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Catalina State Park backers raise needed funds with adopt-a-cactus program

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Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014

By Megan Guthrie


SYDNEY  SCHUMAN/CRONKITE NEWS: A saguaro cactus might not be what you think of when you hear someone mention an adoption, but Catalina State Park is looking for you to do just that while helping to fund some of their park programs at the same time.

MEGAN GUTHRIE/CRONKITE NEWS: It is a quiet morning at the base of this mountain as the president of the Friends of Catalina State Park Laura Larson starts her day.

LAURA LARSON/FRIENDS OF CATALINA STATE PARK: I don’t do desks very well. So I’ve always had jobs were I can be outdoors.

MEGAN GUTHRIE/CRONKITE NEWS: Larson says it is what’s sprinkled among these 5,000-plus acres that keeps her coming back

LAURA LARSON/FRIENDS OF CATALINA STATE PARK: I have a whole forest of saguaros here. They’re just magnificent.

MEGAN GUTHRIE/CRONKITE NEWS: It’s also what inspired the nonprofit group to begin fundraising through the Adopt-a-Saguaro Program, raising over $8,000 and adopting out 69 saguaros since January.

SARAH CORNING/CATALINA STATE PARK RANGER: It is a program in which people can come in, and find a saguaro in the park, and adopt it in memory or in dedication of somebody that they love or appreciate.

MEGAN GUTHRIE/CRONKITE NEWS: It costs about  $470,000 annually to run Catalina State Park. The Friends group has already donated $25,000 for extra activities including building an interpretive kiosk at the trailhead.

STEVEN HAAS/CATALINA AND ORACLE STATE PARK MANAGER: A lot of the things that the parks can’t pay for, kind of the extras. For example, like the volunteer recognition dinner, the 3D map, things that aren’t necessities for the park, but really enhance the park’s visitors. That’s what the Friends group has done.

MEGAN GUTHRIE/CRONKITE NEWS: For Larson the saguaro is and always will be synonymous with Arizona.

LAURA LARSON/FRIENDS OF CATALINA STATE PARK: If you think of Arizona, what do you think of? A saguaro. If you think of a saguaro, what do you think of? Arizona.

MEGAN GUTHRIE/CRONKITE NEWS: As long as Arizona is known for its saguaros, the Friends at Catalina State Park will keep working to promote and preserve these landscapes for future generations to come.

SYDNEY  SCHUMAN/CRONKITE NEWS: The price to adopt a saguaro starts at $25 for a one-year adoption.