Recreation Centers of Sun City West
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Class Information for Fall 2019: HIKE THE HASSAYAMPA PRESERVE, 9-11am, Thursday, November 14, at the Preserve at 49614 Highway US 60 (near Wickenburg) (F123)


The Hassayampa River Preserve is in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. The preserve is a flight path for hundreds of migratory birds, making it one of the top bird-watching areas in Central Arizona. In this arid environment, the Preserve is ecologically significant because of the high-quality cottonwood willow forest it protects. This streamside forest or "riparian" plant community has evolved along the continuously flowing stretch of the Lower Hassayampa River. For most of its length, the Hassayampa, or "the river that flows upside down," runs underground. Its riverbed is dry and sandy, but along a five-mile section of the Preserve the river flows above ground year-round. A dense forest provides shade and tranquility from the Sonoran Desert heat and a rich habitat for a variety of reptiles and mammals. The tour begins at 9:00 a.m., so plan to arrive and be ready to start by 8:45 a.m. You are welcome to stay at the Preserve after the tour, so you may want to bring lunch or go a few miles up the road and have lunch in Wickenburg. Class fee covers the cost of entrance. Instructor Eric Hough is the Interpretive Ranger the Preserve, where he guides and coordinates educational programs for the public and helps monitor the preserve’s wildlife. A lifelong birder and naturalist, he has worked for several years in the West and Midwest doing field surveys for birds, tortoises, and flora. His background includes a MS in Biology and BS in Forestry from NAU. He is also a board member of the Arizona Field Ornithologists (AZFO) and is the Field Expeditions Chair, is an eBird records reviewer for two Arizona counties, and served on the Arizona Bird Committee.

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