Rincon Institute
About Us

The Sonoran Desert with its beauty and unparalleled uniqueness inspires everything we do at The Rincon Institute.  The hardiness of this place belies its fragility.   There is a subtle art of life that exists here.  On a sweltering, dry June day,  it is nearly impossible to imagine the richness that survives here, but the staff at the Rincon Institute maintains a keen focus on that richness.

In Spanish, the word "Rincon" means corner.  The Rincon Mountains, that sit just outside our office door, have a distinct corner where the Rincon Valley begins, hence the name.  Read on and learn about how The Rincon Institute is working every day to conserve this beautiful corner of the world.


Pools of water on Madrona Creek
Photos by Michelle Berry
In 1991, The Rincon Institute was founded as a nonprofit conservation organization to protect the natural resources of Saguaro National Park East and adjoining lands.  For 15 years, we have worked to achieve this mission by involving community members, environmental groups, public agencies, local business leaders, and educational institutions in scientific assessment, environmental education, and natural area protection.

Like many other protected areas throughout the country, Saguaro National Park makes adjoining private land immenselyattractive as a place to live, work, or visit. Pressure for residential and resort development next to natural areas is particularly intense in Tucson, where urban development has pushed to the very boundaries of the protected mountains that ring the city.

In the late 1980s, the superintendent of Saguaro National Park recognized that Tucson's expansion into the Rincon Valley threatened to harm the park's magnificent wildlife and the sentinels of the desert, the Saguaro Cacti.Bees hover above Saguaro Blossom Long-term protection required new solutions that reconcile development with the needs of the park. One such solution is the Rincon Institute.

Funded in part as a result of an innovative agreement involving a large development adjacent to the park, the Rocking K, the Rincon Institute carries out a range of conservation activities to help protect the natural values of the park and the Rincon Valley.


The Rincon Institute approach has attracted considerable attention from environmental advocates, land managers, and developers. Already, the Rincon Institute has become a model for integrating conservation and development in southern California, Washington State, and even Kenya.

In cooperation with the Rocking K Ranch, other landowners in the Rincon Valley, federal and state agencies and a variety of other public and private organizations, the Rincon Institute is working to protect natural areas, carry out scientific assessment, provide environmental education adventures, develop public trails, and protect native species like the Saguaro cactus. We invite you to join us as we work to conserve the natural heritage of this special corner of the Sonoran Desert.

Butterfly