This project was successfully completed in March 2020 after we recruited more than 40 volunteers who helped the Park Service access remote sites across Saguaro National Park.

Project Background

Since 1990, Saguaro National Park has completed a saguaro census every 10 years across their managed lands. Their work fits within broader research regarding how saguaros are changing across their range and populations over time. The project’s study area included 45 randomly-located 4-hectare plots within SNP. Getting skilled and reliable outdoor adventurers to survey the 10 most difficult-to-access plots was the focus of our recruitment.

Basic Protocol

At each plot, volunteers conducted saguaro surveys that include: (a) marking GPS coordinates for all observed saguaros, (b) measuring their diameters and heights, and (c) recording their characteristics (e.g., number of arms, owl holes). Volunteers also swept the plots for baby saguaros, which can be hard to identify. SNP staff on-site at each plot verified any baby saguaros identified by volunteers before their GPS coordinates were recorded.