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Deborah Wall: April packed with workshops at Utah’s Zion National Park

Spring may be the best time to visit Zion National Park, offering delights unique to the season. The landscape is greening up, young leaves are growing on the deciduous trees, and some of the birds can be seen nesting. Weather is often ideal for hiking and sightseeing.

You can get double your value for springtime days spent here by participating in the varied educational workshops offered through the Zion Canyon Field Institute. The institute operates year-round, but April is especially packed with workshops, including:

— April 1, Spring Birds In Zion. Track and observe birds along the Virgin River, the benchlands and lower slopes of the canyon. Learn good tracking techniques while you observe both migratory and year-round birds. 8 a.m.- noon; ages 16 or older; $45.

— April 8, Mojave Wildflowers. April is the best month to see wildflowers in the St. George area. Meets at St. George BLM Office, 345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; ages 15 or older; $65.

— April 13, Thursday Trek. Join a naturalist for an introduction to the geology, flora and fauna and the cultural history of the park. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; ages 15 or older; $45.

— April 15, Low Desert Wildflowers. Explore and learn about the Mojave flora that are blooming in the extreme southwestern area of the park. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; ages 15 or older; $60.

— April 15-16, Zion Through the Lens. Field Institute Director Michael Plyler, an expert photographer, takes attendees out on the trail to learn techniques for operating your camera in manual mode. You will need to have your own camping or lodging accommodations. 9 a.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday; ages 16 or older; $225.

— April 20 and May 4, Archaeological Field Day. Go afield with a Zion archaeologist doing survey work, cataloging or other tasks. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; ages 16 or older; $60.

— April 22, Zion and the Colorado River Basin. Topics covered while on the trail will be Colorado Basin geography, Virgin River management and riparian ecology. 8 a.m.-noon; ages 15 or older; $45.

— April 22, Zion Geology. Take short hikes and learn about the remarkable rock underpinnings of the park. You will see evidence of rock falls and landslides and the role of water in shaping Zion. 9 a.m.-4 p.m; $60.

Unless otherwise noted, the workshops meet at Zion’s Human History Museum, just inside the park’s entrance. Since temperatures fluctuate greatly throughout the day and some of the excursions reach higher elevations, be sure to wear layers of clothing that you can shed or add as conditions require.

Reservations for classes and workshops are required, and they fill up fast. Visit zionpark.org or call 800-635-3959 or 435-772-3264.

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