Ironwood Forest National Monument — home to grand stands of some of the longest-living trees in the Sonoran Desert — is little known to many Tucsonans, but an event Saturday offers an on-site introduction.

Called “Meet the Monument,” the free event, organized by the Friends of Ironwood Forest, begins at 8 a.m. and continues to 3 p.m.

It will include guided hikes, a bird walk and presentations on archaeology of the area, animals, cacti and trees — including the monument’s star ironwoods, which can live as long as 800 to 1,200 years.

“This is a great event because we’re able to give people a real in-depth and interactive view of what makes the monument unique on so many levels,” said Lahsha Brown, executive director of the Friends group. “We have people speaking on a variety of topics, but you don’t have to just listen. You can also ask questions and go out on the land together.”

Topics covered by speakers will include ironwoods and bighorn sheep that live on the monument.

“I like to call the ironwoods on the monument the old growth of the Sonoran Desert,” Brown said. “It’s also very interesting that there is a distinct bighorn population. It’s estimated at about 65 to 75 animals.”

Among other presentations will be a talk by a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe on the Yaqui relationship to the desert. Yaqui deer dancers also will appear at the event.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz