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The Hub of the Sonoran Desert

There is perhaps nothing more central to the Sonoran ecology than the saguaro cactus. It is not just the most iconic symbol of our region, it also serves as a source of food and shelter for 100 different local species. In fact, the saguaro is so vital to the ecosystem that it has earned the title of a keystone species—the fate of the Sonoran Desert is forever linked to the fate of the saguaro cactus. If the saguaro were gone, the effects on the ecosystem would be devastating.

Tucson Audubon Society recognizes the saguaro’s position as the hub of the ecological network that is the Sonoran Desert. We have also seen how precarious its position can be: The wildfires that ravaged the Coronado and Tonto National Forests in recent years destroyed countless saguaros, threatening the insects, mammals, and birds that rely on them. We’re working with many partners to re-establish saguaros both post-burn and to help them colonize areas projected to become viable saguaro habitat into the future.

Our saguaro population is at risk. But together we can make an impact.

With your help, we are undertaking a massive, 3-year effort to replant 14,000 saguaros. Our team is microtargeting the precise optimal locations for the new plants. We will ensure that the seedlings are protected from the harsh sun and hungry animals until they are big and strong enough to defend themselves.

How can I help?

There are several ways you can support and join in the work we’re doing.

Sponsor a Saguaro Hotel

A single mature saguaro can serve as luxury high-rise accommodation, restaurant, and rest stop for 32 species of birds and also provides a place for roosting, perching, mate seeking, and nesting! Your support can help keep an old-growth saguaro safe and open for bird business.

Adopt a Saguaro Seedling

Rally your friends and family in support of one of our new seedlings. When you create a fundraising page, we’ll send you the location of the seedling that you’ve adopted. Ask your social circle to help you reach whatever goal you set to protect a newly planted saguaro.

Share Your Saguaro Story

How do saguaros inspire you? Share your saguaro stories with us this month to help get our community excited about our giant cactus friends. We’ll feature your work on our website and each story has a chance at being published in the next Vermilion Flycatcher magazine!

Volunteer to help plant

If you don’t mind kneeling on the ground and getting your hands dirty, we need you! We will be scheduling several planting days over the course of this three-year project. The first of these planting days will be in March 2023. Please check back for specific opportunities, for both individuals and groups.

Gilded Flicker by Dan Weisz

Spread the Word

Protecting our saguaro population isn’t something we can do alone. The more people who know about our work, the more we’ll be able to enhance and expand the vital habitat that saguaros represent. Share our stories on social media and beyond.