April kick-starts Willow Bend and Prius at Findlay Toyota!

We are so excited to announce a new partnership between Willow Bend and Findlay Toyota.

Between April 1st-June 31st, Findlay Toyota will donate $100 from every new Prius sold at their Flagstaff dealership to Willow Bend!

Findlay Toyota is a locally owned car dealership located on 5030 East Marketplace Dr., Flagstaff.

We are very grateful to Findlay Toyota for supporting environmental education and investing in the work we do in the community. If you are at the dealership, even if buying a different car or just looking around, please thank them from us.

They will be showcasing their Prius during our April 2nd Science Saturday event 9-1pm.

You can view the promotion flier: PriusFlyer.


Celebrate Archaeology Month!

March is Arizona Archaeology & Heritage Month!

Come celebrate with us on March 19th from 10-1pm at Full Circle Trade and Thrift 2 S Beaver St.

10am-1pm Hands on Archaeology Activities. We will be reconstructing pottery shards, looking at archaeological artifacts, simulating an archaeological dig site, and hosting Special guest Forest Service Archaeologist Neil Weintraub from 10-11 for a special Split Twig Figurines activity.
11:30-12:15 Downtown Geology Tour Join us for an informative and fun Downtown Geology Tour and learn things you never knew about the history of downtown!  FREE with a $10< receipt from Full Circle. LIMITED spots. Sign-up starts at Full Circle at 10am. Information about the tour, prices, sign-up and more HERE.

In addition: 2-4pm Guided archaeology tour to Keyhole Sink Petroglyph site. More info HERE.

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Bug Camp at Willow Bend

Willow Bend is excited to partner with NAU’s Colorado Plateau Museum for Arthropod Biodiversity and host the 2016 Summer Bug Camp!

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Children 6 to 12 will learn about insect natural history and biodiversity through a series of fun projects & activities. Interact with live bugs and spiders from the insect zoo, go on an insect scavenger hunt for predators, herbivores, and omnivores, and make insect cuisine! Parents will be invited to an insect banquet and open house on the last day of camp.

COST: $175 per camper; NAU staff and students receive a $15 discount when they register early.

Limited spots! Register early to ensure a spot for your happy campers.

More information 2016 Summer Bug Camp Flyer.

To register online visit NAU’s Bug Camp page HERE.

Adult Education Workshop: Pollinators and their Partners

Pollinators, from bees, to hummingbirds to butterflies are not only beautiful but vital to maintaining healthy ecosystems as well as increasing agricultural yields, from both urban and rural farms and gardens.

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However, biologists are warning that due to habitat destruction, an increase in invasive plant species, and growing pesticide use, many native pollinators are slowly disappearing. Research has shown that local native pollinators developed a complex relationship and prefer local native plants. Therefore in order to support pollinator well being, we must propagate and plant pollinator appropriate plants and flowers.

Each and every one of us can take an active role in ensuring the well-being of pollinators and their partners. Learn what, how, and when to plant and get ready for spring!

Join Willow Bend and the Arboretum at Flagstaff for a Pollinators and their Partners workshop, Saturday March 26th,  10-12pm at Willow Bend.

Learn what native plants attract birds, bats, bees, butterflies, and other animals, and why. Hear some fun and often unbelievable partnership stories, dissect flowers and discover what parts are especially important for pollinators, and learn important tips to use in your garden. Have all your questions about pollinators and their partners answered by an expert!

krisWorkshop is led by Dr. Kris Haskins, Research Director at the Arboretum at Flagstaff and is part of our Adult Education Workshop Series. Dr. Haskins holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from NAU. Her work at The Arboretum at Flagstaff focuses on conservation of rare and endangered plants of the Colorado Plateau and greater southwest—and on producing education programs about plants and environmental stewardship.

While the workshop is not designed for young children we have a kids corner at Willow Bend, as well as plenty of art supplies. If you would like to bring your kids please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Cost is $5/participant, FREE to Willow Bend and Arboretum members.

LIMITED spots available. Sign-up Today to ensure your spot.



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 moran@willowbendcenter.org.


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 kott@flagstaffaz.gov. Willow Bend Moran Henn, (928) 779-1745 moran@willowbendcenter.org

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 www.azgfd.gov, to learn about the program visit www.willowbendcenter.org.


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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!)

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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.

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

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Our delegation with Carlyle Begay

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Mr. Begay looking at the Willow Bend Annual Report

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

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District 6 representative Thorpe admiring at the trash and recycling sorting robot created by the Coconino High School robotics club.