jays-bird-barn-9-3-15September is a busy month, and not just for migrating birds! As I look ahead, there are several community events with an emphasis on the great outdoors-which we are so blessed to enjoy here in the Central Highlands area of Arizona.

Saturday, Sept. 5 is the kickoff for the eighth annual Hiking Spree sponsored by the Highlands Center for Natural History (HCNH). There will be an early-bird hike at 7:30 a.m., followed by a 9 continental breakfast and a presentation by Nigel Reynolds, author of the Prescott Circle Trail book. A kick-off hike at 10 rounds out this event.

Friday, Sept. 11, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. is the Highlands Nature Festival Opening Symposium at the HCNH. A four-member panel will respond to questions on the topic of why the study of natural history is important to building a sustainable society. Panel members are John Flicker, Prescott College President, Sarah Porter, Executive Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU’s Morrison Institute, Walt Anderson, Prescott College Professor of Ecological Studies, and Nichole Trushell,

Founding Director of the HCNH.

Saturday, Sept. 12, the HCNH, in collaboration with Prescott Creeks, Yavapai Group Sierra Club, the Prescott Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society, the Natural History Institute of Prescott College and the Heritage Park Zoo present Prescott’s first Highlands Nature Festival. Events will take place at multiple locations all day Saturday. Local and regional naturalists and collaborative organizations will lead innovative and interactive hands-on field trips and workshops. Field trip topics include-but are not limited to-local geology, botany, ornithology, butterflies and insects.

Saturday’s inaugural Nature Festival will include a wide variety of creative field-based workshops, some at the Highlands Center’s Lynx Creek site and others traveling to regional nature destinations. The events are open to all adults who are curious about the natural world of the Central Arizona Highlands and want to learn more.

Saturday, Sept. 19, Prescott Creeks is celebrating its 25th year of working to restore and protect our water quality, waterways and the surrounding natural areas in and around our Prescott community. This event takes place from noon to 4:30 p.m. with activities including guided walks in Watson Woods (including a bird walk), tours of their recently completed rain gardens, natural landscaping for water retention, food, refreshments and family activities. For more information and pre-registration information, check

out the Prescott Creeks website at www.PrescottCreeks.org.

Saturday, Sept. 26 is the 20th anniversary celebration of Acker Park, located just south of Gurley Street at the end of Virginia Street. Join the friends of J.S. Acker on National Public Lands Day as they celebrate the preservation of Mr. Acker’s park bequest and those who made it all happen. Activities include an 8 a.m. bird walk with Eric Moore, Natural History Walks at 8:30, 9, and 9:30 a.m., a Discover the Circle Trail talk at 9:30 a.m., a Youth Discovery Trail walk at 10 a.m. and finally, at 11 a.m., the dedication program with refreshments and cupcakes.

Sunday, Sept. 27, the HCNH will be hosting the seventh annual Wander the Wild fundraising event at Talking Rock Ranch from 2:30 to 7 p.m. The food will be amazing, and there will be a lot of exciting adventure auction packages. For more information on all of the different HCNH events mentioned in today’s column, please contact the Highlands Center at 928-776-9550.

Whew, that is a lot! Not to mention what is happening in the bird world. September is a busy month for bird migration-many of ‘our’ birds will be leaving, and our fall and winter birds will start to arrive.

Until next week, Happy Birding!