7:00 am – 9:00 am
The Pima County Native Plant nursery grows Sonoran Desert native plants for use in public development projects. Plants are grown from wild-collected seed, pesticide- and herbicide-free, and in full sun, in preparation for a life in public landscapes. The NPN salvages plants from development projects before the desert is bulldozed, grows federally-endangered species, and is leading the effort to reintroduce native plants in southern Arizona. This tour will be an in-depth behind the scenes look at the 2-acre nursery. Nursery visitors are welcome to collect seed from our plants with permission from the PC NPN manager.
Special conditions Wear closed-toe shoes, hat, water bottle. The nursery is dirt/rocks but is mostly navigable.
Leaders: Jessie Byrd, Native Plant Nursery
Maximum Attendees: 40 people
7:00 am – 3:00 pm
With an elevation of 2,792m (9,159 feet ), Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Catalina Mountains. The peak, northwest of Tucson, can be reached in approximately 1.5 hours drive, following the winding road of Catalina Highway, through Willow and Whitetail Canyon, with some spectacular views, all the way up to the Mt. Lemmon Observatory.
The Catalina Mountains are part of the Madrean Sky-Mountain Archipelago, a region characterized by mountains in southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico, isolated from each other, emerging as de facto "islands" from de desert floor below.
The Catalina Mountains are a rugged mountain range of mostly metamorphic rock (gneiss, granite) dissected by deep and steep canyons. Catalina highway starts in the Upper Sonoran Desert northeast of Tucson, at about 910m (3,000'), a scenic vegetation of majestic Saguaro, barrel cacti, Ocotillo, low shrubs and trees, winding through intermediate elevations [1000-2000m (3,200-6,500'], with oak-juniper woodland (Bigtooth Maple, New Mexico Locust, Arizona Walnut, Gambel Oak) and riparian cottonwood trees, all the way up to mixed conifer forests (Douglas Fir, Aspen) at around [2700m (9,100')]. The curving road offers many great opportunities to stop along the way, take in the impressive scenery and views, and, venturing along hiking trails to explore an enormous diversity of habitats. The Catalina highway is great opportunity to escape the oppressive summer heat in Tucson.
Maximum Attendees: 10 People
Leader: Jim Malusa
Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was founded in 1952, and highlights animals, plants, geology, and the natural history of the Sonoran Desert region. Our mission is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert. Not a “museum” in the usual sense, it is 90% outdoors and is a composite of plant, animal, and geologic collections with the goal of making the Sonoran Desert accessible, understandable, and valued. We have over 80,000 inventoried plants (over 1,100 taxa) on our grounds. Gardens include hummingbird, butterfly & moth, bats, desert garden, agave garden, cactus garden, as well as some great plant habitat displays built into animal exhibits. Our Botany and Conservation/Education/Science departments are involved in in-situ and ex-situ research. Enjoy lunch on your own at the museum sandwich shop or Café.
Special conditions: Comfortable close-toed shoes, sunscreen, & water bottle
Maximum Attendees: 20 people
Trip Leaders: John Wiens, Matthew Jevnikar – Arizona-Senora Desert Museum
8:00 am – 11:30 am
Located in northwest Tucson, Tohono Chul Park encompasses 49 acres of lush Sonoran Desert vegetation including characteristic native plants such as the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), foothill palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla), cholla cacti (Cylindropuntia spp.), creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), triangle-leaf bursage (Ambrosia deltoidea), and limberbush (Jatropha cardiophylla). Themed plantings entice Southern Arizona's diverse butterflies, hummingbirds and other feathered visitors, and the park's mature desert riparian zones host native endangered fish. The botanical garden was established decades ago in an area of the Tucson basin that is unusually frost free (and was, therefore, populated by orange groves), allowing the collections to include, for example, cacti and creosotes from throughout North and South America. The park also features "near-natives" - plants from the Southwest and northern Mexico that are adapted to local climatic conditions. This tour presents an opportunity to become acquainted with arid land plant diversity in natural settings and in aesthetically pleasing and environmentally compatible landscape designs, while staying at least partly shaded!
No collecting allowed
Special conditions: Sturdy footwear, hat, sunscreen, personal water bottle
Maximum Attendees: 50 people
Trip Leaders: Matt Johnson, University of Arizona Herbarium
University of Arizona Campus: Herbarium, Campus Arboretum, and Laboratory of Tree Ring Research
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Visit several sites of botanical interest at the University:
Some collecting may be allowed.
Special Conditions: Wear hat, sunscreen
Maximum Attendees: 25 people
4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
The Hamilton Distillers produce mesquite-smoked, 100% barley, single-malt whiskeys a mere 10-minute drive of the University of Arizona campus. We will tour the distillery and malt house, and receive a guided tasting of the distillery’s uniquely Southwestern whiskeys.
The barley used in the single-malt whiskey produced at this distillery is malted over wood from the Sonoran velvet mesquite tree (Prosopis velutina), rather than the traditional Scottish peat. Their flagship Whiskey Del Bac Dorado was ranked #7 in a 2017 Esquire list of the best American whiskeys: “...Whiskey Del Bac is single-malt, 100 percent barley, and truly one-of-a-kind, like drinking a bag of Barbecue Lay's.”
Special conditions: During summer it can get quite hot in the distillery, so please dress and plan accordingly. The distillery is not air-conditioned, and temperatures at this time of year can exceed 100F.
Tour cost includes a whiskey tasting – please bring an ID
Maximum Attendees: 25 people
Trip Leader: Alison Harrington, University of Arizona