Spring is in the air, and the local flora and fauna are finally coming back to life across the valley.

One of the best places to enjoy this blooming beauty is to explore the area around the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU). Tucked into the foothills behind campus, the museum’s grounds are a great place to walk around and observe the plants, animals and spectacular views of the Salt Lake Valley.

To guide visitors around this area, the NHMU is offering Foothill Wildflower Walks, a series of four tours led by museum faculty that started on April 20, and will be happening every Wednesday until May 18. Each of these walks will start at 1 p.m., except for the final one, which starts at sunset. These walks are a great lunchtime activity or a chance to stretch your legs in the middle of a long day.

Echo Paixao, assistant gallery programs coordinator for the NHMU, said these walks are led by experts in botany and entomology because they are “just as much about bugs as they are about flowers.”

Elizabeth Johnson, the museum’s botany collections manager, and Christy Bills, entomology collection manager, are leading these walks. Paixao said they are some of the most fun people on staff at the NHMU and “it is so special to get an hour of their time.”

Both tour leaders have vast experience both in the field and in the museum, which means these walks are a great opportunity for students to ask questions, learn about both botany and entomology and just enjoy the good company.

The 45-minute- to hour-long walks will take group members down the Bonneville Shoreline trail, directly behind the NHMU building.

“[The walks] are a great opportunity to get on the Bonneville Shoreline trail,” Paixao said.

Paixao said participants will not have to walk far because there is so much to see in the area and there are already wildflowers popping up, with more beautiful and diverse species appearing as the month progresses.

Space is limited to 15 people per tour. To sign up, you must go to the NHMU first floor admissions desk. The tour is included in museum admission cost and is free for faculty, students and staff with a valid UCard.

The upcoming walk dates are April 20, April 27, May 11 at 1 p.m. and at 7 p.m. on May 18. Dates and times are subject to change depending on weather conditions.

f.rhinehart@dailyutahchronicle.com

@Unchained116

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