A 2020 fire destroyed countless saguaro cactuses. This program is trying to bring them back

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, November 14, 2022 - 12:26pm
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2022 - 12:27pm

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The Bush Fire
InciWeb
The Bush Fire burning June 13, 2020.

In 2020, the Bush Fire burned nearly 200,000 acres of land in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix. A massive amount of plant life was lost — including countless iconic saguaro cactuses in the area.

Saguaros are notoriously slow-growing plants that will take a very long time to repopulate, but one program at Scottsdale Community College is working to do just that.

The Center for Native and Urban Wildlife has started growing hundreds of tiny saguaros that they hope will one day help replace the ones that were lost. And Natalie Case, the education outreach developer at the center, says it took a lot of trial and error to get them started.

The Show spoke with her about the endeavor, and she said they had to learn on the fly the best ways to cultivate the cactuses.

NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District, of which Scottsdale Community College is a part.

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