Tumamoc Hill
Dr. Benjamin WilderTumamoc Hill, an 860-acre ecological reserve at the edge of downtown Tucson, Arizona, is an active research center where multiple approaches come together to better understand the Sonoran Desert and arid environments. A large swath of beautiful Sonoran Desert, in the heart of a city, Tumamoc Hill is ecology; a site of community gathering; conservation; art; archaeology; history. With over 2,500 years of human use, 115 years of science, and more visitation than at any time in its history – Tumamoc Hill is a living laboratory, a refuge for exercise, health, and reflection. What does it take to run one of the most anthropologically, ecologically, gastronomically and culturally important places in the world and what are the dreams for it’s future?  There is not a person on the planet more qualified and more excited to answer those questions than Benjamin Wilder, the new director of Tumamoc Hill. This show is made possible due to the generous support of The University of Arizona



  • Tumamoc Hill has a history of 2500 years of human contact – it all connects to water. The history of the Santa Cruz River is colorful and vital – Dr. Wilder introduces it to us on this show.
  • The Tucson valley is the longest continuous inhabited site in the United States.
  • How do plants adapt to aridity? This is the question that the research on Tumamoc Hill was founed upon.
  • The life of plants connected Tumamoc Hill with science for many years and it led to what Tumamoc Hill is to Tucson Arizona today – how? Join us for this podcast to learn more!
  • On average, a thousand people climb Tumamoc Hill everyday – and those walking are truly a look at the culture and community of Tucson.
  • The laboratory and buildings on the hill were originally built in 1903 – how they are built and the intentional sense that went into the design is astonishing. Dr. Wilder shares his reflections on the importance of this space on this show.
  • The research on the saguaro cactus being done on the hill is amazing – the desert responds to incredible changes in weather that will impact years of life and truly mark the DNA of survival in the desert southwest.
  • Wilder gives us a glimpse of the research that is being done on Tumamoc – 35+ years of annual plant research!
  • The wildflower bloom is promising to be brilliant this season in the desert!
  • What does this research have to do with climate change and climate adaptation? The implications are many – listen to this show to learn more, including what defines a seed predator.
  • The importance of the agave plant to Tumamoc Hill is almost without words – ancient agave fields reside on the hill. Dr. Wilder brings this story to life on this show.
  • Buffelgrass is enemy number one for this region – it threatens our sense of place and is very difficult to address. It is not kept in check and it introduces a fire region that the desert has never known.
  • What does Dr. Wilder find surprising about the IPCC Report? Discover more on this show.
  • Finding ways to connect with human beings in a way that they receive knowledge and can share it – this is what Dr. Wilder most wants to accomplish in the next few years.



Music used in this podcast is copyrighted and licensed through Turtle Island Records/Libby Roderick Music