Desert Survivors Inc. was opened in 1981 with a mission to provide meaningful and dignified paid work opportunities to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Starting with just five gentlemen with I/DD and two staff, seed was gathered from the desert, propagated, and proceeds from the resulting plant sales provided these individuals with their first paychecks. From this humble beginning, our company grew, while staying true to our mission. In 1986 we moved to our current four-acre location on the banks of the Santa Cruz River. We own and operate Desert Survivors Native Plant Nursery, which provides a starting point for adults with I/DD to learn all employment-related skills: from applications, interviews to completing tasks and earning a paycheck. Our year-round nursery offers our employees with I/DD valuable opportunities to interact with members of the public.
Desert Survivors partners with two local agencies. Pima County Department of Parks and Natural Resources hires two of our crews, made up of 2 Mentors and 8 adults with I/DD, to do clean-up and landscaping along 10 miles of the Chuck Huckleberry Bike Loop. The Downtown Tucson Partnership
also employs two of our crews to maintain 100 large planters and clean up streets in Downtown Tucson. These jobs are earned by showing responsibility, respect for coworkers, and good work ethics. All company employees participate in open-discussion staff meetings to engage future plans and cultivate improved success.
"We are a diverse company run by a strong woman who practices non- discrimination and cultural diversity. We believe all people have the right to respect and recognition. Our goal is to move as many of our employees with I/DD to competitive opportunities within our company and the community. Some employees achieve that goal while others continue to work toward it."
Desert Survivors Native Plant Nursery offers over 700 species of local and regional native plants. We are both a production and a retail nursery. Our nursery staff are highly knowledgeable and passionate
about native plants and desert ecology. We have also investigated several research pursuits, such as invasive species interactions with native grasses and experimental biocrust cultivation.
The nursery was created to provide jobs for people with I/DD but over time became a highly respected and locally esteemed plant nursery based on our unique inventory, customer service, and quality products. Their veteran plant propagation team expertly rears seedlings and juvenile plants with tender loving care.