Featured Stories

25

Aug 21

August 25, 2021

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Hasn’t this monsoon season been WONDERFUL?! I cannot think of a more welcome gift, after a refreshing family vacation, than to return to billowing thunderclouds and cooling rains that quench the dusky landscape and transform it into the lush and verdant greens of a tropical forest....

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How To Process Prickly Pear Fruit

2

Aug 21

August 2, 2021

How To Process Prickly Pear Fruit

It's almost that time of year when the prickly pear fruit ripens and it's time to harvest! Learn how to process the fruit in the video below featuring our Interpretive Programs Manager Stephen Spikes.

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1

Jul 21

July 1, 2021

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, So much about this past year has been unsettling. Last year at this time I was writing to you during the height of the pandemic. Tohono Chul was closed and its future uncertain. The sky was filled with lung-searing smoke from the Bighorn Fire on the...

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The Bees Are On the Move

1

Jul 21

July 1, 2021

The Bees Are On the Move

Honey bees would usually be a boon for any garden. Bees provide an essential environmental service – pollination. They visit flower after flower collecting pollen grains and slurping up nectar. When a bee carries pollen from one flower to another and visits two flowers of the same species, there’s always...

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27

May 21

May 27, 2021

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, New joy in the gardens today! Your smiling faces! Now as the public health safety allows, and for those fully vaccinated and who are comfortable shedding masks outdoors, I am delighted to see the big smiles. And that brings an even bigger smile for me. A...

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20

Apr 21

April 20, 2021

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

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...

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23

Feb 21

February 23, 2021

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Some Valentine’s gifts are meant to be shared. This glorious one is shared with you—our family of donors, board members, members, volunteers, and friends—because it truly is your gift. My last letter brought thanks, and the celebratory news that you met the matching gift challenge made by a...

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27

Jan 21

January 27, 2021

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

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...

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Jo Falls, Tohono Chul Director of Education, Retires After Thirty-Four Years of Dedication and Service

17

Dec 20

December 17, 2020

Jo Falls, Tohono Chul Director of Education, Retires After Thirty-Four Years of Dedication and Service

You can’t know Tohono Chul without knowing Jo Falls. She has been at Tohono Chul since its very beginning thirty-four years ago, and she is as much an institution as the institution itself. Even though Tohono Chul is considered a quaint hidden oasis at the busy intersection of Ina and...

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16

Dec 20

December 16, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, As the Winter Solstice and the year’s longest night draws near, I hope you are finding comfort in the promise of a brighter New Year. At Tohono Chul, staff and volunteers are tending the winter gardens, filling the shops with holiday goodies, and the galleries with...

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19

Nov 20

November 19, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In case you haven’t guessed, Tohono Chul family, my Mission is to bring you Good News. Not good news dressed in unrealistic optimism. Or good news graded on a curve. Real, honest-to-goodness Good News. And it’s here. But first, the context. Because real good news shines against...

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14

Oct 20

October 14, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Maybe you know the old maxim, “There is no good news that comes without a challenge attached.” If you don’t know it, that’s probably because I just made it up. As you know, I always try to open these letters with some good news. And I...

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16

Sep 20

September 16, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Something to look forward to. Something to be thankful for. Both may seem scarce these days. But in these letters to you, written under less-than-ideal circumstances, it hasn’t been a struggle to find something to look forward to, as well as something to be thankful for....

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5

Aug 20

August 5, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

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...

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15

Jul 20

July 15, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In the short two weeks since my last letter, our local (and statewide) situation has shifted dramatically… The life-threatening wildfire fire on the mountain has now been 92% contained with relief from monsoon rains. The smoke has largely cleared and blue skies are once again the...

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24

Jun 20

June 24, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, I hope that in these turbulent times you are well and finding comfort with those you love. Since I last wrote, a short two weeks ago, we have experienced another frightening rise of the microscopic menace here in Arizona, plus massive wildfires on the mountain. I...

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10

Jun 20

June 10, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, I truly hope this finds you well and caring gently for yourself and your family. It has been 12 weeks since Tohono Chul closed to ensure the health and safety of staff, volunteers and visitors. And although it has often seemed overwhelming, writing these letters to...

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Thank You Lee Mason, For 20 Years of Dedication and Service

29

May 20

May 29, 2020

Thank You Lee Mason, For 20 Years of Dedication and Service

Lee Mason has retired after more than 20 years leading gardens, plant propagation and facilities maintenance.  In his time at Tohono Chul, Lee has been the moving force behind our millennial master plan that moved parking lots to the front, upgraded the Garden Bistro, built a Retail Greenhouse and added office and prep...

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27

May 20

May 27, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Every challenge presents an opportunity to learn and grow. And nothing in Tohono Chul’s 35-year history has put that maxim to the test like this current pandemic. Fear and anxiety brought on by uncertainty can be paralyzing. But with immense gratitude for your outpouring of support...

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13

May 20

May 13, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Are you ready for some good news? A glimmer of hope that we will not only endure this tragic pandemic together, but emerge even stronger? Here are some reasons to be hopeful for Tohono Chul, for the community, and for you and your family: 1. Members. Over the last 5 years,...

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29

Apr 20

April 29, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In this distressing time, I wish I could bring you news about when the COVID-19 crisis will end and when you will all be welcomed back to enjoy the gardens. While there is little news to share about what the future holds, I can offer an...

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15

Apr 20

April 15, 2020

Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Thank you for your understanding, kindness and devotion in these unimaginable times. Your outpouring of love and support has been absolutely overwhelming. You will be hearing from me periodically to update you about Tohono Chul as we seek to minimize the effects and mitigate the losses...

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25

Mar 20

March 25, 2020

A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Family, It is heartbreaking to be writing to you about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our beloved Tohono Chul. But because you are family, we must be open, honest and supportive of one another throughout this challenging time. We are bound together by a shared love of the Sonoran Desert and we...

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16

Mar 20

March 16, 2020

Important, Please Read – updated March 17

Dear Tohono Chul Family and Friends, For your health and safety and for that of staff, volunteers and the general public all of Tohono Chul is closed starting Tuesday, March 17. This is a necessary precaution given the best available science about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to contain its...

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Jo Falls Receives Roger Lidman Distinguished Service Award

10

Apr 19

April 10, 2019

Jo Falls Receives Roger Lidman Distinguished Service Award

James Schaub, Curator of Exhibitions, nominated Jo Falls for the Roger Lidman Distinguished Service Award at the Museum Association of Arizona’s Annual Conference on March 18, 2019. The esteemed award designates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to an individual museum, the museum profession, the local community, to Arizona,...

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Lucy’s Warbler Nestbox Project

12

Feb 19

February 12, 2019

Lucy’s Warbler Nestbox Project

We are very lucky to be living in the center of Lucy’s Warblers’ breeding range. These tiny, shy, gray birds are the only cavity-nesting warblers in Arizona and the only ones nesting in low elevation Sonoran Desert, likely because of their fondness for native mesquite trees. With the decline of...

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Tohono Chul Wins an Environmental Excellence Award from Arizona Forward

28

Jan 19

January 28, 2019

Tohono Chul Wins an Environmental Excellence Award from Arizona Forward

The Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards program recognizes outstanding contributions to the built and natural environment of communities throughout Arizona and just recently Tohono Chul was added to its list of organizations that honor that key endeavor. Tohono Chul’s Master Plan’s recognition is due to the contributions of Arizona architect...

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Desert Lavender – A Native Plant Knockout

13

Nov 17

November 13, 2017

Desert Lavender – A Native Plant Knockout

Some people are always looking for low-water-use native plants that attract hummingbirds or butterflies; others search for plants to help with the declining bee populations. So when a water-thrifty native plant covered in bees, butterflies AND hummingbirds, all at the same time, it’s definitely worth talking about. The fantastic plant...

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Create Butterfly Magic in Your Yard

3

Oct 17

October 3, 2017

Create Butterfly Magic in Your Yard

Traveling east of Tucson on I-10 there are a lot of expansive views of mountains and valleys that make up part of the basin and range district of Southern Arizona, Southern New Mexico and Northern Mexico. Although this trip is not necessarily ugly, it’s also not very memorable. There is...

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Coyote Gourd – A Handsome Groundcover

20

Sep 17

September 20, 2017

Coyote Gourd – A Handsome Groundcover

Three weeks after the onset of the summer rains, in a wash southeast of the Huachuca mountains, the coyote gourds grow. Mexico is less than two miles away. The air is filled with the sounds of birds. Since the first rains, numerous tuberous perennials (plants of diverse origins that have...

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Creosote – The Aroma of Rain

21

Aug 17

August 21, 2017

Creosote – The Aroma of Rain

Creosote Bush aka Greasewood Larrea tridentata The wonderful experience of a storm in the desert includes the stark beauty of valleys and mountains, diamond raindrops, intense rainbows, wind and an unforgettable aroma that fills the air after the storm passes causing us to reflect that “the desert smells like rain.”...

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August Means Arizona Poppies

12

Jul 17

July 12, 2017

August Means Arizona Poppies

One does not normally think of the desert blooming in the summertime, since most of the showy annuals we are familiar with appear in the spring. However, the Arizona Poppy (which is not actually a poppy) is a striking exception, usually blooming after the start of the summer rains, July...

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Devil’s Claw or the Unicorn Plant

1

Jun 17

June 1, 2017

Devil’s Claw or the Unicorn Plant

During the summer rainy period rather large, succulent, sticky plants are found along the floodplains and channels of arroyos throughout the Sonoran Desert. These plants have a long history of use as food and fiber by native peoples. The fruit, known as devil’s claw or in the Tohono O’odham language...

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The Velvet Mesquite

3

May 17

May 3, 2017

The Velvet Mesquite

Consider the mesquite tree. Mesquites are not merely trees; they create a whole ecosystem.  Grubs nibble at their roots. Borers live inside the trunk, and if visible, their pathways would be seen as a beautiful network of engraved tunnels with insect woodcarvers at the ends. The long (3”-5”) catkins of...

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