Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 6, Number 9 September, 2008

Welcome to the Picture Rocks Digest, a free newsletter about issues and events in the community. The print version of this all-volunteer publication is distributed at area businesses and community sites. If you have calendar events or news items, or if you would like to be added to our email list, please contact us at PictureRocksDigest@comcast.net.

The Picture Rocks Digest is a publication of Citizens for Picture Rocks, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(4) civic organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community. Citizens for Picture Rocks meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Picture Rocks Community Center, 5615 N. Sanders Road. Meetings are free and open to the public. The next meeting is September 16, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Iced Tea Social Time at 6:30 p.m.
Meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road

Pima County Dist. 3 Supervisor Candidates:
Barney Brenner & Sharon Bronson

Marana Unified School District Board Candidates:

Amy Autret Suzanne Hopkins
Joe Koellisch Maribel Lopez
Kathryn Mikronis Daniel Post
Albert Siqueiros Dean Spencer

Moderator: Jennifer Burns
Outgoing State Representative

Citizens for Picture Rocks makes no endorsements or recommendations,
but believes that an informed electorate is vital in a democracy.

Free and open to all neighbors.
Voter registration materials will be available at the meeting and are online.


At its August meeting, Citizens for Picture Rocks hosted a Candidates' Forum for State Senate and House office-seekers. Present was Republican State Senate candidate Mary Ann Black, running against Democrat Manny Alvarez for the seat being vacated by Marsha Arzberger due to term limits. Alvarez sent regrets that he could not be there due to a previous commitment in Bisbee. For Dist. 25 State Representative, there are two open seats. Republican candidates are Timathy Davies and David Stevens (who was unable to attend) and Democrats Pat Fleming and Ric Boyer.

Jennifer Burns, Picture Rocks resident and outgoing Dist. 25 State Representative, moderated last month's State Candidates' Forum



Sky observers didn't see many meteors at Picture Rocks Park last month
during the Perseids Meteor Showers, but they were treated to a technicolor sunset.
(Photo by Jim Pethe.)


The Governor's office and United Way have issued a resource guide for Arizonans caught in the current economic crunch.


When I decided years ago to visit Tucson and scout it out as a place to retire, friends told me, "If you only do one thing, go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum." I did. In a cage off by itself a big blue jay squawked at me, so I talked back to it. The bird flew to the back of the cage and dug a grub out of its food dish, then flew to the front and pushed the bug through the wires for me. It was a welcome I could not resist.

Since then I have been to the Desert Museum many times and enjoy the benefits of membership. It is less a museum than a 98-acre world-class zoo and botanical garden devoted to the very special Sonoran Desert we live in. The Desert Museum gives us a chance to see close up many of the elusive critters that inhabit our part of the world, including mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, javelinas, many kinds of rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep, coatimundis, and much more.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is home to 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. There are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert. (Photos courtesy of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.)

There are also residents from the desert on the other side of the border: ocelot, margay, and gray wolves. The black bear recently retired due to old age, and the otters now have a ramp to help them get down to the water - the Desert Museum takes care of its aging animals. There is a walk-in bird aviary and a special walk-in hummingbird home, a new "Life On The Rocks" exhibit and a kids' tree house meeting place under construction. There are mineral exhibits, and a replica of a cave to squirm through, should you want to, to get there. I always bump my head. Cacti and lizards abound, and 85 percent of the exhibits are outside.

It takes a good three hours to see it all, and "it all" changes. Docents bring out hawks and owls and snakes during the day for close-up viewing and learning. During the cooler months, "Raptor Free Flight" programs twice daily bring Harris' hawks, barn owls and even a roadrunner out for free flight. Rattlers and Gila monsters meet the public. One building is devoted to night creatures. There are over 2,700 animals and more than 72,000 plants, along with nearly 15,000 rock and mineral specimens at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Water fountains and toilets are comfortably spaced, and there are even sunscreen dispensers in the rest rooms.


The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is only eight fuel-friendly miles from the Picture Rocks Community Center. Hours, March through September, are 7:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m.; October through February, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Desert Museum is open until 10 p.m. Saturday nights in June, July and August. Tickets in the summer are $9.50 for adults, $2.25 for ages 6 - 12; those aged 5 and under are free, and there are strollers available without charge if needed. From September through May, tickets are $13; $4.25 for ages 6 - 12.

An Individual Membership is $40 a year; a General Membership $50. The General Membership allows two adults unlimited admission, and kids and grandchildren under 17 are free. Members also get free coffee or tea at the gift shop coffee bar, a 10 percent discount on food, and several guest passes. Do the math. It's a great deal for locals looking for family fun.

There is a gift and book shop, coffee bar, cafeteria, restaurant, and art gallery. There are youth education programs, a Coati Kid's Club (providing unlimited year-long membership for $25, along with a t-shirt, explorer's pack and special events in the new tree house), research and conservation programs, and volunteer opportunities. For more information call 883-1380.

So check it out if you haven't lately. Wear sturdy shoes and a hat, and get close up and personal with the plants and animals with whom we share this very special Sonoran Desert.

The Picture Rocks Digest is written by Albert Lannon (email: bluemoon@dakotacom.net; phone: 622-3561). Additional materials and design by Karen J. Zopf.