College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

February Gardening Lecture

Zann Wilson

The Gardeners Exchange in conjunction with the SaddleBrooke/SaddleBrooke Ranch Master Gardeners invites you to attend “Enjoying Wildflower Hikes in the Santa Catalina Mountains,” presented by Tim Butler, SaddleBrooke Hiking Club guide and photography enthusiast. The program will be held, Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. at the La Hacienda Club, SaddleBrooke Ranch.

Tim is passionate about identifying and sharing his love for mountain wildflowers. This program will help attendees appreciate the glory of native flowers and the pleasures of seeing them in person on the mountainsides. He’ll discuss where and when to hike, what to look for, how to spot different flowers, plus tips for getting good photos of the flowers.

No registration needed. Open seating. For more information, please contact Zann Wilson at [email protected] or call 219-263-3261.

High Desert Gardening Classes Start February 26

Ellen Sosin

Back by popular demand, the Master Gardeners will be offering the 6 week class called “High Desert Gardening.” This will be presented in the MountainView Ballroom at the MountainView Clubhouse in SaddleBrooke on Wednesday afternoons, beginning Feb. 26. The class will run for 6 weeks; each session will last two hours, and registration is required.

This course is designed to help residents resolve basic gardening issues, as well as gain new knowledge about gardening in the desert, and enhance your personal landscape. The topics will include: Citrus; Interesting Succulents; Container Gardening Large and Small; Your Plants’ Health: Irrigation, Fertilization and Pest Control; Caring for Roses; Planting for Sun and Shade; and Native Plants and Xeriscape.

The cost per person for all six lectures is $50 for materials. For information or registration, contact Elissa Cochran at 217-649-0289 or email [email protected] There is limited seating, so you must register in advance.

Thinking Outside the Shelter

Joy Wegner

You might get your library books from Pima County Library. You likely go to events in Oro Valley, in Pima County. You get your local news from Tucson, in Pima County, right?

However, you pay your property taxes to Pinal County where most of Saddlebrooke is located. We lay claim to being the southernmost community in Pinal County, which has bonuses and drawbacks.

One of those challenges is the location of Pinal County Animal Care Center (PCACC). The shelter is located at 1150 South Eleven Mile Corner, eleven miles east of Casa Grande. This shelter is actually 63 miles northwest of SaddleBrooke. Though distant from your own neighborhood, PCACC Shelter is the recipient of a small portion of your tax dollars. It is Pinal County’s response to the need to protect and care for stray dogs and cats, pets that are relinquished by owners, and the four-legged lost-and-found.

A few volunteers travel the distance to the shelter on a regular basis to assist with the dogs and cats. Another group of volunteers have built and maintained dog beds for the shelter for nearly two years now. The SaddleBrooke Pet Rescue Network has donated funds, primarily for medical assistance to specific needs, as well as sent donations of towels, blankets, pet food, and toys to PCACC.

Using your imagination, you might consider some opportunities to help our “local” county animal shelter without having to drive the distance required to actually be there. Maybe your heart or your stamina prohibits you from volunteering directly with the animals at the shelter. Let’s ignite your imagination!

Do you like to write or advocate? Send an email, a letter, or make a phone call to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, expressing your concern and support for increased funding for PCACC. Mera Laureys, resident of SaddleBrooke and shelter volunteer, recently attended a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, where she used the “Call to Public” time to urge the Supervisors to consider increasing the budget for the shelter to cover additional veterinary needs, facility repairs and renovations, and more staff. Comments from Pinal County residents would help support this request. You’ll find the address and phone number for the Board of Supervisors at

Are you savvy with social media? Assist the shelter with online publicity for upcoming adoption events, online education about the importance of spaying and neutering, and volunteer opportunities at the shelter. This can be done with phone conversations between you and the shelter staff, followed by online postings on various sites.

Do you seek to make a positive difference long-term? A new 501(c)(3) entity, Friends of Pinal County Animal Shelter and Rescues, has been established as a non-profit foundation to provide support for the shelter’s needs and development. The foundation will need assistance with fundraising, including organizing activities, writing letters and grants, contacting businesses for support, and publicity. Drop an email to [email protected] to express your interest or ask questions about this opportunity.

Can you work a power drill? Assist with repairs to dog beds. The beds can be brought to your home, where you can remove damaged covers and replace them with new covers. You can work at your own home, at your own pace, and average about an hour per week. Training and direction will be provided. Contact [email protected] for details.

Perhaps you do want hands-on experience working with shelter dogs and cats. Of course, volunteers to walk dogs, stroke kitties, play with and socialize animals are needed at the shelter. Even if you need to limit the physical interactions, there are kennel enrichment programs that do not require walking the dogs. The cattery is a wonderful place for a sit with the kitties. Volunteer training is offered regularly, car-pooling makes the hour-long trip a social opportunity, and the dogs and cats of Pinal County Shelter would benefit from your hands-on care. You can find volunteer information on the shelter’s web page,

Think outside the box and inside the county!