Learn about the native plants of Northern Arizona at workshop

By The Camp Verde Journal staff

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

For any newcomer to Northern Arizona's high country, the visual impact of red rock formations can overshadow what exists on the ground - a landscape teeming with native plants.

From intriguing names like spider antelope horns — part of the milkweed family — to broom snakeweed and Spanish bayonets, native plants are an essential part of experiencing the high country.

Exploring and explaining how native plants and wildlife relate is only one of several topics of the day-long annual Native Plant workshop set for Saturday, April 6, at West Sedona School.

Presented by Keep Sedona Beautiful, the event highlights aspects of what an Arizona high country landscape entails and how to not only enjoy but create your own setting.

Included in the upcoming workshop are breakout sessions offering insights into gardening with native plants, co-existing with nocturnal neighbors, attracting birds to the backyard, maintaining healthy native trees, ecology and watershed health.

One workshop, Native Plants of the High Desert: Their Medicinal and Cultural Uses, offers a hands-on experience through an outdoor wild plant walk led by Feather Jones, an adjunct professor of botanical medicine at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. The participants will be able to taste, smell and experience the medicinal plants firsthand.

Jeff Schalau, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Extension director for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension office in Yavapai County, has participated in some 15 KSB Native Plant Workshops over the years. For the upcoming workshop, he will deliver one of the keynote presentations entitled Balancing Goals: Native Plants, Wildlife, Functional Ecosystems and Your Landscape.

Workshop participants have a common goal in attracting wildlife, birds, and beneficial insects through the use of native plants, he stated, and the overall impact for the area is significant.

"The Native Plant Workshop delivers ecologically-sound landscaping information that helps residents conserve irrigation water, create wildlife habitat, and echo the natural beauty of Sedona and Verde Valley in their homes and gardens," Schalau stated.

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