Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

April 20, 2021

Dear Tohono Chul Family,

What a pleasure to be writing to you from my favorite, sunny bench here at Tohono Chul on this glorious spring morning as the pandemic is finally easing its grip, the gardens are bursting with bloom and the trees are filled with birdsong. Gathering together in the gardens IS a reality, now.

Many thanks for your patience and kind support as we retain mask and social distancing measures to keep everyone as safe as possible. If not for your generous gifts, Tohono Chul could not have survived to keep serving you and all who depend on this beloved sanctuary.

You may recall that in my last letter, I shared that yet another anonymous admirer has pledged to match every dollar raised through June, up to $200,000.

I am so pleased to report that gifts from our community of supporters so far have passed the half-way mark. With two months left in the matching grant deadline, success in meeting the $200,000 challenge that will sustain Tohono Chul into early fall, is in sight.

Here is even more good news, thanks to you:

  • Spring Plant Sale. Despite the pandemic, Tohono Chul staff and volunteers found an optimal solution for a safe and enjoyable Spring Plant Sale in the easily-accessed front parking lot. Judging from your comments and sales, it was one of the most successful ever!

  • Wildlife. What was that I saw out of the corner of my eye? An elusive ringtail cat (Bassariscus astutus) perched in a palo verde tree outside the Exhibits office window—first sighting in many years.

  • In Bloom. Just about everything! The list is long but here is one special beauty to check out right now. Nacapule Jasmine, Vallesia (baileyanalaciniata, with clusters of white star-shaped and sweetly-scented blossoms in the Desert Palm Oasis.

  • For Your Visiting Pleasure. Starting Saturday, May 1 we are no longer requiring anyone to pre-purchase admission tickets on our website to visit the gardens. This also means no more reservations required for the use of guest passes or bookings through the Reciprocal Admissions Program.

  • Director of Education and Exhibitions. When Jo Falls retired as Director of Education in December I’m sure you were all wondering how we would ever find her equal to lead the program. Today, Jo is as thrilled as I am to announce that our own James Schaub who has served as Curator of Exhibitions for the past 6 years has agreed to step up as Director of Education and Exhibitions.

If Tohono Chul has anything to teach us, it’s that anxiety about an uncertain future is no match for curiosity and love of the natural environment.

There is always light, beauty and hope where there is a community gathered together to support a natural treasure like our desert oasis. That is what your gifts have provided.

So, here we are. Late-April. A little more than 2 months to go to raise $95K to meet the $200K challenge. Together we will crush this goal and Tohono Chul will thrive.

To help, please consider:

  • Making an unrestricted gift between now and June to help us reach the $200K challenge.

  • Renewing your membership; give a little extra if you are able or choose a membership level higher than your current one.

  • Shopping, yes shopping. Stay tuned for the e-news announcement of the Sonoran Spring online sale. Treat yourself or find gifts for those you love. You’ll find local art, crafts and plants specially curated for the Sonoran Spring Gala that was shut down by the pandemic.

Again, I look forward to seeing you soon—in the gardens, the galleries, on the trails, and on the Garden Bistro patio—seeing you and thanking you for all your help.

Warm Regards,

Christine Conte, PhD

Executive Director