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School of Life Sciences to lead guided hikes in preserve

March 05, 2010

Every April, graduate students and scientists in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences (SOLS) lead a series of guided tours in a nature area or preserve in the Phoenix metro area.

This year, on Saturday, April 3, SOLS Takes a Hike will go to the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, Gilbert.

From 9 a.m. to noon, SOLS students and scientists will lead visitors through the 110-acre riparian preserve created by the city of Gilbert as part of its water resource development program.

The preserve includes seven water recharge basins that are filled on a rotating basis with treated effluent, which is allowed to percolate into the aquifer and stored for future use. One of the ponds has a unique distribution stream that mimics the action of an ephemeral desert stream. An additional lake is filled with reclaimed water, and is designated as an urban fishing resource through the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

More than 150 species of birds have been identified on the site, and there are many other insects, fish, reptiles and mammals to see on the 4.5 miles of trails.

The hikes are free. The Riparian Preserve is located at 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, east of Greenfield Road, Gilbert. For more information about the hike, contact Peggy Coulombe, (480) 727-8934, or

For a map, go to