Nature lovers joke about bird-watching being a “gateway drug” toward other addictive pursuits such as learning to identify colorful butterflies, dragonflies, lizards, moths and other animated little critters which call the Sonoran Desert home. Want to try a sample? Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the place to be on Saturday, Sept. 7 if you’d like to experiment with a dragonfly walk or a butterfly outing; both start at 8:30 a.m. from the visitor center lobby, and are included with daily admission of $10 for adults or $5 for ages 5-12.
Daily hours at the popular Arizona State Park return to the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fall/Winter schedule as of Sept. 1.
Saturday, Sept. 7, Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut guides his once-a-month walking tour to Ayer Lake in search of Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and other ‘Odonates,’ while volunteers with the Central AZ Butterfly Association (Dave Powell, Marceline VandeWater and others) will coordinate the seventh annual butterfly count for this region. If familiar with Christmas Bird Count traditions, this is similar, volunteers disperse for a morning spent checking our butterfly rich spots within a 15-mile radius, trying to tally all “flowers on the wing” seen Saturday. It’s a way to participate with citizen science, and help contribute to a growing annual database of butterfly populations’ ebb-and-flow.
The count circle has a full 15-mile diameter, which stretches from Devil’s Canyon and Oak Flat to the east, through Superior and BTA, and west to Queen Valley and Hewitt Station Road. At lunch participants typically gather at a local restaurant in Superior (Chef Lucy Wing at Jade Grill served a memorable buffet two years ago for $10) to exchange findings; and, yes, to boast about seeing a Xami Hairstreak, or other rarities! See butterfly photos, connect with organizers and read event updates at cals.arizona.edu/bta.
Sept. 1 — Fall-Winter hours resume, BTA open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., September through April
Sept. 2 — Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class season finale with AJ Author Jean Groen and Robert Lewis at 10:30 a.m.
Sept. 7 — Central AZ Butterfly Association seventh annual count, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sept. 7 — Dragonfly Walk with Roger Racut, 8:30 a.m.
Sept. 7 — Arboretum Book Club (To Live Or Die In Arizona), 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 — Learn Your Lizards Walk featuring ‘Wild Man Phil,’ Abi King and Author Larry Jones, 8:30 a.m.
Sept. 14 — “Meet The Artist” gallery reception, 1-3 p.m., for featured exhibitor Christine Debrosky
Sept. 15 — Camera Class “Night Shots With Pete Rendek”, 10 a.m. ($30)
Sept. 15 — Pomegranate Class with ‘Chef Eric and Terri’, 10:30 a.m.
Sept. 21 — Bye-Bye Buzzards Day; 7 a.m. early-bird opening, 8:30 a.m. birdwalk; exhibits from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sept. 21 — Plants of the Bible Land walk guided by Dave Oberpriller at 8:30 a.m.
Sept. 21-22 — Gourd Art Classes,‘Basic’ Sept. 21 ($30-$40), advanced ‘Coiling’ class on Sept. 22 ($40-$50)
Sept. 22 — “Camera Basics with Tom Boggan” class, 8:30 a.m. ($30)
Sept. 28 — Camera class: “Portraits in the Park” with Jabon Eagar, 10 a.m. ($40)