Local wildflowers

The unique conditions found in the desert around Moab offer the opportunity to enjoy a diversity of wildflowers. On Saturday, May 10, Canyonlands Field Institute will offer a full-day desert wildflower workshop. Participants will explore the deserts of Moab in search of spring blooms.

Workshop participants will be led by local naturalist Joel Tuhy. Tuhy has been studying and photographing regional wildflowers for over 30 years.

Tuhy said the group will learn the proper names of wildflowers they identify during the trip, the habitat requirements for different flowers, and the different soil types found in the desert. Tuhy also includes information about the geology of the surrounding rock formations.

“What I would say for those interested in signing up for this workshop is: ‘We will see interesting things.’” Tuhy said.

Tuhy explained that even after scouting an area for wildflowers, which he does the week before the workshop, there will be changes to the blooms by the time to the group actually heads out. Temperature or weather changes can quickly change which flowers are blossoming.

And while the group can expect to see between 50 and 70 different types of flowers, the exact types of flowers the group will find is uncertain. Tuhy explained that while there are some flowers that bloom in the desert every year, such as globe mallow, mountain pepper plants, and cisco woodyaster, other plants are unpredictable.

Tuhy will scout several areas for wildflowers the week prior to the workshop, but he said the group will primarily spend their time northwest of Moab.

“Destination is determined by best blooms,” Tuhy said. “We find a good loop where we see a bunch of different habitats and soil types.”

Tuhy has been leading the workshop for CFI for about four years, and past participants have said the trip is informative.

“(There was) good discussion about plants as we did our detective work identifying them,” said Lowrey Mumford, a 2012 participant. “Joel was thorough in teaching us what to look for to determine a plant’s identity. I will never look at the desert the same way again. It’s wonderful to know a little more about the area I’m in so much of the time. My hikes will be much more rewarding now.”

The workshop will take place rain or shine, and participants should be ready for a full day of exploring the desert. The group will ride to the locations in a van provided by CFI and there are expected to be three-to-four stops during the trip. Workshop participants should be able to complete small hikes, with the longest being a half mile. The workshop will be limited to eight people.

Advanced registration is required. People interested in participating can call 435-259-7750 or 800-860-5262 to register.The trip will start at 8:30 a.m. at the CFI office, 1320 S. Hwy 191. Participants can expect to return to the CFI office between 4:30 and 5 p.m. The cost is $100 per person and lunch will be provided. Participants must be at least 16.

Local naturalist Joel Tuhy to lead desert wildflower workshop


Where: Canyonlands Field Institute, 1320 S. Hwy 191

When:Saturday, May 10 at 8:30 a.m.

Cost: $100 per person; pre-register by calling 435-259-7750

“Destination is determined by best blooms. We find a good loop where we see a bunch of different habitats and soil types.”