Cactus Monitoring and Event Planning

We’re past the halfway mark here at Saguaro National Park, and with that has come a plethora of new insights, adventures, and experiences. One of the projects the EFTA team has been a part of is the “Saguaro Arms” project. This is a new project started by the park in April 2023; its aim is to answer questions about the Saguaro cactus such as: Why do Saguaro cacti tend to grow symmetrically? Does the timing of a Saguaro’s first arm correlate with its age or its height? and Why does the first arm tend to emerge on the south side of the cactus? The work we are doing provides valuable data that will help to answer these questions, and what’s even more exciting is that it’s never been done before so we are setting a baseline for future studies. We hike out to a plot and spend all day taking measurements such as height, diameter, and number of arms.

Outside of work, I’ve been inspired to learn new things and grow in new ways that have surprised me. Enchanted by the mesmerizing views I see on a daily basis here in Tucson, I was inspired to finally take on photography as a hobby. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while, and being surrounded by so much beauty has really given me no choice. Also, I’ve never been too keen on reading books in my free time, but lately my strong desire to learn more about the Sonoran Desert has led me to pick up a few books and I’ve been intently reading them ever since.

Another project I am excited about is the Migratory Bird Day event the entire EFTA crew has been planning. This has been our project, and we’ve done a lot of research and developed many activities to inform the public about how important water is in sustaining bird life. As the crew lead, one of my main responsibilities has been coordinating the logistics of the event like reaching out to local organizations to partner with us, finding a good location that will maximize guests, and making sure we have all the materials we need. As the event approaches, it’s rewarding to see everything fall into place and I am confident it will turn out great!

Members of the crew taking measurements of a Saguaro
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