July 2019

Nature

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society — Nonmembers and beginners are welcome to the society’s field trips. Information: Mark Perkins, 637-3521 or trans-pecos-audubon.com.
  Cloudcroft & Mescalero Fish Hatchery trip is Saturday, July 6. Meet at 6 a.m. at the Lowe’s parking lot at 4521 Transmountain to carpool. Bring a lunch.
  Red River and Enchanted Circle trip tentatively set for Aug. 23-26.

DinoTracks Tour — Insights Science Center host its monthly 3-mile DinoTracks tour 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, July 7, at Mt. Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, open to the general public. The tour covers topics such as “Dinosaur & Crocodilian Trace-fossils,” “Volcanism,” “Plate Tectonics,” “Sedimentation & Metamorphic Processes” and more. Cost: $15 (age 5 and younger free); available at eventbrite. Information: 534-0000 or insightselpaso.org.
  Next month’s tour is Aug. 4.

Wyler Tramway Hikes — 1700 McKinley (west of Alabama). Hikes are free and last 2 to 4 hours, depending on trail. Not recommended for first-time hikers. Bring sun protection and wear suitable shoes and clothing. Meet at starting point at 6:45 a.m. Information: 562-9899.
• A Women’s Hike is 7 a.m. Sunday, July 7, on Directisimo Trail up to the junction with Jackaloop trail and back down.
• Last Sunday hikes are 7 a.m. Sunday, July 28 and Aug. 25, up Directisimo Trail.

El Paso Zoo — 4001 E. Paisano. Entrance hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $12 for ages 13 to 59; $9 for ages 60 and older and active duty military (including spouse) with ID; $7.50 ages 3 to 12; and free for ages 2 and under. Zoo members admitted free. Information: 212-0966, elpasozoo.org, or on Facebook at ElPasoZoo.
  Zoofari Nites are Saturday, July 13, and Aug. 10. The zoo will stay open until 8:30 p.m.
  The “Wings of the World” Bird Show is 12:30 p.m. weekdays and 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. weekends at the new Wildlife Amphitheater.
  “Meet the Keeper” talks are 10:30 to 3:15 p.m. at various locations throughout the zoo. Keepers will on hand to meet with guests, discuss their experiences and talk about the animals.
  “African Star” Train ride tickets are $2 plus tax ($1.50 for children and society members).
  Asian Elephant Training Encounters scheduled at noon daily.
  Weeklong Zoo Camps for ages 6 to 10 are 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, through Aug. 2. Cost: $110 per week; $95 zoo members; $100 military non-members. Advance registration required. This year’s camps look at Tamandua (anteaters) or Tamarin (monkeys).

‘Earth Day’ at the Movies — El Paso Zoological Society presents a showing of Disney’s classic, “The Lion King” at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 250 E. Montecillo, with includes a commemorative photo, exclusive educational booths in the lobby 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., hands-on re-purposed t-shirt activity 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. (bring an old XL t-shirt), educational booths, and one popcorn and soda. Cost: $20; $15 ages 3-12 years; available at elpasozoosociety.org.
  Educational presentations will be offered inside the theater 11:45 a.m. to 12:55 p.m.

MothaPalooza — White Sands National Monument hosts the family friendly celebration of moths 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 20, at the monument’s Dune Life Nature Trail trailhead in honor of National Moth Week. Discover the life that thrives in the dunes and the science behind this otherworldly landscape. Admission is free; with regular monument entry fee. Information: (575) 479-6124, ext. 236 or (575) 679-2599, ext. 232; or go to nps.gov/whsa.

Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival — The festival is Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 21-25, in Fort Davis, Texas, with trade show, banding demonstrations, field trips, dinners, workshops, talks, art contest and more. Registration through July 31 at fortdavis.com. Information: 1-800-524-3015 or fortdavis.com.
  Keynote speaker is Texas birding legend Victor Emanuel, founder of Victor Emanuel Nature Tours speaking on “The World of Birding.”

Municipal Rose Garden — The garden at 3418 Aurora (at Copia) is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily March through November, except for official holidays. The 4-acre garden has many types of roses at the sprawling park area with a waterfall, shade canopy and many other amenities. Admission is free. Information/rentals: El Paso Parks and Recreation, 212-0092 or elpasotexas.gov/parks.

Rio Bosque Wetlands Park — UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management offers free guided walking tours and other activities at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, 10176 Socorro Rd. in El Paso’s Mission Valley. Tours last about two hours. Information: 747-8663 or riobosque.org.
• Birding tour is 7 a.m. Saturday, July 6.
• A Community workday is 8 a.m. Saturday, July 20.
• Introductory tour is 8 a.m. Sunday, July 21.
• Bird survey is 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, July 30.
  Meeting place is a bridge crossing Riverside Canal. Take Americas Ave. (Loop 375) to Pan American Drive, turn left and travel 1.5 miles.

Franklin Mountains State Park — Most hiking and mountain bike trails begin in the Tom Mays area, off Transmountain Drive on the west side of the park (east of I-10).
  Entry fee is $5 per person, free for age 12 and under (with family). Correct cash or check only. Group rates available. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Information: 566-6441 or on Facebook at FranklinMountainsSP. Web: tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/franklin-mountains.
  Guided hikes and bike rides are $8 per person ($3 State Park Pass holder; $1 children 12 and under); price includes entry. Dogs welcome on leash on some hikes. Reservations required: 566-6441 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday).
  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department presentations (free with park admission):
  The 24,000-acre park extends north from the heart of El Paso to the New Mexico state line. The highest point is North Mt. Franklin, 7,192 feet above sea level.

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site — Ranch Road 2775 off U.S. 62/180 (Montana Ave.). The site is famed for many Native American rock paintings and unique geology. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission: $7 (free for children 12 and younger). Admission including tours or hikes is $9 (13 and over); $2 (ages 5-12). Information: 857-1135, ext. 0, or texasstateparks.gov.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park — The park is about 160 miles east of El Paso, off the Carlsbad Highway (U.S. 62-180). Information: (575) 785-2232 or nps.gov/cave.
  Visitor Center summer hours (through Sept. 2) are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; tours available 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Last entry into cave via natural entrance is 3:30 p.m. with last entry into cave via elevator 4:45 p.m. (be in line to exit cave by 5 p.m.).
  Plan 3-1/2 hours for a walk-in tour and 1-1/2 hours for Big Room tour of the Caverns. Cost is $10 (free or ages 15 and younger). The park’s audio self-guided tour is $3 extra (also available in Spanish).
  Other guided tours are available; call or check website for details.
  Free “bat season” programs continue through mid-October. Daily bat flight talks offered just before sunset at the amphitheater outside the natural entrance. Then — bats willing — visitors are treated to the sunset spectacle of clouds of bats flying out of the cave entrance.
  Night Sky programs begin after the bat flight programs. Hike is 1/2 mile for star walks and 1.5 miles for moon hikes on a rugged desert trail. Dress comfortably (long pants recommended); no open-toed shoes. Bring water, snack, blanket or towel to lie on and red light flashlight. Rangers can provide red light headlamps. Upcoming Star Walks (age 6 and older) are June 30, July 26 and July 28, and Moon Hikes are July 12-13. Participation is free, but space is limited on a first come, first serve basis. Check availability at the park sign next to the Visitor Center. Star Party is July 27 in the east parking lot picnic area.

White Sands National Monument — The glistening gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument are about 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo, N.M., on U.S. 70. Park hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visitor Center hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Last entrance is one hour before closing. Entrance fees are $20 per vehicle; $10 per person and $15 per motorcycles. Information: (575) 479-6124, nps.gov/whsa or on Facebook.
  Sunset strolls are offered daily.
  “Skins and Skulls” mammal identification talks are 3 p.m. Sundays.
  A Full Moon Hike is 8 p.m. Monday, July 15. Reservations required at Recreation.gov or by call (1-877-444-6777).
  Full Moon Night program is 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16. White Sands’ chief scientist David Bustos presents “Did the Hunter Get Its Prey?” a look at predators of the park.
  The annual MothaPalooza event is 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park — 110 miles east of El Paso on the way to Carlsbad, the 86,416-acre park includes the highest point in Texas: Guadalupe Peak, 8,749 feet. Entry fee: $5 for ages 16 and older, good for one week and all trails. Pine Springs Visitor Center hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Camping is $8 per site per night. Information: (915) 828-3251 or nps.gov.

New Mexico State Parks — Day-use fee is $5 when visiting any state park. All programs are free with park entrance, unless otherwise listed. Dress accordingly for all outdoor hikes and events. Information: (575) 744-5998 or nmparks.com.
Leasburg Dam — Radium Springs, two miles off I-25 at Exit 19. Day use hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Information: (575) 524–4068. Music in the Stars monthly night sky program hosts live music 6 to 8 p.m. followed by telescope viewing with Astronomical Society of Las Cruces volunteers 8 to 9 p.m. the next to last Saturday of each month. The July 20 program features John Hyndman (bluegrass).
• Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. 5000 Calle del Norte in Mesilla. Information: (575) 523-4398. Audubon Bird Walks are 7:15 a.m. Saturdays, led by park volunteers. Ranger-led Nature Hikes are 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Fitness in Nature walks with the Second Chance Walker Program are 8:30 a.m. every Saturday beginning at the Visitor Center.
• Oliver Lee State Park, Highway 54 south of Alamogordo at the Dog Canyon turnoff. Information: (575) 437-8284.
  Jupiter and its Moons viewing is 8 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6, and Saturn “Time and Agriculture” viewing is 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
  Ranch house tours are 10 to 11 a.m. every Saturday.
• Percha Dam State Park and Caballo Lake State Park, 60 miles north of Las Cruces on Interstate 25. Information: (575) 743-3942 (Percha Dam) or (575) 527-8386 (Caballo Lake).
  Operation Dry Water event on boating responsibility is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday though Sunday, July 5-7.
  Our Rattlesnake Friend presentation is 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 13.
• Elephant Butte Lake State Park, Information: (575) 744-5923. The annual Firework Extravaganza is 9:15 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument — 44 miles north of Silver City on NM Highway 15 in the middle of the majestic Gila Wilderness, the first and one of the largest wilderness areas. Entrance fee: $10 (annual park pass is $45). Information: (575) 536-9461 or nps.gov/gicl.
  The trail to the cliff dwellings is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. year round. Everyone must be off the trail by 5 p.m. Visitor center is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  Ranger-led 30-minute guided tours of the cliff dwellings are 1 p.m. daily through Labor Day weekend. Trail is moderately strenuous.
  Monthly full moon night hikes take visitors on a tour of the cliff dwellings. Next on is Saturday July 13. Visitors required to wear sturdy shoes or boots, and should bring red-lens flashlights or headlamps. Times vary each month. Call for reservations; hikes fill quickly.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park — 1504 Miehls Drive N., Carlsbad, N.M. Admission: $5 ($3 ages 7-12; free for 6 and under). Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (last entry at 3:30 p.m.). Information: (575) 887-5516 or livingdesertnm.org. Full Moon Walk is 8 p.m. Friday, July 19.

Alameda Park Zoo — Alameda Park, 1321 North White Sands Blvd. (U.S. 54/70), Alamogordo. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission: $2.50 ($1.50 ages 3-11 and 60 and older; free for ages 2 and younger). Information: (575) 439-4290, or on Facebook at Alameda Park Zoo-AFOTZ
  Reptile presentations are 1 to 3 p.m. the first Sunday of each month in the Education Center.

Aguirre Spring Campground — The Organ Mountain recreational area, run by the federal Bureau of Land Management, is off U.S. 70 about 15 miles east of Las Cruces. Fifty-five family camping and picnic sites, plus two group areas. Day-use fee is $5 per vehicle; camping fee is $7. Information, group reservations: (575) 525-4300.
  The Baylor Pass (hiking and horseback riding) and Pine Tree (hiking) trails begin at the campground.

Dripping Springs Natural Area — The recreational area, part of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, is at the base of the Organ Mountains at the end of Dripping Springs Road (the eastern extension of University Avenue), about 10 miles east of Las Cruces. Gates open 7 a.m. to sunset April through October and 8 a.m. to sunset November through March. Admission: $5 per vehicle. Leashed pets allowed on some trails. Information: (575) 522-1219.

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park — ?56501 N Jornada Rd, Las Cruces. The park, part of Asombro Institute for Science Education, is northeast of Las Cruces. Park hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Information: (575) 524-3334 or asombro.org.

Sitting Bull Falls — The scenic area in the Lincoln National Forest is seven miles southwest of NM 137 on Forest Route 276. The 130-foot falls is one of the highest in New Mexico. Features a picnic area and wheelchair-accessible trails. Entry fee: $5 per car (day use only). Information: (575) 885-4181.

Area hiking websites — A variety of organizations in the El Paso/Las Cruces area offers hiking opportunities. Hikes typically are rated as easy, moderate, or strenuous. Solo or new hikers are welcome.
• Meetup.com offers a variety of groups for all activities, including the El Paso hiking meetup club (meetup.com/El-Paso-Hiking) and the Las Cruces hiking meetup club (meetup.com/jornada-hikers)
• Celebrations of Our Mountains now offers an ongoing calendar of hiking and related events at celebrationofourmountains.org/
• Elpasonaturally is a blog by Jim Tolbert on various environmental topics and includes information about Sunrise Hikers morning events. Information: elpasonaturally.blogspot.com or diegotolbert@gmail.com.
• The El Paso chapter of the Sierra Club posts its hikes at sierraclub.org/elpaso.

Chihuahuan Desert Resource Institute — The CDRI center and botanical gardens are four miles south of Fort Davis on Hwy 118. Admission: $5 ($4 seniors 65 and older; free children 12 and younger, members). Information: (432) 364-2499 or cdri.org.

Davis Mountains Preserve — The Nature Conservancy preserve is open to the public on designated days, with no admission fee. No pets allowed. All visitors must sign in at McIvor Conservation Center near the preserve’s entrance. Reservations not required for day use, but strongly encouraged for overnight stays: (432) 426-2390, ext. 1 or dsouth@tnc.org.
  To get there: Take Hwy 118 from Fort Davis to the Lawrence E. Wood picnic area. The preserve gate is about one-quarter mile north of picnic area on left (look for sign).

Chihuahuan Desert Wildlife Rescue — The nonprofit organization that serves West Texas and Southern New Mexico offers resources for those who find a wild bird or mammal in need of help. Information: 772-6011, (575) 882-2910 or cdwr.org.
  Uninjured baby birds may be returned to their nest; the mother will not reject them if humans have touched them. If the nest cannot be found, create one with a basket or container with good drainage that can be attached to the tree so the parent bird may find it. If the bird is injured, contact the rescue immediately.

Community Tool Sheds — Keep El Paso Beautiful, in partnership with Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Home Depot and El Paso Fire Department, offers community tool sheds available at area fire stations. The sheds are stocked with push brooms, shovels, rakes, a gas weed eater, gloves and trash bags for use for cleanup or beautification projects. The items may be borrowed for no charge to the public for community cleanup projects. Information: 546-6742.
  Tool sheds are at 5315 Threadgill, 3801 Fort Blvd., 6500 N. Mesa, 7901 San Jose, 11977 Pellicano, 1801 Montana, 6300 Delta and 10834 Ivanhoe.



El Paso Scene MONTHLY
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