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


Picture Canyon Tours are Back!

Starting in May Willow Bend will be offering FREE guided tours to Picture Canyon through a partnership with the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Section Open Space. Last year’s program was such a huge success, that we decided to make this year’s tours even better! This year each tour will have a different focus and feature guest experts.

Tours last between 2-3 hours and, in addition to the tours theme, cover basic history, ecology, geology, and archeology of Picture Canyon. The 3-mile loop offers viewing, photography, and educational opportunities for all!

We can’t wait to see you on the trail for our first tour on May 13th. May’s theme is Archeology.

STEM Night and Earth Day – a Virtual Tour with Willow Bend

We recently had the pleasure of participating in two fun community events, STEM Night (March 26th) and Earth Day (April 22nd). We had lots of fun tabling, and in addition to our wildlife matching game and our wildlife track exhibition, we also now have a virtual reality tour! That’s right. Board member Neil Weintraub put together an exciting virtual reality slide show of different Flagstaff open spaces and watchable wildlife sites including Picture Canyon, Frances Short Pond, and of course, Willow Bend habitat gardens. Event attendees were able to put on the virtual reality mask, and take a tour to one of the above sites.

If you want to go on the virtual tour, be sure to catch us at one of our next tabling events.

Adult Workshops with the Arboretum

The March “Introduction to Pruning Workshop” concluded Willow Bend’s Annual Winter Adult Workshop partnership with the Arboretum at Flagstaff.

Throughout the winter, while the Arb is closed, Willow Bend hosts workshops at our center featuring experts speakers and presenters from the Arboretum. The Pruning workshop was a huge success with both beginner as well as expert gardeners in attendance.

In addition to learning about pruning methods participants also got some hands on experience, and helped Willow Bend prune the gardens.

Renewable Energy and The Power of Lightning

For the March Science Saturday event Willow Bend hosted Prometheus Solar and Arizona Wind for Schools for a an event that was all about renewable energy! Kids (and kids at heart) designed their own wind turbines, created beautiful solar art, generated their own energy with our “power” bike, played with solar powered toys, ate solar oven s’mores and more!

In addition, the event celebrated the opening of the “Power of Lightning” art exhibition. The exhibition, which was up during the entire month, featured lightning and storm photography by local photographer Saylor.