The Gila Native Plant Society conducts field trips from April through September on the third Sunday of every month. All are free and open to the public. Meet at the south parking lot of the Fine Arts Center Theatre on the WNMU campus a little before 8:00 am for carpooling. (Go up 12th Street and turn left on Kentucky St.; the south parking lot is the one on the left as you face the Theatre.) Be sure to wear a hat and sturdy shoes, bring plenty of water and perhaps a snack. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, September 15 – Fort Bayard Preserve
The last field trip of the season will be to E. Stephens Creek in the Fort Bayard Preserve to see what plants the rains have brought out. As our field trip leader Hanna Blood explains: “There should be lots of understory plants on the benches in the shade of the big gray oaks and alligator junipers. Then we’ll meander up a sandy flat wash filled with a great mix of riparian and grassland plants. It will be a good time of year to identify some of the grasses.” This will be a relatively flat hike, with some uneven ground in the wash. For those who are new to the native plants of our area, or just new to botany, during the outing Don Graves will provide an introduction to some of the basic aspects of plant identification.
Our August field trip was to Axle Canyon Preserve in the Big Burros, to the confluence of Axle and Mulberry canyons located on an 83-acre in-holding in the Gila National Forest. Axle Canyon Preserve is a special place well cared for by its owners, George Farmer and Linda Zapotec. In the canyons were huge black cherry trees, grand Emory oaks and big alligator junipers, shading white honeysuckle, canyon grapes and other herbaceous perennials. Among other highlights, we saw big swaths of blooming pagoda plant (Monarda pectinata).