Heritage Grant Awarded to Collaborative Frances Short Pond Project

Official City of Flagstaff Press Release

Contact: City of Flagstaff Kimberly Ott, (928) 213-2061 kott@flagstaffaz.gov. Willow Bend Moran Henn, (928) 779-1745 moran@willowbendcenter.org

Re: Heritage Grant Awarded to Collaborative Frances Short Pond Project

Flagstaff, AZ-February 23rd —Willow Bend Environmental Education Center and the City of Flagstaff are pleased to announce that we are being offered a grant award of $33,960 for our successful Heritage Grant application titled “Frances Short Pond Wildlife Project”.  Funds from the grant will be used to support wildlife watching programs, interpretive signage, and a new solar pond aerator at Frances Short Pond. “This project is a part of an official partnership between the City of Flagstaff and Willow Bend for on-going restoration and environmental education efforts for our Rio de Flag watershed and Frances Short Pond. Additional partners include various FUSD and charter schools, Friends of the Rio de Flag, and many community volunteers.”

The Frances Short Pond Wildlife Project is within Arizona Game and Fish Department Region II under the supervision of Craig McMullen.  Craig was instrumental in contributing and directing the Heritage Advisory Committee Region II member to their Urban Wildlife Department specialists. The Department’s insight and knowledge in collaboration with Willow Bend Environmental Education Center and the City was instrumental in offering this grant award.

“We were so excited to receive funding for this much needed project” said Moran Henn, Willow Bend Director.  Cassandra Roberts, Willow Bend’s Program Director added that “the funds will be used to support student and community field trips to the pond with a goal of promoting an understanding of and an appreciation for its wildlife, history, and habitat”.

Les Butters, Region II Heritage Public Advisory Committee member said that “the AZ Game and Fish Urban Wildlife section received fifteen applications and only five applicants will be offered Heritage Grant awards totaling $112,500. Receiving the full funding is a reflection of the committee’s trust in the applicants and the importance of this project”.

David McKee, City of Flagstaff Frances Short Pond Project Manager, has been working on Frances Short Pond restoration for a long time and was the main driving force behind October’s (2015)  Make a Difference Day, an event that involved over 100 people directly improving conditions at Frances Sort Pond. “The pond is a community treasure, and with this funding we can ensure that it continues to be”.

“Programming will begin soon and you can expect to see us and a lot of students at the pond next fall, watching birds, learning about fishing regulations, and taking pictures” said Henn.

For more information about the Heritage visit www.azgfd.gov, to learn about the program visit www.willowbendcenter.org.

xxx

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February Is Off To A Great Start!

First Weekend in February! What a wonderfully (and busy) weekend at Willow Bend!

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We kicked off First Friday with our monthly visit to the Materials Recovery Facility (Recycling Center). We started with a general talk about flagstaff’s recycling facts, an activity about recycling, and introduced the City’s new My Waste app. We then went on a tour of the facility, following the journey of the recyclable items. We visited the “glass mountain”, identified non-recyclables on the tipping floor and even got to see a plastic bail in the making.

science saturday matt hallScience Saturday (held every first Saturday of the month) was a smashing success. This month’s theme was Grand Canyon Adventures with special guest musician and writer Matt Hall who brought his guitar and a few of his books, including his new one “The Lucky Hat”. Participants, young and young at heart, had lots of fun being trees, riding bikes, and flying like condors during the sing-alongs and story time. We also had a Grand Canyon rock layers display out and facilitated a “make your own Grand Canyon experiences story book” activity.

IMG_6877Sunday sealed this eventful weekend with an Essentials Oils Adult Education Workshop, taught by the lovely Deana Tatro. Deana shared her extensive knowledge of essentials oils, let participants sample sensual scents such as night-blooming jasmine and agarwood, and taught how to layer scents to make the most out of a blend. Each participant walked out with their very own bath salts, air spray, and massage oil blends

Thanks to our amazing guest experts and participants! It’s been another truly memorable weekend at Willow Bend!

Basic Wildlife Tracking Workshop

On Saturday January 30th, Willow Bend co-hosted with the Arboretum at Flagstaff its second annual Basic Wildlife Tracking Workshop. The workshop kicked off our 2016 Adult Education Series and was led by Lynn Nemeth, Executive Director with The Arboretum at Flagstaff.

By 10am our Discovery Room was packed as we began the day inside for a lecture about local wildlife and how to identify them on trails, in parks, and in our own backyards. Lynn and Shannon (the Arboretum’s new volunteer coordinator) shed light on what kind of tracks to be on the lookout for and how to differentiate between the various types of creatures we might encounter.

The most important fundamental of wildlife tracking emphasized during the lecture was to look down! You never know what you might be passing by if you don’t keep your eyes peeled for critters and on alert for evidence of their little lives. Some examples of animal signs to look for were nests, middens, scratching posts, and, of course, tracks and scat.

After we had some insight on what we were looking for, we hit the trails down into the canyon outside Willow Bend and put what we learned to practical use. We spotted fox scat, dog tracks, and even the occasionally puppy or two out on a morning walk. Lynn led the courageous expedition through the melting snow and helped us find exactly what we were looking for- adventure among the wildlife and the trees!

When we arrived back at the center, we got to see dried and preserved scat specimens from porcupines and prairie dogs, among others, that Lynn had brought. Willow Bend also had animal track samples and tracking game cards out and everyone enjoyed hanging out after the event and testing their knowledge.

This event was a joy to host and to attend, combining education and adventure in the best possible way (This post was written with help from Sarah Carbajal, Willow Bend Intern, who attended the workshop and learned a lot about Wildlife Tracking!)

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Phoenix Trip

Willow Bend joined the Coconino County Conservation District for the Annual Meeting  of Conservation Districts and legislative meetings at the capitol.

We had a wonderful time sharing Willow Bend’s accomplishments, as well as meeting with other Education Centers and Conservation District representatives.

We had the honor of meeting with AZ Senate Representative Carlyle Begay, who was very impressed by Willow Bend’s accomplishments, as well as a quick meeting with Representitive Thorpe who shared with us his enthusiasm for sustainable buildings. We also got to meet the Coconino High School robotics team, who were also visiting the capitol with their trash and recycling sorting robot.

Stay tuned, we hope to have the robot and the student led team visit Willow Bend soon.

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The Bug enjoying the sun and palm trees after being buried in the Flagstaff snow

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Our delegation with Carlyle Begay

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Mr. Begay looking at the Willow Bend Annual Report

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Conservation District representatives in front of the Historic AZ Senate and House building.

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District 6 representative Thorpe admiring at the trash and recycling sorting robot created by the Coconino High School robotics club.

 

Eagle Event a Huge Success

On Saturday, Jan 23rd over 130 visitors attended our Annual Bald Eagle Event held in partnership with AZ Game and Fish and Liberty Wildlife.

The day started with an early morning field trip led by AZ Game and Fish Biologists and Willow Bend staff. The lucky group spotted three bald eagles, two juveniles and one adult, along Lake Mary Road.

The day continued with three talks at Willow Bend presented by AZ Game and Fish biologists and Willow Bend staff covering eagle ecology, management, and conservation. During the family focused program our young participants made observations about eagle characteristics and one lucky volunteer got to dress as an eagle to demonstrate key eagle adaptations.

eagle wing size looking at eagle pictures jake bacon kid in eagle

 

 

 

But the highlight of the day was the appearance of two live eagles from Liberty Wildlife, Aurora the bald eagle, and the Anasazi the golden eagle. The eagles happily displayed their majestic wing span and their powerful talons to the crowd’s admiration.

eagle in centerbald eagle outside  golden eagle

 

 

 

Beyond displaying the eagles and telling their stories, Joe Miller (from Liberty Wildlife) also covered simple ways each and every one in the room can help protect eagles, from picking up fishing line to leaving them alone while on their nests.

This is by far the most attended and loved Willow Bend program and is a great opportunity to educate the public, especially children, about eagles in hope of ensuring their continued survival.

The event was covered by Jake Bacon from AZ Daily Sun and 4 Flag TV. Check out the awesome movie clip.

If you missed it, make sure you sign-up early next year!

 

 

www.4flagtv.com/show/flag/eagle-celebration

Exploring Essential Oils: Valentine’s Day Special, Aphrodisiacs and Beyond!

Join Willow Bend and Essential Oil specialist Deana Tatro for an adult education workshop. Exploring Essential Oils: Valentine’s Day Special Aphrodisiacs and Beyond!

February 7th 10-1 at Willow Bend.

Essential oils are multi-dimensional in their qualities: immunity,clarity, mood balancing, attraction, hormones, and support for the central nervous system. During the workshop we will explore the healing qualities, Aphrodisiac properties, and winter immune system benefits of oils. Participants will have an opportunity to not only learn about oils but make their own essential oil immune boosters and Valentine’s Day gifts and have a free one on one consultation (must be scheduled in advance).

Limited Spots. Sign-up required! Contact 928 779 1745 moran@willowbendcenter.org.

About Deana
Deana Tatro has studied essential oils under the direction of David Crow of Floracopia. She has been a certified and active essential oil therapist for 10 years. Her philosophy that “You, your families and the planet deserve to live in harmony, and plant medicine is here to help us do just that”.

 

 

Science Saturday Feb 6th with Guest Matt Hall

Join us on February 6th, from 9-1 for a Grand Canyon Adventures event.

Get set to howl like a dog, pretend you’re a tree and fly like a California Condor with Matthew Henry Hall, a Flagstaff-based Children’s Singer/Songwriter and Picture Book author. Matt will bring his guitar for the sing-alongs, tell stories, and read his two Grand Canyon-inspired picture books—/The Lucky Hat/ and /Phoebe and Chub/!

The Lucky Hat Cover smaller

We will be making Grand Canyon Adventure books and field journals.

The event is free and open to the public. A $5 suggested donation to cover materials is greatly appreciated. Story times will be held at 12 and at 12 with activities throughout the day.

Art for Sale

frances short pondLove Frances Short Pond?
Please consider purchasing a beautiful photographic print submitted to our exhibition last month. Tom Brownold’s “Frances Short Pond” image has been recognized as an award winning piece on an international scale! It is a HUGE focal point at Flagstaff’s REI and resides in the Royal Geographic Society Science Museum Collection in London, England.
This image, mounted on dibold (aluminum), it beautifully presents the Peaks and Frances Short Pond in the winter.
Unfortunately, during the art removal, the piece fell, and the side of the frame was slightly damaged. In an effort to honor the artist and the art we would love to assist with its sale. The image is currently priced at $600.
If you would like more information please contact Moran Henn moran@willowbendcenter.org (928) 779 1745.

First Week of 2016

We spent the first week of 2016 buried under snow. After a 5-day storm we were left with 31 inches of snow on the ground, which is said to be the 17th highest total snowfall since 1898! It was so beautiful to spend time at the Center, with everything around being so quite and still.

 

On January 2nd we held our First Science Saturday for 2016. The theme for this month was our sustainable building. We had tours and scavenger hunts of the building, played a building material matching game, made solar oven smore’s, and drew our own dream sustainable buildings. Even with the cold weather we had a good turnout.

January 6,7 and 8 were declared FUSD snow days so all of our school programs were cancelled. Our Center staff had time to catch up on program preparation, event planning, and donor thank you’s.

 

shovelOn Thursday (January 7th) we dug our way out and accidentally broke Willow Bend’s only snow shovel. We put an urgent call our on Facebook asking for a snow shovel donation. An hour didn’t go by before Veronica Hipoloto (former Willow Bend board member) responded, offering to purchase a new one. She delivered that same day and we were able to clear the path to and from Willow Bend. Thank you Veronica!

 

tracksOn January 9th we were scheduled to have a Basic Wildlife Tracking Workshop, our first 2016 Adult Education Workshop in partnership with the Arboretum at Flagstaff. However, given the serious snow pack at the Center we had to postpone the event to January 30th. Not only was it impossible to walk around looking for tracks, there actually weren’t any tracks to find. All of our local wildlife hunkered down waiting for the snow to pass.

We are excited for next week! We will be preparing for our Bald Eagle event on the 23rd, facilitating our classroom programs, and even going to City Council to talk about plastic bags!

Stay tuned, and …stay warm!

 

Wow, 2015, What a Year! 2016, Here We Come!

Wow! 2016 is right around the corner!!!

We want to conclude 2015 by THANKING all of our friends, supporters, members, partners, students and volunteers. Its been such a great year!

We reache_PAG0027d over 17,000 students, community members and visitors! We delivered valuable programs and organized events that promoted an understanding of and continue to foster an appreciation for the natural world. With the New Year starting in less than 24 hours, now is your LAST chance to make a Year-End contribution to support Willow Bend.

 

ScienceintheParkWillow Bend is Flagstaff and Coconino County’s only year-round full-time environmental education center. With ever decreasing funding for education and environmental protection, we depend on supporters like you who value and understand the importance of investing in our children and our environment through ongoing, science based, outdoor environmental education programs.

HelpIMG_3152 us start 2016 ready and strong! Make an investment in the tomorrow you wish to see TODAY!

Your donations are tax deductible and go directly to support our programs and community events. If you value what we do please DONATE NOW!

Thaboys and girls clubnk You and Happy New-Year from the Willow Bend Family!

 

 

 

P.S Don’t miss our upcoming January events! Science Saturday, Jan 2nd 9-1, Basic Wildlife Tracking Adult Education, and our Annual Bald Eagle Celebration! See you in 2016!