About Desert Connections Project
Goals of the Desert Connections project

  • To connect Tucson area residents with the desert environment by raising awareness and knowledge of and fostering appreciation for desert plants and animals
  • To connect home landscapes and natural desert areas by teaching and encouraging people to create “desert-friendly” gardens that support wildlife and make up for lost habitat
  • To provide an innovative model program for other museum-library partnerships


Lupine succulentus (Succulent lupine) Tucson attracts large numbers of people seeking the mild climate and beautiful surroundings. The Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce estimates that about 2000 people are moving to the Tucson metro area each month. The natural beauty of the area draws new residents, but the growing population puts pressure on what attracts them, resulting in habitat degradation.

Many newer neighborhoods are close to natural areas, yet residents may lack knowledge of and appreciation for the delicate relationships between plants and wildlife in the desert. They bring gardening preferences and habits from less arid areas of the country—practices that lead to horticultural frustration and subsequent reduction of wildlife in the garden. Experience has shown that over time most people begin to change their plant preferences, come to appreciate the desert, and desire to support and attract local wildlife. The reward for the homeowner is the arrival of desert birds and butterflies to home gardens; the reward for wildlife is mitigation of habitat destruction in and near the city.

This site includes a searchable plant database consisting of over 100 plants that attract birds and butterflies to your Arizona gardens along with native wildflowers. It also features flower, bird and butterfly identification and gardening information.