State Forestry Department. Previously, Brad had 10 years of mountaineering experience as an instructor at NOLS. Scott was an English major and was working as a motivational speaker for Klemmer and Associates before the partnership. All three are true outdoorsman and share a love and passion for the mountains. Flagstaff and Willow Bend are fortunate to benefit from their success and commitment to our community.

For more articles, please see our complete Annual Report for FY 2012-2013

Bring Your Weeds to Willow Bend

Invasive Weeds2This Saturday, August 17, please join Scott Harger at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center for a noxious weed identification session from 2-4 pm.

With the incredibly wet July we had here in northern Arizona, the forests, neighborhoods, and roadsides are bursting with beautiful native wildflowers…and invasive weeds!  How can you tell which is which?  Take a picture, or dig one up and bring your weed to Willow Bend.

Harger, a Range Conservationist at the Coconino Natural Resource Conservation District, also serves as a Coordinator for the San Francisco Peaks Weed Management Area.  He will have posters and samples of noxious weeds from the area and will provide advice on management.  Drop in anytime between 2 and 4 pm.

The Five Points Project

One of our founders was Jim David – a high-school biology teacher in Flagstaff.  From the beginning, classroom programs about environmental education have been our focus.  With many different programs to choose from and dozens of kits, we complement teachers’ lessons with specific areas of expertise as requested.  Continuing in this tradition, we recently completed the Five Points Project.

The Five Points Project incorporated 5 major components of environmental education: standards-aligned classroom programs, outdoor field experiences, training for teachers, service learning projects, and family science events. The underlying theme of the project was wildlife habitat restoration and resource conservation.

Students at Knoles Elementary School take a break from trail building activities.  As part of the 5-Points project, Willow Bend worked with volunteers from the American Conservation Experience (ACE) to build a nature trail and outdoor classroom on the school grounds.

Students at Knoles Elementary School take a break from trail building activities. As part of the 5-Points project, Willow Bend worked with volunteers from the American Conservation Experience (ACE) to build a nature trail and outdoor classroom on the school grounds.

First, we visited the classrooms to provide lessons on habitats and biodiversity, forest ecology, animal and plant structure and human interactions with the environment. Using the school grounds as an outdoor classroom, we created micro-habitats, hunted for animal scat and sign, and discussed how we could improve the school yard habitat.

At one school we started by working in the school garden developing micro-habitats for a variety of animals and plants. This linked in with a much larger project through Terra BIRDS – an organization specializing in school gardens. In another school the students researched local birds, made bird feeders from recycled materials, and hung bird feeders in the school grounds. At a third school, students constructed a new trail, built “insect hotels” to welcome small wildlife, and created animal books with poetry and artwork on local animals that may be seen close to the school.

The children had incredible fun building trails, starting a garden, exploring their school yards, writing field guides for wildlife found near the school yard, and creating beautiful art work and poetry.  And, they learned valuable lessons:
“You made us all realize we can help.”

The project included a lesson where the children made art work re-using materials, and then wrote poems about their animal.

The project included a lesson where the children made art work re-using materials, and then wrote poems about their animal.

The project was funded through a grant from the Arizona Game and Fish Department Heritage Fund, and administered through the Office of the Coconino County Superintendent of Schools.

– Cassandra Roberts, Willow Bend Program Manager

Please see our recently completed Annual Report for additional articles.

New AmeriCorps Positions

We have posted two new AmeriCorps positions at Willow Bend.  There are two positions open for Outreach and Program Assistant: one is half-time and one is full-time.

The Outreach and Program Assistant will work with Willow Bend staff to develop, promote, and present programs and events to schools and community members around Flagstaff.  This person can expect a varied workload potentially including representing Willow Bend at events across the community, assisting with or leading programs for families, adults, and school groups, promoting upcoming Willow Bend events through print and social media, and general administrative work in the Willow Bend office.

We provide an open, flexible work environment for self-motivated individuals and opportunities to participate in professional development workshops, trainings, and conferences.  To learn more about these openings please contact Cassandra Roberts (cassandra@willowbendcenter.org or 928-779-1745.)

Youth in Action is the AmeriCorps program based in Flagstaff, Arizona.

New Membership Program at Willow Bend

Membership BrochureWe are excited to present a new membership program at Willow Bend.  You may soon be receiving a letter or email inviting you to join…and we think that you should!  Why?

Did you know that Willow Bend Environmental Education Center was booming with children this past spring because all of our available slots for school field trips were full?  We could grow our staff and reach even more classes, with your help.  

We know environmental education works and children enjoy these experiences.  94% of the kids we surveyed responded  “Yes” to the statement “I like being outdoors.” But many schools don’t have enough funding for field trips.  Through our NEW membership program at Willow Bend your donation can send Willow Bend to a classroom, or send a class to Willow Bend for a field trip.

There are lots of other reasons to join and become a ‘Friend of the Bend.’  You can check out the membership brochure and find the level that is right for you.  And you can join right now, with an online donation.

IMG_1227Check out this cool grocery bag made from recycled P.E.T. that you’ll get when you join.

Stamping Out Invasive Plants

The Siberian Elm found around Flagstaff is an invasive species

The Siberian Elm found around Flagstaff is an invasive species

Even in the native gardens surrounding Willow Bend Environmental Education Center we battle against invasive plant species.  Recently the crew from the Coconino Parks and Rec. was here to remove some unwanted inhabitants from Sawmill County Park: the Siberian Elm.

This pesky tree has the notorious distinction of being on “Flagstaff’s Dirty Dozen” list and for good reason.  It is invading our forests, and it produces hundreds of seedlings, the sprouts from which grow very rapidly.

You can find the complete list of Flagstaff’s Dirty Dozen on display at Willow Bend throughout the summer.  The set of posters was assembled for the San Francisco Peaks Weed Management Area by the Coconino Natural Resource Conservation District.

Noxious weeds cost the US 1.4 Billion each year, they block out native plants and degrade wildlife habitat, riparian areas and waterways.  Come check out the posters and learn to identify the weeds and help control their spread in your neighborhood.