Annual Celebration, Thank You to Our Sponsors

We are so excited for our Annual Celebration on Wednesday, August 23rd at 5pm. We wanted to give a shout out to our sponsor (as well as thank our auction item donors, see auction item post for more info on the auction and raffle). Thank you to these amazing businesses for supporting environmental education.

We would like to THANK:

Fratelli’s Pizza! They will be bringing their pizza truck and providing us with deliciously fresh pizza and salad (make sure you arrive on time, as they will be serving pizza from 5-6pm).




Joy Cone for donating ice cream cones (including gluten free ones!) for the dessert. Because it’s not a party without the ice cream.



Mother Road Brewing Company who will be donating their locally brewed beer.

Willow Bend Vehicle Updates

You might remember, that back in November 2016 our reliable (and beloved) Willow Bend Bio-Bug was vandalized

Many of our amazing supporters generously donated to help us get it fixed, and local businesses including Findlay Toyota and Anderson Tires were willing to assist with labor and parts.

However, as is often the case with insurance companies, the process of estimating damage costs took a very long time.



Biobug on the way to get fixed!

Unfortunately, in March 2017, the insurance company went ahead and totaled the vehicle. It apparently sustained more damage than originally estimated. After quite a lot of back and forth (trying to save the vehicle), we all had to say our goodbyes, as it was towed to a salvage yard.

We spent the summer trying to figure out our options. We wanted a vehicle that was not only reliable, but one that was aligned with our mission and vision. Just as our Center is a strawbale passive solar building, we felt that our vehicle needs to reflect the work we do and the values we teach. But our budget was limited to the generous donations we received to fix the Bio-Bug and from the insurance and it was hard to find a good, affodrable and reliable, fit.

Outside Findlay Toyota ready to pick our vehicle (no, its not a truck).

Drum roll please…We are super excited to announce, that Findlay Toyota in Flagstaff was willing to work with us and and gave us a significant break on an amazing vehicle.

Curious? Want to meet the new Willow Bend Vehicle? Unveiling (and car naming contest) will take place during our Annual Members’ Celebration, Wednesday August 23rd 5-7pm (Can’t make the event? Follow us on FB, and our blog, as we will be posting pictures after the event).



to EVERYONE who donated towards this cause and to Findlay Toyota for their generous support.  Stay tuned for the unveiling and for the new name contest!


Kestrel Chronicles

We are excited to partner with International Raptor & Falconry Center and follow the life and developments of a baby American Kestrel.


HATCH DAY! June 7, 2017. At birth, the bird only weighed a whopping 10g, which is only a third of an ounce!



First time on the scale and weighing only 10g

At only one-day-old, the bird has no idea how important their life purpose truly is; to educate the public about American Kestrels and the conservation issues they face. American Kestrels are declining in their North American range and the reasons are unknown. They are North America’s smallest falcons and have to employ big strategies to survive.



The new Kestrel will be debuting in their very first education program at Willow Bend Center on August 19th. The bird has a lot of growing and learning to do so, please follow along!



Annual Members’ Celebration August 23rd 5:30pm


Don’t miss our Annual Members’ Celebration, August 23rd at 5:00pm at Willow Bend.

Food, bar, auction, raffle, fun activities for the kids, and lots of wonderful people all coming together for a good cause! If you believe in the importance of environmental education we hope you can come out to the event and support our efforts

The event is FREE and open to the public. A $10 suggested donation will be greatly appreciated and go towards our new fiscal year appeal. Our goal is to raise $9,000 before the end of August. These funds will provide scholarships for classroom programs, support our community events, and help with the development of new programs.

If the parking lot is full please park at the Sheriff’s office at 911 E Samill Road.

Special thanks to our dinner sponsors: Fratelli’s Pizza, Mother Road Brewing Company, and  Joy Cone

We Are Hiring!

UPDATE: The position has been filled in August 2017. Thank you for your interest. Please check back or subscribe to our newsletter for openings and updates.

We are hiring a part-time Education and Outreach Assistant.

Are you passionate about the environment? Love working with kids? Social media savvy? Want a job where you can work outdoors? Consider applying and joining our team!

Please read the Position Description Education and Outreach Assistant Willow Bend. Compensation: Starting at $14/hour (with merit based raises). Sick Leave. Potential to develop into full time position (dependent on funding).  Application deadline: August 7th. Interviews will be held during the last two weeks in August. Expected start date (flexible) September 5th.

Not looking for a job but know someone who might be interested and is a good fit? Please share this information with your networks!

Downtown Geology Tours are Back!

We are very excited to announce that through generous funding from Mountain Sports Flagstaff and 1% for the Planet, Willow Bend Environmental Education Center will be offering guided Downtown Geology Tours again this summer! Tours will be offered twice a month between June – September. For a full schedule visit our tour program section on our website.

The 1 hour walking tours are based on local Flagstaff author, Marie Jackson’s Stone Landmark’s book.  An exclusive and unique opportunity for the community to explore downtown like never before.  The tour will cover ancient history of stones used to build downtown’s iconic buildings, including Moenkopi Sandstone, Pumiceous Dacite, Kaibab Limestone, and Malapais Basalt.  In addition tours will highlight progression of architectural styles, discuss changing preferences for certain rock types, and provide an overview of historic events.

Participants will search for fossils on the Ice House walls, find out what stone is referred to as “Arizona Red”, visit the layers of the “Grand Canyon” at Heritage Square, view beautiful stone etchings, and more.

Tours are FREE and open to the public. All ages welcome!

Farewell Val

Thursday, May 25th was Val Grimmett’s last day with Willow Bend.

Val was one of our educators, teaching in-class programs, leading field trips, and helping with tabling and Center events. Before joining Willow Bend, Val was a dedicated  elementary school teacher and taught for many years at different FUSD schools, including Kinsey Elementary.

Val joined the Willow Bend team almost 4 years, and is now officially retiring and moving down south (where its warmer!).

Thank you Val and good luck on your new adventures!

Field Trip Season

March – May is field trip season at Willow Bend, which means that we are b-u-s-y!

This year we had over 70 field trips, to more than 30 classes, in over 20 schools, engaging 500+ students from kindergartners to 6th graders.

We explored Picture Canyon with 3rd graders, hiked Walnut Canyon and the Rio Wetlands with 4th graders, discovered our senses with kindergartners at the Willow bend gardens, learned about the Rio de Flag with 6th graders, built shelters at Aspen Corner with 1st graders and so much more!

Below are just some of the images from all the fun educational experiences we had this season.

Amazing Arthropods, Another Successful Event!

Another successful Amazing Arthropod event took place on May 20th in partnership with Merriam Powell Center for Environmental Research.

In a packed room on Saturday morning families were able to learn, up close and in person, all about insects and arachnids. How many legs do true insects have? how many species of bees are there in the world, in AZ, around the San Fransisco Peaks? and what do cockroaches eat, were just some of questions answered by Lindsie, Paige, Mary and other knowledgeable entomologists and experts.

Throughout the talk participants got to see LIVE insects including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and different species of spiders and scorpions. At the end of the talk participants went outside to catch their own insects using nets and special containers.

Hard to pin point the highlight of the day, but we are sure the kids enjoyed seeing their parent’s faces when the cockroaches came out, or when the tarantula didn’t want to go back into her box. But running around outside catching their own butterflies must be a close second.

Thanks to the Arizona Community Foundation Of Flagstaff for supporting this event.





Picture Canyon Tour, May 13th

Post written by: Andy Gould, Willow Bend board member and tour participant.

Picture Canyon is one of my favorite hikes around Flagstaff. The perennial stream flowing through it is the centerpiece of this beautiful wooded canyon. An outing organized by Willow Bend on May 13 was certainly not my first visit. What made it special was all the wonderful people who attended (over 50 participants!) and all that I learned from our leaders about the area’s history. The great variety of petroglyphs is always amazing. I learned a great deal from archeologists Neil Weintraub and Peter Pilles. The really impressive part of its recent history is the story of the efforts of many individuals and community organizations that transformed it from a ditch for treated sewage and a dump for abandoned cars to the beautiful natural and historic preserve that it is today.  The public hikes led by Willow Bend are a great way to learn about the history of this amazing place, both ancient and modern. They are also a great way to learn about the plants and animals and the important role of the Rio de Flag in sustaining this special place.

Archeologist and board member Neil Weintraub giving a talk about the area’s rich history

A beautiful day to be outside

Over 50 participants joined Willow Bend for the first tour of the season