In protest of the hundreds of migrant deaths along the Arizona/Mexico border each year, a plethora of humanitarian-aid groups are sponsoring Migrant Trail: We Walk for Life. The 75-mile trek through the desert culminates Sunday with the final four-mile stretch down Highway 86 into Tucson, ending at Kennedy Park.
A silent procession and vigil will be held as the walk takes the group past Border Patrol headquarters, 1970 W. Ajo Way, says one of the coordinators, Richard Boren. A remembrance ceremony will be held after the group arrives at the park, around 12:30 p.m.
"It's a gauntlet of death here," Boren says. "That's a major humanitarian crisis. No matter how people feel about immigration issues, these are good people dying, and something needs to be done."
This will be the third annual walk, and about 80 people are expected to make the entire 75-mile journey, which began on Memorial Day in Sasabé, Mexico. It's a small way to bring attention to the plight of the migrants, Boren says.
"We're trying to promote action of more humane policies that would not result in migrants risking their lives to cross the most harsh and dangerous parts of the desert," Boren says.
Participants are welcome to join at any point during the walk or ceremony, although there is a suggested minimum donation of $5 per person, per day. --J.K.
With wildfire season here again, several fires are already scorching wildlands. The mountains surrounding Tucson could be setting the night aglow again soon.
Ever wondered why prescribed burns happen, or how fire affects the environment around us? James Leckie, the lead fire effects monitor at Saguaro National Park West, will be giving a presentation on the park's fire ecology program and discussing the effects of fire on the landscape.
The presentation will concentrate especially on the sky islands--a term used to describe the close to 9.9 million acres of lush, temperate, mountain ranges surrounded by desert flatlands in Arizona, including Mount Lemmon and the Chiricahua Mountains. Wildlife concerns, prescribed burning and the future challenges fire poses will also be topics for discussion, says Richard Hill, district interpreter.
"(Fire) happens," Hill says. "People need to understand the role fire plays in natural ecosystems, and why we don't go and put out every fire."
Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the forest of blooming saguaros, or get up early, grab your binoculars and check out the 20-some species of birds that call the park home year-round. A tour with birding guide John Higgins will start at 6 a.m. for the truly ambitious. --J.K.
There's something for everyone at Kitt Peak National Observatory this summer, whether you're an amateur astronomer or someone who can't tell Ursa Major from Orion.
If you're just itching to show off that shiny new telescope you haven't figured out how to use yet, then pack it up and bring it to New Scope Night at the observatory, where Program Coordinator Robert Wilson says you'll get help setting up and aligning your telescope, using finder scopes, star charts and more.
Jupiter and Saturn should be visible, Wilson says, and it will be a great introduction to astronomy for the true newbie. Admission to New Scope Night is $25 per person, or $23 for seniors, students with identification, children under 18 and military folks with identification. Reservations are required, since space is limited to 20 people.
If reflectors and refractors aren't really your thing, then pack up a picnic (nonalcoholic, of course) and head up to Kitt Peak Picnic Area, just past mile marker 10, for a star party. Members from the Tucson Girls Chorus will be performing from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the stars will be twinkling for your viewing pleasure from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Telescopes and knowledgeable personnel will be there to guide you, Wilson says.
Admission to the star party is $10 per person, $8 for members. Warm dress is advised, Wilson says. --J.K.
Adopt a new furry friend and help control the overcrowding of animal facilities at the third annual Midnight Muttness on Friday, June 2.
Free food and live music from a few local music groups--Mariachi Mixteca, the Desert Bluegrass Association and the Guilty Bystanders--will highlight the free four-hour event, sponsored by the Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
And if those big, brown puppy eyes just aren't enough, adoptions will only cost $100 for dogs, $90 for puppies and $80 for cats and kittens. The cost of adoption includes a spay or neuter, current vaccinations, a license for dogs more than three months old, one free month of pet insurance, one free veterinarian visit at participating clinics and training materials for your new friend, says Shannon Lavenia, a volunteer with ARF.
Hoping to break their record of 150 adoptions in five hours from two years ago, more than 200 pets will be available for adoption during the event, Lavenia says. PACC is committed to reducing euthanasia, but generally has an influx of animals during the summer months.
"The greatest thing about PACC is they have the most variety of animals available for adoption in Tucson," Lavenia says. "Everybody can come out, spend some time and really find a pet that will be perfect for their family, and a lifelong friend." --J.K.