Blog Post written by Willow Bend Intern Xander Wille
Over the weekend, Willow bend hosted its monthly event, Science Saturday. The theme of this month: The Colorado River, including its fish and surrounding watersheds! We spent the day learning about the water cycle, as well as native and invasive aquatic species. This is important information that we are happy to share with the public because Flagstaff is located on the watershed lower basin of the Little Colorado River!
Families familiar with Willow Bend, as well as some passersby, were excited to see some visitors from just out of town. The guests included a variety of small fish, a 30-pound catfish (which will grow 3x its current size!), and even a painted turtle. After spending some time with the animals, kids could craft a nature journal, color some fish, and design a color coded paper watershed meant to educate the youth about how a watershed could potentially carry mine debris into a nearby city or farm. Additionally, many people volunteered to help outdoors for some upcoming garden projects.
Although it was fascinating to be able to look at and touch some of the creatures of the Colorado River, we learned there are rules against transporting animals around the state, especially invasive species such as the catfish. Why not keep them as pets? Well, because catfish are not from the Colorado River, so when they get too big to live at home, people might release them into the wild, which can have catastrophic effects on the delicately balanced ecosystem. The problem with catfish in Arizona is that they will eat the native species and eventually take over the environment, but the good news, humans can eat them in an effort to protect the native species.
Science Saturdays at Willow Bend are always very informative, and usually pretty crafty, they’re sure to be a great time. If you missed our September event, be sure to stop by between 9 am and 1 pm next month. October 5th is all about Bats! We’ll have AZ bat displays, research information, and of course, lots of crafts!