Building Your Desert Tortoise Garden

Plants for Desert Tortoise Food and Habitat Adopting a desert tortoise can be a dream that takes years to realize. Properly caring for a tortoise requires more than people understand and planning a habitat is not something many people feel comfortable with. While the process can be daunting, we’ll get you started with this guide!…

Cultivate Backyard Biodiversity

Many people view the built environment and the natural world as two separate entities, but they coexist—all urban and developed areas are also a part of their ecosystems! Making a few simple enhancements around our homes and neighborhoods can greatly increase an urban area’s potential to serve as excellent habitat, especially for pollinators and birds….

Pop the champagne, it’s time for RAIN!

Herpetofauna awaken with the rainy season An Arizona summer is dry. It’s hot. There’s not a drop of moisture in the air. Life is seemingly absent at first glance as humans are indoors while the wildlife is underground or minimally active in cool shady hideouts. The desert is one of the harshest climates to live in,…

The Pollinator Party

National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, is a time to celebrate and BEE excited about the amazing work of pollinators! Join the festivities at our annual Party with Pollinators (Cool Summer Nights) evening this Saturday, June 25. We will have special pollinator themed activities and learning opportunities. Pollinator Week was developed to support pollinator health and…

Desert Museum Herbarium Digitized and Registered

by John F. Wiens, Massimo Boscolo Did you know that the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has a herbarium? A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens that are organized, databased, and safely stored for the purpose of scientific research and education. Botanists, ecologists, ethnobotanists, and plant enthusiasts in the general public may consult herbariums to…

Charismatic Cacti Giants

We like big cacti and we cannot lie! The saguaro cactus occupies an undeniable place of prestige among the people in this region, no doubt due to its impressive size, charming shapes, and abundant distribution within its range (not to mention its extensive reproduction in art, film, and pop culture). We totally get it. We…

Save a Saguaro! Tucson Community Fights Buffelgrass

After University of Arizona Journalism student Hannah Cree attended the Save Our Saguaros Month Kickoff event to investigate the Tucson community’s efforts against the invasive species buffelgrass, we invited her to share the resulting story here on the Desert Diaries blog. Thank you to Hannah! By Hannah Cree with photos by Desert Museum staff It’s…

Weaving the Web of Life

Do you recall the grade school diagrams illustrating a simple food chain? This predator eats that prey and that prey eats plants, and plants obtain their energy from the sun and nutrients from soil. Arrows represent one organism eating another. Food chain diagrams help us visualize the flow of energy through an ecosystem. While the…

Plant with Purpose

Build backyard biodiversity with native plants from the Desert Museum’s Annual Plant Sale! Imagine sipping your morning coffee or tea with a kaleidoscope (the beautiful and fitting name for a group of butterflies) of butterflies fluttering around your backyard garden as early sunlight creates a mesmerizing glow. Birds fill the morning air with their calming…

Stunning Saguaros: Ten Fascinating Facts About Saguaro Cacti

Our ‘forests’ look a little different here in the Sonoran Desert. Instead of towering trees, we have giant columnar cacti! While saguaro cacti are the most well-known of these giant cacti in the U.S., several other species occupy different regions of the Desert, including organ pipe cactus, senita cactus, candelabra cactus, and cardon cactus. The…