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.

March 1: The Importance of Beauty with Sandra Lubarsky

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Free Membership Meeting

“Beauty is a deep part of our evolutionary memory” 
– Dr. Sandra B. Lubarsky speaking at the Economics of Happiness conference in 2015. 

Oak Creek flowing with reflections of walls of Oak Creek Canyon. Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography

Dr. Sandra Lubarsky to present on “The Importance of Beauty”

When: Thursday, March 1st 2018, 6pm-7:30pm

Where: Montoya Community Center, 245 N Thorpe Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Description: What is the meaning of beauty and how has this meaning changed throughout time? What does beauty mean to our culture?

Dr. Sandra Lubarsky states: “Beauty is not a mear, sentimental human opinion…it’s what we name those experiences of life that encourage and support freshness and zest so that life can continue.”

Join us on Thursday, March 1st as we hear from Dr. Sandra Lubarsky on the importance of beauty and how our disconnect with beauty is part of the story of how we have been talked out of caring for the natural world.

Sandra B. Lubarsky is a writer and retired professor whose research interests focus on the intersection of aesthetics and sustainability. She founded the master’s program in Sustainable Communities at Northern Arizona University and directed the Sustainable Development program at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

We hope you can make this presentation that promises to be excellent on Thursday, March 1st.

February 1: How have Springs Responded to Fall 2017 Climate Phenomena?

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Clover Springs emergesfrom culvert under Highway 87, spring was burried by road construction, then flow was restored as part of Clover Springs Riparian Restoration Project, southwest of Clints Well, Coconino National Forest, Arizona

Public Meeting: How have springs responded to fall 2017 climate phenomena?

Thursday, February 1st
Montoya Community Center

Springs provide critical water resources for the ecosystems they support and the humans and wildlife that rely upon them. Climate change is putting pressure on these important natural features, especially in the arid Southwest.

How are these scenarios playing out in the Flagstaff region? Join us on Thursday, February 1st as we explore this question with a presentation by Dr. Abe Springer.

Dr. Springer, Professor of Hydrogeology and Ecohydrology in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability at Northern Arizona University, will discuss monitoring of regional springs to better understand recent climate phenomena. The monitoring includes traditional measurement of discharge at springs, and new innovative dye tracer studies. These springs, including Clover Spring (pictured above), are important water sources for humans and ecosystems alike.

We hope you can make it to this interesting talk! Read about some of Dr. Springer’s research with graduate student Casey Jones in this December 14th, 2017 article in the AZ Daily Sun entitled “Researchers find Grand Canyon’s underground water takes surprising paths.”

We look forward to seeing you this February!

Take the Rio de Flag Watershed Survey!

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What benefits do you receive from the Rio de Flag? What are the issues you face with the Rio? How do you use the Rio and where?

The Friends of the Rio de Flag has partnered with the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County to get your input on the Rio de Flag. Share your experiences by taking this survey on the City of Flagstaff’s Community Forum before January 19th.

All participants will be entered into a raffle to win cool prizes!

Click below to access the online survey, and thank you for participating!

Ribbon of Life: Short Film on the Rio de Flag

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Filmmaker Brittain Davis with his filming gear at Foxglen.

The Rio de Flag is the “ribbon of life” that connects people to people, people to nature, and provides a corridor for wildlife through Flagstaff. Friends of the Rio de Flag welcomes you to view our new short film about those who visit and love the Rio de Flag.

Thank you to Brittain Davis for his time and energy in making the Rio de Flag come to life through this film.

Film available online here.

Walk the Walk with Jack Welch!

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The new year is upon us, and Jack Welch is ready for you to join his walks! Start 2018 off right by joining Jack for his Walk the Walk series this January. Here is the schedule of walks for January! Don’t miss out!

Here are a few upcoming walks:


FRIDAY 5 DECEMBER 2018 – Walk Toward Spring

  • Start Location: Flagstaff Mall in the parking lot behind Sears next to the Mall Food Court Entrance
  • Time: 9:00 AM
  • About three total miles in and around that area. We can walk inside the Mall if the weather is really roiling, but that is always our last option. And please remember: the consumption of a Giant Pretzel is strictly forbidden during a Non-Festivus activity. And you shouldn’t eat one either.

SATURDAY 6 JANUARY 2018 – Babbitt Springs

  • Start Location: Parking Area next to the Upper Lake Mary Dam (second dam)
  • Time: 1:00 PM
  • A walk to a historical site – Babbitt Spring and Homestead Site. We haven’t been there in a while and a story about a recent Randy Wilson hike there peaked my interest. Will the weather continue to be warm and balmy? We would prefer some snow, but if it hasn’t arrived yet we’ll do this interesting hike. A Snow Shoe adventure is optional – weather dependent!

SUNDAY 7 JANUARY 2018 – WALK THE WALK with a snow shoe option – Weather dependent

  • Proposed John Wesley Powell Blvd Connection
  • Start Location: Old Ranger Station parking area on Lake Mary Road across from John Wesley Powell Blvd
  • Time: 1:00 PM
  • We’ll traverse along the Pulliam Airport runway and enter the woods leading to the FAA facility.

January 4th: Climate Change Research and Planning in Flagstaff

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Public Meeting: Climate Change Research and Planning in Flagstaff  

This photograph from 1920 shows a milking barn surrounded by water in Mormon Lake. It was among the evidence used by USGS researcher Richard Hereford to determine the lake’s historic depths for a study on how they are related to the local affects of global warming. (from AZ Daily Sun article)
NAU Cline Library Special Collections

Thursday, January 4th
Montoya Community Center

It’s no coincidence that Flagstaff experienced the driest fall on record in 2017. Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are insulating the planet and causing it to warm. The results of climate change, including increasing temperatures, drought, and wildfire, have led to adverse effects on Southwestern communities’ health and economies.

To start off the New Year, we invite you to learn more about local research and planning efforts on climate change at our January  membership meeting. We will hear from USGS researcher Richard Hereford who recently completed a new study linking Mormon Lake’s historic levels with climate change. Richard will share the methods and results of his studies and what these mean for the future of Mormon Lake.

We will also hear from City of Flagstaff Sustainability Specialist Jenny Niemann on the City’s newest endeavor to address climate change with the Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Jenny will discuss the goals of the plan and how you can be involved.

We look forward to seeing you Thursday, January 4th!

Annual Membership Meeting (Potluck!)

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Annual Potluck Meeting

  • When: Thursday, December 7th
    • 6-7:30pm
  • Where: Montoya Community Center,
    • 245 N Thorpe

This year has been a big one for the Friends of the Rio de Flag and we want to share our accomplishments with you, the members of the organization.

Join us on Thursday, December 7th for our annual potluck! Meet members of the Board (if you haven’t already) and learn about our 2017 achievements. We will also host elections for Board of Directors.

Bring a friend and your favorite dish to share in this year’s feast!

Cast your Ballot for Board of Directors

When: Now until December 7th

Where: Cast your online ballot here! Voting is for members only.

What: Online voting for the reelection of four Board Members. To vote, please follow this link to the anonymous ballot. Voting is for members only. This online ballot will be available until 12AM on December 7th. In-person voting will be made available at the Annual Potluck on Thursday, December 7th. Board Member positions are three-year terms and are volunteer-based.

Take the Watershed Survey

Rio de Flag viewed from Stardust Road and north end of Rio Rancho and April Roads, Nov. 16, 2017, Doney Park neighborhood, northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona; Photo courteous of Tom Bean Photography

What benefits do you receive from the Rio de Flag? What are the issues you face with the Rio? How do you use the Rio and where?

The Friends of the Rio de Flag has partnered with the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County to get your input on the Rio de Flag. Share your experiences by taking this survey on the City of Flagstaff’s Community Forum before December 17th.

All participants will be entered into a raffle to win cool prizes!


Make a Difference Day brings together Flagstaff residents at Willow Bend

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Volunteers working to restore a native habitat garden at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, during Make a Difference Day, Oct. 28, 2017, volunteers participate in effort to restore Willow Bend habitat gardens, establish native vegetation on slopes, and clean up trash along the Rio de Flag below gardens at 703 E. Sawmill Road, Flagstaff, Arizona

Last Saturday, October 28th, volunteers gathered at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center for Make a Difference Day. Between restoring Willow Bend habitat gardens, establishing vegetation on the slopes, and cleaning up trash along the Rio de Flag, volunteers gave back to their community in a big way.

Thank you to all those organizations involved in putting this event together including the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Section, Friends of Willow Bend Gardens, and Coconino County Parks & Recreation, among others. Check out photos from the event below. And, of course, thank you to the community for coming out and truly making a difference!

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