Monday, May 2, 2011

Kids Plant Trees at Mason Center

By Kendall Kroesen, Habitats Program Manager

Things are really coming along at the Mason Center. The off-grid, strawbale building with the two composting toilets is functioning perfectly. We are making electricity with our solar panels and harvesting rainwater with our cisterns. A committee is in the process of updating the sustainability site plan for the center. And with the new gravel pave driveway and paths, we are now ADA accessible (Americans with Disabilities Act).

If you haven’t seen some of these new things, feel free to visit! A perfect opportunity is Saturday, May 14, when we will hold the 12th Annual Ironwood Festival and Ironwood Jam! Find all the details at

The new parking lot means that the old dirt driveway from Thornydale Road is no longer necessary. So we decided to revegetate it!

On Saturday, April 9 we had about 12 people planting 10 new trees. Most of them were middle school and high school students. The high school students are volunteers at the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona, and the middle school students were from up the street at Tortolita Middle School. Teacher Kathleen Neighbors recruited the Tortolita kids from her service learning club, and our contact Jessica Hersh-Ballering at the Volunteer Center brought the high school students.

The volunteers did a great job in spite of the cold and rainy weather! The rain watered the trees extra well due to the rainwater harvesting microbasins placed around each tree.

The trees were provided by The Local Trust ( The Local Trust is a Tucson-based carbon offset program. People who contribute to releases of carbon dioxide into the environment (pretty much all of us), can go to The Local Trust, calculate their carbon production, and pay to have projects done that will offset that carbon.

One of The Local Trust’s projects is to provide trees to Tucson Audubon. The trees grow, take in carbon, and fix it in their wood, removing it from the atmosphere.

We now have 10 new mesquites and palo verdes—most of them in the old driveway! Thanks volunteers! And thank you to The Local Trust!

More information about the Mason Center is here:

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