Category Archives: Events

‘Celebrate the River’ Singer/Songwriter Contest!

Celebrate the River Concert 2014
Celebrate the River Concert 2014

Click here to download an application form.

The Verde River Valley Nature Organization (VRVNO), and Old Town Center for the Arts (OTCA) have put their heads together for another grand event featuring our verdant Verde River Valley, partnering with the Verde River Day Committee and Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce to bring you a kick-off event for the annual Verde River Day Festival. The 2nd Annual ‘CELEBRATE THE RIVER CONCERT’ will include a SINGER / SONGWRITERS CONTEST.  Last year OTCA and VRVNO invited our local Mayors and Verde River Valley organizations to present and enjoy the first annual ‘Celebrate the River Concert’. “It was very well attended, and many compliments received from the audience,“ stated Wendy Harford – Director of VRVNO, and William Eaton – Director of OTCA.

This year’s concert will not only feature a return of William Eaton and the professional musicians making up the annual ‘River Band’, but also include 3 finalists of this year’s ‘Celebrate the River ‘ Singer / Songwriters competition.  This competition is open to all ages and created to support outreach and stewardship of the Verde River.

The ‘CELEBRATE THE RIVER’ SINGER/SONGWRITER CONTEST is both a PERFORMANCE and SONGWRITING COMPETITION, all three finalists will be judged on performance and songwriting. Three selected finalists will perform on stage at the ‘Celebrate the River’ concert to be held Sept 25th at OTCA, as well as on stage at Verde River Day Sept 26th!  The audience of the Friday eve OTCA concert will select the Grand Finalist!

Applicants need to be aware that they have to pay all of their own travel and any stayover expenses related to the competition, and if they are selected as one of the finalists that they must be available in particular for the eve of the 25th and the day of the 26th to perform. The song submissions must  be about personal experience on or around the Verde River that will help others make a connection to the Verde River, its stories, histories and value. So not just a made up song about a river and stick ‘Verde’ in front of it.  Preference will be given to authentic lyrics created specific for this purpose.

Click here to download the application form and instructions for submitting your song(s). For more information on how to submit your song(s) please write Wendy at  You may also write to VRVNO at PO Box 2224, Cottonwood AZ 86326 for an application.

Deadline for submissions will be Sept 11th. Selected performers will be notified no later than Sept 21st. and will be required to be available for sound check and performance the eve of Sept 25th and performance time TBA Sept 26th, both venues are in Cottonwood, AZ.  Finalists are responsible for your own travel and lodging.

For more information:  Old Town Center for the Arts: Verde River Day:

Photo provided by Vivian T. Nguyen.

Verde River Runoff 2016

The 2015 Verde River Runoff, a kayak and canoe race, starting at White Bridge near Camp Verde and ending at Beasely Flat, approximately 10 miles below Camp Verde was a good time. The event, sponsored by VRVNO in conjunction with the Town of Camp Verde is in its third year and there were 110 participants registered in 9 categories.  To see the list of all participants finishing the race and recording a race time,  Select HERE.   The first and 2nd place winners in each class received a medal and a $50.00 gift certificate to REI.

Previous year’s winners were:

Place Race Category Participants Race Time
1st Men’s Solo Kayak Jeff/James Johnson 1:42
2nd Men’s Solo Kayak Rob Hammerle 1:47
1st Tandem Canoe Juliane Viltone 2:02
Tandem Canoe Mathew Martz
2nd Tandem Canoe Michael Shaw 2:04
Tandem Canoe Tony Shaw
1st Men’s Solo Canoe Stephen Rutter 1:53
2nd Men’s Solo Canoe Jonathan Fuller 2:06
1st Men’s Inflatable Kayak Richard Ruth 3:11
2nd Men’s Inflatable Kayak Jon Vick 4:21
1st Women’s Inflatable Kayak Gail Pate 2:57
2nd Women’s Inflatable Kayak Brittany Kyte 2:59
1st Tandem Kayak Kyle Rafferty 1:42
Tandem Kayak Leith Eric
2nd Tandem Kayak Carri Vande Berg 2:08
Tandem Kayak Steve Buggy
1st Tandem Inflatable Kayak Holly Johnson 2:11
Tandem Inflatable Kayak Wes Johnson
2nd Tandem Inflatable Kayak Janet Fornear 2:50
Tandem Inflatable Kayak Jeffrey Fornear
1st Women’s Solo Kayak Melinda Hammerle 1:52
2nd Women’s Solo Kayak Julie Birkle 1:55
1st Women’s Solo Canoe Charmaine Galion 4:08

Verde River Runoff 2015



Join us for the Verde River Runoff Event!

WHEN: March 28,2015     10:00 am – 3:00 pm

WHERE: White Bridge, Camp Verde, AZ

[button link=””] Register NOW[/button]

Birding 101 & 102



Birdwatching is fast becoming one of the most popular outdoor recreations in the United States. Ask any birder, they will be able to tell you why! It is the enjoyment of being outdoors, the confidence gained from reconnecting with the natural world, and the excitement of that unexpected flash of color in the trees and being able to identify it!

It’s time again for Verde River Valley Nature Organization (VRVNO) and Northern AZ Audubon Society (NAAS) to bring back ‘BIRDING 101 & Introduce 102’  on Nov 7th & 8th, 2014. 

Nov 7th is an all-day class to be held at the Cottonwood Rec Center, Cottonwood Room.

Nov 8th is an all-day guided birding field trip, location TBA.

Your instructors will be:
Dena Greenwood, Manager of Jay’s Bird Barn – Sedona: Dena began her birding career over 25 years ago as an AZ State Park Ranger, and holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Biology. Dena is a NAAS Board Member, and has taught Birds of the Region for Yavapai College for many years. as well as co-founder/field trip coordinator for the VRVNO – (14 year old) Verde Valley Birding and Nature Fest. Dena loves to share her skills in birding, not the least of which is identifying by sound!

Suzy Clemenz has been a member of NAAS since 1987.  Her work as a freelance photographer has given her opportunities to bird in almost every state, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Ecuador and parts of Costa Rica and Guatemala.  She loves that all it takes is a pair of binoculars to find birds in every habitat. Suzy states “Entering the world of birds is like finding a new dimension to all your surroundings, even at your own back yard feeder.”

This workshop is geared to introduce new birders to the art of birding, and to support and encourage new birding guides for the Verde Valley.

A sponsored, discounted fee of $25. per participant is required. To register for the event. visit: [button link=”” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Birding 101 Registration[/button]

For more information about VRVNO or and NAAS at or Bird and Nature Fest at

We hope to see you out there along the river again sometime soon!

NAAS Logo_banner

Essentials of River Kayaking Level 1 & 2 – October 4th

Catch That First Wave and Live to Tell About It!


Hold onto your kayak paddles! Verde River Valley Nature Organization (VRVNO) is partnering with the American Canoe Association (ACA) to bring you not 1, not 2 but 5 of their qualified instructors for an instructional day on the Verde River. This discounted training opportunity is the start of formal education on the river. If you are comfortable on the river and have paddling experience and would like to work some of our events this is the workshop for you! Even if you are experienced and already a river recreation Safety Boater, this is your beginning towards qualification with the ACA.

Currently scheduled for October 4th – please stay tuned for additional details on date and time.

A perfect match you might say:

“Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddle sport competition, exploration and recreation.”

VRVNO’s Mission is to “provide recreational, education, and nature tourism opportunities that support stewardship of the Verde River Valley” and FB as Verde River Valley Nature Organization.

Thanks to the Walton Family Foundation’s rivers initiative, VRVNO has some funds to contribute 1st time around, so your charge is a minimal $50. per person includes lunch and equipment shuttle. You must be an adult this time around, but watch for more, safe river recreation opportunities with VRVNO and ACA

ACA -Essentials of River Kayaking – Level 2: Oct 4th 7:30a to 5:30p. Registrants meet at Tuzigoot RAP for introduction, with shuttle to Lower Tapco RAP for river put in. Participants will be separated by skill level, participants who don’t complete the L2 certification may obtain L1.

Review the requirements below, you must have a helmet and the other equipment. Check / Cash for ACA Membership, $40 annual, is optional.

Kayak – PFD – Paddle and Helmet (helmet can be a regulation bicycle helmet) Let VRVNO know if you need help with any of these provisions. Proper Boating Attire, including closed-toed shoes and end of paddle warm up clothes. Personal Effects: sunscreen, sunglasses, water and bottle, necessary medications, etc. Signed waiver’s for ACA and VRVNO

Registration at:

Verde River Days 2014



UPDATE: At least 100 people stranded at Verde River Day; park officials now allowing vehicles to cross:

The sunny skies that greeted the opening of Saturday’s Verde River Day changed dramatically before noon when a downpour canceled the 26th annual event at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood.   Some attending Verde River Day said it took more than an hour to drive from the park to Main Street in Cottonwood, while more than 100 people (top photo) ended up stranded in the park for several hours because of rising flood waters.

In the bottom photo, Dead Horse Ranch State Park employee Max Castillo mans the backhoe to clear a channel for water to drain so vehicles hopefully can cross to the other said. At 2 p.m., park officials allowed high-clearance vehicles to pass through the flood area.  By 2:30 p.m., they began allowing all vehicles to leave. There were about 80 vehicles in line waiting their turn to cross the wash. Check out our pictures of the [button link=”” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Verde River Day 2014[/button]!


Big Weekends Equal Big Posts!

VRVNO and partnering organizations had a busy weekend, replete with music, dancing, kayaking, nature education and FLOODING!!!

Check out our latest entries into the GALLERY Page for pictures of our events from:

[button link=”” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] Celebrate the River 2014[/button]

[button link=”” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Verde River Day 2014[/button]

[button link=”” type=”big” color=”teal” newwindow=”yes”] Canoe Trip 9/28/2014[/button]

For more information on our events and offerings, please feel free to browse our site or [button link=”” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Contact Us[/button]

Celebrate the River Concert – Friday, September 26 at 7 pm

1st Annual ‘Celebrate the River’ Concert.


WITH GUESTS: Eric Zang, Wendy Harford and JoAnne Agostinelli

Friday, September 26th – 7:00 pm at Old Town Center for the Arts

The ‘Celebrate the River’ Concert will be held at the Old Town Center for the Arts on Friday, September 26th.  The show begins at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:15 pm.  Attendees are invited to arrive early to see a pre-concert slide show and learn more about the Verde River and Oak Creek from representatives of the sponsoring organizations, who will be present to provide information and answer questions. Tickets are available online at  Tickets are also available in Cottonwood at Desert Dancer and Mount Hope Natural Foods; and in Sedona at Crystal Magic.  Old Town Center for the Arts is located at 633 N. Main Street (5thStreet & Main St.) in Old Town Cottonwood. For more information please or call Elena Bullard at 928.634.0940.

Tickets available on

Ticket Prices:

$15 advance

$18 door

$20 priority

William Eaton Mary Redhouse Claudia Tulip


Verde River Day – Saturday, September 27th

Verde River Day_banner


A day of free play at Dead Horse Ranch State Park!

Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood will celebrate its 26th annual Verde River Day on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Arizona State Parks has waived park entrance fees for all visitors attending the event. All of the activities are at no cost, thanks to the many exhibitors and sponsors.

Verde River Day promotes preservation and care of the environment by showcasing informative exhibits on the Verde’s unique riparian habitat.

Some of the day’s events include a climbing wall, organized canoe and kayak rides, sand castle building, and nature-based exhibits. Guests of all ages are welcome to fish in the lagoon that is loaded with hundreds of pounds of catfish. Poles, bait and tackle are provided for all ages. No fishing license is needed. There will be a wide range of entertainment throughout the day.

Enjoy the best pancake breakfast. Non-Profit Food vendors will be cooking up Indian Fry bread, hot dogs and Hamburgers for nominal fees.

Try pottery making by hand and take your creation home with you . See the live birds and reptiles.

Verde River Day was organized in 1988 to promote awareness of the Verde River’s distinctive riparian habitat, where 85 percent of all wildlife in the area looks for sustenance.

For more information about Verde River Day, call (928) 634-5283.

Free Canoe Rides with American Rivers – Sunday, September 28th

Free Canoe Rides on the Verde River

Sunday, September 28th

28 folks will enjoy a leisure guided canoe paddle down the Verde River for the first time, from DHRSP to river left just above the Mingus Bridge!

A great big THANK YOU to American Rivers for helping fund our upcoming Free Float and Guided Paddle down the Verde River on September 28, 2014! We will be launching from Dead Horse Ranch State Park, and all ages and skill levels are welcome!

VRVNO is dedicated to providing safe, responsible outdoor recreation opportunities to bring awareness of the continued need for conservation and stewardship of the Verde River and its surrounding environs. Our free floats and guided paddles are a great way to learn more about the river, get involved with our community and have fun outdoors!

For more information on our Free floats and guided paddle trips, check out our recent blog post HERE.


American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. 

Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Through our river conservation work we are ensuring clean drinking water supplies, revitalizing fish and wildlife, improving recreation, and leaving a legacy of healthy rivers for future generations. For more information, visit: