Guidelines for a Pleasant Visit-Information Release-History

Most Special Events Included With Admission
$10 for Adults, $5 for Ages 5-12

Daily 11:00 AM Guided Walking Tour
** 11am Daily in February-March-April, included with $10 daily admission
What's new in the gardens this month? At 11:00 AM each day Arboretum volunteer guides lead visitors to the best spots to see and photograph winter color; to enjoy a look at our resident Northern Cardinals -- or photograph the dramatic volcanic rock formations. These 90-minute walks depart the visitor center at 11am; plan to attend more than once -- we have a half-dozen guides, each sharing his or her unique knowledge about Arboretum history and fun facts about the plants, critters and geology around our gardens. No pre-registration needed, just be in the Visitor Center breezeway at 11am start time.

Saturday Girl Scout Badge Workshops April 26 - May 24
9:00 a.m.
Girl Scouts Earn Badges in Saturday Workshops; fees are $10 per Scout and $10 for adult chaperones, with a $20 nonrefundable down-payment required to hold a position for a scout or troop (also $5 for any non-scout participants age 5-12). Deadline to pre-register is two business days prior to the workshop date. Badges for Cadettes last 4.5 hours with 'Woodworker' on April 26 and 'Trees' May 24; the badge workshop for Brownies lasts 2.5 hours, they'll learn about 'Bugs' May 3 at 9am. Our final workshop for Juniors is the 'Gardener' badge May 17. For details email Lacey at or call 520.689.2723

Spring Break Saturday Science & Stories April 26
10 a.m.
Looking for an educational family activity over Spring Break? A new 'Saturday Science and Stories' series invites parents to enroll kids with an email to Lacey at, or call her at 520.689.2723. Tell us the number of children you would like to enroll, their ages phone contact into to reach the parent or chaperone. Children must be accompanied by a parent or adult chaperone during the program. Programs are admission-free but space is limited and pre-registration is required. April science and stories features 'Bugs' and lessons about insects, stories about insects, and real live ones, too. April 26 for ages 9-12 (grades 4-6).

Wildflower Walks Both Weekend Days April 26 and 27
10 AM
See, photograph and learn to ID wildflowers on a 10:00 am walk either day next weekend -- guided Saturday by Pat Pingel, and then Sunday with Cass Blodgett of the Arizona Native Plants Society's Phoenix Chapter.

Geology walking tour Saturday, April 26 at 1:30 p.m.
** this monthly tour moves to 8:00am May 24 and June 28
Geologist Rich Leveille is our special guest guide for this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour that compresses almost two billion years of geologic history into just over one educational hour! Learn about Pinal schist, the volcanic origins of Picket Post Mountain and the Apache Leap tuff. Tour repeats May 24 at 8am with Steve Semken, also June 28 at 8am with Rich Leveille.

Guided Bird Walk Season Finale April 27
8:30 a.m.
Orioles are back, Common Ground Doves have been reported around the Picnic Area parking lot, and a few Winter species are still here; join bird walk guides Nathan Williams and also Jay Taylor for our season finale guided walk Sunday April 27 at 8:30am. Read recent bird checklist reports

Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Walk Guided By Dave Morris April 27 at 1:30 p.m.
** this monthly tour moves to at 8:00am May 25 , June 22
Explore our Curandero Trail on this guided tour, a one-hour walk where ethno-botanist and Choctaw Nation expert guide Dave Morris shares his knowledge about the ways native plants have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkersRead more about jojoba, creosote and prickly pears

Tom Boggan Camera Basics Photo Class April 27, Sunday
2:00 - 4:00 PM. Enrollment $20 for BTA members, $30 nonmembers. Call 520-689-2723
Do you have a fancy new digital SLR, or even a digital point-and-shoot camera that you're eager to learn to use more effectively? Once-a-month photo workshops with Scottsdale artist Tom Boggan offer that chance all four seasons of the year at BTA.
See More Boyce Thompson Arboretum photography workshops Tom's once-a-month outdoor shoots help improve your camera skills on a relaxed outing surrounded by beautiful gardens and alongside a pro -- and with plenty of chances to ask questions about the dials, settings and controls on your own camera. Learn basic photography skills including composition, lighting, white balance and aperture-exposure.
Pro photographer Tom Boggan has a talent for portraits and a passion for nature photography, and he generously volunteers by dedicating a day each month to be here helping our visitors hone their camera skills. Workshops with Tom are limited to eight students. Pre-payment of $30 is required ($20 for BTA annual members). Enroll by phone, have your credit card ready and call our staff at 520-689-2723. View other workshop images on the Tom Boggan Arboretum Flickr Gallery

Camera Class: Digital Photo Post-Processing Basics With Rim April 30 , Wednesday
10 AM. $20 BTA members or $30 nonmembers
with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723

OK, you have pictures in your camera -- now what? If you've wanted to learn to easily and efficiently download, organize and archive your JPG or RAW files -- including basic digital imaging skills such as resizing, cropping and simple editing, East Valley photographer 'Rim' Vidziunas offers a two-hour Saturday afternoon workshop in post-processing and work-flow April 30, Wednesday from 10am til noon. A bargain at $20 for BTA members ($30 for nonmembers) this workshop will cover skills such as transferring RAW or JPGs from camera-to-computer to basic image archiving, work-flow, resizing and basic photo editing. Bring your laptop - this will be a hands-on class; no camera required. Rim will also discuss and demonstrate basic functions of popular software ranging from Adobe Photoshop Elements to Lightroom.Read More About this Photography Class

Dragonfly Walk May 3, Saturday
8:30 a.m., again July 5, August 2 and September 6
Mesa photographer and dragonfly enthusiast Roger Racut leads our season debut dragonfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about odonate species ranging from Blue-eyed Darner to Flame Smimmer, Mexican Amberwing and more. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated.

Arboretum Book Club May 3, Saturday: "The Magnate"
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Our Book Club celebrates it's one year anniversary in May; that's one year, twelve books -- six visits from authors and lots of good discussion. To celebrate the one year mark, we'll read "The Magnate" by Hermann Hagedorn, the biography of William Boyce Thompson. He was among the larger-than-life leaders during a period in the United States that included World War I and the Great Depression. Thompson started life in the West, born in a mining town, and became one of the richest men of his time. He had a lifelong fascination with botany and started the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Yonkers, New York, across the street from his palatial home he built there. In time, Thompson bought the Magma mine in Superior, Arizona and fell in love with this area. He decided to build another large home near Superior (Picket Post Mansion) and founded the Arboretum. The Colonel was a mining man with a passion for botany who had a vision that we know and love today as Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Order your copy by phone 520.689.2723; inquire about the book club meetup or RSVP to Book Club Coordinator Vicki with an email or call 480.688.3342

Arboretum History Walk May 4, Sunday
10:00 a.m.
You may have walked our trails a dozen times and never crossed paths with the Galapagos Tortoise pens. Take a moment to scan the horizon above Picket Post Mountain, can you imagine cavalry soldiers camped in this region in the late 1800s? Learn about the life and times of Colonel William Boyce Thompson and his Arboretum on a walking tour guided by Phoenix historian Sylvia Lee. Walks typically last about 90-minutes, departing at 10am from the Visitor Center breezeway. Correspond with Sylvia, or read more about

Plein Air Painters May 9 on National Public Gardens Day
Arboretum admission is waived May 9 in observance of National Public Gardens Day, and morning visitors have a chance to see professional artists at work on new canvasses, capturing Spring scenes of flowers, plants and garden landscapes. "Trees from around the world intertwine their branches, hummingbirds and butterflies fly past and Jasmine scents the air. Can a plein air artist find a more appropriate place to paint than at Boyce Thompson Arboretum in May?" said event coordinator Heather Coen, a painter well-known in Colorado now living in Gilbert. "It will be hard to choose between the Demonstration Garden, Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, or the Volcanic cliffs of Magma Ridge. The Arboretum opens at 6:00am that day; we plan to meet in the Picnic Area parking lot at 8:00am. Studio artists are welcome to join me and spend a day painting “en plein air” and I'll also give a a short, informal talk on “Plein Air, Plain Talk," in other words, how to transfer studio skills to a plein air environment. See more of Heather's art on Facebook.
Heather Coen is a member of the Visual Arts League of Gilbert, Arizona Plein Air Painters and Arizona Arts Guild; Oil Painters of America (also Pastel Society of America); Women Artists of the West and a signature member of both the Pastel Society of Colorado and Plein Air Artists of Colorado. Painters from beginners-through-advanced are encouraged to attend; for more info email
View a collection of garden scenes captured on canvass by other painters over the years at
and also

Learn Your Lizards Guided Walks May 10, May 31, June 14, June 29
guided tour at 8:00 AM May 10 with Ed Tunstall, then May 31 with Wild Man Phil
Casa Grande naturalist and outdoor educator 'Wild Man Phil' Rakoci leads the first of our Spring-Summer weekend guided outings for kids -- and for adults, for all who enjoy Arizona's most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. Learn more and connect with Wild Man Phil on Facebook. Lizard walks are typically on the Second Saturday of each month from April-through-September. Ed Tunstall leads the May 10 walk at 8:00am; 'Wild Man Phil' returns May 31 and June 14, and June 29 Abi King leads the walk.

Mothers' Day Camera Class: "Switching To Manual" With Michael & Patty May 10, Saturday
10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
$30 BTA members or $40 nonmembers
with a credit card ready call 520-689-2723

Need a unique, thoughtful Mother's Day gift for your mom, your wife, sister or a friend? Enroll her in a class where she can spend a day learning photography - and practice in beautiful gardens. Gilbert pro photographers Michael Madsen and Patty Van Herpen will teach camera basics and more May 10."Mexican Evening Primrose and other flowers in BTA's Demonstration Garden are usually at their peak color around Mother's Day," said Madsen, "so Patty and I picked Mother's Day Weekend for our next workshop. Moms do a lot of photography - and here's a chance to learn camera functions and to practice what you have learned in the Demonstration Garden alongside two professionals, a Canon and a Nikon expert. Gilbert professional photographer Michael Madsen is among featured artists in our Visitor Center Gallery and is expert with Nikon gear while
Patty Van Herpen, prefers Canon . Classes with Michael and Patty coach beginning-to-intermediate photographers who are ready to harness the horsepower of their digital cameras by getting past the AUTO settings in favor of manually controlling your own aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance.Read More About this Photography Class

Plants of the Bible Land Guided Walk Saturday May 17 at 8:00am
** this monthly tour moves to 8:00am May 17, June 21
The Sinai Desert lies roughly at the same latitude as our own Sonoran Desert; many of the same plants common in the Middle East thrive in our Arizona climate, and can be seen here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Join Arboretum volunteers on a guided tour to learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives, and other plants of the Bible Land. Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and don't forget your sunscreen and water bottle. The tour, conducted at a leisurely pace, lasts about 90 minutes and proceeds along wheelchair-accessible paths. Using references in ancient texts, guides will describe how people of the Bible Land used plants as food, medicine, and shelter in ways similar to how native peoples of Southern Arizona continue to do so in modern times. Read a more complete description of our
Plants of the Bible Land Guided Tour

Butterfly Walk May 24, Saturday
8:00 a.m., again June 28, July 26, August 23, September 27, October 25
Jan Harding leads our season debut Butterfly walk - a chance to see, photograph and learn about colorful butterflt species ranging from Empress Leilia to Queen, Spring Azure and more; on a relaxed and slow-moving walk that explores our Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden and Children's Garden collections. Temperatures spike in May; wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water and stay hydrated. ASU Professor Ron Rutowski leads this walk June 28 at 8:30am. July 26 Adriane Grimaldi, August 23, Marceline VandeWater; start time moves to 9:30AM for the season finale October 25Adriane Grimaldi and Gail Morris.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Users Group May 31, Saturday
8:00-10am in the Smith Building Lecture Room
These informal two-hour user’s group meetings each month are free to BTA annual members - included with daily admission of $10 for nonmembers. One of the most popular photography software packages, Adobe Lightroom, is described by the company as: "Photo editing software built for photographers, by photographers. From first look to final image, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 makes everything about digital photography easier, faster and more amazing. Perfect your shots with powerful new adjustment tools, efficiently organize all your photos and share them almost anywhere." Special guest speaker this month is Pro Photographer Jabon Eagar, demonstrating his workflow with “Portrait Photography” using Lightroom, Professional Portrait, Photoshop, Nik Software and his archival system. Read More About this Photography Software Users Group

Gourd Art Classes - Date to be announced
beginners gourd art
advanced "pine needle coiling
have a credit card ready and call 520.689.2723 to enroll

Sign up soon for either of these back-to-back informal and fun art classes -- a four-hour workshop and your chance to burn, paint, etch and emboss decorative gourds with coaching from Mesa artists Gerald and Vicki Johnson. Enrollment for the beginners class is $30-$40 and includes a gourd, use of paints and brushes, tools and art supplies for the day, plus four hours of coaching and inspiration from Vicki & Jerry. April 14 enrollment is $10 more to learn the art of pine needle coiling; with the additional fee for specialized materials and instruction.

Tree Tour With Jeff Payne - Date to be announced
So, just what is an Arboretum? BTA staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne leads this walk where visitors learn the answer to that often-posed question during a relaxed and leisurely guided tour through the forested areas of the Arboretum. Join Jeff for a chance to learn about the Arboretum's collection of oak and olive trees, native hackberry, mesquite and many more

Painting With Light Nighttime Photo Shoot Date to be announced
from 6:00-8:00 p.m. $40; call 520-689-2723 to prepay and enroll

Preview our unique nocturnal Painting With Light Photo Workshopson YouTubeand see links to photo galleries on our ourBTA photo classes page. Few visitors get a chance to see the Drover's Shed, the old Dodge Power Wagon or our gardens lit quite as they will appear after dark on February 22, familiar plants and scenery rendered a candy-colored rainbow of colors after sunset by custom-made, high-power LED light boxes strategically placed and arranged by Phoenix artist and luminary John Aho. His painting-with-light nighttime shoots are limited to one dozen photographers, and the $30 fee for these special access evenings is a fundraiser for the Arboretum ( $40 for nonmembers). Have a credit card ready and call 520-689-2723 to reserve your spot; please make sure to spell out your email and give your current cell# or home phone to our clerks when you sign up so we can provide specific meeting/parking instructions just ahead of Saturday's shoot. If this class has filled when you call, make sure to leave your name, phone and email (again, please take a minute to spell it out so we have it right) so we can alert you to January-February shoots as dates are added to this calendar. See more of John's surreal nighttime scenes -- such as Superior Architecture, and these scenes from
scenes from Besich Park Downtown

Photo Class: 'Macros' With Paul Landau - DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED
$30 (or $39 non-members). call 520.689.2723
Look closely at the bright red larvae of a Pipevine Swallowtail; before the colorful caterpillar morphs into one of the blue-black butterflies commonly seen in our gardens, they have a beauty all their own - with intricate rows of dorsal spikes making them resemble an undersea creature more than a denizen of our Sonoran desert. The human eye can only look so close; Scottsdale photographer Paul Landau has learned to capture microscopic scenes with his camera, revealing compound eyes, antennae and patterns almost invisible to the human eye. During a unique photography workshop with Paul Landau on Sunday May 19, the artist will share techniques during an afternoon spent in search of tiny creatures and plants here, and photographing them along with 15 participants. "You'll probably be amazed to find out what your camera can do," predicts Landau. "Even the simplest 'point-and-shoot' digital cameras have close-up capabilities that reveal inner worlds of detail, iridescent green beetle wings, and the intensity of nature on a scale that's overlooked until you learn where to look - and how to see. One of the great things about macro photography is that my quarry is tiny - and often fairly easy to photograph once you know where to look for them. Boyce Thompson Arboretum is my favorite place, no question, to photograph vivid insects and flower blossoms, along with other natural phenomenon." Landau's photography was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Arboretum in 2012, where he taught a popular series of workshops specifically devoted to hummingbirds – and macros. See more of the artist's work at

2014 Dates To Be Announced : Members-Only Event After Hours Live Music & Moth Night
gate reopens Saturday to BTA members for a special live Music and "Moth Night" 5:00pm - 9:00pm
complete event details are posted at
You're not among our members yet, and want to attend? Call during daytime business hours 8am-5pm to purchase membership by credit card and over the phone. 520.589.2723.

"Standing Room Only" Scorpion Lecture August 17
after-lunch lecture from 1:00 - 2:00 PM Saturday, August 17
Learn more about this venomous nemesis Saturday when East Mesa photographer and scorpion enthusiast Dave Oberpriller reprises his colorful slideshow and offers his entertaining lecture during daytime hours. Dave's unique presentation overflowed the available chairs in our lecture room twice when it was offered in the evening; so we asked Dave to repeat his lecture – and during afternoon hours from 1:00-2:00 PM for visitors who don't drive after dark. "Did you know scorpions give live birth? Or that mama scorpions show their maternal side by carrying their babies on their backs until the little ones able to fend for themselves? Scorpions glow an eerie blue-green under ultraviolet (UV) light, technically called fluorescence," said Oberpriller. "Join me for this lecture to learn all about scorpions, their life cycle; and see close-up photos. You'll have a new appreciation for these venomous, but misunderstood, creatures. Read more about our July Scorpion Night event

Culinary Presentation with Chef Eric of Tall Order Catering - Date To Be Announced
at 1:00 p.m.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum members Eric Naddy & Terri Farrington own Tall Order Catering; they had so much fun helping out with our September pomegranate classes at BTA that they've enlisted as volunteers. Sunday November 25 they will be set up near the Herb Garden and our weekend festival site, continuing their informal series of culinary classes designed to spotlight seasonal vegetables or fruits: roasted pumpkin and cream cheese soup with rosemary; possibly also roasted tomato bisque with creme fraiche. Got recipe questions? Or suggestions for December-January-February workshops they should offer at the Arboretum? 'Friend-up' at, or email queries to the Tall Order Chefs via

Boyce's Beer - Desert Homebrewing Class - date TO BE ANNOUNCED
12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
$25 for Arboretum members, $34 nonmembers
email [ ] to be on our waiting list for alerts to the date scheduled
Chandler father-and-son brewers Pete and Greg Rendek return to the Arboretum by popular demand for a home-brewing class featuring ingredients derived from desert plants. Boyce Thompson Arboretum has earned a reputation for innovative classes teaching visitors to harvest and prepare prickly pear cactus fruits, process promegranates and mill mesquite flour. On a date to be announced, enrollees will learn to make a batch of home-brewed 'Holiday Beer' when the Rendeks lead a 12-3pm workshop showing beginning brewers how to brew a five-gallon batch of holiday vanilla porter using native mesquite flour. Have a credit card ready and call 520-689-2723. Better known at the Arboretum for his popular series of photography classes, Pete has been home-brewing for several years with his son Greg; together they've crafted a variety of tasty ales, porters, weissbiers -- and, most recently, a great prickly pear IPA using juice from cactus fruit harvested in Superior. Their workshop will run from noon to 3pm. Class will
be held in the ramada in the Children's Garden; proceeds raised are a fundraiser for the Arboretum - a registered nonprofit. For non-members, the $34 fee includes Arboretum admission, so Pete & Greg advise enrollees to arrive earlier that morning and enjoy the gardens, get a late breakfast or lunch in nearby Superior before the afternoon session, and enjoy a fine October day. "This workshop's designed for anyone who has been wanting to take the plunge and begin brewing your own beer, we'll have basic equipment on hand and will give a discussion of ingredients as well as different brewing styles, techniques, and the equipment needed to get started," said Pete.

Australia Day Tours January 2015 -- and Didgeridoo Jam
2015 Date To Be Announced
The howling, growling, haunting Aboriginal sound of the didgeridoo is showcased at the Arboretum, which has a forest of massive Australian red gum and eucalyptus trees. Why have Australian trees in the Sonoran Desert? Learn more on a guided tour lead by Paul Chambers (owner of the Australian Outback Nursery in Tonopah). Did those beer commercials make you want to learn How To Speak Australian? Check out that link with Dingo Lingo tips! Didge players, and folks who own a didge but never learned the technique of "circular breathing" to play it, are invited to join Musician Bernie Haley for an informal didge jam session (Time To Be Announced) in the lecture room. For details or to sign-up, Call Bernie at 250. 927. 5544, or e-mail him at Haley will also offer a concert open to all visitors that afternoon from (Time To be Announced) outdoors beneath the Eucalyptus trees if the weather is clement -- or in our lecture room of the Smith Building if the event of rain or excessive cold. Read more about this event