July 2017

Nature

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

Bat Watch — Urban Biologist Lois Balin will give a brief presentation about Texas Bats during a bat watch and arroyo walk at 7:15 p.m. Friday, June 30, starting at 3344 Eileen. Participation is free. Information: 755-7371, or
jpackerman53@gmail.com.

El Paso Zoo — 4001 E. Paisano. Zoo Entrance hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (until 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8). Zoo 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 or elpasozoo.org.
  Week-long Zoo Camps, exploring the worlds of Reptiles and Birds for ages 6 to 10 are 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday July 3-Aug. 11. Cost: $100 per week; $90 zoo members.

Gardening 101 — El Paso Master Gardeners’ monthly free workshops are 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 7 and Aug. 4, at El Paso Multipurpose Center, 9031 Viscount, in partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and Office of Resilience and Sustainability. Information: 212-0115, gardenep@elpasotexas.gov or on Facebook. Register online at elpasotexas.gov/ORS.

El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society —  The society’s field trips are open to the public. Information: Mark Perkins, 637-3521 or trans-pecos-audubon.com.
• Animas Creek Area (west of Caballo Lake) field trip departs at 6 a.m. Saturday, July 8, from the parking lot of Outlet Shoppes of El Paso at I-10 and Transmountain (Talbot entrance). Bring lunch and water.
• Memorial Park field trip meets at 6 a.m. Saturday, July 22, at the Garden Center, 3105 Grant.

Full Moon Nights — White Sands National Monument, 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, N.M., on U.S. 70, hosts monthly full moon programs through October. Entrance fee: $5 age 16 and older. Free for children. Information: (575) 479-6124, ext. 236 or (575) 679-2599, ext. 232; or go to nps.gov/whsa.
  “Songs and Stories of National Parks,” is 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8, with rangers Megan and Gary presenting storytelling and music from the nation’s parks.

Project WILD! — Texas Parks and Wildlife offers the program for K-12 educators 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 21, at El Paso Water Utilities TecH2O Center, 10751 Montana, to explore and understand the world of water and aquatic habitats is supports through hands-on activities. Participants receive 6 CEU credit hours. Admission is free, but pre-registration required by July 14. Information: 621-2001 or tech2o.org.

MothaPalooza — White Sands National Monument hosts the family-friendly celebration of moths 7 p.m. Friday, July 28, in honor of National Moth Week. Discover the amazing life that thrives in the dunes and the science that is helping us gain a better understanding of 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.
  Science fair begins at 7 p.m. at the visitor center with a key note address about moths of White Sands by moth expert Eric Metzler at 8 p.m.
  A moth sheeting starts at 9 p.m. (Dunes Drive open until 11 p.m. for participants).

Franklin Mountains State Park — Most hiking and mountain-biking 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. 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 $3 additional fee ($1 ages 5-12; under 5 free). Bring water, snacks, sturdy shoes/boots, hiking stick, maps and binoculars. Dogs welcome on leash on some hikes. Reservations required: 566-6441 ext. 221, 224 or adrianna.weickhardt@tpwd.state.tx.us.

Rio Bosque Wetlands Park — UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management offers free guided walking tours and other activities at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park in El Paso’s Mission Valley. Tours last about two hours. Information: 747-8663 or riobosque.org.
• Bird tour is 7 a.m. Saturday, July 8.
• Introductory tour is 8 a.m. Sunday, July 16.
  Meeting place is a bridge crossing Riverside Canal. Take Americas Ave. (Loop 375) to Pan American Drive, turn left and travel 1.5 miles.

Municipal Rose Garden — The garden at 3418 Aurora (at Copia) is open to the public 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily late March through November, except for official holidays. The 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, 541-4331.

Keystone Heritage Park and El Paso Desert Botanical Garden — 4200 Doniphan (across from Frontera). Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $3 (free for members). Information: 584-0563, keystoneheritagepark.org or elpasobotanicalgardens.org.

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). Additional activity cost for tours: $2 (free for age 4 and younger). Information: 857-1135 or texasstateparks.gov. Reservations are recommended for the self-guided area and for camping: (512) 389-8911.
  Yoga on the Rocks Tour is 7 a.m. Saturday, July 8. Spots are limited to 10; reservations are recommended.
  Birding tour is 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 15. Advance sign-up encouraged; space limited to 25 guests.
  Other tours available; call 849-6684 or 857-1135.

White Sands National Monument — The glistening gypsum dunes are about 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, N.M., on U.S. 70. Visitor Center hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sept. 10. Park hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Sept. 2. Entrance fee: $5 age 16 and older. Free for children. Information: (575) 479-6124, ext. 236 or (575) 679-2599, ext. 232; or go to nps.gov/whsa.
  MothaPalooza family friendly celebration of moths is 7 p.m. Friday, July 28, in honor of National Moth Week. Discover the amazing life that thrives in the dunes and the science that is helping us gain a better understanding of this otherworldly landscape.
  Sunset strolls are offered daily one hour before sunset; 7 p.m. through Aug. 6.
  “Skins and Skulls” mammal identification talks are 3 p.m. daily through Sept. 4.
  Full Moon Hikes are 8 p.m. Friday, July 7 and 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6. Reservations required starting one month in advance of each hike; online only. Cost: $8; $4 age 15 and young, plus monument entrance fees.
  “Songs and Stories of National Parks,” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8 as part of the Full Moon Nights series. No reservations required.
  The Mexican Arts Show and Sale is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2, on the visitor center patio at White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo. Admission is free to the show and sale.

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.
  Summer hours (through Sept 4): Last entry into cave via natural entrance is 4 p.m. Last entry into cave via elevator is 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).
  The “bat season” generally lasts from April or May through mid-October. Daily bat flight talks begin at 7:30 p.m. (about 15 minutes long) are offered just before sunset at the amphitheater outside the natural entrance. Admission is free.
  The free “Dawn of the Bats” programs is 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 15, with bat-themed activities for all ages. Main viewing of bats returning is 5:30 a.m. with 1/2 mile nature walk 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.
  Other guided tours are available; call or check website for details.

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. Camping fees: $8 for primitive site; $10 for developed site (electrical hookup $4 extra). All programs are free with park entrance, unless otherwise listed. Information: (575) 744-5998 or nmparks.com.
• Elephant Butte Lake State Park, Information: (575) 744-5923.
  Annual Fireworks Extravaganza is 9 p.m. Saturday, July 1.
  Boating Safety Classes is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15.
• Bottomless Lakes State Park — 13 miles east of Roswell, N.M. via US 380. Information: (575) 624-6058.
  The 27th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest is 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 22.
• 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.

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.
  Full Moon Walks are 8 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8 and Aug. 5.
  The zoo features animals native to the Chihuahuan Desert, in natural desert surroundings. A large greenhouse is devoted to succulents and cactus from around the world. The headquarters building includes exhibits on minerals, history, archaeology and other subjects.

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: $5 per person; $10 per family. 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.

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.
  The oldest zoo in the Southwest (established in 1898) is part of the park that lines Alamogordo’s main highway. The zoo covers about 12 acres, with about 250 exotic and indigenous animals.

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 $3 per vehicle.
  The Baylor Pass (hiking and horseback riding) and Pine Tree (hiking) trails begin at the campground.
  Information, group reservations: (575) 525-4300.

Dripping Springs Natural Area — The recreational area 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. The area, run by the federal Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, includes the A.B. Cox Visitors’ Center, several hiking trails, and La Cueva Picnic Area.
  April through September the entrance gate is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  Admission is $3 per vehicle. No pets allowed (except for assistance animals). Information: (575) 522-1219.


 
 

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