By popular demand, Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park has extended its summer hours through the end of September. The fun begins at 6 a.m. and goes on throughout the day until 2 p.m., allowing Pinal County visitors to enjoy comparatively cooler mornings at the 300-acre botanical garden, a scenic half-hour drive east of Apache Junction.
Next weekend will bring visitors some great reasons to flock in, too, beginning with the “Learn Your Lizards” guided reptile walk, which will be offered each day at 8 a.m. Casa Grande Educator ‘Wild Man Phil’ Rakoci returns as guide for Saturday, and, then, Tucson author Larry Jones leads on Sunday.
Jones wrote “Lizards of the Southwest” and will sign copies following the walk. The BTA $10 daily admission includes guided weekend nature walks. Confirm guided tour start time and event details at ag.arizona.edu/bta.
On Sunday, Aug.31, there will also be a specialized photography class exploring ‘Macros’ with Scottsdale artist Paul Landau from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. The class allows rare and exclusive after-hours access, and has a fee of $30-$40. With a credit card ready, call 520-689-2723 to enroll.
The human eye can only look so close; Scottsdale photographer Paul Landau has learned to capture microscopic scenes with his camera, revealing compound eyes, antennae and patterns almost invisible to the human eye. He’ll share techniques during a late afternoon and evening spent in search of tiny creatures and plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and photographing them along with 12 participants.
“You’ll be amazed to find out what your camera can do,” predicts Landau. “Even the simplest ‘point-and-shoot’ digital cameras have close-up capabilities that reveal inner worlds of detail, iridescent green beetle wings, and the intensity of nature on a scale that’s overlooked until you learn where to look, and, how to see. One of the great things about macro photography is that my quarry is tiny, and, often fairly easy to photograph once you know where to look for them. Boyce Thompson Arboretum is my favorite place, no question, to photograph vivid insects and flower blossoms, along with other natural phenomenon.”
Landau’s photography was the subject of a solo exhibition at BTA. See more of the artist’s work and connect with him through Facebook links via http://ag.arizona.edu/bta.
Other planned events, most of which are included with daily admission, are the Sept. 1 the Prickly Pear cactus fruit class ‘season finale’ with A.J. Author Jean Groen and Robert Lewis at 9:30 a.m, and, a full day for Sept. 6, with the 8:30 a.m. ‘Dragonfly Walk’ guided by A.S.U. Professor Pierre Deviche; also, beginning at 8:30 a.m, ending at noon, is the Central AZ Butterfly Association annual count. Visit CAZBA.org for more information. Also, on Sept. 6, ‘PhotoShop LightRoom Users’ Group meets in the Lecture Room, 10 a.m. – noon.
Lastly, but, never leastly, on Sept. 13 Wild Man Phil is back for the ‘ Learn Your Lizards” guided walk ‘Season Finale’, starting at 8:30 a.m.
So, mark your calendars, grab your hiking boots and camera, and get out to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to enjoy the cool summer hours and the even cooler events.