02.09.2019 – Adult Workshop: Basics of Botanical Illustration

Today, 18 participants spent their Saturday at Willow Bend with Sheila Murray, Research Botanist at The Arboretum at Flagstaff, learning all about the basics of botanical illustration. Participants learned composition, three-dimensional rendering, black ink pen technique, botanical anatomy fundamentals, and drawing from herbarium specimens. Classical music played in the background, while participants chit-chatted and worked on their illustrations. All participants got to take their drawings and art materials used in the workshop home so they could continue to practice the skills that they learned. Thank you to Sheila Murray and the Arboretum for the partnership in making this workshop happen!




1.26.2019 – Teacher Workshop – Climate Change and Renewable Energy

In Spring 2018, Willow Bend partnered with the Wind for Schools project, which aims to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency education and research initiatives from the K-12 through university levels statewide. Through the Wind for Schools partnership, as well as support from the KidWind Project, the City of Flagstaff, and the Arboretum at Flagstaff, Willow Bend hosted a two-day teacher workshop on climate change and renewable energy for 15 Arizona educators. Teachers in attendance represented a wide range of education levels; there were pre-school, elementary, middle, high and even college educators that came together to learn wind and solar activities that could be adapted to their students’ grade levels. On the first day of the two-day workshop, the Climate Change portion was covered. Lee Bryant, Sustainability AmeriCorps VISTA member, presented the climate action tool kit, a handful of resources teachers can use in their classroom for teaching climate change. On Saturday, teachers returned and KidWind trainers Kathy Jackson and Buddy Grider introduced the KidWind Project and the KidWind Challenge. They demonstrated several wind and solar activities that teachers could easily do in their classrooms. Some of these activities included MacGuyver, solar fountains, sail cars, and blade design for wind turbines. Teachers were informed and encouraged to attend the Youth Climate Summit in April, a summit that will have Climate Action, KidWind, and Solar Structure Challenges, using knowledge they learned in the teacher workshop to help their students develop successful projects. Teachers were also showed where to access KidWind curriculum and were offered the opportunity for Willow Bend to visit their classrooms to assist teaching wind and solar activities. Teachers were also informed of Willow Bend’s wind/solar teacher checkout kits and the upcoming Recharge Academy in the summer. Willow Bend was thankful that Kathy and Buddy were able to visit Flagstaff to facilitate an engaging and experiential learning experience for so many wind and solar activities and concepts.


12.31.18 Annual Report Fiscal Year 2018

We just published our Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018 . The report includes a summary of our income and expenses, major donors and partnerships, programs, events, staff and board updates and more.

While our fiscal year goes from July 1st 2017-June 30th 2018, it is published each year, at the end of the calendar year.

We want to thank our donors, supporters, partners, volunteers, interns, board members, and staff for their dedication, hard work, and love for teaching and the outdoors!

See you in 2019.

Moran Henn,                                              Ariel Leonard
Executive Director                                   President of the Board

12.28.18 Willow Bend Recognized as Flagstaff’s Organization of the Year!


We are honored to have been recognized as Flagstaff’s Organization of the Year by the AZ Daily Sun. (read all about it in the link).

In 2018, we delivered hundreds of programs, field trips, events, and workshops, serving over 18,000 students, teachers, community members and visitors. Receiving this award means so much to us, especially, since we will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary in 2019. This shows us that our services and programs are needed and appreciated.

As we mentioned in the article, Willow Bend’s work is successful thanks to our many volunteers, partners, and supporters. If you are among them, THANK YOU!

We have big plans for 2019, including rolling out new curriculum, enhancing our field trips, strengthening and creating new partnerships and f course, our 40th Anniversary Celebration!

We look forward to continue serving our community,

Willow Bend Staff: Moran Henn, Cassandra Roberts, and Melissa Eckstrom

Willow Bend Board (including members who served but left in 2018): Ariel Leonard, Michele James, Cree Donovan, Mary Mckell, Steve Gatewood, Andy Gould, Reed Jenkins, Ken Myers, Shelly Shepherd, Eric Souders, Whitney Tapia, Holly Taylor, and Neil Weintraub.

Partial Willow Bend team: (left to right) Eric Souders (board member), Mary McKell (board member-treasurer), Moran Henn 9executive director), Neil Weintraub (board member), Michele James (vice-president), Susan Lamb (volunteer-garden coordinator), Bob Baer (volunteer), Sara Day (volunteer), and Cassandra Roberts (Education Director).


Announcing the Winners of the 2018 Fourth Grade Water Ethic Contest

The Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership (a branch of the Coconino Plateau Water Advisory Council), and Willow Bend Environmental Education Center are excited to announce this year’s winners of the 4th Grade Water Ethic Contest. The 9th annual contest was open to all 4th grade classes throughout Coconino County, including cities, towns, and tribal communities.

The contest creates a fun and rewarding opportunity to introduce children to the concept of ethical water use, including conserving, rainwater harvesting, and water reuse. It also provides an opportunity for the classrooms to discuss where our water comes from and the importance of healthy watersheds, clean waterways, and water for all living things and uses. Participating students demonstrate the principle of responsible water use through both artwork and essays.

10 schools and 14 classes participated in this year’s contest. The overall 1st place winner came from Mrs. Painter’s class at Sechrist Elementary. The 2nd place essay came from Mrs. Grimmett at Marshall Elementary and the 2nd place artwork came from Mr. Milios at Marshall Elementary. Winning students and their teachers will be recognized with certificates at the Coconino County Board of Supervisors meeting on January 15th at 6p.m.

Winning class will also be treated to an in-class pizza party, and all other participating classes will be treated to an ice-cream social. The winning students will receive additional prizes and all participating classes will be rewarded with Water Saver Superhero Toolkits that include rain gauges, water conservation coloring books, playing cards, and a reusable bag that has the winning students’ artwork displayed on them, and other fun prizes like stickers and magnets. The teachers of the winning entries will receive a checks for $300 for 1st place and $200 for 2nd place.

Another exciting aspect of the contest is that the 4th grader’s submissions are utilized for promoting water stewardship throughout Northern Arizona. Posters are created for classrooms, events, presentations, and are developed into bathroom water awareness signs. The bathroom signs have grown in popularity and can be seen at several public places such as the Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor’s Center, City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, City of Sedona, Northern Arizona University, Marshall Elementary, Grand Canyon School, and many more places throughout the community are in the process of obtaining the bathroom posters.

12.01.2018 – Science Saturday: Sustainable Holiday Gift Making

Thank you for another great year of Science Saturdays. This year we served over 780 people at our Science Saturday events, with a wide range of themes such as geology, wildlife, water, and renewable energy. A huge thank you to all community members, interns, volunteers, and guest scientists for helping to make these events a success. We’ll see you next year at our next Science Saturday: Water, Ice, and Snow happening on January 5th, 2019.

With 68 wonderful people who attended December’s Science Saturday, Willow Bend had a sustainable gift-making extravaganza! Friends and family of all ages joined together in the creative spirit to get the holidays started on the right foot.

We had a number of fun crafts, like wood cookie and CD ornament decorating, along with pine cone creatures, bottle cap snowmen, and magazine collage card making. Oh! And we can’t forget the holiday bag and tag making, as to have a wonderful bag to put all of those hand-made gifts into. In addition, we created a display of alternative ways to wrap your gifts this year, using materials such as newspaper, an inside-out chip bag, or even an empty cereal box! We hope you had just as much fun as we did.

Science Saturday is an event held on the first Saturday of every month from 9am-1pm. Each month is focused on a different theme and each event offers fun and educational hands on activities.  Thanks to generous funding from the Flagstaff Arts Council and the City of Flagstaff BBB Revenues, this event is FREE and open to the public. No need to RSVP, you are welcome to join anytime between 9am-1pm.


Blog post written by Willow Bend interns Jill Wagner and Alyssa Eoff


11.15.18 Annual Flagstaff Youth Climate Summit


FLAGSTAFF, NOVEMBER 15th, 2018 – – – Get out your calendars! The 2nd Annual Flagstaff Youth Climate Summit will be held on April 16, 2019 at The Arboretum at Flagstaff. The Summit is a collaborative event with The Arboretum at Flagtstaff, City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program, and Willow Bend Environmental Education Center and will feature three challenges: the Climate Action Challenge, the KidWind Challenge, and the Solar Structure Challenge.

Each challenge is open to youth in 4th-12th grades 4-12 who form teams of 2-5 individuals and have an adult mentor. Teams can include youth from public schools, private schools, homeschool groups, afterschool groups, and community organizations (recreation or neighborhood centers, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Scout troops, etc). All teams who attend the Summit will compete for prizes and awards, attend workshops, and learn about climate action and sustainability in Flagstaff.

We are also offering support for challenge team leaders – teachers, informal educators, youth group leaders, parents, and other adult leaders. Join us for the Climate Change and Renewable Energy Teacher Workshop Jan 25th-26th – This two-day workshop will cover climate change and renewable energy curriculum, hands-on activities, teacher check-out kits, as well as useful information for those wanting to participate in the Annual Flagstaff Youth Climate Summit (including the Climate Action, KidWind, and Solar Structure Cchallenges). Information and activities are geared towards 4th-12th grades.

More information and to sign up visit: www.flagstaff.az.gov/YouthSummit

8.29.18 Annual 4th Grade Water Ethics Contest

The Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership (CPWP) in collaboration with Willow Bend Environmental Education Center invite 4th Grade classes throughout Northern Arizona to participate in our annual Water Ethic Contest!

In order to introduce children to the concept of the ethical use of water, we have been inviting 4th grade classes throughout the plateau to participate in a contest in which they demonstrate the principle of responsible water use through artwork and essays.

If your class would like to participate please read the Poster Contest Guidelines 2018andOfficial Contest Entry Form 2018.doc(student’s guardian signature required). Please send your submissions to Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, 703 E. Sawmill Road, Flagstaff AZ 86001. Deadline is October 30th, 2018.

The Public Outreach Committee will choose a first, second and third place winner, based on essay and artwork. Classes to which the winning students belong will be treated to an in-class party, including a pizza party for the 1st place student, an ice-cream social for 2nd place, and a popcorn party for 3rd. The winning students will receive additional prizes and all participating classes will be rewarded with “water saver superhero tools.” All submissions may be used in promoting water stewardship throughout Northern Arizona. The teachers of the winning entries will receive a check for $300, $200, or $100.

The students’ artwork will also be utilized in posters as an opportunity to bring awareness to the variety of ways water is used, and provide examples of how conservation practices can save water. The posters are being distributed throughout Arizona in public restrooms, where a large amount of water is used. Places already signed up for the bathroom posters include: the Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor’s Center, City of Flagstaff, City of Williams, Hopi Water Resources, Northern Arizona University, US Fish and Wildlife, AZ Dept. of Water Resources, AZ Dept. of Environmental Quality, Coconino County, City of Sedona, Marshall Elementary School, and many more places throughout the community are in the process of getting the posters.

For more information contact Moran Henn at moran@willowbendcenter.org, or call (928) 699-6109.


Karma Sushi 10% for Willow Bend Press Release

August 28, 2018

For immediate release

 “Good Karma Tuesday” benefits Willow Bend Environmental Education Center

 On Tuesday, September 11, Good Karma Tuesday will benefit the Willow Bend Environmental Education Center. Ten percent of all sales will be donated to support their mission of providing education outreach services that build environmental awareness and an ethic of responsible stewardship of our natural and cultural resources.

Willow Bend is Coconino County’s (and Flagstaff’s) only year-round full time Environmental Education Center. They serve over 18,000 students, teachers, residents, and visitors a year through award winning environmental programs including field trips, community events, workshops and more. They offer school programs at the K-12 levels and the college level, as well as teacher workshops and community programs.

To learn more about Willow Bend and what they do, visit www.willowbendcenter.org.

Karma Sushi Bar Grill serves sushi, ramen, grilled items and cocktails in a hip, casual setting, and is located at 6 East Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff. Karma is open Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday – Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more information about the restaurant, visit karmaflagstaff.com or call 928-774-6100.


8/23/18 Annual Celebration – What an Event!

Wow! We are still trying to recover from yesterday’s amazing event.

The Willow Bend Annual Celebration, is our opportunity to recognize and thank our partners, funders, and volunteers, and an opportunity for our members and the community to come together and support environmental education.

Our fundraising goal for our Summer Appeal, which includes a mailed out membership drive and the Annual Celebration, is $5,000. This amount allows us to plan our fall programs and invest in supplies and materials needed for the entire school year.

Vice Board President, Michele James, and her family getting their picture taken with Rakudachan.

The event started with a light drizzle, which got us worried. We were afraid no one would show up. But by 5:05 pm people were already lining up to get their picture taken and meet Rakudachan, Flagstaff’s only camel! Rakudachan is 14 months old, and belongs to Board Member Eric Souders, who brought him to the event, as a special attraction. After all, you can’t get your picture taken with a baby camel everyday.

The line for Fratelli Pizza.

Fratelli Pizza set up under the ramada, and even the drizzle, which now turned into rain, didn’t keep people away from the delicious, oven fresh pizza served on site. Friends of Flagstaff’s Future provided reusable plates and cups, part of their Zero Waste Program, and we had composting stations, so no waste was generated during the event!

The kids activities, face painting, and live music was set up inside the Center, as well as tables full with beautiful and valuable donated items for the silent auction.  Auction items included massage gift certificates, art, restaurant gift cards, and antiques. We also had a raffle, which included lots of fun items, and a grand prize, a $150 value basket from the Flagstaff Community Market.







Willow Bend staff fro left to right: Moran Henn, Executive Director, Cassandra Roberts, Education Director, Melissa Eckstrom, Education and Outreach Assistant.

Eagle Scout vlunteer James Dorn, who helped establish the Monarch Butterfly Waystation and his award.

After everyone had enough to eat, socialize, bid on items, take pictures with the camel and buy raffle tickets, we all came inside for acknowledgements and thank you’s. Moran Henn, Willow Bend’s Executive Director, introduced the Center’s staff, board of directors, founding CNRCD board members and interns. We then took the time to thank all our amazing volunteers who make our work possible and help us reach our goals and achieve our mission. Each year, we then present certificates of appreciation to a selected number of volunteers who really went above and beyond! This year we acknowledged: Mike Masek, Mike Dechter, Daniel Foley, and Norm Lowe for sharing their skills, time and enthusiasm. Our MVM (Most Valuable Member) was Jack welch, and the Business Partner of the Year went to Findley Toyota. We also presented a special certificate to Fratelli Pizza for sponsoring our dinner for the second year in a row.

But Henn was not the only one with a surprise that evening. BLE (Best Life Ever) Flagstaff, a local organization dedicated to random acts of kindness and making a difference in people’s lives, had one too! They had contacted the Willow Bend staff earlier in the week, asking if they can attend the event and present a small gift for Willow Bend’s efforts. No one had suspected that the humble gift was a $10,000(!!!) check!

You can read all about BLE and their gift in the AZ Daily Sun article, covering the event.


A very surprised (and happy) Henn shared all the wonderful things Willow Bend can do with this sort of support.

Board President Ariel Leonard ended the presentations part of the evening, thanking everyone for their support, and urging them to continue their involvement with Willow Bend. With only a little time left till the end of the evening, everyone got to enjoy ice cream, finish bidding on silent auction items, and hope they win the Community Market Basket as the number were drawn.


The event was a HUGE success! Thank you to everyone who attended, donated, volunteered, and supported! We are excited to announce that we have reached and far exceeded our $5,000 goal and we are looking forward to seeing you in the classroom, on the trails, or at the Center during one of our programs or events!