Boyce Thompson Arboretum to host all-female Learn Your Lizards walk

Heather Bateman on a Lizard Walk at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Photo Courtesy of Deanna Dent)

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior is hosting an all-female Learn Your Lizards guided walk with Arizona State professor Heather Bateman and Audrey Owens of the Arizona Game and Fish Department leading the way.

This event begins at 8 a.m. Sunday, July 8 and will last for two hours. The cost is that of daily admission into the arboretum, meaning $12.50 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12 and free for annual members and Arizona State Parks pass-holders, a press release states.

Ms. Bateman said she has had an interest in reptiles as a child growing up in Colorado, according to a release.

“I would bring home garter snakes and big fat salamanders,” she said in a prepared statement. “I loved to play in ditches to catch leopard frogs and tiger salamanders.”

Now she earns a paycheck catching and studying lizards and snakes along the San Pedro River and the Verde as well as teaching ornithology and other classes at ASU.

Ms. Bateman said she believes wildlife biology a good career choice for an Arizona girl interested in nature and native critters.

“There are so many great role models for young women and girls interested in nature and science,” she said. “I’m co-leading this walk with Audrey Owens who is the Ranid Frogs coordinator for AZ Game and Fish Department. All our state universities offer course work in science and biology. I work at ASU on the Polytechnic campus and our biology program focuses on applied aspects of science.

“We have many courses with field trips and give our students opportunities to engage with wildlife professionals. Our campus hosts science camps that girls and boys can participate in. We also host Open Door night, where the public is invited to come tour campus and see what type of projects are done by professors and students. We have some faculty who have taken an interest in girl scouts and helping with the STEM-related badges.”

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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