Zion National Park Picture, Zion Natural History Association logo
News Release 2009


The wet weather of late gives hope for a stellar wildflower display this spring. Zion Canyon Field Institute is positioned to take advantage of this with numerous classes focusing on botany this spring.

This botanical bonanza all gets started on April 3 & 4 with the increasingly popular “Lytle Preserve” class. Thirty-six miles west of St. George, Utah, across the Beaver Dam Mountains, is a natural oasis known as the Lytle Preserve. Plant and animal diversity offers an ironic contrast in what seems, at first, to be an inhospitable environment. The low elevation course of the entrenched Beaver Dam Creek has provided a pathway for plants, animals, and humans into the Beaver Dam Wash vicinity. A year-round water source on the Lytle Preserve is an unusual feature in the margin of the Mohave Desert, which extends into Utah at this point. The unusual combination of geology, climate, elevation and water supply supports many trees, shrubs, and wildlife, most of which are unique to this part of Utah. Join a ZCFI geologist, botanist, and birder during peak spring migratory bird season for a multi discipline study of this incredible natural resource.

April continues with two wildflower classes; “Zion’s Low Desert Wildflowers” on April 10 and “Mojave Wildflowers” on April 25. In between these two classes folks looking to create more desert-friendly landscaping around their homes can sign up for “Native Plants and Xeriscaping” on April 18. If you want to take a stab at drawing your wildflowers there is a “Watercolor Journaling” class also on April 18. And on April 18 Zion Canyon celebrates Earth Day with activities in both the park and neighboring Springdale.

May brings three more classes with botany as a major component. On May 9 & 10 ZCFI is offering their new class entitled “Zion 101” which is the interaction of geology and botany and how each affects the other with regards to desert ecosystems. “Kolob Wildflowers” on May 15 moves our enjoyment of the spring wildflower display up to the higher elevations of the Kolob Finger Canyons in the northwest corner of the park. Moving up higher still on May 30 we offer our naturalist-guided “Rim to Floor” hike on the East Rim.

On June 13 we are offering another new class “The Hanging Gardens of Zion.” Zion is renowned for its “hanging gardens” created by the contact line of Navajo sandstone with Kayenta shale. Join us on a Saturday visit to major hanging garden locations in the park where will hopefully see Scarlet Monkeyflower, Zion Shooting Star, and Western and Golden Columbine in their full splendor.

Zion Canyon Field Institute is the educational arm of Zion Natural History Association and all classes are fee-based. Proceeds from class tuition help Zion Natural History Assoication further their mission goals in support of Zion National Park. For more information or to register please call Michael Plyler @ 435-772-3264 OR email: plyler.zcfi@yahoo.com. Registration can also be accomplished online @ www.zionpark.org. From the home page click on Field Institute.

Complete Schedule of 2008 ZCFI Workshops and Seminars


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