DOI / VISTA Team Projects

Saguaro National Park

DOI / VISTA: Fabiola Delgado
Supervisor: Andy L. Fisher
Address: 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, Arizona 85730
County: Pima
Voice Telephone: 520-733-5139
Web site:
Web site 2:
Congressional District: 2
Bureau: National Park Service (NPS)


Saguaro National Park is committed to preserving its lands for the enjoyment of current and future generations. They work closely with federal, state, local, and private partners to monitor and protect the park’s natural, cultural, and historic resources. Friends of Saguaro National Park is the not-for-profit fundraising partner of Saguaro National Park helping the public to discover, protect, and support Saguaro. 

About the Surrounding Community

According to the US Census Bureau in Pima County, AZ 29.1% of youth live below the poverty line, and overall 19.9% of residents are living in poverty.  In Tucson, an estimated 44.8% of the population are minorities. The park’s programs, which include educational outdoor experiences, family outings that foster health and wellness, and in-school reading programs, are generally poorly attended and utilized by the Hispanic people in the park’s service area. The park strives to reach lower socioeconomic neighborhoods for family and curriculum based programs. They provide scholarships and transportation grants to schools which are considered Title 1 or have at least 50% of their students on a free or reduced lunch program.  In 2013, over 67% of the students reached in Tucson Mountain District Programs came from these schools.


Project Overview

The DOI/VISTA Sara Skiles is working to help establish long-term relationships with local schools and the community to increase youth participation in STEM and career development programs. Currently, Sara is working with the park’s Education Coordinator to extend a current STEM program, “The Lost Carnivores,” to a local Native American population. The project focuses on STEM, literacy, recreation (Healthy Parks/ Healthy People initiatives), and educational pathways. The vision is to create pathways for youth to have multiple opportunities to interact with park staff, support capacity building of outreach programs to reach more kids and families, and ultimately,  to help to change the lives of local children in the surrounding community.

In addition, Sara is working on funding development and increasing employment opportunities for people in the local community. She is working closely with the park’s official non-profit partner, Friends of Saguaro, to write grants and build the organization’s capacity to develop new funding sources. Also, she is involved in creating a new program, called the Saguaro Future Ranger Corps, that will help employ young, diverse, new staff for the park. This program will enable young people interested in a career with the National Park Service to discover the agency and its mission by providing an experiential and place-based learning opportunity. These will be unique job opportunities that will empower young people to learn new skills, and truly make a difference in the park----all while practically applying what they’ve learned and paving the way to a future career in public lands.

Sponsors and Partners

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