The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and Audubon Arizona have won a $70,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to encourage protection of migratory bird populations. The grant, part of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds Program, is designed to promote protection of migratory birds through education programs, participation in citizen science, conservation and habitat improvement strategies, and reductions in hazards to birds in urban/suburban areas.

With the grant, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and Arizona Audubon will team up to build a homeowner demonstration garden at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project. They'll also collaborate on the development of bird viewing areas appropriate for all visitors. These areas will increase the level of bird monitoring at Rio Salado and will encourage people with disabilities to get involved with birding. The grant also will fund the creation of an educational curriculum to teach area school children about hummingbirds.

Rio Salado Audubon Center staff will kick off the garden building efforts with a garden workday open to the public on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to noon. The workday is open to participants ages 10 and up and no experience is necessary. The center is located at 3131 S. Central Ave. in the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area.

More information is available online in at phoenix.gov/parks in the Trails & Desert Preserves area. Information also is available by phone at (602) 262-6863 for the Habitat Restoration Area and at (602) 468-6470 for the Audubon Center.

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