Chuck Graf

As a native Tucsonan, I remember when Kolb Road was dirt, as was 22nd Street out east, and have vivid memories of riding in our family car as it dropped steeply down 22nd Street into Pantano Wash. The desert from there pretty much extended undisturbed to the Catalina and Rincon Mountains.  After my junior year at Rincon High, we moved to the Phoenix area, where I graduated from ASU and spent most of my working career as a hydrologist. 

When my wife, Mary, and I chose to move back to Tucson last year, I soon learned about the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. There was much to like—action, not talk. They had assembled a truly impressive coalition and were clearly good at working with their coalition partners, including governmental partners. They were protecting desert wildlife corridors between the mountains and getting wildlife over/underpasses built.

Talking to Kathleen Kennedy of CSDP at a local event, I found they needed volunteers to monitor new wildlife cameras in the northern Tucson Mountains, so I attended the “camera school” taught by Hannah Stitzer. I now monitor two cameras with my cam co-caretakers, Don Broomall and Aleksandra Apostolova, always optimistic about capturing great photos.

Looking out from our camera locations, I am encouraged to see that there is a still large swath of natural Sonoran Desert extending to the Tortolitas. Yes, it is encroached on in places, particularly by the I-10 crossing, but if we resolve to, we can protect it and enhance it as a viable wildlife corridor.  I picture the animals out there safely padding along on their game trails and hope that we can pass that reality to our children and grandchildren. For me, that is one great reason among many to support the Coalition.

Thank you Chuck for all your time and efforts as a camera volunteer!

Originally published in the Friends of the Desert Newsletter – issue 51 – in Summer 2016. 

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