Let’s explore the desert

Doris Evans with her book, Let’s Explore the Desert Go Guide.

Doris Evans with her book, Let’s Explore the Desert Go Guide.

Pam Boedeker

The SaddleBrooke Nature Club’s speaker for March was Doris Evans, returning for a third time by popular demand!

Doris has taught in the Tucson Unified School District and in a small school for park employees in Big Bend National Park, Texas. She has held environmental education positions as Curator of Education at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

She has published a number of natural history books. All are available at the nearby Western National Parks Association Store (12880 North Vistoso Drive). The presentation was based on the book Let’s Explore the Desert Go Guide which was the door prize.

Having led nature hikes for many years, Doris knows the questions kids and adults ask as they take a close look at our Sonoran Desert. Unlike most of us, Doris knows the answers!

Is that one of those cactus that jumps on you?

Can we drink from a barrel cactus?

Why does it smell like rain?

How old is that Saguaro?

What made those holes in the Saguaro?

What’s the difference between a millipede and centipede?

(Important! The centipede is venomous!)

Is that a snake hole?

Not only does Doris know the answer, she can spin the answer into a great true story! The Pepsis wasp, for instance, has a nasty sting. The female uses that weapon to paralyze a tarantula! She then lays her eggs in the fur of the tarantula.

When the babies hatch they have breakfast waiting for them—

Yummy Tarantula!

We learned some rules of living and walking in the desert.

Our desert tortoise, if found in the wild is beautiful to look at but do not pick it up! This guy stores his emergency water supply in his bladder. If picked up, the water is released and he has nothing reserved for dry weather!

The gopher snake is often confused with a rattler. The gopher is not venomous and is of great benefit to us by eating Pack Rats and other critters we would prefer not to have in our homes.

The SaddleBrooke Nature club members and their many guests enjoyed Doris’ presentation and can now answer some of those questions themselves!

SaddleBrooke Nature Club meets the second Monday at 4:00 p.m. in the Coyote Room downstairs in the HOA1 Clubhouse. More information about the group can be found at  www.SaddleBrookeNatureClub.com.