Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

January 27, 2021

Dear Tohono Chul Family,

Writing to you on this misty January morning, I’m thinking of the sunny spring days to come when the pandemic may finally ease, wildflowers will burst into bloom and we will be able to gather together in the gardens.

Until then, this letter comes with sincere thanks and with an incredibly wonderful piece of really good news!

You may recall that in October, I shared the news that a very generous donor had offered a second challenge grant—to raise an additional $200,000 by the end of 2020.

I am overjoyed to report that you met the challenge to raise $200,000 to sustain Tohono Chul through the winter. In fact, you surpassed that goal with enough revenue to keep Tohono Chul serving you into spring.

Throughout this challenging year, you’ve inspired each step forward along the thorny path, and although we’re not in the clear yet, I know that together we WILL sustain this beautiful desert oasis.

Here are just a few of the wonders that you have made possible this month:

  • Seasonal wildflower plantings are underway: Mexican Gold Poppies, Arizona Lupine, Paperflower, Bluebells and more.

  • Hercules Aloe is in bloom in the Succulent Garden.

  • The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), a popular attraction in the Performance Garden, is doing well and awaits your return visit.

  • Bobcats are currently outpacing coyotes with appearances on trail cams, including one that appears to have taken up residence in the newly renovated propagation area.

  • The Ethnobotanical Garden is fully up and running again for the first time since we had to close last March. Look for a bountiful harvest of Brussel Sprouts, Kohlrabi, Radish, Tarahumara Spinach, Arugula, Cimmaron Romaine, Tender Green Mustard, and Magdalena Acelgas Greens.

  • Anna’s hummingbird, the most common in Tucson, is also our earliest nester. Males are starting to court now, with loud squeaks and buzzes proclaiming their desirability. Sadly, the male hummingbird isn’t in it for the long haul, leaving his partner to raise the kids on her own. But she will have a verdant home at Tohono Chul that will nurture her and her chicks thanks to the plantings and care you have made possible.

  • Right about now we’d be celebrating in person at the Annual Members’ Reception. But since a gathering of hundreds is still not an option, we’re preparing a virtual event we hope you’ll like on Saturday, February 13th at 10am. It will be fun and celebratory with behind-the-scenes views and news of the work you’ve made possible. tohonochul.org/sales-and-special-events

I am deeply grateful for your gifts and for your encouraging words and look forward to welcoming you back to your Tohono Chul gardens this year and for many years to come.

Warm Regards,

Christine Conte, PhD

Executive Director