Thank You Holly!

Our amazing board member, Holly Taylor, is leaving the board after serving for many years in various positions and roles (board president, treasurer, secretary, volunteer bookkeeper, and financial committee chair). We truly can’t thank Holly enough for everything that she has done for Willow Bend! Holly was born in Washington, DC and grew up in in Durham, NC. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in economics. She worked for the federal government and the City of Atlanta as a budget analyst. She then worked for her husband’s architectural firm for 12 years, before they retired and moved to Flagstaff in 1997. In addition to part-time work as a bookkeeper/administrative assistant at several places in Flagstaff, she has been involved with various non-profits, helping with building projects, and serving on boards for Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County, Flagstaff Arts Council, and, of course, Willow Bend. Holly promised that even though she won’t serve on the board, she will continue volunteering with us. Thank you Holly!



Summer Appeal! SUPPORT Environmental Education

July 1st, 2018

Today marks the first day of our new fiscal year! Which means we are  busy planning and preparing our 2018/2019 school and community programs. Please consider making a donation during our Summer Appeal (July-August 2018) and help us reach our $5,000 fundraising goal.

Your support will help us reach more students, organize more community events, and serve more teachers. With little funding for education, especially environmental education, your donation makes a big difference.

Become a member or renew your membership and receive discounts and free access to our adult workshops, family science events and more, make a one-time Summer Appeal donation , or become a business sponsor and support us during this important time.

Willow Bend is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductible. Support local, award winning environmental education TODAY!

5/28/18 Volunteer Weekend at Willow Bend

Wow, what a weekend.

Almost a hundred volunteers helped at the Willow Bend gardens on Memorial Day weekend.

On Saturday, volunteers focused on enhancing wildlife habitat by adding pollinator plants, bird feeders, and bat boxes. Volunteers from American Conservation Experience, bird lovers, and members from the Friends of the Willow Bend Gardens worked for over 3 hours making and placing beautiful bird feeders, butterfly puddlers, and at houses. They trimmed the willows by the pond, and planted milkweed and other pollinator friendly plants.






Then, on Sunday, volunteers from Sathya Sai International Organization who were attending their annual meeting at NAU, prepared the gardens for the summer. They removed invasive plants, took out old signs, turned the soil, planted, and collected litter along the trail and the gardens.

Special thanks to the Friends of the Willow Bend Gardens volunteer group for organizing these efforts!

5/23/18 Important Recycling Updates

We have some important updates about plastics recycling in Flagstaff:

Plastics recycling in Flagstaff is changing and you will no longer be able to recycle certain types of plastics in your curbside recycling bin. Until now, we have been able to recycle all types of plastic, numbers 1-7, as long as they were rigid.

As of June 1st, 2018, the only types of plastic that will be accepted for recycling are numbers 1 and 2 with a focus on on plastic bottles, jars and jugs.

These changes stem from changes in the national and international recycling market. The recycling market has been significantly impacted due to the Chinese government no longer accepting certain types of recyclables as imports. Until recently, China has accepted roughly half of the world’s plastic and paper recyclables. The sudden ban on much of these materials has sent international markets for recyclables into a tailspin.

Norton Environmental, the company responsible for sorting and selling Flagstaff’s recyclables, has been unable to find buyers for these types of plastic. Flagstaff is not alone, as many other communities around the country have been forced to remove items from their acceptable materials list or send significant amounts of formerly recyclable materials to the landfill.

What can we all do?

While this recent decision by China to ban certain types of recyclables was sudden, it is the result of a long-term and growing problem of material consumption and contamination in the world’s recycling stream. Despite the fact that people are putting more recyclables in their recycling bins, they have also been increasingly placing more non-recyclable items into their bin. This is known as “wishful recycling,” which actually makes it more difficult and costly to process recyclable items. The end result is that more recyclable items get sent to the landfill as contamination.

These changes provide an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the purpose of recycling. Recycling reduces the demand on natural resources, lowers the energy needed to create the products we use daily, and saves valuable landfill space. While it can feel good to put all of our trash in the recycling bin, doing so negates the benefits of recycling.

To realize the benefits of recycling, only the correct types of plastics can be recycled – wishful recycling must stop. Going forward, focus on recycling your plastic bottles, jugs, and jars. This includes beverage, toiletry, and soap bottles, as well as milk jugs and peanut butter jars (just make sure they are clear of any food). Bags, wraps, take-out containers, and produce containers are NOT recyclable.

Make sure to keep recycling your cardboard, paper, and cans. While you’re at it, touch up on recycling basics by visiting our online recycling guide at

The best thing that we can do is to reduce single use items (especially plastics) and choose durable and reusable items. Avoid throwing items in either your recycling or trash bin.

Don’t forget to bring your own reusable mug or carry a reusable water bottle or shopping bag with you on the go. Find out what you can do to prevent waste by visiting

To find out what the City is doing to reduce the impacts of Flagstaff’s waste and consumption, visit or contact our Zero Waste Coordinator at 928-213-2158 or

To learn more join us on a tour of the recycling center, every first Friday at 1pm.

Heritage Grant Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Willow Bend Moran Henn,

(928) 779-1745,


Re: Heritage Grant Awarded to Collaborative Willow Bend/Sawmill Park Project

Flagstaff, AZ-May 7th —Willow Bend Environmental Education Center and partners are pleased to announce that we are being offered a grant award of $38,337 for our successful Heritage Grant application titled “Habitat Restoration and Watchable Wildlife Enhancement at Sawmill/Willow Bend AWWE (Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience) Site”.

Funds from the grant will be used to support school and community wildlife programs, interpretive signage, interactive habitat displays, garden restoration, and a new ADA accessible wildlife-watching platform at the Willow Bend AWWE site. This project is part of a formal partnership between Willow Bend, Coconino County, the AWWE group, and the City of Flagstaff Storm Water Management for on-going restoration and environmental education efforts at Willow Bend/Sawmill Park. The project is also supported by matching funds from the Coconino County Board of Supervisors and Coconino County Parks and Recreation.

“We were so excited to receive funding for this impactful project” said Moran Henn, Willow Bend’s Executive Director. Cassandra Roberts, Willow Bend’s Program Director added that “the goal of the project is to promote an understanding of and an appreciation for our local wildlife and habitat”. Cynthia Nemeth, Coconino County Parks and Recreation Director added that “This grant is extremely welcomed as it will go a long way towards engaging the public, especially children, in the outdoors.  The ADA accessible watchable wildlife platform is a very important feature made possible through this grant.  Coconino County Parks and Recreation is proud to be a partner in a project with so many positive outcomes”.

“This grant will build upon the work performed last year by the City, Natural Channel Designs, and many volunteers to improve native habitat and reduce invasive weeds on City property near Willow Bend,” said Amanda Richardson, Stormwater Project Manager with the City of Flagstaff Water Services. “We look forward to growing our partnerships to preserve the community’s natural resources, which is a goal of this City Council and an element of the 2030 Flagstaff Regional Plan.”

“Programming will begin soon and over the next two years you can expect to see a lot of restoration work, installation of new interpretive signage and interactive displays, construction of the wildlife watching platform and of course many students watching birds, learning about wildlife and taking pictures” concluded Henn.

The Heritage grants are supported by revenue from Arizona Lottery sales and are available to projects that focus on wildlife and habitats across the entire state. For more information about Heritage funds visit, for information about AWWE sites and events visit, and to learn more about Willow Bend visit:


4/16/18 Downtown Geology Tours This Summer, Watch the Promo!

We are very excited to announce that through generous funding from Mountain Sports Flagstaff and 1% for the Planet, we will be offering guided Downtown Geology Tours for the third summer in a row! 

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.

Watch the 1 minute tour promo!

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

We will kick off the tours during First Friday June 1st 6pm-9pm at Mountain Sports Flagstaff! Raffle, free gifts, tour tickets, and more!

4/1/18 April is Water Awareness Month!

Did you know? April is Water Awareness Month!

“My Water Pledge” is a friendly competition between cities across the US to see who can be the most “water-wise.” Last year Flagstaff WON the national competition saving millions of gallons of water. This year Flagstaff is currently in second place, trailing closely behind Westminster CA.

TAKE THE PLEDGE NOW (before the end of April) and put Flagstaff on the map again!

Plus, YOU CAN HELP WILLOW BEND WIN a 2018 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, and you can win prizes too!  Hundreds of dollars worth of sustainable gifts, coupons and items will be raffled.

How do you participate? Take the pledge here. Choose Flagstaff, AZ for your participating City. Then, on each page you can select the actions you are going to take to save water.The site will add up the amount of gallons saved by each one of your selected actions and let you know how many total gallons you saved!


At the end of the pledge you will be asked if you want to enter the prize drawing and you can select an organization to win a brand new hybrid! Enter in “Willow Bend, Flagstaff Arizona”!

3/3/2018 Science Saturday: Renewable Energy

Blog post written by Willow Bend intern Mackenzie Myhra

This month’s Science Saturday focused on Renewable Energy!

We had awesome activities such as windmill designing from Arizona Wind for School, power bikes made by Flagstaff’s very own Ward Davis, solar powered toys, a solar panel, and other solar activities from Prometheus Solar, sun art, and a solar oven to make s’mores (yum). This year we also had a Solatube on display from Flagstaff Skylights by JKC, to show alternative lighting methods for an energy efficient home.

Thank you to everyone who attended! And SPECIAL thanks to our sponsors, Prometheus Solar, Wind for Schools, and Flagstaff Skylights from JCK. We couldn’t have done it without your “energy” and enthusiasm!

2/21/2018 City of Flagstaff Water Contest

Did you know that April is #WaterAwarenessMonth? Help highlight the importance and beauty of water through your art!

The City of Flagstaff Water Services is hosting an Art Contest to Celebrate Water on the Colorado Plateau.

Submissions must be 2 dimensional and can be entered in the youth (under 18) or adult (18+) categories. Submissions will be accepted through March 20th at the Water Conservation Office or via email:

Prizes galore, plus the opportunity to have selected art pieces hang in Firecreek Coffee Company – Flagstaff all month long during April 2018.

2/20/2018 – A Warm Welcome to Our New Interns!

Willow Bend would like to welcome our three awesome new interns to the team! They have already assisted at our Science Saturday events, joined us in the classroom, and helped at our most recent Adult Workshop.

Mackenzie Myhra

Mackenzie Myhra is currently a junior at NAU. She is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Criminal Justice and minoring in Psychology. She enjoys drawing, painting, and music. MacKenzie stated, “Sustainability is my passion and I’m excited that I get the chance to intern with Willow Bend to help educate others about environmental issues and get involved with the community”.

Haley Lemos

Haley graduated from Mesa Community College as a Presidential Honors Scholar and Phi Theta Kapa honors student with her Associates in Science. Currently, she is a senior at Northern Arizona University working towards her B.A in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis in Biology. At Northern Arizona University, she also mentors minority freshmen working towards degrees in STEM programs through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. Haley has a passion for the world of nature and all of the beautiful wonders the Earth holds dearly. In her free time, she enjoys hiking to local creeks, basking in the Arizona sun, cruising around Flagstaff on her long board and helping out at the fun events Willow Bend offers the community.


Cameron Rood

Cameron (Cam)  is nearing completion of a BS in Environmental Science from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. His interests vary from environmental/outdoor education, music production/sound engineering, to political science and community organizing. He is always looking for ways to empower others through a sustainability lens. Cameron enjoys snowboarding, preparing Asian cuisine, and making all sorts of music.

If you come across our interns at one of our many community events or tabling, give them a warm welcome! We are excited to have them on the Willow Bend team!