Tohono Chul

7366 North Paseo del Norte
Tucson, AZ 85704
ph: 520-742-6455 ext. 0
fax: 520-797-1213


Administrative Offices

Dr. Christine Conte – Executive Director x. 212

Learn more about Christine

Christine Conte joined the staff of Tohono Chul Park as its executive director in September, 2010. She has more than thirty years of senior level management experience in museums and conservation organizations with an emphasis on the nature, art and cultures of the Sonoran Desert region and building community alliances for successful conservation campaigns.

Christine holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with specialties in cultural ecology and cross-cultural communications. She also holds an MA in Museum Studies, has completed Post-baccalaureate studies in Education, and was a Scholar in Residence in the Eller College of Business, Department of Marketing at the University of Arizona.

In addition to her current position as executive director at Tohono Chul Park, her experience in museum administration, research and education includes the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, where she served as founding director of the Museum’s Center for Sonoran Desert Studies and as the Museum’s cultural ecologist. The Center for Sonoran Desert Studies conducts the educational and scientific functions of the Museum and is a hub for research, education and conservation of the Sonoran Desert Region.

Before joining the staff of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Christine was the founding director of the Marketing and Communications program for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, a position she held for more than 16 years. During that time, and continuing through her tenure at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, she served on the production team for the Emmy award-winning national public television program on nature, art and culture in the Sonoran Desert region, The Desert Speaks.

In 2015, Christine received the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leader award. In 2005, Tucson’s Mayor Robert E. Walkup honored her with the Copper Letter Award for Extraordinary Citizenship recognizing her long-term commitment to inspiring appreciation and understanding of our natural world and for her leadership in advocating for conservation of the Sonoran Desert.

Christine has also held research, education and curatorial positions at the Smithsonian Institution, American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the American Indian, Old Pueblo Museum, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. She authored and/or edited numerous publications.

Denise Wiscount – Accounting and Payroll Clerk x. 216

Michelle Armstrong – Director of Marketing & Communications x. 221

Angela Whitsell – Philanthropy Associate x. 243


Linda Wolfe – Director of Retail x. 213

Exhibits, Education & Volunteers

James Schaub – Director of Education and Exhibitions x. 218

Nicole George – Assistant Curator of Exhibitions & Collections Manager x. 217

Stephen Spikes – Interpretive Programs Manager x. 235

Karen Hayes – Public Programs Manager x. 228

Kasey Fry – Volunteer Services Coordinator x. 241


Doreen Wolf – Membership Services x. 246

Retail Greenhouse

Hannah Blood – Retail Greenhouse Manager x. 239


Chris Kibler – Grounds Supervisor

Event Rentals

Helena Riggins – Private Events x. 229

Visit our Private Events page for more information!

Board of Directors

Andy Swarthout
Expertise: Minerals exploration geologist and corporate finance
Affiliation: Retired as Chief Executive Officer of Bear Creek Mining Corporation

Sasha Case – President
Expertise: Arts and Community Outreach
Affiliation: Independent artist and Arts Educator

Patty Clymer  Secretary
Expertise: Education
Affiliation: School District Governing Board member; State Academic Decathlon Board Member; Former President of Church Council, Chair of its Endowment Committee

Christine Conte
Expertise: Non-profit management
Affiliation: Executive Director, Tohono Chul

Charlotte Cordes
Expertise: Education (Biology), Fundraising
Affiliation: Retired Director of Foundation Relations, Claremont McKenna College Retired Docent, Tohono Chul

Penny Crutchfield – Treasurer
Expertise: Finance
Affiliation: Retired from the University of Arizona in 2004 where she served in Financial Services for 18 years as Associate Comptroller.

Jacquelyne Mingle
Expertise: Estate Planning Attorney
Affiliation: Fleming & Curti, PLC

Michael Racy
Expertise: Lobbying and government relations
Affiliation: Racy Associates, Inc.

Mary Swiergol
Expertise: Magazine owner/publisher
Affiliation: Founder/publisher of The Desert Leaf a monthly magazine begun in 1987 serving the Catalina Foothills communities of Tucson.

Our Vision

Core Values

  • Love of the Sonoran Desert region: its natural history and it cultural heritage.
  • Love of Tohono Chul and respect for what it means to visitors, supporters, and staff.
  • Responsible use of all natural, human, fiscal, and temporal resources.
  • Respect for all people, their beliefs and cultures.
  • Excellence and integrity in all undertakings of Tohono Chul.
  • Dedication to lifelong learning, with special focus on living with the Sonoran Desert and the interactions of people with their environment.
  • Accessibility and outreach to the community in experiencing the resources of Tohono Chul.

Mission Statement

The mission of Tohono Chul is to enrich people’s lives by connecting them with the wonders of nature, art, and culture in the Sonoran Desert region and inspiring wise stewardship of the natural world.

Vision Statement

Tohono Chul’s vision is to be recognized internationally as the premier center for understanding and appreciation of the Sonoran Desert region through its fusion of nature, art, and culture. Tohono Chul seeks to be an indispensible resource for helping people learn about, celebrate, and conserve our region’s natural and cultural heritage, and to be a model institution for other unique regions around the world. Every element of Tohono Chul will reflect excellence and beauty, creating a pleasurable, inspiring and enlightening experience for all.

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Homepage Gardens, Galleries, & Bistro image credits (first to last): © Josh Schachter 2012 | © Ryan Mihalyi 2012 | © Josh Schachter 2012