iNaturalist Challenge Winners!

During the month of July Willow Bend, in partnership with Coconino County Parks and Rec, and the City of Flagstaff Open Space, held an iNaturalist Nature Challenge. Over 30 participants collected observations and uploaded them to iNaturalist and more than 150 identifiers helped ID plant and animals assisting our county and city gather important ecological data.

As of June 30th we challenge participants made 915 observations and identified 364 species!

Each week we raffled off prizes for challenge participants. Today we are announcing the overall challenge winners! If your username is listed below, please contact us at info@willowbendcenter.org to receive your prize:

Most observations made 1st place: Graysons 
Most observations made runner up: Jeffbalmat 
Most species observed: Graysons 
Most species observed runner up: Migo111
Most identifications made: Steve Jones
Most identifications made runner up: Steve Ganley 
Random drawing winner: Steph150
Random drawing winner: earthlovinggari (Ari)
Random drawing winner: diana97 (Diana Henry)
Random drawing winner: Susan Lamb 

While our official online challenge has ended, we encourage you to join our iNaturalsit Willow Bend Nature Challenge project and keep adding observations! This project will remain open indefinitely.  

July with Creative Spirits!

We are excited to partner up with Creative Spirits for the month of July and offer 4 virtual art classes. Join us online, from the comfort of your own home and create beautiful works of art for a great cause (Willow Bend receives 50% of the profits!).

Art sessions will be held on Fridays July 3, 10, 24, 31 from 6:30-8:30pm. Each week will have its own art project with step by step instructions from professional artists. All you need to prepare is a couple of difference sized brushes, a cup (for washing paint brushes), a small towel or wash cloth, plate (for mixing paints), a canvass or paper (any size you want), and acrylic paint (primary colors). You can order online or over the phone and do curb pick up from your favorite art supply store (cost of materials estimated at $10).

Once you sign up you will have access to the online event recording for 2 weeks. So even if you cant join the live virtual class, you can still follow the instructions and create your masterpiece.

Classes are $20 each. Sign up online at www.creativespiritsaz.com/events

Below is a schedule of themes for each week:

July 3rd-Waterfall

July 10th-Cactus

July 24th-Sunset

July 31st-Moonlight

 

Visit www.creativespiritsaz.com/events for more information and to register

Willow Bend Statement of Equality and Inclusion in Environmental Education

Willow Bend Environmental Education Center’s mission is to provide educational outreach services that build environmental awareness and an ethic of responsible stewardship of our natural and cultural resources. Over the past 40 years we have been serving Coconino County’s diverse population: students, teachers, residents, and visitors.

Violence and discrimination in communities across the country, as well as in our own, remind us that we, as environmental professionals, have a duty to address this humanitarian issue. We cannot be silent.

We recognize that social, environmental and racial injustices are a daily reality for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and systemic racism, prejudice, violence and unequal access to resources and transportation have prevented, and continue to prevent, communities that have been marginalized from enjoying outdoor privileges. We believe that access to education, environmental programs and outdoor spaces must be inclusive, welcoming and safe for all who wish to participate in nature focused activities.

As an organization, and as environmental and outdoor professionals, we need to reflect on how to increase diversity within the environmental education field, seek representation that reflects the population we serve, expand our work to reach more diverse populations and stand against practices that harm BIPOC in outdoor activities and daily life.
In order to ensure inclusive and safe spaces for all who wish to learn about and participate in outdoor activities we commit to critically analyzing our behaviors, practices and programs.

Specifically, for starters, we are reviewing and revising our program content, adapting our outreach services, investing in diversifying our community program presenters, seeking expansion for our Title 1 school programs, expanding partnerships with organizations that serve a diverse population base, examining and adapting our Strategic Plan and taking guidance from the Equality and Inclusion in Environmental Education action items and goals put forth by the Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE).

We welcome any input, suggestions, or ideas as we go through this process. This is only a start.
We are committed to putting in the work to realize a future that is anti-racist, respects and celebrates the diverse ways people engage with outdoor activities, and ensures that everyone has equal access to outdoor and cultural places of their choice.

Our board has open spots for anyone passionate and interested in taking on the important work of providing environmental educational outreach services that truly serve our entire community and ensure access and opportunities for all.

(Willow Bend is following the leadership of the AAEE and other state, national and international voices in Environmental Education. This statement is adapted from and inspired by the AAEE Equality and Inclusion in Environmental Education statement)

Willow Bend Nature Challenge

Enjoy spending time outdoors (even right outside your house)? Love wildlife and plants? Want to learn more about them? Or are you an expert in your field and can help identify observations? Join the Willow Bend Nature Challenge.

Willow Bend, in partnership with City of Flagstaff Open Space, Coconino County Parks and Rec, and the Junior Entomology Academy will be hosting a community wide Nature Challenge for Flagstaff and Coconino County during the month of June. By participating you will automatically be entered to win awesome prizes each week! Plus you can help contribute important information to citizen science projects, learn new things, and connect with other nature lovers, scientists and experts in our area.

The Willow Bend Nature Challenge will be done through iNaturalist, a free observation platform that can be used on your smart phone or computer. It acts as a place for people to record observations, learn how to identify organisms and interact with other enthusiasts and experts. Observations from iNaturalist also contribute to biodiversity science. Anyone can freely access and use this information.

HOW TO JOIN THE NATURE CHALLENGE?

If you don’t already have an iNaturalist account downloaded on your phone or computer go to the iNaturalist page to learn how to create an account, or view this tutorial video. It’s really easy, iNaturalist is designed to be used by everyone!

Once you have an account:

NOW WHAT?

Start recording observations (view this “making” observations tutorial to learn how). These can be flowers, trees, insects, reptiles, mammals, birds etc. Observations you make in the Coconino County area will automatically be included in the project and contribute to the City’s and County’s biodiversity database.

WIN PRIZES

Each day the Willow Bend team will highlight the “observation of the day” and share it on our Facebook page and Instagram. Each week all project participants who made observations will automatically be entered into a raffle and win weekly prizes. The final challenge winner(s) will be selected on June 30th.

QUESTIONS?

Feel free to contact us with any questions at info@willowbendcenter.org. We are here to help you take on the challenge successfully!

 

05.18.2020 This Week’s Virtual Learning With Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are providing environmentally focused programs through social media. We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. Missed it? See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday, May 20th, 11AM – Life of a Flower: 

Learn about the magnificent flowers around us! Basic flower parts, how a seed is made, why are flowers so important and more! If you want to follow along while we dissect a flower during the program you can have some flowers ready. Please do not pick native flowers. You can remove invasive weeds such as toadflax, or purchase ornamental flowers from the grocery store.

flower parts worksheet-follow along during virtual program

Friday, May 22nd, 11AM – Bald Eagles: 

Learn about the bald eagle life cycle, ecology, and conservation in our FINAL program for the Spring of 2020 semester.

Make a Bald Eagle Puppet

05.11.2020 This Week’s Virtual Learning With Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are providing environmentally focused programs through social media. We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. Missed it? See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday, May 13th, 11AM – The Three Sisters Garden

Planting crops that complement each other in some way is known as companion planting, and the three sisters is a classic example of plants that enjoy each other’s company! Learn fun facts about corn, squash, and beans  and why these plants make great companions.

Resources and Activities: 

Friday, May 15th, 11AM–  Life in the Hive

This program is all about the honey bee. Learn about honey bee anatomy, their lifecycle, and what life in the hive is like. Plus, find out what a beekeeper does and what tools they use to check on their hives.

Activities Pages: 

See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

05.04.2020 This Week’s Virtual Learning With Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are providing environmentally focused programs through social media. We will offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. Missed it? See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday, May 6th 11AM – Climate Change and Renewable Energy. Have you ever heard the term “climate change”, but wasn’t quite sure what it means? Ever wonder what are green house gases? are they good, bad or ugly? What are renewable energy sources?  Answers to all these and some fun hands on wind energy activities on this program.

 

 

Activities: 

Materials needed:

· five 3 oz. plastic cups or snow cones
· two plastic soda straws
· one pencil (with unused eraser)
· single-hole paper punch
· scissors
· tape
· one push-pin
· permanent magic marker (or spray paint)

 

Friday, May 8th 11AM– Climate Change and Renewable Energy (Solar). Quick review from Wednesday’s program (Climate Change 101). Learn about the sun, solar power, make your own solar oven and other fun facts about renewable energy.

 

 

 

Activities:

See past virtual programs at our Willow Bend Virtual Learning Hub

4.27.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday April 29th, 11am: Life of a Dead Tree. Dead trees have plenty of life in them! Snags (standing dead trees) play a vital role in the life cycles of hundreds of species of wildlife. Learn all about snags and how you can explore them on our next adventure.

Activity

Based on the lesson, can you draw at least three animals that may use this snag for habitat? Then, can you pick one of your animals and make a haiku about it?

 

Friday May 1st, 11am: Wacky Weather! Do you know the difference between weather and climate (and why you cant use them interchangeably)? name some common weather patterns, play the cloud game, and other fun weather facts! (Click the images to download the activity and print.)

Weather Word Puzzle

Pine Cone Weather Journal

Evidence of Weather Spring Scavenger Hunt

04.20.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

This week’s scheduled programs:

Wednesday April 22nd, 11amSustainability at Willow Bend. Celebrate Earth Day! Join us for a fun and engaging tour of our sustainable building and learn about some sustainable actions YOU can take at home!

Sustainability Word Search

Draw Your Own Sustainable Home

Build a Home on Sustainability Street

Friday April 24th, 11am: Seed Starting. Celebrate Arbor Day! Learn how to start seeds at home and other interesting facts about trees and plants!

Make a Leaf Rubbing

Plant Observation Journal

The Arbor Day Foundation has awesome games and activities that help you learn more about trees and why they’re so important to our world. Visit this site to celebrate Arbor Day!

04.13.2020 – This Week’s Virtual Learning with Willow Bend

In an effort to stay true to our mission, and continue serving the community, we are delivering environmentally focused programs through social media.We offer two programs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am through Facebook Live. You can view these programs for free and find materials and schedules on our Facebook page. In addition we will post the schedules and activities each Monday on this blog. 

All virtual programs will be streamed LIVE on our Facebook page..


This week we are teaming up with the Public Library for their Spring Library Challenge! The library will have weekly missions where you and people all over Flagstaff can earn points to get your librarians to do some crazy things! Sign-up for the Spring Library Challenge. 

 

This week’s ‘s programs:

Wednesday  April 15th, 11am: Birding 101: Learn how to identify common birds, when are the best times to go birding, and some things you might need for a successful birding adventure.

Bird Crafts

Egg carton bird masks

Egg Carton Bird Feeder – You could use the rest of the egg carton to make a bird feeder, following this simple tutorial.

Papercraft Oscillating Woodpecker Toy – and directions on how to make it work!

Birding Activities

Birdfeeder Checklist – Here’s a list of “backyard birds” you may spot if you’re sitting at your window. They are especially attracted to bird feeders!

BirdSleuth Explorer’s Guidebook –  We thought this activity book made by Cornell Lab of Ornithology was too cool not to share! Pick out one page to do…or do them all!

Birds of the Coconino National Forest – This checklist contains information on over 300 species of birds found within the Coconino National Forest. It has been divided into two areas: above 5,000 feet elevation and below 5,000 feet elevation. Produced by the United States Forest Service.

or VIRTUAL BIRDING: The Cornell Lab Bird Cams – A virtual window into the natural world of birds! The Cornell Lab Bird Cams connects viewers worldwide to the diverse and intimate world of birds.

Friday April 17th, 11am: Wildlife Tracking 101: Learn how to identify basic wildlife tracks and look for other wildlife signs.

Activities

Animal Tracks and Signs Matching Activity

Tell the story through tracks: Pond Scene

tell the story through tracks: Interaction Scene

 

 

Want to see other virtual lessons we have taught? View the videos and activities here.

Don’t forget to enter our Virtual Earth Day Art Contest!