Tempe Leadership’s annual community volunteer event, Tempe Cares, will take place in just a couple of weeks! Each year, a different project site is chosen to help beautify and/or clean up the community in some way, completely driven by volunteers. This year, volunteers will be helping to restore a natural habitat, LoPiano Mesquite Bosque at Papago Park, a 13-acre natural habitat along the north side of Loop 202, between College and Mill Avenues, in Tempe. The habitat supports lizards, snakes, quail, doves, roadrunners, jack rabbits, cottontails, falcons, coyotes, and a tremendous variety of birds.
More than 300 volunteers of all ages will roll up their sleeves to help organize, clean and work on landscaping projects at Papago Park. This will include removing tree limbs, assisting with trail maintenance, painting and more. Sign up here.
The Tempe Cares community enrichment and beautification project is organized by Tempe Leadership, a program of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Founded in 1991, Tempe Cares was the inspiration of former Tempe City Councilwoman Carol E. Smith, who wanted to see the community come together to help the greater good. The mission of Tempe Cares is to organize citizen volunteers to reduce blight and improve the appearance of Tempe’s neighborhoods and community spaces. Tempe Cares has grown annually to include several hundred individuals, groups and businesses. Each year these volunteers come together to invest their combined resources of skilled and unskilled physical labor, tools and building materials to help improve quality of life in Tempe. For more, visit tempeleadership.org/about-tempe-leadership/tempe-cares/.
WHEN: Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 7 a.m. to noon
GATHERING LOCATION: AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park, 1300 N. College Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
Parking will be at the heritage museum parking lot, just north of Curry Rd., on College Ave.
PROJECT LOCATION: LoPiano Mesquite Bosque at Papago Park
The kick off location will be just south of Curry Rd., on College Ave., at Papago Park. Follow this link to find it on Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/WyJV4f6qJmo
INFO: LoPiano Mesquite Bosque at Papago Park was once part of the Salt River floodplain. Plants grew here and were washed out whenever the river overflowed. The Hohokam may have used this area for gathering plants for baskets or other household uses. Homes once lined the canal in this area in the 1930s through 1960s. Many of these homes flooded and eventually fell into disrepair. In 1992, the Salt River was channelized, protecting this land from the floods. This enabled ADOT to build a freeway on the land. The parcel of land on the north side of the freeway, cut off from Papago Park by the canal and separated from Tempe Town Lake by the freeway, became an isolated area that has been set aside for habitat restoration.
Volunteers from 26 schools constructed the 13-acre LoPiano Bosque habitat in 1993. It stretches along the north side of Loop 202, between College and Mill Avenues, just south of the Indian Bend Pump Ditch and Papago Park. The bosque is named after former Tempe Mayor Dr. William LoPiano, who was on the first council that approved the early concepts of Tempe Town Lake, known as Rio Salado.
The bosque has developed into a habitat that supports lizards, snakes, quail, doves, roadrunners, jack rabbits, cottontails, falcons and coyotes as well as a tremendous variety of birds. The bosque provides viewing of the following common Sonoran Desert trees: Velvet Mesquite, Honey Mesquite and, Catclaw, Acaia, Sweet Acacia, White Thorn Acacia, Palo Brea, Blue Palo Verde, Foothill Palo Verde, Desert Willow, Freemond, Cottonwood Arizona Ash, Gooding Willow and Ironwood.
Want to volunteer? Sign up here.