Downtown Geology Tour

Join Willow Bend on a unique journey through Downtown!

Downtown Flagstaff… best known as a shopping, dining and event destination. But there is much more to downtown and Willow Bend is excited to share it with you!

12498635_1101453656554897_367613082_nDowntown Flagstaff Geology Tour (Stone Landmarks) is a 45 minute guided walk that will give you a new perspective and appreciation of our beloved downtown. The buildings provide us with an ancient history of the stones used to build them, a progression of architectural styles, changing preferences for certain rock types, and an overview of historic events such as floods, fires, and lava flows.

Moenkopi (3)Learn about Moenkopi Sandstone, Pumiceous Dacite, Kaibab Limestone, Malapais Basalt and more. Search for fossils on the Ice House walls, find out what stone is referred to as “Arizona Red”, and discover what building added aluminum and glass to look more modern, only to bring brick back into view during a recent historic restoration. We will also share some historic anecdotes and fun stories about our beloved downtown.

IMG_3285This tour is usually only offered to schools and private groups. But on March 5th Willow Bend is offering an exclusive and unique opportunity for the community to explore downtown like never before. The tour, based on Marie Jackson’s Stone Landmark’s book, will begin at Full Circle Trade and Thrift at 11:30am. Locations covered on the tour include the Visitor’s Center, the David Babbitt Building, the Weatherford Hotel, the Ice House, Heritage Square flagpole and more.

Comfortable walking shoes, water and a hat are recommended. Wheelchair accessible.

Cost: Tour is FREE with a $10 or more receipt from Full Circle dated March 2016 per participant (kids under 12 are free). Or a $15 charge/person, kids under 12 $5.

LIMITED SPOTS. First come, first serve. Sign-up at the Willow Bend table outside Full Circle Trade and Thrift 2 N Beaver St on Saturday, March 5th between 9-11am. Tour leaves Full Circle at 11:30am.

Questions? call (928) 779 1745 or e mail


March is the Month!

Starting March 1st, Willow Bend and Grand Canyon Youth, are be the beneficiaries from sales at the Full Circle Trade and Thrift store.

We encourage our members and friends to shop at Full Circle throughout the month of March! Didn’t find anything you liked? Consider purchasing something for Willow Bend, we created a Willow Bend item wish list. Check out our list when you come to the store. In addition, you can purchase Full Circle gift cards for future use. If you purchase them during March we receive the proceeds!

In addition we will be facilitating activities at Full Circle on Saturdays! Join us and Grand Canyon youth every Saturday from 10-1pm. Fossils, T-shirt screen printing, Downtown tours and more!

Thank you for your support!

Heritage Grant Awarded to Collaborative Frances Short Pond Project

Official City of Flagstaff Press Release

Contact: City of Flagstaff Kimberly Ott, (928) 213-2061 Willow Bend Moran Henn, (928) 779-1745

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, to learn about the program visit


IMG_4923 IMG_4464 IMG_5184

February Is Off To A Great Start!

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


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!)

DSCF2766 IMG_4269 IMG_4313 IMG_4344 DSCF2782

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.

bug in phx

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

carlyle begay and group

Our delegation with Carlyle Begay

Carlyle Begay

Mr. Begay looking at the Willow Bend Annual Report

conservation districts

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

thorpe and robot

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!

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

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 (928) 779 1745.