May 2018

Nature

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

Silver City Trail Days — Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Coalition hosts a weekend of festivity that brings together hikers and outdoor enthusiasts in southwest New Mexico during the 4th annual festival April 27-29, at Western New Mexico University, 1000 W College in Silver City. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Information: (303) 996-2759. Full schedule at continentaldividetrail.org.
  Festival highlights:
  Keynote presentation on “12 Long Walks” is 7 p.m. Saturday, in the Global Resource Center Auditorium.
  Panels and presentations are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the WNMU Student Memorial Building 3rd Floor Seminar Room.
   A gear raffle and happy hour is 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in the Seedboat Gallery, with local music, door prizes, beer and wine and a giant birthday cake in celebration of the coalition’s 40th birthday.
  A pancake breakfast is 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in Graham Gymnasium. Suggested donation: $5-$10.
  A gear expo is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Old James Stadium.
  A community hike up Gomez Peak is 10 a.m. Sunday, beginning at the Little Walnut Trailhead.

Arbor Day — The City of Las Cruces’ annual Arbor Day event is 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 27, at Ponderosa Park, 1505 Branding Iron Circle. Arbor Day is associated nationally with the planting of trees. Admission is free. Information: (575) 541-2705 or jzabriskie@las-cruces.org.
  Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton, played by NMSU professor Dr. John Mexal, will do a tree planting and dedication at 9 a.m.

FloraFest 2018 — The annual native plant sale and fundraiser, the largest of its kind in the region, is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, at the UTEP Centennial Museum, Wiggins and University. Shoppers can purchase native plants, and visit with local Master Gardeners and other plant experts for advice on how to care for their plants at home. Most of the plants sold at this event are not available at other local nurseries. Admission is free. Information: 747-8994. Plant list available at utep.edu/centennial-museum.
  The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens displays about 700 different plant species and horticultural varieties of the region. Proceeds from the sale benefit the maintenance and operation of the gardens.

Natural History Outings — Southwest Environmental Center of Las Cruces offers “Back by Noon” Saturday field trips departing from the center at 275 Downtown Mall, Las Cruces. The family-friendly outings showcase some of natural features of the Las Cruces/El Paso area, and are led by a regional expert in wildlife, plant life, art or other field. Bring sturdy shoes, water and a hat. Binoculars recommended. Hikes are free, and open to the public, but space is limited and advance registration required; registration opens three weeks before each hike. Half of slots in each trip reserved for center members. Some minor fees may apply. Information, reservations: (575) 522-5552.
  Hike details available at wildmesquite.org.
April 28: Citizen iNaturalist, 9 a.m. Moderate to strenuous.
May 5: Close Look at Burrowing Owls, 7 a.m. Easy.
May 12: Valles Canyon, 7:30 a.m. Moderate to strenuous.

Celebration of Our Mountains — Celebration of Our Mountains hosts free events in honor of Earth Month in April. Information: 525-7364 or celebmtns.org.
  Scenic Sunday event led by Eric Kappus is 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, April 29, starting at the intersection of Robinson and Scenic Drive.

El Paso Zoo — 4001 E. Paisano. Zoo Entrance hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 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, elpasozoo.org, or on Facebook at ElPasoZoo.
• May the Fourth by With Zoo Star Wars event is 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 4, with costume contest, music and more.
• Hear Me Roar LGBTQ community event is 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, with live entertainment. Tickets: $15 ( $5 ate 3-12; free for age 2 and younger)
• Reptilia event celebrating creepy, crawly friends is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3.
  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.
  The El Paso Zoo is a 35-acre home to 228 species of animals. About 420 mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, 106 fish and 294 invertebrates live in a variety of natural habitat exhibits including a Reptile House, South American Pavilion, Americas Aviary, Cisneros Paraje, Birds of Prey Exhibit, Forest Atrium, Asian Grasslands and an Elephant Complex, and the Kalahari Research Station energy exhibit.

Birdathon — The El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society sponsors its annual weekend of birding and fundraising Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6. The event benefits chapter operations, Rio Bosque Wetlands park, Audubon Texas and El Paso area Wildlife Rehabilitators. Volunteers raise money by collecting pledges for each species spotted during the two days. Information: Jane Fowler, 598-2448, Eddie Chew, 587-9589 or trans-pecos-audubon.com.
  Counters will try to find as many bird species as possible, in a 24-hour blitz. Each counter will be backed by sponsors who pledge either a given amount for each species seen or a fixed total amount. Most counters will identify 50 to 100 species.

NM Rails-To-Trails Association — The association hosts its annual meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at The Lodge in Cloudcroft. Doors open at 1 p.m. Guest speaker is Mark H Gutzman, Forest archaeologist for the Lincoln National Forest. Information: (575) 434-1949 or nmrailstotrails.org.

DinoTracks Tour — Insights Science Center host its monthly DinoTracks tour 9 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 6, 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. Wear sun protection, comfortable closed toed shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Cost: $15 per person; available at eventbrite. Information: 534-0000 or info@insightselpaso.org.
  The 3-mile hiking tour promotes learning in the STEAM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
  Other upcoming tours are June 3 and July 1.

Wyler Aerial Tramway — 1700 McKinley. Hikes are free; one-way optional tramway rides down the mountain are $4 ($2 children); bring exact change. Information: 562-9899 or 566-6622. Hikes begin at the Directisimo trail head. Wear sturdy shoes, weather appropriate clothing, hats and sunscreen; bring walking stick. Strenuous hike, 1,000 feet elevation gain.
  Group hikes are rated as strenuous hikes, not recommended for first-time hikers. Bring water, sturdy shoes, weather appropriate clothing.
  A Women-Only Hike is 7 a.m. Sunday, May 6, up Ranger Peak.
  The Last Sunday Hike is 7 a.m. Sunday, May 27.

TecH2O WaterSmart Landscapes Series — El Paso Water's TecH2O Center, 10751 Montana, hosts “Efficient Irrigation,” 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 12, as Part 4 of its seven-part series on the “Seven Principles of Water Efficient Landscapes.” Participants will learn how often and how long to water to promote deeper, healthier and more drought-tolerant root growth. Information: 621-2000 or tech2o.org.

El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society — The society’s general meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, at UTEP’s Centennial Museum, 500 W. University. Rio Bosque Wetlands Park Manager John Sproul from UTEP's Center for Environmental Resource Management will talk about current and future changes in the park. Information: Scott, 581-6071 or trans-pecos-audubon.com.
• The Texas Ornithological Society 2018 Spring meeting is set for May 3-6, in Alpine; registration ends April 26: texasbirds.org
• This year’s Birdathon is May 5-6. Volunteers raise money by collecting pledges for each species spotted during the two days. Information: Jane Fowler, 598-2448 or Eddie Chew at 587-9589.
  Field trips are open to the public. Information: Mark Perkins, 637-3521 or trans-pecos-audubon.com. A Memorial Day Weekend trip to Sierra Vista, Ariz. is May 25-28, to see hummingbirds, owls, Elegant Trogons and other specialties of Southeast Arizona.

National Trails Day Poker Hike — New Mexico Rails-To-Trails will host is free, family-friendly public poker hike celebrating National Trail Day Saturday, June 2, starting at the Trestle Recreation Area Trails and ending at the Bonnie Brooks cabin, where prize will be awarded. Hikers will get to view Trestle A249 on the Brooks property, the area’s newest National Historic Site, now undergoing restoration. Information, times: (575) 434-1949 or nmrailstotrails.org.

Municipal Rose Garden — The garden at 3418 Aurora (at Copia) is opens 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily 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.

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. 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).
• Hike to Ron Coleman Trail is 6:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, as part of the Peak Fitness challenge. Very strenuous hike. Meet at Smugglers Pass parking lot.
• Upper Sunset Hike is 8 a.m. Sunday, May 6, suitable for families and beginners.
Women Only Hike to Aztec Cave is 8 a.m. Saturday, May 19.
• Prospect Mine Tours are 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday, May 20.
  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.

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, May 12.
• Community Workday is 8 a.m. Saturday, May 19.
• Introductory tour is 8 a.m. Sunday, May 20.
  Meeting place is a bridge crossing Riverside Canal. Take Americas Ave. (Loop 375) to Pan American Drive, turn left and travel 1.5 miles.

Keystone Heritage Park and El Paso Desert Botanical Garden — 4200 Doniphan (across from Frontera). Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed Tuesdays. Admission: $2 (free for members); $1 children. Information: 584-0563, keystoneheritagepark.com.
  The park’s 2-acre Botanical Garden, funded by the Rotary Club of El Paso and the Junior League, features native plants, amphitheater, butterfly garden, wedding garden, children’s maze, and a Butterfly House.
  Keystone Heritage Park has 189 species of migratory and local birds, and a 4,500-year-old archaeological site.
  Bird watching with the Trans Pecos Audubon Society is 9:30 a.m. to noon the second and last Saturday of the month.
  Keystone’s Chihuahuan Desert Experience (immediately west of the wetland) is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for walking and bird watching.

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.
  Bring water, hiking shoes and sunscreen for all daytime events:
Special events (space is limited; reservations required). Birding hike is 8 a.m. the third Saturday of the month.
  Reservations are recommended for the self-guided area and for camping: (512) 389-8911.
  North Mountain is available for self-guided day use, for up to 70 people at a time; reservations recommended. There is an annual orientation program for visitors. Guided access is offered to the rest of the site. Picnicking allowed at ten tables closest to headquarters. Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted. Bicycles permitted only on designated paved areas. Pets allowed only in camping or picnic areas. Call for reservations and other information: 857-1135.
  There are campground sites with water and electric hookups, as well as water-only tent sites.

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 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 26; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 27-Sept. 15. Park hours are 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through May 26; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 27-Sept. 15. Last entrance is one hour before park closes. Entrance fee: $5 age 16 and older. Free for children. Information: (575) 479-6124, ext. 236 or (575) 679-2599, ext. 232; nps.gov/whsa or on Facebook.
  Sunset strolls are offered daily one hour before sunset: 6:45 p.m. through May 11; 7 p.m. starting May 12-Aug. 5.
  “Skins and Skulls” mammal identification talks are 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; daily beginning May 28.
  Ranger-guided Lake Lucero Tour is offered the last weekend of the month to learn about the formation of the sands and the special plants and animals that live in and around the dunes. Program fee is $8 ($4 age 15 and younger). Check website or call for details; reservations required, available one month prior to tour.
  Full Moon Hike is 7:45 p.m. Monday, May 28. Reservations required, starting one month in advance of each hike; online only. Cost: $8; $4 age 15 and young, plus monument entrance fees.
  The first Full Moon Night of the season is 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 29. Call for program.

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.
  The Salt Basin Dunes Day Use Area is now open daily 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. Located at the east end of Williams Road, east of Dell City.
  Camping for tents and RVs, a nature trail, and ruins of the Butterfield Overland Mail Station are near the Pine Springs center. McKittrick Canyon Visitor’s Center is seven miles east of Pine Springs, and offers nature, canyon and geology trails.
  On the north side of the park, accessible by a 110-mile drive around Carlsbad Caverns, is Dog Canyon Visitor Center and Campground.
  One of the best examples of a Permian Period fossil reef, the national park offers camping and more than 80 miles of trails. Hikes range from easy, wheelchair-accessible nature trails to moderate (level, but rocky) canyon hikes to strenuous mountain hikes.

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.
  Hours through May 25): Visitor Center open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Last entry into cave via natural entrance is 2 p.m. with last entry into cave via elevator 3:30 p.m. (be in line to exit cave by 4:30 p.m.).
  Summer hours (May 26-Sept.3): Visitor Center open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Last entry into cave via natural entrance is 5 p.m. with last entry into cave via elevator 5 p.m. (be in line to exit cave by 6:30 p.m.).
  The “bat season” generally lasts from May through mid-October. Daily bat flight talks (starting May 26) begin at 7:30 p.m. or offered just before sunset at the amphitheater outside the natural entrance. Admission is free. Then — bats willing — visitors are treated to the sunset spectacle of clouds of bats flying out of the cave entrance. Best flights are usually in August and September.
  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.

New Mexico State Parks — Day-use fee is $5 when visiting any state park. All programs are free with park entrance, unless otherwise listed. Information: (575) 744-5998 or nmparks.com.
• Oliver Lee State Park, Highway 54 south of Alamogordo at the Dog Canyon turnoff. Information: (575) 437-8284.
  Ranch house tours are 10 to 11 a.m. Saturdays and 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
  Star Party programs are 8 to 10 .m. Saturday, May 19, and 8 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16.
• 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.
Leasburg Dam — 12712 State Park Road in Radium Springs, two miles off Interstate 25 at Exit 19. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for day use. Information: (575) 524–4068.
  Music & the Stars night sky programs and musical performers are 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5, and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9, performers to be announced.
  Monthly bird ID walking tours are 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28 and May 26.
• 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).
  Movie screening of the comedy “The Big Year” and guided bird tour is 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5.
  Migratory Bird Day Tour is 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 12, meeting at the Percha Dam Visitor Center.
  Courtesy Recreational Boat Safety Inspections are offered 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, June 29-July 1.
  Free Fish Day celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week is 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2.
• Elephant Butte Lake State Park, Information: (575) 744-5923.
  NM Bass Team Trial Tournament is 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 23.
  The Disabled Veterans’ Water Sports Clinic & Adaptive Water Sports Clinic for warriors in transition and members of general public 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, June 1-3.
  Socorro Bass Club Bass Tournament is 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3.
  The annual Fireworks extravaganza is 9 p.m. (weather permitting) Saturday, June 30; park fees waived 6 to 9 p.m.
• Bottomless Lakes State Park — 13 miles east of Roswell, N.M. via US 380. Information: (575) 624-6058.
  Enchanted Evenings talks are 8 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, May 26-Sept. 1.
• Rockhound State Park, five miles south of Deming on State Road 11 and then east on Rockhound Road (State Road 141) for nine miles. Day use hours: 7:30 a.m. to sunset. Information: (575) 546-6182 or (575) 744-5998.
• Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus, N.M., State Roads 11 and 9. Day use hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Information: (575) 531-2711.
• Brantley Lake State Park, 12 miles north of Carlsbad via U.S. 285. Information: (575) 887-5516.
• City of Rocks State Park, off Hwy 61 in Faywood, N.M., about 130 miles west of El Paso. Information: (575) 536-2800.
  Camping fees at state parks are $8 for primitive site; $10 for developed site (electrical hookup $4 extra).

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.
  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, or on Facebook at Alameda Park Zoo-AFOTZ
  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.
  Earth Day events are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28.
  The City of Alamogordo hosts free “Fourth Fridays” summer events 6 to 10 p.m. the fourth Friday of the month during the summer months (May 25, June 22, July 27 and Aug. 24) with live music, outdoor movie, food vendors, prizes, giveaways and more.

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.
  To get there: Take I-25 in Las Cruces and head east on U.S. 70. Take the Mesa Grande Road exit (at Oñate High School). Make a U-turn under the highway to head west, and stay in the right lane. Turn right (north) on Jornada Road. Follow Jornada Road for 6.4 miles and turn left at the park sign. Follow the entrance road to the parking area and trailhead.
  Asombro Institute for Science Education is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing scientific literacy by fostering an understanding of the Chihuahuan Desert.

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 Nature Club — Seven El Paso sites participate in the new club helping area residents connect to the location natural environment, and learn more about Chihuahuan Desert area plants and animals. Membership is free to all ages.
  To join, persons need to visit one of the Nature Club’s Chihuahuan Desert Hot Spots, pick up a flier, and get a stamp. Once they have visited at least three of the seven participating Hot Spots, show stamped flier and receive an official Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club sticker. Sign up available online at chihuahuandesert.org.
   Participating locations: Chamizal National Memorial, Don Haskins Recreation Center Nature Trail, El Paso Zoo, Franklin Mountains State Park (Tom Mays Unit), Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site, Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, and Wyler Aerial Tramway State Park. Admission fees apply at some sites.

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.




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