Explore The McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Photos: Lynne Janney Russell; Courtesy of McDowell Sonoran

Free family Sundays kick off in September

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy works with the City of Scottsdale to champion and protect the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for this and future generations. More than 650 Steward volunteers provide their time and talents to help residents and visitors experience, enjoy and learn from the Sonoran Desert on the 30,580-acre Preserve — one of the largest urban preserves in the nation.

Conservancy volunteers serve as trailhead hosts, patrol trails, perform trail maintenance projects, lead guided hikes, conduct educational programs and other activities in the Preserve. The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Field Institute, the Conservancy’s research arm, conducts and coordinates scientific research focused on sustainability of the Preserve.

Beginning this month, the Conservancy invites area residents to join them for a free Sunday afternoon learning adventure with the family. Family Sonoran Sunday events offer the opportunity to hear expert speakers on various Sonoran Desert topics and interact with crawling, slithering, feathered or cuddly friends that speakers sometimes bring along. The talks take place in shaded amphitheaters with bench seating at the Gateway Trailhead Amphitheater and the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead Amphitheater. They occur at 3pm on most of the first and third Sundays during the cooler months, and last for 45 minutes to one hour. If time permits, guests can take a leisurely walk along the nearby accessible, interpretive trails before or after the talk.

Upcoming events include “Southwest Wildlife Mammals,” October 22; “Center for Native and Urban Wildlife Reptiles,” November 5; “Wild at Heart Birds,” November 19; and “Geology,” December 3. Check the Family Sonoran Sundays schedule on the Conservancy website at www.mcdowellsonoran.org for updates. For additional information, call 480.998.7971.

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