Joe Sorto, the naturalist for the Suffolk Hills neighborhood in Oro Valley, examines desert vegetation, such as, from bottom, prickly pear cactus, burro brush, triangle-leaf bursage and chair fruit cholla during this Saturday’s nature seminars sponsored by the Suffolk Hills Property Owners Association and Immaculate Heart High School. The seminars and Sunday’s nature walks are free and open to the public. Wendy Miller/The Explorer

Did the cold snap kill my cacti? What is that big kitty with spots doing in my backyard? These questions and countless others will be answered this weekend, April 9-10, during free lectures and nature walks in Oro Valley conducted by University of Arizona staff members and other professionals.

The lectures were conceived by Suffolk Hills’ residents Joe Sorto, a retired botany professor, and Adrian Quijada, a professor of conservation and biogeography. They called on colleagues to help present the seminars, slide shows and nature walks,

The events are sponsored by the Suffolk Hills Property Owners Association and Immaculate Heart High School, 625 E. Magee Road, site of all the nature events.

Seminars will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 9. The nature walks will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 10, said Phil Richardson, a member of the SHPOA board of directors who has lived in Suffolk Hills for 51 years.

Each seminar will last about 20 minutes and be followed by a brief question-and-answer period. The topics are: Wildcats in Urban Tucson, Geology and Vegetation of Our Neighborhood, Living with Venomous Reptiles, Home at the Foothills of a Sky Island, and Our Birds in the Backyard.

Founded in the mid-1950s, Suffolk Hills is one of Northwest Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods. It is located midway between Ina and Magee, and east of North Oracle Road.

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