Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

August 5, 2020

Dear Tohono Chul Family,

In the few weeks since my last letter, our local and our statewide situation has once again shifted dramatically. Not only have the monsoon rains unfurled a new season of natural beauty and renewal, but we are also seeing tentative progress in containing the COVID-19 virus here in Arizona.

Sometimes I think that in these letters my “Thank Yous” for your generous support might start sounding repetitious. But then I think, how can I say “Thank You” too many times? How can I be too grateful? So, I’ll just risk it and say, THANK YOU once again, and many more times, for all that you’ve done to keep our desert oasis in good health and ready to start serving you again.

BREAKING NEWS… We are reopening!

Sorry to startle you with that… but in my last letter I said that while we had to remain closed until the end of the month, we were preparing to welcome you home.

Since then, our preparations have received a bit of help, and some of it just fell from the sky….

  • The Sin Agua Garden, soaked with captured rainwater, has turned from stark to lush with seasonal blossoms like the Bush Morning Glory beginning to unfurl.

  • Shade trees are bursting with a chorus of birdsong and aerial Monsoon courtship dances. Hummingbird pairs skyrocket to the skies, plummet, swoop and twirl.

  • Coyote pups delight in the discovery of a dog toy left by a staff member.

  • Rain lilies sprout overnight opening into bouquets of pink and white blooms. Firewheel flowers catch your eye with their bright yellow-rimmed and orange- centered petals.

  • And that clean scent of desert creosote is in the moisture-softened air.

With health and safety precautions in place [see below], Tohono Chul will begin reopening tomorrow, Thursday, August 6, from 7am-1pm, with the Members Preview of Monsoon Madness Plant Sale that continues through Sunday, August 9.

General Admission begins Thursday, August 13

Through September 30, hours of operation will be Thursdays-Sundays from 7am to 2pm. You can find all the details on our website tohonochul.org/visit, but here are a few of the ways we have prepared for your safety and comfort:

  • Social distancing and masks required

  • Timed entry appointments for grounds

  • Limits on the number of people in shops and galleries
  • Restrooms cleaned every hour

  • One-way paths

  • Hand sanitizing dispensers throughout the grounds
  • During Monsoon Madness the Garden Bistro will offer safely prepared and lovingly served refreshments in the gardens. (The Garden Bistro will remain closed at least through August.)

And last but definitely not least, you have proven that there is still light and beauty along the path through the thorny forest.

Survive and Thrive has now surpassed the original $150K challenge gift and reached over $280K! I thank each of you personally for making what seemed impossible, a reality.

This is your work. Volunteers. Members. Long-time donors and first-time donors. Those who gave a dollar, and those who gave many times that.

We continue to need your generous support. Our goal now is to raise the remaining $70K of the $100K reported in my last letter to ensure we will make it through October, the beginning of our top revenue-generating season.

Somehow, week after week, in spite of the bad news around us, we still have good news to share. I’m beginning to feel that this is a trend, one that with your help will continue.

As always my thoughts are with you and your families. And, yes, we will get through this together and we will gather in the garden again.

Warm regards,

Christine Conte, PhD

Executive Director