Originally Published: May 18, 2011 9:59 p.m.
PRESCOTT - Ever wonder about bullfrogs? How about lizards and snakes? Well, now's the chance to quench one's thirst for knowledge on the creatures.
Dr. Cecil Schwalbe, a renowned herpetologist, will be the guest speaker for the Highlands Center for Natural History's "Insights into the Outdoors" program this Friday and Saturday.
The center at 1375 S. Walker Road on the Prescott National Forest will play host to the free event, which kicks off with a presentation on Fearsome Frogs from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Friday.
During the gathering, Schwalbe will show a short video called "Fearsome Frogs" - a 30-minute segment from the National Geographic Explorer TV show. It features Schwalbe's research on the effects of the non-native American bullfrog on Arizona's native frogs.
The Highlands Center welcomes adults and students of all ages to the presentation, although those who are interested should pre-register.
On Saturday, folks are invited to meet three of Schwalbe's scaly friends, including "Poncho Gila" the Gila Monster; a 3-foot-long black rattlesnake; and Bruiser, a 5-year-old desert tortoise.
In addition, participants can take a three-quarter-mile walk to Lynx Creek in search of lizards to noose and release, and look for canyon tree frogs.
Event organizers encourage folks to bring a camera, water and a picnic lunch to enjoy near the creek while listening to some of Schwalbe's stories about his experiences with reptiles and amphibians.
What follows is a breakdown of Saturday's activities:
"Fearsome Frogs and Cecil's Critters"
9-10 a.m. - Meet Schwalbe's animals and learn how to safely move a rattlesnake off your property.
10-10:15 a.m. - Break. Prep for hike.
10:15-11 a.m. - Walk to Lynx Creek (3/4 mile), searching along the way for lizards to noose and release.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Creekside quest for canyon tree frogs, slim fellows, and more lizards. Picnic and enjoy Schwalbe's stories.
12:30-1 p.m. - Walk back to the Highlands Center (3/4 mile).
Schwalbe is a renowned herpetologist and ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, a National Geographic expert, faculty member at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and co-author of "The Venomous Reptiles of Arizona."
For more information about Schwalbe and/or Saturday's program, log on to www.highlandscenter.org or call the center at 776-9550.
The Highlands Center is located at 1375 S. Walker Road, 2 miles south of Highway 69 near Costco in Prescott. It is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help children and adults discover the wonders of nature and become wise caretakers of the land.