Free trail map will help you find wildlife in the Pinetop-Lakeside area

[Source: WMIcentral.com] – With the weather getting warmer, it may be a good time to plan a family outing to hike and enjoy wildlife viewing in the ponderosa pine country of the White Mountains.

The Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, with assistance from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, recently developed a new trail guide called the “Pinetop-Lakeside Wildlife Viewing Guide” to help you map out a fun trip to enjoy nature and wildlife in eastern Arizona. It comes complete with a local hiking trail map and descriptions of several prime areas in and around the town where you can see a variety of animals.

“The guide will help people to streamline wildlife-viewing trips in the Pinetop-Lakeside area,” says Bruce Sitko, spokesman at the department’s Pinetop office. “Families and friends will be able to plan out which types of wildlife and which areas they want to see and how to most quickly and effectively get from one to another.”[to read the full article click here].

Arizona Game and Fish to restore river bed

[Source: WMIcentral.com] – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is implementing a water quality improvement project along the banks of the Little Colorado River on its Wenima Wildlife Area located just north of Springerville. 

The 355 acre property is managed for native wildlife, and includes 2.5 miles of the Little Colorado River.  Some of the river’s stream banks are very unstable, and large amounts of soil is washed downstream when water levels rise.  The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality funded a water quality improvement grant to address these eroding banks. The Department originally purchased this 355 acre property in 1993 with the aid of the Heritage Fund, which utilizes Arizona lottery monies to protect habitat for threatened and endangered species.  Since the 1993 acquisition, the habitat within the Wenima Wildlife Area boundaries has greatly improved, but a few sections of the river continue to experience excessive erosion events during spring run off and after large monsoon rains.

The Department applied for and was awarded a water quality improvement grant administered by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. [to read the full article click here].

Esperanza school to sell commemorative bricks for its garden

[Source: Coty Dolores Miranda, AZ Republic] – When Kyrene de la Esperanza fifth-grade teacher Sylvia Rios goes through the elementary school’s 2-year-old Discovery Garden, it’s a walk down memory lane. Lining the meandering pea-gravel path are engraved bricks honoring some of the students she has taught the past 14 years. Her two daughters – Gabriella, who attended Esperanza, and Liliana, a first-grader – share her pride in the garden and the engraved bricks that were first installed last year.

“As a teacher, it’s exciting for me to walk through and see the engraved bricks of former or current Esperanza families and staff members,” she said. “I’ve witnessed students in the garden and the first thing they look at are the bricks.”

In 2006, Esperanza applied to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for a $10,000 Heritage Fund grant, funded by Lottery ticket sales. The school received it in May 2007. The following spring, after construction of three new Esperanza classrooms, the Discovery Garden began taking shape with the help of parents, staff and community volunteers as well as $5,000 in private donations and another $10,000 of in-kind donations for plantings and landscaping.

Though other Ahwatukee elementary schools, such as Kyrene de las Lomas and Kyrene de los Cerritos, also have gardens, Esperanza’s is unusual with its 25-foot pond and pump to recycle water in a free-falling stream over rocks – a feature made possible with the assistance of Paul Holderman, Pond Gnome founder and creator of the Phoenix Zoo koi pond [to read the full article, click here].