Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

Most Special Events Included With Admission
$10 for Adults, $5 for Ages 5-12

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class Sunday August 30
Have you wanted to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, but didn't know how to remove those painful little cactus needles before turning the bright red fruits into tasty jelly – or margaritas? Be here Sunday Aug. 30 for a 9:30am class coaching the finer points of processing the ripe fruit of the season for fresh batches of jelly, jam, syrup and more. Workshops feature Chef Eric & Terri of Tall Order Catering, with their unique spin on cactus cuisine and instruction on de-spining & processing. No pre-registration is necessary for any of these classes, just be in the visitor center breezeway by the 9:30am start time. Our experts share proven techniques to pick, prepare, process and preserve these juicy, seasonal fruits of the Sonoran Desert -- with tasty, healthy prickly pear snacks shared at the end of each class. Learn from prickly pear pickin’ pros! Preview the event check out this Prickly Pear Festival Gallery By Jack Haskell

Dragonfly Field Guide Author Tuesday Sept. 1
8:30 am meet-the-author book signing, guided dragonfly walk 9:00am
For the past decade Common Dragonflies of the Southwest has been the go-to field guide to Arizona Odonata. An excellent, convenient and pocket-size full-color guide, the durable little books became increasingly rare when authors Kathy and Dave Biggs moved to publishing e-Guides. Good news for dragonfly fans: we have their books in stock, including the just-released ‘Dragonflies of the Greater Southwest - Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah’, and – even better – the authors will visit BTA for a rare meet-the-authors book signing and guided dragonfly walk next Tuesday, September 1. Bring your dog-eared copy to be personalized and autographed that morning – or pick up a pristine new edition; the pocket guide runs about $12, while the expanded new book is $24. Of course, attending the 9am guided tour with these odonate experts is free to our annual members – and included with $10 daily admission for all other visitors. Be in our visitor center breezeway lobby from 8:30-9:00 a.m. for the book signing and informal ‘meet the authors” half-hour, then our Tuesday special dragonfly walk begins at 9:00am, with a walk to Ayer Lake and artificial water features around the gardens in search of odonates. What’s possible this time of year? An August report from Pierre Deviche last year included Red-tailed Pennant, Western Pondhawk, Neon Skimmer; Flame Skimmer, Straw-colored Sylph, Roseate Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Spot-winged Gliders, Mexican Amberwings, Black Saddlebag, Giant Darners – and about a dozen other species. ASU professor Pierre Deviche is among our dragonfly walk guides - see photos and read more about odonates of the Grand Canyon State at his excellent website

Dragonfly Walk Saturday September 5, again October 3
8:30 AM
Just two more Saturday morning walks remain with dragonfly enthusiast and photographer Roger Racut. This once-a-month odonate excursion September 5 and our season finale October 3 offers an interpreted walking tour to Ayer Lake and garden water features -- a chance to learn about these beautiful, fascinating insect predators. Check out colorful photos and read more about Flame Skimmers, Blue Dashers and Mexican Amberwings at this excellent website:
http://azdragonfly.netBring your camera because Pierre safely nets a few dragonflies for visitors to view and photograph close-up, before releasing the insects unharmed

Camera Basics with Sue Tatterson - Sunday September 6
8:00 - 11:00 am, $20-$30 - call 520.689.2723 to enroll and pre-pay
This thorough class in camera basics coached by Gold Canyon artist Sue Tattersonis a bargain at $20 for BTA members, or $30 for nonmembers. Tatterson has spent nearly three decades behind the lens and is expert in the settings and dials of digital cameras, from simple point-and-shoot models to complex DSLRs. Read more and find links to Sue's websites with a visit to our Photo Class Page

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walk Saturday September 12 with Larry Jones & Wild Man Phil
8:00 AM season finale
Reptile activity decreases as Summer transitions to Fall - and September 12 is the Season Finale for our popular once-a-month Summertime Learn Your Lizards series of guided walks. This entertaining guided tour around the main trail isn't just for kids -- our unique Lizard Walks are popular with all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. There's no additional fee, and no pre-registration necessary, just be in our Visitor Center breezeway at 8:00am start time. Arrive early and explore - BTA opens at 6:00am during September. Our Season Finals special guest is Tucson author Larry Jones -- one of two tourguides -- along with Casa Grande outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' RakociSee photos and connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook. See photos and read more

General Tour of the Main Trail Saturday September 12
7:30 AM
What bird molts foot-long wing feathers? How old is a 10-foot-tall Saguaro? Can you name a desert plant that has a fruit, seed, or nut at its edible peak in mid-July? Arizona State Parks volunteer Jim Shepherd has the answers to a wide range of natural history questions - and shares anecdotes on an informal guided tour of our 1.5 mile main trail. Jim's once-a-month tours are included with daily $10 admission - and depart the visitor center breezeway at 7:30am read more in our E-newsletter

9th Annual CAZBA Butterfly Count Saturday September 12
Butterfly experts who volunteer with the Central Arizona Butterfly Association ( tally all the butterflies they can find during a one-day butterfly count September 12 here at BTA and also Oak Flat, Apache Leap, Queen Creek Canyon, Arnett Canyon, Picketpost Mountain & Queen Valley.
You dont have to be an expert, CAZBA invites volunteers of all skill levels to assist for details email Meet in the BTA visitor center starting at 8:30am. Volunteer participants are assigned to a team leader and will be working a part of the count circle area.
At lunch participants meet at Jade Grill restaurant in Superior (bring $10-$12 cash for a delicious informal buffet) and time to chat and exchange findings and information. 79 species of butterflies appear on the Arboretum's checklist; the record for most species observed in a single day is 44 by Marceline VandeWater during this count 5 years ago! Xami Hairstreak is one of specialties that has been found during the summer here at BTA.
Read more on the CAZBA website

Macro Photography Class with Paul Landau
September 12, Saturday - after hours from 4-6 pm
The human eye can only focus just-so-close; Scottsdale photographer Paul Landau has mastered the art of capturing microscopic scenes with his camera, revealing compound eyes, antennae and patterns invisible to the human eye. He’ll share techniques during a late afternoon spent in search of tiny creatures and plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum after the gardens close to the public; photographing them September 12 - along with a dozen participants. Enrollment is $40, and proceeds benefit the Arboretum. To enroll, have a credit card ready and call BTA staff at 520.689.2723 during daytime business hours from 6am-3pm. “You’ll be amazed to find out what your camera can do,” predicts Landau. " Even the simplest ‘point-and-shoot’ digital cameras have close-up capabilities that reveal inner worlds of detail, iridescent green beetle wings, and the intensity of nature on a scale that’s overlooked until you learn where to look – and how to see. One of the great things about macro photography is that my quarry is tiny – and often fairly easy to photograph once you know where to look for them. Boyce Thompson Arboretum is my favorite place, no question, to photograph vivid insects and flower blossoms, along with other natural phenomenon.” Landau’s photography was the subject of a solo exhibition at BTA

Members Only After-Hours Nighttime Event - Moth Night Saturday September 12
6:00 pm - 10 pm
You've among our annual members, but have never walked our trails after hours or explored the gardens by flashlight? Saturday September 12 brings another special evening of after-hours access for our annual members -- when BTA offers another "Moth Night" for photographers and amateur entomologists. The Arboretum will close at 3:00 as usual, then BTA members are welcome to bring dinner and picnic on their own from 6:00-7:00pm; then from 7:00 - 8:00 on Margarethe Brummerman will share a slideshow, and after 8:00 we'll learn about moths and night-flying insects lured to a white sheet illuminated by a mercury vapor bulb - - offering close-up photographers the chance at macros of fascinating insects lured to the light. Vivid green katydids, ant-lions, assassin bugs, desert tarantulas, a Lyre Snake and even a rare Tiger Rattlesnake were all seen and photographed during our July and August nighttime events. Read more about this event

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday September 19 at 8am
moves to 1:30 pm October 17 - daily hours are 8:00am - 5:00 pm starting October 1
The Sinai Desert lies roughly at the same latitude as our own Sonoran Desert; many of the same plants common in the Middle East thrive in our Arizona climate, and can be seen here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. From May-through-September this tour moves to a morning start time of 8:00am to take advantage of cooler AM temperatures; in October daily hours return to the Fall-Winter schedule and we're open 8:00am - 5:00pm. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and water bottle. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. Check out a few Plants of the Bible Lands on Facebook. Using references in ancient texts, guides will describe how people of the Bible Land used plants as food, medicine, and shelter in ways similar to how native peoples of Southern Arizona continue to do so in modern times. Read a more complete description of our Plants of the Bible Land Guided Tour

Bye-Bye Buzzards" September 19, Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 Vulture Viewing
8:30-10:00 Guided Bird Walk
9:00-1:00 Wildlife Rehabbers Living Exhibit of Raptors, Reptiles & Mammals

September brings the Autumnal Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians; the Arboretum celebrates the transition of seasons with our annual Bye-Bye Buzzards seasonal send-off. Events are included with adult admission of $10; free to BTA annual members and AZ state parks pass-holders. Arrive early for the 7am special opening Saturday to see the famous flock of Turkey Vultures perched on the cliffs before they depart to spend their day soaring the skies; world-traveled ASU Professor Dave Pearson will be the guest 'Vulture-ologist' from 7:00-8:30, talking about the big black birds, answering questions and sharing his appreciation for the soaring scavengers until the vultures take to the skies -- typically by 8:30am. Dr. Pearson and others will guide birdwalks through the gardens at 8:30, and from 9:00-2:00 volunteer wildlife rehabbers from the Arizona Game & Fish Department will have a popular living exhibit of raptors and reptiles set up near the Smith Building, so kids and adults alike can have closeup views of a real, live Turkey Vulture along with hawks and owls. View a Bye Bye Buzzards Day event video by Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe

LightRoom 5 Users Group Sundays September 20 , and again October 18
10am til noon in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Photographers and digital photo editing enthusiasts coordinate our once-a-month meeting of the LightRoom5 users group. These informal workshops are open to the public, free to BTA annual members and included with $10 daily admission if you're not among annual members. Connect with organizers and read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

CANCELLED - Tree Tour September 20 - CANCELLED
revisit this page in October for updates on this tour schedule
So, just what is an Arboretum? BTA staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne leads this walk where visitors learn the answer to that often-posed question during a relaxed and leisurely guided tour through the forested areas of the Arboretum. Join Jeff for a chance to learn about the Arboretum's collection of oak and olive trees, native hackberry, mesquite and many more.

Museum Day Sept. 26 -- FREE admission with Online Coupon - see link below
open 6am - 3pm. The website listed below offers a coupon that you'll receive by email for a free pass to visit the Arboretum -- or a dozen other AZ museums Sept. 26, which is 'Museum Day Live!' a nationwide promotion of by the Smithsonian. Already a BTA member? Then please tell co-workers, friends and neighbors who haven't visited lately - suggest they get a coupon, visit for free, and explore our gardens. And then get your own coupon, and visit one of the other participating museum - see our short list below. Museum Day Live offers a chance to explore the gardens, hike more than two miles of scenic paths and trails -- attend either of two guided tours Saturday, or even sit-in with an informal one-hour class at 10 that'll teach you how to pick and process pomegranates -with tasty snacks shared after class. Other museums include the Heard in Phoenix, Deer Valley Rock Art center, Pueblo Grande Museum, Smoki Museum in Prescott, Tubac Presidio, Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction, ASU Art Museum; the complete list is online. Drive up early if you're visiting BTA - daily hours this month are 6am-2pm (starting Oct. 1 hours return to the Fall-Winter schedule of 8am-4pm).

Geology walking tour Saturday, September 26 , with Scott McFadden
**Summer 8:00 am start time; moves to 1:30pm October 24 with Rich Leveille
Learn about rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour with Geologist Scott McFadden; this tour compresses almost two billion years of geologic history into just over one educational hour! Learn about Pinal schist, the volcanic origins of Picket Post Mountain and the Apache Leap tuff. ASU Professor Steve Semkenalso guides this walk; another engaging geology guide is BTA member andprofessional geologist Rich Leveille

Butterfly Walk Saturday September 26
Saturday at 9:00am with Gail Morris, Laura Miller & Jan Harding
Butterfly walk leaders September 26 include special guest is Gail Morris -- coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Butterfly Migration research project, along with Jan Harding and Laura Miller. This relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections.
see, photograph and learn about colorful butterflies here at the Arboretum, ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more. Our season finaly butterfly walk Adriane Grimaldi is the education director at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale - and October 24 she's our special guest tourguide leading the last butterflt walk of the season -- with a 9:30am start time.
See Butterfly Photos and Learn IDs from CAZBA

Pomegranate Class September 26 -- Saturday
10am - included with daily admission, no class registration needed

Pomegranates ripen each September; the most common variety are named ‘Wonderful’ with good reason: these hardy fruits are loaded with anti-oxidants, they’re delicious, and they thrive throughout Central and Southern Arizona. Learn how to harvest and prepare these healthy fruits during this informal one-hour workshops Sept. 26. No pre-registration needed, the outdoor class is included with daily admission of $10 – and fresh-made pomegranate snacks will be shared at the end of each class, too! Chandler-based Chef Eric & Terri of Tall Order Catering will share recipes and pomegranate processing techniques; pomegranate pickin’ accomplice Robert Lewis will also mesquite-flour waffles for guests to sample after class. Of all the fruits you can harvest in Arizona, pomegranates may have the most colorful history — some argue it was actually a pomegranate, not an apple, that was the irresistible fruit in the garden of Eden.  Packed with seeds, pomegranates cross many cultures as a symbol of fertility (particularly in Hebrew legend and ritual); some paintings of baby Jesus prominently display a pomegranate – and Egyptians were entombed with pomegranates as a token for rebirth. Originally from Persia, the pomegranate is among the oldest fruits cultivated. Romans used the tannic skins to tan leather, and the fruit’s regal crown (calix) may have inspired the design of King Solomon’s crown. Moors imported them from the middle East to Spain round 800 A.D.; Spanish conquistadors and missionaries brought them to our continent – where they remain a popular landscape choice as a plant that provides lush flowers each spring, tangy Autumn fruit — and fall color as their leaves turn from green to gold.

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Sunday Walk with Kathy & Tom McDonald September 27
**final Summer tours at 8:00 am; tour moves to 1:30pm October 10, Saturday
Explore our Curandero Trail on a one-hour Sunday walk September 27 guided by desert plant enthusiasts Kathy and Tom McDonald; authors, Arizona State Parks Volunteers and owners of Smiling Dog Landscapes in Gold Canyon; sharing anecdotes about prickly pear cacti, ratany, agaves, jojobas -- and explaining ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. This once-a-month Sunday walk moves to a 1:30 pm start during Fall and Winter months, when guides include ethno-botanist and Choctaw Tribal Nation member David Morris. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers. Read more about jojoba, creosote and prickly pears

Master Gardener Presentations
resume October 3 with "Hot Plants for Cool Spaces"
, again November 7 and December 5
Volunteers with the Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program resume their Fall-Winter once-a-month Saturday series of seminars October 3 with an 11:00 am presentation about "Hot Plants for Cool Spaces." There's no pre-registration required to attend these once-a-month workshops offered by Superstition Mountain Master Gardener volunteers, and no additional fee or enrollment - these are included with daily admission of $10 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. November 7 brings "Co-existing With Wildlife", and December 5 the topic is Plants of the Mediterranean. For more information about our local Master Gardeners, their classes and volunteer work, call Carol at 602-438-4003 or email:

Sunday Arboretum History Walks October 4, again November 1
You may have walked our trails a dozen times and never crossed paths with the Galapagos Tortoise pens. Take a moment to scan the horizon above Picket Post Mountain, can you imagine cavalry soldiers camped in this region in the late 1800s? Learn about the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum on a walking tour guided by Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee on the first Sunday each month this Fall. Walks typically last about 90-minutes, departing at 10am from the Visitor Center breezeway. Correspond with Sylvia, or read more about

Fall Plant Sale October 10 through October 25
Members-Only Friday Sale Preview October 9
Arboretum annual members are invited Friday October 9 for 'first dibs' on what we have in stock - one day before our big seasonal sale opens to the public Saturday Octobe 10, and continues daily thruogh October 25. Trails and gardens are open to all visitors October 9, but much of the plant sale area is reserved for members-only shopping. Wondering what plants are in stock? Browse our Most recent Plant Sale List
If you're not already among our annual members - Fall is a prime time to buy annual membership at BTA, where members save 20-percent on plant purchases during the opening weekend of this fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents. Need planting and landscaping advice? Arboretum staff are joined by knowledgeable volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program there to advise and assist buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for a wide range of landscaping projects. Special events include lectures, guided tours and weekend walks; most are included with daily admission of $10 -- and the final weekend also features our annual Herb Festival, with live music and exhibirtors including the AZ Herb Association, October 24 - Saturday.

Butterfly Walk with a Special Monarch Morning for Kids Saturday,October 10
from 9am-noon

a special class on that Saturday morning for ages 5-12 where kids will learn about the amazing migration and life cycle of monarch butterflies. Kids who are pre-registered for the 10 a.m. "Science & Stories" workshop devoted to monarch migration will get free admission as a bonus (otherwise daily admission's $5 for kids age 5-12). Pre-registration is required, and participating kids must be accompanied by a parents or adult chaperone. Enroll by email to: with a subject line of your email reading "Lacey - Sign Me Up For science & Stories" - and make sure to list the number of children you'll bring, and ages of each. The morning includes a story about monarch butterflies, followed by a presentation about the insects migration. Kids will have a chance to see live monarch butterflies, and also make a "milkweed ball" with instruction.

Trio Rio in Concert -- ‘Americana’ in the Garden October 10
12:30 - 2:00 pm. Pack a picnic and invite friends to hear these accomplished musicians; bandmates include Ron Rutowski plays fiddle, Ronnie Glover on guitar and vocals. At full strength the band includes Don Paddock on bass and Billy Parker on mandolin and vocals. Yes, it can be a four-person trio, and they dub their music 'acoustic americana.
Preview Trio Rio on YouTube
In addition to gigs in Scottsdale they've hit the road for concerts in Texas - two prominent concerts include former AZ governor Janet Napolitano's inauguration party and Sandra Day O'Connor's birthday party. Their set list often includes Pancho and Lefty, El Gallo del Cielo, Miles and Miles of Texas, Sugar Moon, Southwestern Pilgrimage, Cooler than Hell, The Road Goes on Forever, Deep Water, Saint Olof's Gate and Tonight We Ride. Catch ‘em at several venues in Scottsdale and Cave Creek – for the band’s schedule see

Painting Workshops -- Basic October 23-25, and 'Beginners II' November 13-15
$225 for 3-day workshops, with credit card ready, call 520.689.2723 to enroll
Learn the fundamentals of painting with acrylics in two different levels of three-day workshops coached during afternoon hours
from 1:00 - 4:30 PM. Read more about these classes with Gold Canyon Artist Sue Ann Dickey - her goal is to "take the pain out of painting" for beginners, and for anyone who was left frustrated by other painting or art classes, or has drifted away from painting and wants to try again."
What did class participants have to say following their workshops?
Here are quotes excerpted from appraisals: "it was relaxed and a friendly, non-stress atmosphere....our teacher, Sue Ann is very knowledgeable and's okay to experiment - the atmosphere was very supportive and affirming...there was ample time to work on our own with critique. I thoroughly enjoyed this class; Sue Ann's awareness of, and attention to, the varying skillsets and abilities of the participants - I'm already signed up for the next workshop. Read more about Gold Canyon artist Sue Ann Dickey

Mesquite Flour & Cooking Class- October 25, Sunday
10am - included with daily admission, no class registration needed
'Chef Eric' and Terri of Tall Order Catering demonstrate culinary uses for mesquite bean pods -- from which you can grind naturally sweet baking flour. This class is included with regular daily admission of $10; stay til the end of class and you can sample mesquite treats prepared by 'Chef Eric' and Terri of Tall Order Catering offering their spin on mesquite cuisine. October hours move to the Fall-Winter scheduled and BTA is open daily from 8am-4pm starting Oct. 1. Chandler-based Chef Eric & Terri of Tall Order Catering will share recipes and mesquite processing techniques; their culinary presentation accomplice Robert Lewis will have his waffle iron cranked-up for a fresh batch of gluten-free mesquite-flour waffles for guests to sample after class.

Guided Bird Walks - October 25 and 31 -- With November, December Dates to be announced
8:30am - Charlie Babbitt guides November 7, Cindy West November 22
Our resident Northern Cardinals were among dozens of species seen and heard around the gardens this week -- Read bird checklist reports and join us for a guided walk lead by acclaimed photographer Richard Ditch on October 25, Sunday; and then another guided by ASU Professor Dave Pearson on October 31 to learn basic bird identification skills, and where to find birds at BTA. Charlie Babbitt guides our bird walk November 7, then Cindy West guides November 22. Check this page again in mid-September for our updated list of Fall bird walk dates and guides.

Home School Day Tours: November 5 'Edible Medicinal Plants;' Plants of the Bible Lands December 3
for details email Lacey at
Guided tours offered to public school groups are also available to home-schoolers on special Fall-Winter dates. This year we're adding a new tour and date, with an Edible-Medicinal Plants guided walk and activity November 5, and then our popular Plants of the Bible Lands day for home-schoolers is December 3. To be on the email list for the 2016 schedule, and for more information email education coordinator lacey at to be notified about dates

Craft Classes: Gourd Art, Wine Bottle Wind Chimes - And More
Wine Bottle Wind Chimes 9am-1pm on Nov. 4; repeats Jan. 6, 2016 and Feb. 20. $30-$40.
Learn to cut recycled wine bottles to use as the base for a wind chime. Cut bottles will be provided, as well as beads, chain and all materials. Students are encourage to bring needle nose pliers and wire cutters if they have them. Students will leave with a completed project.
Thunder Gourds 9am-1pm Nov. 8; repeats Jan. 20, Feb. 13, April 30. $75-$85
Make a gourd with a synthetic drum head and spring that makes a rumbling thunder-like noise when shaken. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art prior to this class to learn the basics, but it is not required. A cleaned and cut gourd and all materials are provided and students leave with a completed project.
Gourd Art 9am-1pm Nov. 7, Jan. 2, Feb. 6, March 2 and April 6. $35-$45. Basic gourd art includes gourd cleaing and preparation, choosing and drawing a design, woodburning and applying color. A class for beginners and repeat students wanting to improve their skills. A cleaned gourd and all materials are provided; most students leave with a completed project
Closed Coiling on Gourds Jan. 23, Feb. 7, March 23 $45-$55. an introduction to the closed coiling technique, covering paper rush with waxed linen thread, weaving it onto the rim of a gourd to create a decorative finish. A prepared gourd and all materials will be provided. Students may bring special feathers, beads and other adornments if desired. Depending on skill level, this project may not be finished in class. Materials will be provided to take home to complete the project if necessary. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before taking this class, but it is not required. Students may take Gourd Art prior to this class to decorate their gourd, but must let instructors know they are doing so.
Gourd Mask $85-$105 (2-day class). Saturday & Sunday, January 16 & 17; Wednesday and Thursday, February 17 & 18; Saturday & Sunday, March 5 & 6; Saturday & Sunday, April 9 & 10. Make a mask using half of a gourd in this class. Day one is spent designing the mask, woodburning and applying color. Day 2 is spent adding feathers and other adornments to the mask. A prepared gourd and all materials are provided, but students may bring special feathers, beads and other adornments if they want. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art prior to this class to learn the basics, but it is not required. Students will leave with a completed project.
Gourd Rain Sticks Feb. 3, Feb. 27, April 16. $45-$55. Create the sound of rain with a gourd, chicken wire and rice! Students will be provided a clean prepared gourd and all materials. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before taking this class, but it is not required. Students will leave with a completed project
Living Succulent Wreath or Centerpiece. Dec 2, Dec. 6. $30-$40. Students will make a living wreath or centerpiece using succulent cuttings. Plants and all materials are provided, but students may bring special bows or other items for decoration. Students will leave with a completed project.
Pine Needle Coiling on Gourds, Jan. 3, also April 20. $45-$55. Students will learn to weave pine needles on the rim of a gourd to create a decorative finish. A clean and prepared gourd and all materials are provided, but students may bring special feathers, beads or other adornments if they like. It is recommended that students take Gourd Art to learn the basics before this class, but it is not required. Students may take Gourd Art prior to this class to decorate their gourd, but must let instructors know they are doing so. Most students will complete their project in class, materials will be provided to finish at home if necessary
Terrarium March 11 & March 12 from 10am-3pm. $15. Walk-in class, reservations not needed. Create an indoor garden in a glass container with the succulents of your choice. Large glass containers, soil and rocks will be provided, students will purchase their succulent plants separately. Students may bring special accessories for their terrarium and will leave with a completed project.

Girl Scout Badge Workshops 2015-2016
Nov. 14 & 15, Dec. 5, Jan. 9, Jan. 30 and more Winter-Spring dates
$10 per scout, $10 per adult chaperone - call 520.689.2723 to pre-register and prepay

Letterboxer (for Brownie level scouts); Nov. 14 from 10am-12:30pm. Learn the history of letterboxing, and how to read a letterbox map and code. They will then create their own letterbox, making a unique handmade stamp and notebook. The Scouts will then break into small groups and go on a letterbox hunt in the Arboretum’s Demonstration Garden, using clues from letterbox maps to locate letterboxes hidden earlier by Arboretum staff. Cadette scouts have the "Trees" badge session Nov. 15 from 9am-1:30pm, exploring the variety of trees at the Arboretum with an arborist and learning about care, needs and parts of a tree. Participants will make a tree journal, a tasty dish with ingredients that come from trees, and make a family tree with tree cookies. *Depending on season and need, Scouts may be able to help plant or care for a tree. Dec. 5 Junior scouts have the "Arizona" badge from 9am-12:30pm. The Arboretum is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is the perfect place to learn about the diverse cultures, wildlife and plant life that make Arizona unique. The Girl Scouts will tour behind the scenes of the Arboretum to see how a state park operates, and hike the trail to learn to identify plants and wildlife. Scouts will also learn to prepare Navajo tacos, taste foods from native plants and participate in activities designed to teach about the history of Arizona (Cadettes have this badge workshop Jan. 9, 2016.Other 2016 workshops include Geocatching for Juniors Jan. 30, Flowers for Juniors March 26, 'Bugs' for Brownies April 3, and 'Gardener' for Juniors April 23; 'Animal Habitats' for Juniors May 1, 'Senses' for Brownies May 7, 'Wood Worker' for Cadettes May 14 and the 'Arizona' patch for Brownies May 21

Calling All Authors -- Arboretum Book Festival November 21
Meet authors from across southern Arizona, writers from genres ranging from historical fiction and non-fiction, to mystery and suspense, memoir and children's books. Our Autumn foliage remains glorious in early December, here's a chance 'to meet the person behind the pen' and take home personalized holiday gifts for bookworms on your list. Plans for the day include readings by select authors, music; maybe even a writing workshop!
Visit our website in November for the agenda and list of participating authors; and authors who'd like to be involved, please contact co-coordinators by email to Or call BTA 520. 689. 2723

Spider Talk -- and Web Walk -- Saturday with Terry Stone
Saturday, May 30th, 10 a.m. in the Smith Building Lecture Room
Are you (or someone you know) just a wee-bit squeamish when it comes to the subject of spiders? If a spider is on your ceiling, do you contemplate burning down the house to get rid of it? Now is a good time to allay those fears and learn a few fascinating things about our eight-legged friends. Spider enthusiast and BTA writer/photographer T. Stone offers you a chance to familiarize yourself with the common local spiders and will help dispel any qualms you may have of them. Did you know that brown recluses don't exist in Arizona, but other, less venomous, members of the same spider family do? Did you know that black widows are exceedingly shy of humans? Did you know that we have such fascinating arachnids as spitting spiders and "wind scorpions." T. Stone will present a slide show, live specimens, and then walk you around a portion of the BTA to look at various webs and arachnids. No more need for that rolled up newspaper! Get rid of your arachnophobia with a little practical instruction and a few laughs in this informal talk. Free with general admission or membership. Kids are welcome to attend with their grown-ups, but this is not a talk designed for young children.

Camera Basics: Moving To Manual With Michael Madsen & Patty Van Herpen
DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED call 520-689-2723 to be on our mailing list f
Looking for an inexpensive class in photography and camera basics? Sign-up soon for this one: an informal but thorough Saturday afternoon that begins with classroom time, then moves outdoors for in-the-field camera practice and coaching. One recent participant wrote this: "I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this class, it was extremely helpful to me. The instructors, specially Michael, were professional, knowledgable and were able to relate well to the group. Thanks so much.". Here's one more: ""I loved the camera class given by Michael & Patty! Information was presented very well and the hands-on shoot that afternoon very helpful. An informative, and also fun class as well. BTA is one of my favorite places to go for learning." Read more complete details on our Photo Class Page

Bye-Bye Buzzards - on a September Saturday To Be Announced
7am Vulture Viewing, 8:30am bird walk, 9am-1pm Live Bird Exhibit
March 21 brings the Spring Equinox, observed by cultures from the ancient Greeks to Aboriginal Australians; the Arboretum has a day filled with events starting just after sunrise with the annual 'Welcome Back Buzzards' seasonal send-off. with a special Saturday early opening at 7:00 am, one hour early for this month, to see the famous flock of Turkey Vultures perched on the cliffs before they depart to spend their day soaring the skies. World-traveled ASU Professor Dave Pearson will be our special guest 'Vulture-ologist' from 7:00-8:30, talking about the big black birds, answering questions and sharing his appreciation for the soaring scavengers until the vultures take to the skies -- typically by 8:30am. Dr. Pearson and others will guide birdwalks through the gardens at 8:30, and from 9:00-2:00 volunteer wildlife rehabbers from the Arizona Game & Fish Department will have their popular living exhibit of raptors and reptiles set up near the Smith Building, so kids and adults alike can have closeup views of a real, live Turkey Vulture along with hawks and owls.
View a Bye Bye Buzzards Day event video by Arboretum Volunteer Mike Rolfe

Full Moon Drum Circle DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Looking for a unique way to salute the rising full moon? Cindy Green is organizing a ‘Full Moon Drum Circle’ on that Sunday evening, two hours of participatory percussion beneath our towering and shady trees that encircle the Smith Building courtyard. Drummers are invited to call Cindy Green at 480-299-4129, or to email Cindy at [] for details. Green coaches drum-building workshops, and says all drums are welcome. No percussion? No problem! Green will bring a few loaners for those who wish to participate and revel in the ancient sound of drums echoing in the towering hackberry and mesquite trees which shade the Smith Building front courtyard. BTA closes at ____ p.m. during ______; we'll reopen the main gate at ______ for BTA members on this special evening. The two-hour drum circle begins at_______, continuing through sunset and by the light of the rising full moon, expected at _________, ending and closing the park again at dark _______. You're not among our members yet, but would like to join us and attend? Membership starts at $50 for a full year for a couple - and that includes a pair of one-time-use guests passes to bring two friends or family for a visit; with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723 to order a membership by phone. View a short film clip of Cindy Green drumming at BTA

Members-Only Evening Access - Scorpion Walk And Astronomy DATE TBA
Hot SUMMER daytime temperatures drop at sunset; evening hours from 6:00-8:00 p.m. can be a sublime time to enjoy a picnic and walk around our gardens -- which is why we reserve special access on Summer nights for Arboretum annual members! June 13 brings our next evening of special after-hours-access; bring your own picnic for dinner in the shady picnic area from 6:30-7:30pm, followed by nighttime activities including a scorpion walk and astronomy. Bring your BTA membership card, and join us for an evening of special access including:
* gate reopens at 6:30 pm - bring-your-own dinner for an evening in our picnic area
* Scorpion Lecture 7:30-8:30 p.m.
* UV "Scorp Walk" 8:30-9:30
* Astronomy in the upper parking lot 9:30-10:00 p.m.