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Valley residents are invited to take a close-in, close-up look at nature when the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences sponsors its annual SOLS Takes a Hike from 9 a.m. to noon, April 21.
The free event will be at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, east of Greenfield Road, Gilbert.
School of Life Sciences scientists and students will lead a series of guided hikes in the +110-acre preserve, talking about the birds (150 species identified there), insects, fish, reptiles, plants, mammals, geology/water resources and urban ecology.
The preserve includes seven water recharge basins that are filled on a rotating basis with treated effluent, which is allowed to percolate into the aquifer and stored for future use. One of the ponds has a unique distribution stream that mimics the action of an ephemeral desert stream. An additional lake is filled with reclaimed water, and is designated as an urban fishing resource through the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Students and faculty who will lead hikes and discuss the flora and fauna include Matthew Chew and Kevin McGraw, birds; Don Burt, geology: Jake Brashears, reptiles (he also will bring some snakes); Liz Makings and Kelly Steele, plants; Susanne Neuer and Jim Elser, water; Clint Penick. ants; and Ron Rutowski and Joshua Gibson, insects.
For a map of the preserve, go to https://www.gilbertaz.gov/home/showdocument?id=4445. For more information about the event, contact Barb Hoffman at (480) 965-2705 or Barb.Hoffman@asu.edu.