Happy September! Several nature-related events are on tap this month.
This weekend, the Highlands Center for Natural History will be hosting their second annual Nature Festival. The three day event starts tomorrow and features a keynote speaker event. On Saturday and Sunday, local and regional naturalists will lead interactive hands-on field trips and workshops. Topics include geology, plants, mammals, birds, butterflies, insects, riparian areas and watersheds of the Central Highlands. For more information, contact the Highlands Center at 928-776-9550.
The following weekend, Saturday, Sept. 10, the Highlands Center will be featuring two outdoor events—the ninth annual Hiking Spree kickoff at their facility off of Walker Road, and the fifth annual Wildflower Celebration at the Community Nature Center at 1980 Williamson Valley Road. Free wildflower walks will start every 30 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. With all of the wonderful monsoon rains we have had, there should be a lot of wildflowers to look at!
If that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there are two other events on Saturday, Sept. 10. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there is an Arizona Trails Day Celebration at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. Not familiar with the Arizona Trail? It starts at the Mexico border at the Coronado National Memorial and runs the length of the state, ending at the Utah border in the Kaibab Plateau area.
The celebration is a way to honor Dale Shewalter, a former Flagstaff teacher, who is considered the “Father of the Arizona Trail.” As part of the festivities, you can hike, run, or ride on a segment of the 800-mile Arizona Trail within Buffalo Park. Activities during the day include live music, food, an outdoor expo, a geocaching demonstration and activity, face painting and much more. For complete event information, visit
Also on Sept. 10, as part of the National Park Service Centennial, Grand Canyon National Park will be hosting a Birding Festival at the south rim of the Grand Canyon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival will celebrate two historical events—the 100-year anniversary of the Migratory Bird Act, and the 20-year anniversary of the reintroduction of California Condors to the Grand Canyon.
The reintroduction of condors to the canyon is a real success story of the endangered species act. Condors were literally on the brink of extinction, and through a captive breeding program there are now over 300 birds in the wild. They are still critically endangered, but there are now wild populations in Baja Mexico, California, Arizona and Utah.
Birding organizations such as Hawk Watch International, the Peregrine Fund, Arizona Audubon and Jay’s Bird Barn will be providing birding information to the public, and there will be bird walks and citizen science activities. The headquarters for these events will be at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza.
But wait, there is more! On Sunday, Sept. 11, Talkin’ Birds Radio will be broadcasting their show live from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. A part of Boston’s public radio, Talkin’ Birds Radio, is a live interactive radio show about wilds birds and the beauty of nature. Sunday’s event will feature expert guests and contests for prizes.
And, don’t forget, during the whole month of September, you can submit photographs for the eighth annual Wild Bird Photo Contest sponsored by Jay’s Bird Barn. For more information about this event, come by any of the three stores to pick up a flyer, or visit www.jaysbirdbarn.com for complete details. I encourage you to participate.
Whew, there is a lot going on in September! I hope to see you at some of these events.
Until next week, Happy Birding!