ABC News: Arizonans Fight to Save Native Cactus
The Fast Rate of Development is Encroaching on the Cacti Territory
By BILL REDEKER
July 8, 2006-Cacti have been called the original inhabitants of Arizona: Saguaro, barrel, hedge hog, ocotillo, prickly pear and cholla are all native flora of the state.
But now, the newer residents are competing for space.
More than 170 new homes are being built in Phoenix and Tucson every day, and they are crowding out the flora.
Enter the Cactus Rescue Crew-an all volunteer force whose mission is to save what's growing before homebuilders bulldoze the desert.
"We're hurrying as fast as we can to get as much off as we can. Said group member Patsy Frannea.
"I Can't stand the thought of these guys going to a landfill and being wasted," said another group member, Jerry Estruth.
The destruction of the cacti poses a serious problem for the fate of the species because it takes some of these plants decades to grow.
"That's about 7-feet tall," Cactus Crew member, Joe Frannea said of one specimen, "so that saguaro has probably been groing for 60 years or so."
(full story at the link above)
I lived in Northern Az for a short while and the memory of driving south and seeing the Saguaros lord over the mountains as you get lower in elevation is one of those memories that will always be with me. This group is doing good work I remember wondering what would become of the large Cacti that lived along the highway that were in the path of construction. It's good to hear that the future of some will be very bright.