Wildflowers are bursting into brilliant bloom in deserts around Tucson — and Saguaro National Park officials could use your help in getting a handle on the extent of the bloom at the park.
They are inviting members of the public to join botanists March 7 to conduct a species inventory of blooming wildflowers along trails at the park’s units east and west of Tucson.
The event, known as a Wildflower Mini BioBlitz, begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at noon. See the accompanying box for registration information.
“Five botanists will lead five groups of 12 to 15 participants on hikes,” said Andy Fisher, chief of interpretation at the park. “Each group will go out and walk a trail — and they will stop and count and catalog every flowering annual plant species that they find.”
Participants will learn to identify wildflower species blooming in the park. In addition, they will have the opportunity to assist botanists by photographing wildflowers, finding flower species not yet recorded and counting the number of flowering plants present along the trail.
“The strong winter rains promise to give us one of the most stunning wildflower seasons in years,” Fisher said. “This is a year to find some species that have not been available to us for the past few years when we haven’t had the right conditions” for extensive blooms.
She said it’s even possible that botanists and volunteers will find one or more species that haven’t previously been documented on the park’s plant lists.
Wildflower-themed programs will be held throughout the day March 7 at the visitor centers of the park’s east and west units. Park entrance fees of $10 per vehicle will be in effect for people attending the visitor center events, but entrance fees will be waived for registered participants in the BioBlitz.