The Friends of the Rio de Flag is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to protect, restore, clean up and improve the Rio de Flag and its tributaries to maximize their beauty, educational, recreational, and natural resource values, including the riparian habitats they provide.

Where is the Rio de Flag anyway? Click here to see a 3D image of the Rio watershed.


December 1st @ 6pm: annual potluck meeting

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Rio de Flag sign on Thorpe Ave. bridge, morning after first snow of season, Nov. 5, 2015, along the Rio de Flag and FUTS trail, Flagstaff

Rio de Flag sign on Thorpe Ave. bridge, morning after first snow of season, Nov. 5, 2015, along the Rio de Flag and FUTS trail, Flagstaff. Photo courteous of Tom Bean

Another year passed, and another potluck by which to celebrate our accomplishments! Please join us on Thursday, December 1st for a report out from the Friends of the Rio Board members. We will share our past accomplishments along with our future goals as we carry on the mission of the Friends of the Rio to, “promote the Rio de Flag’s natural stream system as a unique and valuable natural resource, an asset, and amenity to the City of Flagstaff and the surrounding community.”

Please join us for a 2016 report out to membership at 6pm on Thursday, December 1st at the Montoya Community Center. Bring along a friend and your favorite dish to share in this year’s feast!

November meeting with Tom Whitham follow up: dig a little deeper

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Click the icon above to open the article in a new window. Copyright High Country News

Click the icon above to open the article in a new window. Copyright High Country News

Thank you to Tom Whitham for his fascinating presentation on creating a plant genetic repository for the future of Arizona ecosystems. We invite you to delve deeper into Tom’s discussion through this June 2015 High Country News article “Tree of Life” by Cally Carswell. The article features Tom and his colleagues’ work with the idea that, “to save the most species, conservationists might do best to save the common ones they depend on.” Thanks again, Tom, and enjoy the read everyone!

November 3rd @ 6pm: Free monthly meeting

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Combining Science and Restoration of the Rio de Flag: Creating a Genetic Repository for the Future

Thursday, November 3rd @ 6pm

Montoya Community Center

Riparian restoration on the Rio de Flag in Cheshire. Cottonwoods, willows and aspen about 15 years after planting (foreground not planted) - Photo by Tom Whitham

Riparian restoration on the Rio de Flag in
Cheshire. Cottonwoods, willows and aspen
about 15 years after planting (foreground not
planted) – Photo by Tom Whitham

Riparian restoration efforts provide the combined benefits of improving ecohydrological health and beautifying unhealthy habitats. Community members and scientists alike have conducted restoration efforts throughout the Rio de Flag watershed, using techniques specific to addressing watershed needs in the present and in the face of climate change in the future.

Please join us on Thursday, November 3rd as we are joined by Tom Whitham, Regent’s Professor at Northern Arizona University. Tom will discuss his restoration efforts along the Rio de Flag and how these have created a genetic repository for the future.

We look forward to having you Thursday, November 3rd at 6pm for a presentation and discussion of science and restoration of the Rio de Flag.

Are you interested in serving on the Board of the Friends of the Rio de Flag?

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f-or-logo-1We invite you to consider joining the Board of the Friends of the Rio de Flag (FoRIO). The functionality of any group is often related to the effectiveness and vision of the Board.  Without the engagement of members on the Board, an organization often loses its capacity to meet its mission and commitments.

To that end, we invite you to consider either nominating another FoRIO member or nominating yourself to the Board.  Board members commit to one 2 hour meeting per month and various follow-up information gathering, reading and thoughtful purposing in identifying the most critical task needed to be addressed by the Board and the FoRIO membership.

Please email deflagrio@gmail.com with a short description of yourself, why you are interested in joining the Board, and what skills you can contribute to the successful functionality of the Friends of the Rio.

October 22nd: Make a Difference Day

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Join us at the I-40 Wetlands on Saturday, October 22nd for Make a Difference Day. Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography

Join us at the I-40 Wetlands on Saturday, October 22nd for Make a Difference Day. Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography

The City of Flagstaff has partnered with several local organizations, including Friends of the Rio de Flag, Natural Channel Design, Inc. and Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, for this year’s Make a Difference Day service event on Saturday, October 22nd, 8 am – 12 pm. 

We are in need of volunteers to complete a series of restoration and improvement projects at the I-40 Wetlands, a lush section of Sinclair Wash located along the Flagstaff Urban Trail System.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Creating plant and bird species lists as part of a BioBlitz
  • Planting willow trees
  • Removing trash and debris
  • Removing invasive species and excess vegetation
  • Cleaning out a culvert to support increased water flow into the upstream wetlands

Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference in Flagstaff with family and friends on Saturday, October 22nd from 8 am-12 pm at the I-40 Wetlands! Parking will be available near the site (near Sam’s Club) There will be a 7 am start for those interested in building a bird species list with local experts.

Please contact Maggie Twomey at MTwomey@flagstaffaz.gov or (928) 213-2144 to sign up to volunteer. Please bring a hat, reusable water container, work gloves, sturdy shoes, and tools (shovels). Waders would also be beneficial. Some tools will be provided. We will also provide water, coffee, donuts, and a pizza lunch.

 

 

BioBlitz draws hundreds to Frances Short Pond

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Arizona Daily Sun • October 1, 2016

Participants collect data at the September 27th BioBlitz at Frances Short Pond. Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography

Participants collect data at the September 27th BioBlitz at Frances Short Pond. Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography

On Sept. 27, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, Friends of the Rio de Flag, and multiple other partners organized a Bioblitz at Frances Short Pond.

Stations were set up around the pond that collected information about water quality, aquatic insects, birds, plants and fish. More than 260 students from Marshall Elementary, Flagstaff Junior Academy, and Mount Elden Middle School measured the temperature and dissolved oxygen of the water, used microscopes to identify the aquatic invertebrates they caught, wandered the pond in search of common plants, used binoculars to spot ducks and red-winged blackbirds, fished for rainbow trout, and then pulled together what they learned by constructing a life cycle diagram of an organism of their choice. In the afternoon community members got the same chance to explore this unique ecosystem in their backyard while contributing to the survey data collection.

“The kids and families were super happy to be out conducting citizen science for such a special place in Flagstaff. Watching the binoculars focus in on mallards, coots and blackbirds, eyes grow wide at discovering beetles and bees, and screams of excitement catching their first fish- what a memorable day of science in its simplest form,” said Brenda Strohmeyer, Rocky Mountain Research Station supervisory biological science technician, and event co-organizer.

Valerie Brazzell, whose son Maddox, a 4th grader at Marshall Elementary, participated during the morning school period said “my son came home from school all excited and told me he had a lot of much fun. I decided to check it out too. We participated together in the afternoon session, had a great time, and learned a lot”.

Chelsea Silva, AmeriCorps VISTA watershed stewardship aide with Friends of the Rio de Flag and the City of Flagstaff, who was also in charge of the Plant ID station, said that everyone at her station was super engaged and excited to be part of this effort. “I can’t wait for next time” she added.

Moran Henn, Willow Bend’s executive director and one of the event’s co-organizers, concluded that the event was a huge success.

“This was a true multi-partner collaborative effort, held in conjunction with the Flagstaff Festival of Science,” she said. “I can’t thank our volunteers, experts, and helpers enough. They did such a great job and the result is hundreds of happy students, teachers, and community members who got to spend the day outside, learn about their local environment, and contribute to meaningful data collection and open space management.”

Additional event partners included multiple departments from the City of Flagstaff including Sustainability Section Open Space Program and Storm Water, The Museum of Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon Trust, AZ Game and Fish, local illustrator Zack Zdinak, and more. The event was made possible through a generous grant from the National Geographic Education Foundation and the AZ Game and Fish Heritage Grant.

For more Festival of Science activities, visit www.scifest.org, and for more information about Willow Bend, visit willowbendcenter.org/.

October 6th @ 6pm: Free monthly meeting

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Documentary: Lost Rivers

Thursday, October 6th @ 6pm, Montoya Community Center

lost-rivers“Once upon a time, in almost every industrial city, countless rivers flowed. We built houses along their banks. Our roads hugged their curves. And their currents fed our mills and factories. But as cities grew, we polluted rivers so much that they became conduits for deadly waterborne diseases like cholera, which was 19th century’s version of the Black Plague. Our solution two centuries ago was to bury rivers underground and merge them with sewer networks.

Today, under the city, they still flow, out of sight and out of mind… until now. That’s because urban dwellers are on a quest to reconnect with this denigrated natural world. Lost Rivers takes us on an adventure down below and across the globe, retracing the history of these lost urban rivers by plunging into archival maps and going underground with clandestine urban explorers.” – IMDb online film description

Join us at the Montoya Community Center on Thursday, October 6th at 6pm for a showing of this incredible documentary.

We look forward to having you! Popcorn will be provided (please bring a cup or bowl to enjoy a serving!).


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