Sign Up to Volunteer Register a Site

If you are interested in contributing your time and energy to buffelgrass control, there are a variety of ways in which you can get involved and help.

If you cannot participate in physical pulls, there is still the opportunity to foment this effort through a monetary donation.

Donate Here

Here at the Desert Museum we want to help you find opportunities to help save our saguaros, while also learning about the Sonoran Desert and having fun while you do it!

Why: Buffelgrass is invasive grass species that has established a strong foothold in the Tucson Basin. Buffelgrass and saguaros cannot coexist. Buffelgrass outcompetes saguaros for space, nutrients and water, slowly eliminating saguaros from the landscape. It also poses a serious fire risk, burning hot and fast. Can you spare a couple of hours to save a few saguaros or reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to our community?

How: If you are interested in volunteering, Sign Up to Volunteer and you’ll be taken to a list of action events across the region. If you’d like to host a buffelgrass pull in your own neighborhood, your favorite park, or elsewhere, Register a Site, and it will be added to our list of sites for volunteers to choose from.

**Not all activities listed here are through the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Each organization registering on this site takes responsibility for their own event.

Regularly Scheduled Pulls

Sonoran Desert Weedwackers

The Sonoran Desert Weedwackers were organized in September 2000 by a group of dedicated volunteers who recognized the substantial threat of exotic weeds to the Sonoran Desert. As one of the longest running volunteer organizations dedicated to weed removal in Tucson, the Sonoran Desert Weedwackers have cleared thousands of acres of buffelgrass in Tucson Mountain Park. Their continued success is evidenced by the relatively buffelgrass-free slopes and washes within the Tucson Mountains. Volunteer events occur every second and fourth Wednesday, and every third Saturday of each month, year round. The Weedwackers are supported by Pima County, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the Arizona Native Plant Society, all of whom have provided ample resources throughout the years.

Average Number of Volunteers for Saturday Events:
12-15 during the cooler months, 8-12 during the summer
Average Number of Volunteers for Wednesday Events:
4-10 volunteers
Meeting Time:
Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday; Every 3rd Saturday
8:00am January-February; November-December
7:00am March-May; September-October
6:00am June-August
Location of pulls:
Various locations within Tucson Mountain Park.
The Wednesday Weedwackers tackle harder to reach areas by hiking farther, climbing higher, and working longer than the Saturday groups. First time volunteers are encouraged to attend a Saturday event to get a feel for the work before coming to the harder Wednesday events.
Contacts:
Shawn Rose, Invasive Species Program Coordinator, Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation, 520-307-2666 (ok to text), shawn.rose@pima.gov

Saguaro National Park

The park began hosting regular group buffelgrass pulls (now called "buffelgrass parties") in October, 2007. Park staff hike new and returning volunteers to patches of buffelgrass and provide training and supervision in safely digging up buffelgrass, fountaingrass, and other invasive grasses. Events usually last about 4 hours. Over the years, we have eliminated patches closest to the roads, so now it usually takes about 30-45 minutes to reach the patches. At least some of the hiking is off-trail, and terrain can be steep and rocky. We have multiple buffelgrass parties each month from October to March, and sometimes in April. The park provides tools and gloves.

Become a "Saguaro Steward" with a more significant commitment:
With experience and training, people can sign up to become Weed Free Trail volunteers. These volunteers hike trails within the park and remove our priority invasive plants, which include invasive grasses as well as some winter annual herbaceous plants. Weed Free Trail volunteers work on their own schedule and as often as they want, and they can coordinate with other volunteers about which areas have been recently covered or need to be covered.

A brand new volunteer program was officially kicked off in January, 2022. Adopt-an-Area volunteers have similar training as Weed Free Trail volunteers, and likewise operate independently. Volunteers work with park staff to select areas to adopt, picking places and terrain of their liking. They work on their own schedule as often as they wish.

Both Weed Free Trail volunteers and Adopt-an-Area volunteers can recruit friends and family to help them, and the volunteer supervises them to ensure they are killing invasive plants, and not native plants.

Contact:

Catalina State Park Buffel Slayers

The Buffel Slayers work to rid Catalina State Park of buffelgrass. They go out once per month September through May, taking a break over the summer. For a list of upcoming events see our buffelgrass pulls calendar. Events run from 8 am to noon, though it’s not necessary to work the entire time. Please contact Patty Estes at estes@email.arizona.edu for more information.


Coronado Foothills Weedwackers

The Coronado Foothills Weedwackers work on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month. We generally work Skyline Rd., north of Skyline Rd between Campbell and Swan, and the Finger Rock wash. In the summer we start at 6:30 a.m. working for 1 1/2 hours, and in the winter at 7:00 a.m. for 2 hours. Please contact Marge at mhumph67@aol.com for exact time and location. If you have a digging bar and/or pick, bring them. Always wear sunscreen and bring gloves and water.


East Tucson Weed Busters

Usually scheduled on the last Saturday of the month starting at 8:00 a.m. Please contact Karla Lehmann for details — East.Tucson.Weed.Busters@gmail.com

Always wear sunscreen or a hat, and sturdy shoes. Bring water, gloves and any tool you prefer working with.

Directions:
  • Coming from the west: Take Craycroft Rd. heading north; turn right onto E. River Road; turn Left onto N. Tanuri Dr.; stay on Tanuri by keeping left; take the first left onto N. Calle Vista Ciudad; turn right into N. Wilmot Dr., which ends or forces a left turn onto E. Avenida Arriba. You can park by the right shoulder of N. Wilmot Dr.
  • Coming from the east: Take River Rd. heading west; turn right onto Tanuri Dr; continue with directions above.
Retrieved from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site on 08-16-2022
https://desertmuseum.org/buffelgrass/pullindex.php