Volunteers are encouraged to get out, find buffelgrass, map it and pull it during Save Our Saguaros – Beat Back Buffelgrass month.
Throughout February, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum spearheads an effort to eradicate buffelgrass, an invasive species that spreads aggressively, threatens animals and plants and creates fire dangers in the Sonoran desert. TEP is a longtime supporter of the museum’s environmental causes as one of our philanthropic focus areas.
The dangers of buffelgrass became abundantly clear during last summer’s Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains when there were reports of saguaros exploding into flames, possibly fueled by buffelgrass in lower elevations around Tucson. See an Arizona Daily Star story in June.
This year, the museum is encouraging participation in a new initiative, the Bi-National Save Our Saguaros Map-A-Thon, which can be done safely by yourself or with your social pod. Volunteers look for buffelgrass where you live, work and play and register areas on a map where buffelgrass grows in the community, illustrating the scope of the problem. Participants could be eligible to win prizes.
The museum is also offering Zoom instruction to learn how to participate. The Map-A-Thon runs through March 7. Mapping is taking place in the Tucson area and Hermosillo, Mexico, which both share a buffelgrass problem.
In addition to mapping, volunteers can join organized buffelgrass pull events through February.
Volunteers can also arrange to help remove invasive buffelgrass at Saguaro National Park by contacting the park at SAGU_invasive@nps.gov. Check the park website and Friends of Saguaro National Park for future volunteer events and opportunities.