As part of a new partnership, The Nature Conservancy and Maricopa County's Parks and Recreation Department is integrating the 770-acre Hassayampa River Preserve near Wickenburg as a component of the planned Vulture Mountains Recreation Area. Read more about the Hassayampa-Maricopa partnership.
For most of its 100-mile course through the desert, the Hassayampa River flows only underground, but within the preserve it flows above ground throughout the year.
Local photographer Melissa Oehler documents many outdoor education events such as “Buzz about Bees” where people learn about honey production and the role bees play in our food supply.
Whether children are just learning to walk or attend high school, the preserve offers opportunities to get them connected to nature and engaged in learning about the world around us.
During a picnic, Conner Troxell plants sunflower seeds and learns how to care for plants.
Hiking is one of the adventures children embark on during summer camps. Other activities include study of birds, plants, animals, water resources, and streamside habitats.
Color pops in the preserve’s desert garden which features cactus, low water usage native plants and trees.
Teaching children the importance of water, where it comes from and how it gets to our faucet is a priority at the preserve.
Claret cup hedgehog cactus in bloom at Hassayampa.
Animated reactions by Nature Ranger sisters Taylor and Hannah Leakey when they see their first tarantula. The hairy-legged spiders are often spotted on the preserve during the monsoon.
Willow Aune participates in desert plant cooking, one of dozens of outdoor education classes offered during the year.
The Vulture Mountains Recreation Area encompasses 71,000 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape near Hassayampa River Preserve.
The vast Vulture Mountains Recreation Area offers an abundance of recreation activities including hiking and camping.