We do not inherit the
earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from
our children.
- Native American Wisdom

Enhancing Community Awareness

Photo by Pete Gregoire
Photo by Pete Gregoire

One of the community attributes that makes Tucson such an appealing place to live is the overall emphasis on protecting the region's beautiful natural environment.  Friends of Saguaro seeks to enhance the community's awareness of the park as a vital economic asset -- southern Arizona's most-visited tourist destination, generating millions of dollars in economic activity and supporting hundreds of jobs.  Additionally, we seek to increase the public's understanding of the park's role as a natural laboratory -- helping to protect the region's amazing biological diversity, while also assessing the broader ecological threats posed by urbanization and environmental change.

Communities like Tucson are able to recruit high-quality entrepreneurs, employers and employees in part because parks like Saguaro an especially attractive place to put down roots.  Yet today, our national parks -- including Saguaro -- are economic assets at risk, as crippling federal budget cuts have often resulted in staff shortages and neglected facilities.  Federal appropriations, on average, provide only about 2/3 of the operating funds that most of our parks require -- and private philanthropy has become a critically-important supplement for resource protection, visitor services, and park support programs.