The Tucson Cactus Club (now known as The Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society – TCSS) was the dream of Cactus John Haage, Curator of Plants at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The dream was sparked in 1960 and today they have rescued over 90,000 native desert plants that would have been simply cleared away during urban growth/residential building.
It is because of strategic partnerships, like the one with Tucson Electric Power (TEP), that TCSS continues to be so influential in the conservation and preservation of the great Sonoran desert.
TEP provides a necessary and important service and their commitment is to do so with a high level of environmental awareness.
Shannon Breslin, TEP Manager, sums up this commitment by saying, “A small footprint is a wise footprint”. By keeping their footprint as small as practical, TEP minimizes impacts to soil, air and water quality, viewsheds, vegetation, and wildlife habitat.
Where they do have to disturb natural environments, TEP values their partnership with TCSS for their efforts in saving the cacti from being destroyed. There are many benefits to saving these plants – reducing our contribution to the heat island effect, providing habitat for animals in other areas of the Tucson basin, and generally helping to keep the Tucson landscape beautiful.
Another benefit of salvaging these plants is that the rate payer pays less than it would to grade the whole site, remove the plants, and re-stabilize the soils after construction. Those saved dollars can go to other TEP community programs.
TEP and TCSS have been partnering as far back as 2008. Since then, they have completed at least 8 additional salvage efforts together, saving thousands of cacti.
TEP views their “small footprint” philosophy and partnership with TCSS as a community investment. They are protecting and stewarding these resources on behalf of their Tucson community – the community we are all invested in sustaining and preserving.
Learn more about TEP’s conservation efforts by listening to Mrs. Green’s World podcasts: