Things to do in Marana for March and beyond

OnesAll Band playing a free show in Marana

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On Saturday night at 7 p.m. Tucson based band OnesAll will take the stage at the Crossroads At Silverbell District Park as part of the latest Free Music in Marana Concert.

The funk/rock band from Tucson has built up a nice following and will bring their energetic show to Marana. So what can we expect from the band? We interviewed them to find out.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never seen you play live?
We play a mix of great funk/rock covers and originals. The grooves are thick, the guitars are fast and precise, the vibe is upbeat, and the vocals are rich...besides all that, we just want everyone to have a great time!

What is your show in Marana going to be like?
We want people to connect and find a sense of belonging. We want the music to speak a positive message of harmony--literally and figuratively. We are a family and the people who come to see us are very important to us. There will be songs that rock, songs that groove and soothe, and songs to dance like no one is watching!

What do think about playing in Marana?
We love playing in Marana! A lot of our friends are from Marana and we love hanging out with them. The community vibe in Marana is cool and unique--it is upbeat and welcoming. We always feel at home in Marana.

What do you like about playing all ages shows?
Like we said earlier, we are a family. We thrive on the family atmosphere where everyone is welcome and everyone belongs.

Anything else people should know who are thinking about coming out?
We want the experience with us to be uplifting and rewarding. We truly give our all each and every show. We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones in Marana!

Guide to birding in Marana

By Janine Spencer
Environmental Projects Manager
Town of Marana

Why is Birding So Good in Marana?

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Birding (i.e. bird-watching) has become an increasingly popular recreation in the United States. Southern Arizona is known as one of the premier bird hot spots in the U.S.  People visit Arizona from around the world to view the great variety of species here. Southern Arizona is located at the junction of the Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, and the mountain ranges from Northern Mexico and the Southern U.S.  This great coming-together of such a variety of habitat types means that we have bird species associated with all of those habitats here in Southern Arizona.

There are several different micro-habitat types within the Town of Marana, each with its own suite of bird species. The Tortolita and Tucson Mountains are located in the Upper Sonoran Desert Scrub, where golden eagles and other species nest. There are lush patches of riparian vegetation for wading birds and ducks along the Santa Cruz River, and the irrigated farmlands provide habitat for hawks, burrowing owls, and other species.

Where the Birds Are in Marana?

This article describes four good sites to view birds in Marana.

  • El Rio Open Space is a fairly easy walking area where one can see riparian and grassland species, as well as views of raptors soaring above the nearby Tucson Mountains.
  • The Crossroads Park River Walk along the Santa Cruz River is great for spotting riparian species, including many warblers, and during summer evenings bats emerge in vast numbers near the Ina Road Bridge.
  • There are several good hiking trails Tortolita Mountains, with opportunities to see hawks, eagles, and many other species.
  •  The irrigated farm fields in Marana are especially of interest for locating raptor species.

El Rio Open Space / Coachline Gravel Pit

This site is listed in Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, Revised 8th Edition (2015) edited by Ken Kaufman. It is also advertised on the Tucson Audubon Society website, is mentioned periodically on the Arizona-New Mexico Birding Listserv site, and is part of a survey route for an Important Bird Area. El Rio Open Space was also featured in the April-June 2013 edition of the Tucson Audubon Society Vermilion Flycatcher magazine. This site is an excavated pit where sand and gravel were removed for construction of Interstate-10. It is bounded by the Santa Cruz River to the east and the northern terminus of the Tucson Mountains. Tucson Audubon Society has worked on riparian restoration, planting native vegetation here.

During rainstorms, the gravel pit fills with water, stays wet for months, and becomes a great spot to easily view waterfowl and shorebirds. Some birds encountered here have included: Belted Kingfisher, Pied-billed Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Black-necked Stilt, several duck species, and more. The birding remains interesting even when the pond is dry; during the summer months, Bell’s Vireos nest in the tamarisk, Gilded Flickers, Lazuli Buntings, Gambel’s Quail, Greater Roadrunners, an Eastern Phoebe, and many other species have been sighted. Even sandhill cranes stop by in the late fall, presumably on their way to the Wilcox Playa.

Hawks and falcons take advantage of the updrafts along the ridge of the Tucson Mountains, where you can spot Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, Cooper’s Hawks are commonly sighted. A Black Hawk was once sighted during migration. The Sonoran Desert, with saguaros and prickly pear, directly adjoin the El Rio Open Space – so there are opportunities to spot Rock Wrens, Canyon Wrens, Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Verdins, Gila Woodpeckers, and hear the occasional downward trill of the Canyon Wren.

Directions: To get to the El Rio Open Space, exit Interstate 10 at Twin Peaks Road. Go west about one mile and turn right on Coachline Boulevard. Take Coachline Blvd north of Twin Peaks Rd. Park at the parking lot just before N. Turquoise Moon Way.

Crossroads Park River Walk (between Cortaro and Ina Roads)

This is a mile-long walk one way, on a paved pathway along the Santa Cruz River, between Cortaro and Ina Roads. Riparian vegetation along the river is lush with cottonwoods, willows, cattails, and tamarisk. The path is used by birders, walkers, and cyclists. Native upland vegetation has been planted along the entire length of the path

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Birding is best here during breeding season when Yellow Warblers, Bell’s Vireos, Orange-crowned Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers, Lucy’s Warblers and Common Yellowthroat are present. Other common or year-round residents include Red-winged Blackbirds, Spotted Sandpipers, Killdeer, Gila Woodpeckers, Black Phoebes, Say’s Phoebes, Verdins, Abert’s Towhees, Song Sparrows, Great-tailed Grackles, Gambel’s quail, and Lesser Goldfinches. Raptors include Cooper’s Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, and American Kestrels. Black-necked Stilts and several species of ducks (including an occasional wood duck) are common during the winter months. About 70-80 species can be seen here regularly, with rarities showing up at times.

Besides birds, you can also watch hundreds to thousands of bats emerge from the Ina Road Bridge on summer evenings. Mexican free-tailed bats are the most numerous occupants under the bridge. Some overwinter in Arizona, but many go to Mexico for the winter and return to Southern Arizona in the summer.

Directions: Take Interstate-10 to the Cortaro Road exit and go west on Cortaro Rd. Turn south on Silverbell Road an turn in at the Crossroads District Park sign. Drive toward the library and turn left into the parking lot by the volleyball courts. Walk east toward the tall swath of greenery along the river. There is a paved trail you can follow to the south to the Ina Road Bridge.

Tortolita Mountains

The Tortolita Mountains are located on the northwest edge of the Tucson Valley. The Tortolitas are a small, rocky, rugged mountain range near the Pima/Pinal County border. There are large, healthy stands of saguaro cactus and a few junipers in the higher areas. Elevations range from approximately 2,500 ft to 4,200 ft. There are several crested saguaros visible from the trails in the Tortolita Mountains. Vegetation is Upper Sonoran Desert palo verdi, mixed cacti, and Southwest riparian deciduous forest and woodland.

Cactus wrens, Rock Wrens, Roadrunners, Phainopeplas Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Cardinals, Brown-crested Flycatchers, Gila Woodpeckers, Mockingbirds, Bell’s Vireos, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Ravens, Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, and more occur in the Tortolitas. You may also catch a glimpse of the wild horses that inhabit the area, as well as Sonoran Desert Tortoises or Gila Monsters.

Directions: Drive north of Tucson on Interstate-10 and take the Twin Peaks Road exit, heading northeast. Go several miles and as you cross Tangerine Road, Twin Peaks becomes Dove Mountain Boulevard. Follow this road to its end (through the gates for the Ritz Carlton Resort). There will be a Marana parking lot on your right a short distance after the entrance gate to the Ritz Carlton. There are several trails in the Tortolita Mountains; you can obtain a map at the Marana Parks & Recreation Department. These hikes vary in difficulty so be aware to bring water and be well-prepared to hike.

The Farm Fields of Marana

There are a variety of species that can be viewed from public roads along the irrigated farm fields in Marana. Species range from waterfowl and shorebirds to burrowing owls and hawks. Some birds that are frequently viewed in the flooded farm fields and along irrigation ditches include: White-faced Ibis, Great Egrets, Red-winged Blackbirds, Horned Larks, and ducks. Between March and July, Burrowing Owl families live in burrows along the irrigation ditches. If you look carefully, you may see the youngsters peeking out of their hole, while a parent stands by watchfully. Some of the owls stay all winter, so it’s worth a drive any time of year.

Marana News: Conroy happy at the helm of Marana Parks and Recreation

The Marana News profiled Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy. Conroy and his team manage 54 miles of trails, a wide array of amenities, and a lot of great programs for the public.


Managing the 54 miles of trails and the wide array of amenities which comprise Marana’s parks and rec system may seem a daunting task, but not when you have over 30 years of recreation experience and have ridden in El Tour de Tucson 22 times.

Jim Conroy, Marana’s new parks and recreation director, may as well have bike paths for veins and turf for hair. Prior to getting this new job on Nov. 6, Jim worked at Green Valley Recreation, the City of Tucson, the Grand Canyon and more. But after all that, the small town appeal drew him in.

“Marana has always been an area I’ve thought was exceptional,” Conroy said. “I think the potential of what we can do with the trails, fields and rec facilities here is great.”

Conroy became director of parks and rec during a period of great expansion and improvement in Marana, and hopes to continue that growth throughout his career. This summer alone, the town is slated to open the 17-acre Tangerine Sky Community Park, a new “splash pad” at Crossroads District Park and a new park in the Honea Heights neighborhood.

“It’s going to be a big summer for us,” Conroy said. “I see [Tangerine Sky Park] being particularly popular, especially with youth sports.” 

“With hiking, cycling, birding and youth sports communities, the level of support for outdoor amenities in Marana is outstanding,” Conroy said.  “This is the best community I’ve seen in regards to making parks and trails a reality. The connectivity to our parks is outstanding. You know, I’ve heard about the desire for recreation in Marana, but now that I’m here, I see it every day.”

Read the full story at the Marana News

Notes from Neptune ready to regale Marana

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The Town of Marana is excited to welcome Notes from Neptune as the next band in our Free Music In Marana Concert Series. The Phoenix-based band is making the trip down I-10 for the show and is excited to perform in front of the Marana audience.

They will take the stage at 7:00 p.m. at Crossroads at Silverbell Regional Park. Ciao Down will be selling their hand crafted pizza and Italian Sodas starting at 6:30 p.m., making dinner and dancing a Saturday night option.

Notes from Neptune is often described as a musical journey. The band is comprised of Scott, a nylon string guitarist and Thomas, a saxophonist. Both have amazing vocals. Their performances are a combination of a mellow acoustic groove combined with Thomas’ gritty, soulful vocals. Throw in the cool jazz feel of Thomas’ saxophone and their great vocal harmonies and you have a very unique, engaging musical act.  Fans of theirs have described them as “genuine, soulful, joyful, and classy.”

Their set list is a versatile one. They will take you back in time with classic rock covers of Pink Floyd and The Doors, and they bring out the Motown soul in you with Bill Withers and James Brown. They like to go modern with a little John Mayer and Gnarls Barkley and even swing the jazz a bit with their impression of Michael Buble and Louie Armstrong. Then there are their originals. With Thomas’ saxophone they can easily transition from 1980’s pop to 60’s and 70’s R&B to cool jazz, while their tight vocal harmonies can breathe new life into familiar favorites. Some songs will get your toes tapping, while others will soothe the soul.

Both Scott and Thomas are phenomenal musicians having each played for over 20 years. They started this trip together a little over a year ago and see a bright future ahead.

Skip Brunch, Get Active, and Celebrate Mom!

What’s brunch, anyway? Waffles at 11am? A travesty! This year, celebrate Mother’s Day with a jaunt in the park. Marana’s 4th Annual Mother’s Day 5K is the perfect opportunity to burn off those Easter calories (those Cadbury eggs sure didn’t eat themselves), and you won’t want to miss this casual, family-friendly walk/run beginning at beautiful Gladden Farms Park. And to top it all off, every mom gets a rose at the finish line. Still thinking about brunch? We didn’t think so.

To make this year’s event even better, Marana has partnered up with the Marana Community Food Bank to help collect donations on race day. All items will directly benefit the local community. In particular, the Food Bank is hoping to collect canned meats and veggies, canned soups, cereal, canned tomato products, bulk rice and beans, peanut butter, and canned fruit.

This year, try something different and celebrate your mom with an invigorating run/walk in beautiful north Marana. Are you yourself a mom? Bring the family along! Make them fete you! Make them jog as they carry your palanquin along the route! You deserve it.

Family to Occupy Permanent Home In Clearing South of Tangerine Road

When urban planners in Marana’s Development Services department consider new housing permits, they take a variety of considerations into account. How close is the nearest school? How can we ensure that homes are near major thoroughfares without sitting directly on a busy road? What infrastructure needs will the homes require? For a new family about to take up residence in Marana, though, the Town has chosen to ignore all these considerations.

Soon, a father, mother, and their three offspring will settle into an open clearing just south of Tangerine Road, east of Twin Peaks, and north of the soon-to-open Tangerine Sky Community Park. The family have received special permission to occupy so unorthodox a location as an open clearing. Their home will have no utilities. The structure will not be reviewed by a building inspector. In fact, there won’t even be a structure. But for this family of steel deer, Marana’s newest art installation, a patch of dirt under the open sky is all they need.

The idea for these newcomers to Marana started with Trevor O’Tool. Trevor holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 3-D and Expanded Media from the University of Arizona. As a welder, chaser, and metal processer, he has constructed bronze sculptures to be incorporated into the work of other artists. He founded a clothing company in Lake Havasu City and exhibited sculptures throughout Tucson. And a few evenings each week, he’s a hooker.

“Basically, my job is to hook the ball back during scrums,” explains Trevor, with a bashful grin. “And whenever the ball goes out of bounds, I throw it back in during line outs.” Trevor has been the hooker for the Tucson Magpies, a recreational rugby club, since he graduated from the UA four years ago.

In fact, it was through rugby that Trevor met Angela Wagner-Gabbard, a resident of Marana and a member of the Marana Citizens’ Forum subcommittee on public art. In 2014, the five-member subcommittee provided guidance to the Town Council on how best to execute the Transportation Art by Youth Grant, a program sponsored by the Pima Association of Governments, which provides resources to incorporate art into transportation projects. The grant enables art-oriented youth organizations to collaborate with professional artists to design projects that help beautify a variety of infrastructure improvements. Angela encouraged Trevor to submit a proposal, and after a lengthy review process, Marana, for the first time ever, hired a hooker.

Marana’s new art installation will be part of the improvements along Tangerine Road between Dove Mountain and Thornydale Roads. In reviewing a variety of proposals, Marana’s grant reviewers, including the subcommittee of the Citizens’ Forum, wanted to see a design that reflected the natural environment of this setting. This arterial road connects northern Marana and Oro Valley with Interstate 10, crossing just south of the Tortolita Mountains. The wildlife that inhabits these mountains includes several species of megafauna which enjoy an elevated status in the popular imagination. Mountain lions prowl these canyons, wild horses lope through the saguaro forest, and mule deer bound up the steep slopes. Lots and lots of mule deer.

Those deer are what Trevor had in mind when he proposed his sculpture. “The solicitation for this project indicated that Marana wanted a design that referenced the Native American history of this site. The Hohokam used to live in the Tortolitas, and when I learned that they associated the deer with ideas like gentleness and innocence, I decided to go in that direction. Right now, Marana is building Tangerine Sky Park nearby, and eventually, there will also be a school in this area. I think the Hohokam symbolism of deer will really fit nicely in this setting.”

When Marana staff and members of the Forum subcommittee saw his design, they couldn’t help but agree. The image of a massive doe and buck, leading a family of three fawns, captured the imagery they had hoped for.  Trevor received overwhelming approval to move forward with his design.

Trevor O'Tool's proposed sketch of deer.

Constructing five oversized deer that can withstand temperature extremes, powerful monsoon rains, and driving winds presented Trevor with a daunting challenge. Fortunately, the very premise of the grant funding his work meant that he did not have to meet that challenge alone. The language of the grant requires that at least 20% of the funding support youth stipends, and the Career and Technical Education program of Marana Unified School District offered the perfect talent pool for completing the project. Marana High School’s welding program prepares students to pursue careers in metal fabrication, and its graduates have gone on to work with companies like Sierra Mining and Crushing, JB Steel, and CAID Industries. Trevor’s design proposed constructing the deer from flat sheets of steel cut into triangles, and so a collaboration with MHS’s welding program was a natural fit. Ken Webb, who runs the welding program, was eager to facilitate this opportunity for his students.

“It’s a cool project to be a part of,” Ken shouted recently over the din of grinders and welders loudly crafting a metallic fawn. “This sculpture is going to be around for years to come, and these kids may eventually take their kids to see this sculpture. It’s really gratifying for all of us to have that experience.”

Randy Chambliss, a recent graduate of Marana High, smooths out a section of the fawn's head.

Since the students first began this project in the summer of 2016, they’ve had to strategize with Ken and Trevor to figure out how exactly to translate an artist’s sketch into a set of towering steel sculptures.

“It’s kind of like building a Lego set, except a grown-up version,” says John Campbell, who started working on this project as a senior and has stayed with the team since he graduated last year. And although welding is most often associated with flying sparks and molten metals, as John and his classmates have learned in the welding program, the first step requires long hours in front of a computer screen. That’s because projects like this one are first designed in SolidWorks, a 3D design software program that creates a digital model of the final design. The students then used the school’s 3D printer to create a physical miniature of the final sculpture.

The deer model (with broken ear) stands in the shadow of its substantially larger facsimile.

Finally, once that model matches the intended specifications, the students must translate those dimensions into their Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Plasma Cam. The CNC Plasma Cam is the industry standard for cutting sheet metal with absolute precision, slicing through the metal with far greater accuracy than is possible with a handheld cutter.

John Campbell checks measurements in the software program that operates the CNC Plasma Cam.

Once the Marana High team had cut out all 295 plates for the first deer, they began the arduous process of assembling them into a sculpture. The first step of that process required tack welding the plates together, a technique that holds the pieces together temporarily.

This stage, John admitted, was more challenging than expected. “Anytime you go from a digital design to a physical design, you’re going to find differences between theory and reality.” In this case, one issue they encountered arose from as small a difference as 1/8 inch.

In SolidWorks, Ken explained, they didn’t account for the width of each plate. That minor discrepancy turned out to create a compounding problem as the plates did not fit as neatly together in the welding shop as they did on the computer screen. Through careful troubleshooting and teamwork between the MHS team and Trevor, the team was able to make the necessary adjustments to fit all the pieces together without having to start over from scratch.

“That’s a really valuable lesson for these kids to learn,” recalled Ken. “This project requires a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving. They’re learning the computer side of programming to make and cut the parts. They’re learning to apply the skills they learned in my classes, and they’re taking them to the next level. They’re not being treated as students anymore, but rather like this is a job and this is their workplace.”

While the students at Marana High School are building the three fawns, Trevor is taking on the buck, the largest member of the family. With shoulders measuring six feet tall and antlers rising to well over twelve feet, this enormous sculpture dwarfs the array of heavy machinery scattered across the University of Arizona studio where he works. Occasionally, Trevor will have to climb onto its back just to do a quick spot weld on its head.

Trevor O'Tool astride the deer and Eric Norman at its feet.

Fortunately, Trevor has help in the workshop. Shop Tech Eric Norman has been heavily involved throughout the project’s construction, and is bringing his own expertise to help ensure a well-crafted final product. With a masters in fine arts from Washington State University and a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Eric is well acquainted with the challenges and constraints, as well as the benefits, of executing projects like this one.

“I think it’s hugely important for public institutions to prioritize art in the community,” says Eric, sitting in the shadow of the immense buck. “Art is a community need. In the same way that people need smooth roads, they need public art around them.” For Eric, then, it makes sense that the Tangerine Road improvement project is incorporating both of these priorities.

Trevor smooths out one section of the deer with a grinder.

When the family of deer is complete, it will occupy a strip near the southeast corner of Tangerine Road and Camino de Oeste. Nearby, Marana is currently constructing Tangerine Sky Park. While there will be no direct connection between the sculptures and the park, Trevor and the members of the MHS team all look forward to seeing the public physically interact with the deer.

“Kids are going to want to climb all over these, and honestly, I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t,” laughs Trevor. “Of course, parents should be there to make sure they don’t fall, but I believe that art like this is best experienced not just by looking at it, but by touching it, and yes, even playing on it.”

Trevor’s playful demeanor shines through in other projects of his, including a manikin laden head to foot with life jackets cautiously approaching a kiddy pool.

Err on the Side of Caution. 2014. Source:

Trevor has subtly put his sense of humor to work on these deer sculptures, as well. While he isn’t committing to a final name for the piece quite yet, he’s considering the title “Deer in Headlights.” That is, after all, what the deer will be every night, standing beside Tangerine Road.

The final sculpture is anticipated to be completed and installed this summer. Tom Houle, a construction manager for the Town of Marana, is overseeing the Tangerine roadwork and working with the sculpture team to figure out exactly how and where to place the deer.

The location of the sculpture, he explains, is perfect for a number of reasons. “This is an elevated site, so the deer will really stand out, even from a distance. Of course, this is also deer country. We incorporated deer crossings into the Twin Peaks project a few years ago, and Phase 2 of the Tangerine project will also have a deer crossing west of Dove Mountain.” It’s factors like these that get Tom excited to see the final installation in situ.

When Marana hired part-time hooker, full-time artist Trevor O’Tool, the Town made a crucial investment in the community’s infrastructure, albeit in a non-traditional sense. Roads help get families to school, water systems deliver safe drinking water, and roadside art integrates a sense of creativity and fun into the fabric of the community. It’s what inspires us to expect our public spaces to be not just functional, but joyful. And it turns out, it isn’t always hard to conjure up that joy. Sometimes, all it takes is a family of five deer by the side of the road.





Marana Adds D. Tyrell McGirt as Parks and Recreation Deputy Director

This week, Marana welcomes D. Tyrell McGirt, who is joining the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department as the deputy director. D. Tyrell comes to Marana with significant experience in the parks and recreation field, and the Town is eager to benefit from his fresh perspectives.

Prior to moving to Marana, D. Tyrell served as the Director of Parks, Culture, and Recreation in Unalaska, a small community in the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. In that role, he demonstrated capable and effective leadership through a number of initiatives, including developing a vision and mission for his department. His passion for parks and recreation also enabled him to educate his colleagues, elected leaders, and neighbors about the importance of parks and recreation.

“I sincerely believe that leisure activities, recreation, and sports play an essential role in adults and children living active, balanced, and healthy lives.,” affirms D. Tyrell. “In Marana, residents already enjoy a wide variety of recreational opportunities, and I look forward to building on that legacy.”

One area in which D. Tyrell is particularly well qualified is in the world of aquatics. In his home state of North Carolina, he helped open Charlotte’s first indoor water park, Ray’s Splash Planet, in addition to starting a junior lifeguard program. He also served as the Aquatics Coordinator for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. The desert environment of Marana means that aquatics activities are in demand much of the year, and so these experiences particularly qualify D. Tyrell for this role.

As he takes on his new responsibilities in Marana, D. Tyrell will quickly get to experience many of Marana’s high quality recreational programming. Throughout the fall and winter, the Town offers free guided hikes in the Tortolita Mountains. In addition, there is a Turkey Trot this Saturday, November 12, at Crossroads Park, as well as an official leg of El Tour de Tucson next Saturday, November 19, starting at Gladden Farms Community Park. Then, on Saturday, December 3, D. Tyrell will get to experience his first Marana Signature Event at the Holiday Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting, when thousands of residents will get to celebrate the holidays with the most spectacular Christmas tree light show in Southern Arizona.

As if all that weren’t enough, Marana’s Parks and Recreation department hosts a full calendar of on-going activities, including Zumba classes, martial arts programming, and classes that fuse music and visual art.

“I can’t wait to get involved in all of these efforts,” explains D. Tyrell. “I can already tell that Marana is a great community where I’m going to have a lot of fun.”


Summer Schooling, Part 10: Giving Back

My mentor took me under her wing while I was still completing my bachelor’s degree.  She provided me with my first internship which later turned into my first job after graduating. The time I spent working for her was about so much more than cutting my teeth as a landscape designer, it was always about becoming a great professional.  I learned many things from her, but one thing has always stuck out to me.  That is the importance of being involved and giving back to the community in which you live, work, and play. 

Being involved and giving back is very rewarding both professionally and personally.  Professionally you gain an insight into what is happening in your profession, in other offices and organizations and what new things people are trying.  You grow your professional contacts and learn about other fields that are related or may have an impact on what you are doing.  For me it was always about advancing the knowledge and awareness of landscape architecture.  It is a field that few know much about and you are not typically exposed to it as a profession until you are much older. 

Landscape architects design the spaces between buildings and roads.  Some places are designed to have a natural look, to appear as though the paths and trails have been there for hundreds of years.  This is the case of Central Park. Before Frederick Law Olmstead designed the park it was a swamp and dumping ground.  Now it is one of the most recognizable naturalistic public spaces in the world.  Other parks are designed for function much like Crossroads Park here in Marana.  It was designed as a place for active recreation with playgrounds and ball fields.  Trails, plazas, streetscapes, paths, and roadways are more things landscape architects design.  Landscape architects also do a lot of planning and it was how I was exposed to the Masters of Science in Planning program at the U of A which ultimately led to this internship.  

This internship has provided me with a great foray into the life of a civil servant.  I have always been on the fence as to whether or not I would go with a job in the private sector or public sector, but this opportunity has solidified my choice of public sector for the foreseeable future.  It will allow me to use my skills and passion in service to my community.  I consider myself fortunate to have been selected for this position and I hope that I will continue to be able to give back to the place where I live, work, and play.

Don’t run from your mom! Run with your mom!

Just having brunch is overrated.  This year, make Mother’s Day weekend special by participating in the 3rd annual Mother’s Day 5K.  This event offers a fun and challenging course for all runners, joggers, and walkers on Saturday morning, May 7 at Gladden Farms Community Park.  Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m., and the official race time is 9 a.m.  Sign up your family today.

Marana’s Mother’s Day 5K isn’t just your typical 5K.  This Mother of all Runs has earned that designation due to the number of unique quirks enjoyed by participants.  For example, every mom who crosses the finish line will receive a beautiful rose.  As you enjoy its lovely fragrance, let Massage Envy take care of your muscles: they’ll be providing free Mommy Massages at the event.  Even better, if you are among the first 200 to sign up, you’ll get a free event t-shirt.  Finally, all participants are entered to win fun raffle prizes.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” says Marana Parks and Recreation Interim Director Cynthia Nemeth-Briehn. “We really can’t celebrate moms enough, and you can just feel the love all around among these participants.”

Event pre-registration closes on Wednesday, May 4.  Register early and pay only $20.  Event-day registration is $25 and children ages 12 and under can run for $15.  And guess what?  Because the event is on Saturday, you won’t miss brunch after all.  Now that you’ve burned all those calories, you can enjoy an extra dessert! 






Christmas Tree drop-off in Town of Marana

The Town of Marana has set up Christmas Tree drop-off sites throughout the community for residents and business owners to drop-off their live trees. Trees will be chipped and used as material for dust control, planters, and mulch at the Marana Heritage Farm.  Please ensure that all ornaments, including tinsel, have been removed.   

For those interested in dropping off their trees, please visit the following locations:  

  • Marana Operations Center – 5100 W. Ina Rd
  • Marana Heritage River Park near the splash pad – 12205 N. Tangerine Farms Road
  • Crossroads at Silverbell District Park north of the Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr Pima County Public Library – 7548 N. Silverbell Rd
  • Community Center near Ora Mae Harn Park – 13250 N. Lon Adams Rd

 The tree drop-off sites will be accepting trees from December 29 until January 12.