Marana Parks and Recreation Desert Education Series


Do you want to find out more about the desert of the Southwest? Interested in things like archaeology, riparian wildlife, and birding? If one, or all of these interest you, then the Town of Marana has a program for you.

The Town of Marana Parks and Recreation Department is putting on a three-course, weekly Desert Education Series exploring fascinating topics of the Desert Southwest.

On September 2, the first class focuses on ancient Native American archaeology in the Marana area. From 1999 through 2008 two local archaeological organizations, the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and Desert Archaeology, conducted excavations at prehistoric Hohokam Indian archaeological sites and historical homestead sites in the Town of Marana's Crossroads at Silverbell District Park and along Silverbell Road prior to the construction of the park facilities. One of the archaeologists involved, Allen Dart, will illustrate artifacts, archaeological features, and other finds made in the excavations, and after the presentation will lead a brief tour to some of the park's archaeological areas.

Dart is a Registered Professional Archaeologist who has worked and volunteered as a professional archaeologist in Arizona and New Mexico since 1975 for government, private companies, and nonprofit organizations. Currently a U.S. Department of Agriculture archaeologist, he also is the volunteer executive director of Old Pueblo Archaeology Center.

One week later the Desert Education Series will focus on the El Rio Riparian Preserve. The El Rio Preserve is a riparian area that is one of the top ten birding sites in the Tucson region. It is also an important wildlife linkage. We'll walk the dirt road, along the southern border of the property, as well as a portion of the Loop Trail, for a length of about 1 / 1 ½ miles.

The class will look for birds and talk about the natural history of the area. Tying into the previous week’s class, there is an important archaeological site that this course will also take a look at.

Finally, on Sept. 16 the series will go Birding at Saguaro West. Have you ever wonder what that crazy, incessant bird call was? Did you hear about the bird that makes multiple nests but only uses one?

And what about that sneaky bird that lays her eggs in another bird’s nest and rolls out that bird's eggs?

Come join us at Saguaro National Park and the Town of Marana Parks and Recreation to find the answers to these strange habits of birds and learn to identify some common desert birds and their calls. Led by an expert birder from the Tucson Audubon Society, this event promises to be a fun experience in the park for families and their beginning birders. This class is good for all ages as teens from the Park’s Cactus Ranger program will be on hand to work with the younger participants.

You can sign up for one class or all three Individual classes are just $10.00 each, or sign up for all three for just $27.00.

Classes run from 3-6 p.m. the first three Saturday’s of September and will be conducted outside, so plan accordingly.

For more information see the Parks & Rec Event Page or phone (520) 382-1950.