Archive for the ‘Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist’ Tag

Greater Roadrunner — “So Shall His Life Be Taken Away”   1 comment

Greater Roadrunner at the End of Life — Images by kenne

There is no such thing as death.
In nature nothing dies.
From each sad remnant of decay,
some forms of life arise
so shall his life be taken away
before he knoweth that he hath it.

–Charles Mackay

“Now You See It” — Fun Facts   Leave a comment

Kenne with 1st graders (1 of 1) blog

The morning sun
Warms the benches.

Picture this,
If you can.

Now you see it,
Now you don’t.

Blinding in
Is the game.

Listen while I tell
you a fun fact.

This box
Is a hard seat.

I love setting
down on the job.

— kenne

Kenne with 1st graders (1 of 1)-2 blog“Now You See It” is the Title of One of the SCVN Elementary Programs
— Images by Phil Bentley

Tanque Verde 2nd Grade Field Trip   4 comments

As a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist,  I enjoy teaching children about nature — thanks for sharing, Cathy. It was a pleasure to be with polite, inquisitive  children interested in learning about nature.

Life is good and I love it!


The Naturalist — The Man In The White Shirt   6 comments

Ralph Mersiowsky Sabino Canyon March 27, 2014-1492 II blog

Ralph Mersiowsky Sabino Canyon March 27, 2014-1492 blog I

Ralph Mersiowsky Sabino Canyon March 27, 2014-1491 blogSabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist, Ralph Mersiowsky Recently Passed Away In Tucson
—  March 27, 2014 by Images by kenne

The Man In The White Shirt

Everyone who walked with
Ralph Mersiowsky
can share many stories about
the man in the white shirt.

During my naturalists training
I observed naturalists
teaching children,
each with his/her
naturalists vest
covered with badges
and many pockets
full of rocks,
minerals, seeds and pictures.

Of the naturalists
with whom I have walked,
from which I learned and
shared knowledge of nature,
Ralph will always be
the man in the white shirt.

For three years
I have spent
Thursday mornings with
elementary school children and
the man in the white shirt.

He has a star
above the canyon
that will always shine
on the hundreds of children
who are closer to nature
because of Ralph Mersiowsky,
the man in the white shirt —
a big-hearted, gentle man.

— kenne 

Sabino Canyon Children’s Program — “Strike It Rich”   2 comments

Panning for Garnets — Images by kenne (Click On Any Of The Images To See A Slideshow)

One of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist’s programs is Strike It Rich. This program is designed to teach elementary school students about the geology of the Santa Catalina Mountains, which include panning for garnets is the Sabino Canyon creek.


Harris Hawks Plus Power Poles Equal Danger   2 comments

Ned's Nature Walk- blog

Ned's Nature Walk-9991 blogHarris Hawk on a power pole along the Sabino Canyon south border. — Image by kenne

Ned's Nature Walk-9717 blogGray caps placed over wires to protect rafters from electrocution. — Image by kenne

Raptors are often injured or killed on electric power poles in urban areas like Tucson. The poles make attractive perches for the big birds

Last December a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist found a dead Peregrine Falcon below a utility pole on the border of Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. The Tucson Electric Power (TEP) was contacted, responding quickly with representatives from the University of Arizona to evaluate the area. To reduce the possible electrocution of rafters, TEP designed caps to be placed on the power poles (gray caps in the third image above). 

Harris’s hawks occur in the United States only in the southern portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, with the largest concentration is between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. Electrical power poles are like a magnet to raptors looking for the highest point they can find to perch, creating the largest single cause of mortality facing raptors.

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has stated that due to the hawks’ nesting and hunting habits, they are at greater risk of electrocution than other raptors. “Harris’ hawks are unique in that they breed, nest, and hunt communally, they are vulnerable to multiple deaths at once.”


Agave Stalk — Over Twelve Feet Since Thanksgiving   5 comments

Desert Museum-9854 agave stalk blog framedThis Agave Stalk Has Grown Over Twelve Feet Since Thanksgiving.
The Power of Tequila! — Image by kenne

Agave [Cactus]
by Carol Hamilton

You don’t squeeze tequila
from a pumped up, rubbery leaf.
Nothing is easy in Mexico,
and everything takes time,
patience, muscle. Hacking
and digging and hacking
and a deep pit and fire
and time and time and time.
I lose time, forget it at
the other end of the tequila,
but left to me, that cactus
would still be standing there
on the [Sonora] Desert

This poem can be found in the book, AGAVE

“If you like tequila,
you will love the art,
songs, poems, stories,
and recipes in

Since moving to Tucson and becoming a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist, I know agaves are not cacti, and I live in the Sonoran Desert, not the Sonora Desert. However, since poets like to take poetic license, I will give Carol a pass on this one.


Capturing The Moment — Kings Canyon’s Cactushenge   5 comments

King Canyon To Wasson Peak

“Cactushenge” — Image by kenne

English: Stonehenge Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Sto...

English: Stonehenge Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Stonehenge itself is owned and managed by English Heritage whilst the surrounding downland is owned by the National Trust. Français : Stonehenge Stonehenge, Royaume-Uni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I saw this group of cacti, the image that came to mind was that of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. In my mind, they represent what remains of a ring of ancient cacti — use your imagination! (The hikers in the image are part of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) Friday lead hike.)

— kenne

Capturing The Moment — Mountain Lion   5 comments

5109ef13309ae.preview-620Image by Jay Carey

Many of us who spend time in Sabino Canyon, and the Tucson area mountains in general, would love to have an opportunity to photograph a mountain lion. Tuesday morning Jay and Nancy Carey were able to video a big cat near the Cactus Panic area, which is where the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist (SCVN) kindergarten program takes place. This is an area when mountain lions have been spotted  before, so all SCVN are on alert as they work with children. Click the link below to read more in the Arizona Daily Star.



It’s A Bird, It’s A Verdin, No It’s A Kinglet!   5 comments

Tosh Lawrence Nature WalkTosh Lawrence Conducting a Training Session In Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

Last week I was videoing and taking photos of one of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN), Tosh Lawrence, conducting a nature walk training session for new and experienced naturalists. Tosh shared a lot of her excellent teaching techniques, and one point in the riparian area by the dam, we spotted a small bird jumping around among brush on the ground. At the time, I had the video camera going and the following short clip was what I was able to capture. Note the back and forth as to what kind of bird we were watch. Our expert birder friends have got to love it, but remember, some of us are still learning.


Capturing The Moment — Butterflies On The SCVN Nature Walk   8 comments

Two-tailed Swallowtail on a Wheeler Thistle

Black Swallowtail on a Wheeler Thistle

Pipevine Swallowtail on a Wheeler Thistle

Azure butterflies, which a brilliant blue color when the wings are open.

Arizona Sister

Arizona Sister In Stealth Position (Note the body shadow through the wing.)

Azure Butterflies

These butterflies were among the many alone the mountain stream trail going up from Marshall Gulch on Mount Lemmon, conducted by the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) yesterday.


Capturing The Moment — Red-tail Hawk, Ready Or Not!   Leave a comment

Red-tail Hawk — Image by kenne

This past Monday, the “Monday Morning Milers” were hiking south of Rose Canyon Lake on a trail that provides beautiful views in the Santa Catalina mountains. My camera setting were for high-resolution and excellent depth of field photographs when two red-tail hawks began diving at one another in the sky behind me — turning, I quickly zoomed in on one of the hawks, knowing that my camera settings were inappropriate for action rafter shots. Clicking away while changing the shutter speed, time became my enemy as the hawk flew between the sun and my camera.

The above image was shot at a shutter speed of 160th of a second, too slow for 300 mm shots. I usually try to hike with my camera preset and therefore ready for high-speed action shots, which is a practice I learned from fellow Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist (SCVN) and expert rafter photography, Ned Harris — maybe next time I will be ready.


Capturing The Moment — Yellow-eyed Junco In Blue   1 comment

Yellow-eyed Juncos — Images by kenne

The yellow-eyed junco does not have blue coloring. However, when the photographer (me) has only a working knowledge of birds and when the lighting may give a blue cast to its gray areas, the result can offer some difficulty in identifying the bird. I appreciate the help of Mark Hengesbaugh and Edi Moore, fellow Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN), in helping me focus less on what looked like blue to see that this very active little bird is a yellow-eyed junco, not a bluebird.


Capturing The Moment — Gathering Elegant Lupine   Leave a comment

Images by kenne

This little guy was busy gathering elegant lupine within a two foot radius of her den. She would slink out, nip a lupine and back straight back into her hole in the ground. She entertained several Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists as we waited for the arrival of a group of third graders.


Capturing The Moment — Sabino Canyon Beggar   1 comment

Ground Squirrel — Image by kenne

Most of the time it’s not easy to photograph these little ground squirrels, since they move quickly behind desert ground cover. However, on this day when some of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists were walking back from conducting the “Web of Life” program with 60 3rd graders, this guy was spotted behind a prickly pear cactus near the path. We stopped, not realizing that this must have been a signal for him to come out and greet us. When I reached into my pocket for my point & shot camera, he stood up. This response led us to conclude he thought I was reaching for food, which means this behavior was being reinforced by visitors to the canyon. Not wanting to reinforce the behavior, we moved on.

A short distance on down the trail, we made the mistake of looking back, to see he was still standing there.

“How could we keep going without giving him something?”

But, we didn’t have anything to give him, that is until one of us checked the many pockets in our naturalist vests and found the mesquite bean pod we use when working with the elementary-school kids. So, we walked back and gave him a pod.

Okay, we know this was not good naturalist behavior, but . . .


Ground Squirrel with Mesquite pod. — Image by kenne

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