Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m. to Noon
Girl Scouts will gather Saturday near Sabino Canyon to learn about one of our community’s most valued desert riparian areas, and help to rid the area of a non-native plant that threatens its viability.
Girl Scouts from kindergarten through 10th grade will join forces with volunteers from the Tucson Audubon Society, the Hidden Valley Homeowners Association, the University of Arizona’s SAHRA program, Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists and other environmental groups to help clear the Sabino and Bear creeks of “giant reed” plants, also known as arundo.
Scouts also will learn how to use GPS devices to map the location of arundo plants for future clearing efforts.
Arundo is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It can grow to a height of 20 feet in a year, choking out other native plants, including much larger cottonwood and mesquite trees. Arundo is a threat to creeks and rivers, including the Santa Cruz River, as well as the wildlife that depend on those riparian habitats.
The U.S. Forest Service has enlisted the help of environmental groups and other volunteers to dig all arundo plants out of the Sabino Canyon area.
“We really appreciate the Girl Scouts and their interest in learning more about the environment, and helping us with the arundo problem,” says Jim Washburne, an adjunct assistant professor of hydrology and water resources with SAHRA (Sustainability of semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas) and a volunteer with Arizona Rivers, another environmental group.
Washburne will be one of several environmental experts working with the Girl Scouts on Saturday.
Note to Editors: The location of Saturday’s giant reed removal project is near the junction of Sabino Canyon and Bear creeks. The Hidden Valley Homeowners Association is making parking available in a dirt lot next to a private residence, at 4920 N. Hidden Valley Road.