Boyce Thompson Arboretum hosts summer nature walks

Sceloporus Magister, a desert spiny lizard

Sceloporus Magister, a desert spiny lizard

Daily hours at Boyce Thompson Arboretum returned to the spring-summer schedule of 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on May 1 continuing through Labor Day weekend in September. Guided tours offered each month also move to morning start times, taking advantage of comparatively cooler temperatures and are included with admission of $10 for adults and $5 for ages 5 to 12. It’s worth bookmarking BTA’s website ( among your browser favorites; check for special events such as summer evening concerts, photography classes and other events.

June dates include:

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks at 8:00 a.m. May 31, June 14 and 29. These spring-summer weekend guided outings for kids (and adults and all who enjoy Arizona’s most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles) are a chance to learn and see native herps. Bring sunscreen, wide brimmed hat and carry water.

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk, June 21 at 8:00 a.m. 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. Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring sunscreen and a hat; carry water. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair accessible paths.

Geology Walking Tour at 8:00 a.m. June 28. Professional geologists Steve Semken, Rich Leveille and Scott McFadden alternate as special guest guides each month for this walk; a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour that 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.

Edible – Medicinal Desert Plants Walk June 22 guided By Dave Morris at 8:00 a.m. Explore the Curandero Trail on this guided tour, a one hour walk where ethno-botanist and Choctaw Nation expert guide Dave Morris shares his knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. 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.

Butterfly Walk June 28 at 8:30 a.m. (also July 26, August 23 and September 27). ASU Professor Ron Rutowski leads this walk. A chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterfly species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more on a relaxed and slow moving walk that explores our Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children’s Garden collections.

July 5 Dragonfly Walk, Saturday at 8:30 a.m. (repeats August 2 and September 6). Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut leads the season debut dragonfly walk. A chance to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Skimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen; carry water and stay hydrated.