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Donna Ellis

Board Member (2023)

Cactus Rescue Coordinator
Free Plants, Raffle & Door Prizes Committee Chair

Donna Ellis

I have been a member of TCSS for over 40 years. In addition to serving on the Board, I currently work on two committees, Cactus Rescue and Meeting Plants.

As the Cactus Rescue Coordinator since 2016, I follow up on leads for possible rescue sites. I correspond with developers, conduct scouting expeditions to evaluate potential sites, work with the State of Arizona to secure native plant removal permits and tags, and work with Rescue Field Manager Steve Watts to implement rescues.

Rescues constitute one the major fundraising and educational activities of the organization.

My main goals as coordinator include making sure rescues are fun, safe, productive, and legal for the hardworking volunteers who show up. I think rescues are educational because they allow people to experience firsthand the tough weather and seemingly impossible terrain in which desert plants survive and thrive.

As Raffle/Door Prize/Free Plant coordinators since 2013, my husband Robert and I scout various plant nurseries in the area and obtain specimens for TCSS monthly general meetings. We try to offer a variety of plants in three categories: (1) tried-and-true landscape plants that can survive outside in Tucson (2) rare and interesting plants that will intrigue collectors and (3) just plain gorgeous cacti and succulents that catch our eye.

Robert and I compile a slideshow for the meeting that supplies the scientific names and basic info on taking care of each plant. 

Our main goal is to showcase each plant to demo its potential as it flowers and matures.

I also love to work on other club activities and hang out with fellow “Typical TCSS Character-Type People” who are (as my daughters have described mom and dad) “Sorta weird but in a good way.”

Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society (TCSS)

PO Box 64759  -  Tucson, AZ 85728-4759   -   Phone: (520) 256-2447  -  Email:

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