Tucson Audubon Society

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Where We Work Tucson Audubon's Mason Center

Tucson Audubon's Mason Center


About the Mason Center

Tucson Audubon's Mason Center is a place where youth, families, educators and others can appreciate the beauty of our native desert, appreciate native wildlife and learn about sustainable living in the Sonoran Desert.

Owned and managed by the Tucson Audubon Society, the Mason Center is located on 20 acres of mostly undisturbed saguaro-ironwood desert donated by its former owner, Mrs. Orpha Mason, in an area of Tucson’s northwest side that is rapidly growing and in great need of outdoor education opportunities. As a protected area adjacent to additional natural desert in Arthur Pack Park, it provides habitat for the preservation and study of many desert plants and animals.


Tucson Audubon Mason Center Mission:

  • Safeguard saguaro-ironwood habitat
  • Foster awareness, understanding and stewardship of our desert environment
  • Provide educational programs and research opportunities at the Center and throughout the community
  • Honor Mrs. Orpha Mason by protecting this land for future generations

Come for a visit!

We're located at 3835 W Hardy RdOpen most weekdays 9am-5pm and for special events. Closed when chain is across driveway. Call for details: 520-209-1802.

Upcoming Events | Take a virtual tour

Check the weather at the Mason Center on our station on Weather Underground! 

Mason Center Saturday Morning Birdwalks - Every 1st & 3rd Saturday, November through April

See our calendar to find the next walk

Starting time: 8 am; Join Tucson Audubon for a short introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After brief feeder watching at the Center stroll across Hardy Rd to the Maeveen Behan Desert Sanctuary within Arthur Pack Park for a chance to see 20 to 30 more species along the 2.3 mile Maeveen Behan desert trail and a short walk to a lake to observe waterbirds. Great for families. Loaner binoculars are available. RSVP no longer required. Call 520-209-1815 with questions. See map.

Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Drinking water not available on trail. Restrooms at the Mason and one restroom midway on the 2.5 mile loop. Led by Jim Gessaman or Mary Ellen Flynn.

Net-Zero Energy Usage and Permaculture at the Mason Center

Would you like to be part of turning a 60-year-old house into a demonstration net-zero-energy building for our community? Here’s how!

The main house at the Mason Center is on its way to becoming a net-zero-energy building through the following upgrades:

  • Shingle roof replaced with a metal roof (for rainwater harvesting), painted white to reflect heat, coated inside with a heat retardant
  • Single-pane windows replaced with high-efficiency thermal pane ones
  • Cellulose recycled newsprint insulation added to loft to R42+
  • Energy-efficient HVAC system installed to replace inefficient standalone units

The last two improvements were completed in 2013, and we have seen the summer electricity consumption drop by 50% compared to the same period last year. Our house is now comfortable in summer and winter.

Read more about the Mason Center's sustainability projects and its permaculture plan on pages 12-16 of the Vermilion Flycatcher, Volume 57, Number 4.

Mason Center Support Fund

Tucson Audubon seeks to turn our Mason Center into a state of the art, demonstration retrofit net-zero-carbon/energy building. We are seeking funds that are separate and above those funds that members give for our program work. Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone on 520 209 1801 to discuss how you can help. Thank you.

Carrie_Dean_leads_a_class_trail_walk_2007_copyMason Center Field Trips

Educational and environmental groups may schedule a visit to this 22-acre, ironwood-saguaro habitat site for a fee of $50/hour with a minimum of 2 hours. Groups are scheduled on Fridays on a first-come, first-serve basis and must be accompanied by Mason Center staff or naturalists for the duration of the program.

To learn more about the site and its resources, see contact information below. Limit of 30 students per visit.

Physical Address:


Tucson Audubon's Mason Center
3835 W. Hardy
Tucson, AZ 85742 (See map)

Tucson Audubon's Mason Center is on the southwest corner of the intersection of Thornydale Road and W Hardy Road. Entry is the first driveway on the south side of Hardy Road. Look for a gray driveway and a chain that crosses driveway when we are not present. Additional parking is available along Hardy Rd. Please see map.


Attn: Mason Center

300 E. University Blvd, Ste 120
Tucson, AZ 85705
Phone: (520) 209-1802
Fax: (520) 623-3476
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


mason cactus