My Sycamore Canyon

Summer Hours Change!

Summer is upon us and that means Junior Naturalist Camps and hour changes!  Starting July 17th until August 25th, the Ameal Moore Nature Center will have modified summer hours to accommodate the camps:

Summer Hours:
Thursdays & Fridays 1pm – 5pm
Saturdays & Sundays 9am – 5pm

Visit for the summer catalog of activities happening in the city and to register for Junior Naturalist Camps (led by I.E. Waterkeepers) and see our EVENTS page for our regularly scheduled free events at the nature center.

The Canyon After Dark: Insect Rave!

Have you ever held a native beetle or heard the chirp of a velvet ant?  We did last night at our first summer evening event, the Insect Rave!

Visitors partied to techno music, adorned themselves with glow sticks, and partied it up with the bugs!  Inside visitors were invited to make a splatter paint poster while outside visitors went up the hill to see what the graduate students from the UCR Entomology Department were attracting with their lights.

If you missed it, don’t worry!  There’s another Canyon After Dark event next month!  The Canyon After Dark is our summer event series that stretches from June to August on each 4th Friday of those months.  From 8-10pm visitors are invited to join us for a fun activity that’s free and family friendly.  The next event is July 28th from 8-10pm.  We’ll be welcoming back the Riverside Astronomical Society and their telescopes!  Join us that evening for a night under the stars!


Second Saturdays: The Watershed

This Second Saturdays event we focused on a topic that is relevant to you and us at the Ameal Moore Nature Center- even if you didn’t know it existed!  We all live somewhere- many of the visitors and staff members at the Ameal Moore Nature Center live in Riverside, California and the surrounding cities.  But Riverside is more than just a part of a county or the Inland Empire; Riverside is also a part of the Santa Ana Watershed!

A watershed is a piece of land that water can flow off of and collect into bodies of water. When it rains where you live the water drains out into a body of water (streams, rivers, lakes, the ocean, etc.).  This means that watersheds are more than just a geographic area, they’re also home.  The body of water that the watershed drains into is what the watershed is named after.  For example, any area of land where the water flows out into the Santa Ana River is part of the Santa Ana Watershed.  The Santa Ana Watershed stretches all the way from Huntington Beach to Big Bear!

For our event, visitors watched a live watershed model demo of how water flows, did a water cycle craft, and got to place themselves on our watershed map!  If you missed this event, don’t worry!  We’ve got tons of events coming up!  Visit our EVENTS page to stay up to date on programs as they’re scheduled.

Second Saturdays: Native Bees

This month the Ameal Moore Nature Center decided to focus on California’s diverse population of 1,000+ native bee species.  For our Second Saturdays program we learned all about bee houses, behavior, and appearance.  Visitors engaged in identification activities and a fun bee house craft.

If you missed this fun event don’t worry!  There’s more things happening in June!  Check out or events page for a schedule and description of upcoming programs!

Science Chats: Native Bees

This past Science Chats we had fun with ecologist Michelle Rivers!  Visitors swarmed the center as Michelle filled us in about our busy friends, California’s native bees.  Many of us are familiar with the European honeybee but there are so many other kinds of bees that are just as busy pollinating our plants!  Our 1,000+ native bee species come in all colors and sizes. California’s bio diversity is what allows us to have so many kinds and we love every single one of them!

Visitors listened as Michelle talked about species, behavior, threats, and of course, pollination.  Without bees we wouldn’t have nearly as many of the products we enjoy eating!

If you missed this event don’t worry!  We’ll have another one next month!  Visit our events page for more information.

Science Chats: You Collect WHAT?

This past Science Chats we invited UC Riverside Entomologist Ian Wright to speak with us about the importance of long-term natural history collections.

Natural history collections can be anything from an organism in a jar to pinned insects. Collections like the ones housed at UC Riverside’s Entomology Department are not only beautiful and fascinating to look at- they’re actually information gold mines!  Scientists can pull specimens for testing and examination to further our understanding of biodiversity, the genetics of a specific species, environmental impacts of an area, and more!  Ian has used long-term collections to aid state governments in land use policies that ensure the continued existence of a species.  Who knew a old specimen was so important?  That’s one useful jar of critters!

Ian brought some pinned insect collections for visitors to see as well as a few live critters!   In case you missed him but had questions, Ian will be joining us at the 3rd Annual Riverside Insect Fair with others from the UC Riverside Entomology Department on Saturday, April 29th from 10am-4pm in downtown Riverside on Mission Inn Ave between Orange and Lime Street.

For dates on future Science Chats as they become available, visit our events page!


Second Saturdays: Arbor Day

This past Second Saturdays event the Ameal Moore Nature Center was all about trees as we celebrated Arbor Day.  We know we were early (Arbor day is Friday April 28th this year) but there’s really never a bad time to celebrate and learn about trees!

Trees have some very important jobs- including producing oxygen!  But did you know that trees do more than that?  Trees provide shade, filter air, lower surrounding temperatures, keep water evaporation rates down, provide habitat for hundreds of animals, raise property value, and are good for mental health (among many, many other things!).

This event visitors were invited to learn all about trees and paint reusable canvas bags.  If you missed this Second Saturdays event, don’t worry!  There’s always another one right around the corner!  Visit our events page for more information on upcoming events!

Science Chats: Something in the Water

Tap water is regulated and tested for your safety!  Riverside’s water is tested by devoted scientists who make sure that your water is free of harmful bacteria.  This past Science Chats we welcomed Janie Bernal, a local scientist who tests Riverside water.

Janie spent the evening sharing with us the various creepy things that could be lurking in water that she and other scientists like her test for.  We had a great time hearing about all of the various gross things that could be in water and learning how Janie tests to ensure we’re kept safe and healthy!  For more topics as they’re announced, visit our EVENTS page!



Sister City Visit

Every year students from Riverside’s first Sister City, Sendai, Japan come for a visit!  This year the students did something different from previous years during their trip to Riverside.  Hosted by RUSD’s STEM Academy, Sendai students took a walking tour of downtown Riverside and visited various sites of historic significance, including the Harada House.  At each stop, students collect pre-selected items that represented the location before returning to the Riverside Metropolitan Museum to construct symbolic structures that represented the Japanese American experience in Riverside.  The next day, students came to visit the nature center where they took hikes and participated in a bioblitz!

The nature center loves to welcome visitors from all over the world, but especially loves it when those visitors enjoy learning about the natural world!  The nature center had a great time welcoming the students and looks forward to their trip again next year!

Second Saturdays: Flower Lab!

This past Second Saturdays we dug deep and looked into flowers!  Visitors were welcome to examine flower parts under microscopes, see bisected flowers, and learn the answers to questions about flower color, scent, and shape!

After learning about flowers, visitors were invited to try their hand at scientific drawing.

If you missed this fun event don’t worry!  We’ve got Second Saturdays every 2nd Saturday of the month!  Check out our EVENTS page for upcoming topics!