Southern Arizona’s Natural Wonders

December 1, 2014 |

A Show & Tell with Dr. Joaquin Ruiz

Tucson's Gates Pass. Photo: Jamie Manser

Tucson’s Gates Pass.
Photo: Jamie Manser

On a daily basis, most of us are inured to our environment’s incomparable beauty, its rich ecosystems, deep history, and the gorgeous mountains surrounding the Tucson valley. We’re focusing on immediate needs – getting to work, paying rent, buying groceries, taking care of the kids and the pets.

But when we stop our inner nag, breathe deeply and open our eyes, minds and senses to the glorious, mysterious and special Sonoran Desert – it hits us. A dizzying array of input: the vertical relief of the Sky Islands, the expanse of the desert floor, contemplating millions of years of continental plates colliding and drifting, the evolution of flora and fauna, an impossible blue sky and night’s endless stretch of stars – stitched together in constellations of human imagination.

These natural wonders are complemented by first-rate man-made attractions such as the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Biosphere 2 and the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter. With all of these top-notch attributes, it only makes sense to showcase to the world the astonishing Southern Arizona.

For the last several years, Dr. Joaquin Ruiz – Dean of the UA College of Science and Vice President for Innovation – has shared a vision of Southern Arizona as a destination for international tourism.

“The rugged topography of our region combined with our geographic location between the biological provinces of the Rocky Mountains to the north and Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental to the southeast,” Dr. Ruiz wrote in the Arizona Daily Star in 2011, “results in a unique mixing of species that makes our area one of the most biologically diverse in the world.”

During a TEDx Tucson talk in 2013 on this topic, Dr. Ruiz eloquently elucidated that residents of this area “live in an amazing community. We live in a place that has the richest geology, ecology and history and archaeology of all of the U.S. We should find a way to celebrate that because if we celebrate that, I think that we’ll feel much better about our lives.”

Starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 10, Dr. Ruiz is presenting “The Geotourism Corridor: Southern Arizona’s Gateway to Discovery” during Show & Tell at Playground Bar & Lounge, 278 E. Congress St. Attendees can expect to be engaged and inspired by Dr. Ruiz’s presentation while learning about the beautiful and interesting elements that make Tucson and Southern Arizona an extremely special place to live and visit.

Food and beverages are available for purchase. Show & Tell is hosted by UA’s Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry on a monthly basis. The bridge-building effort strives to connect the community with a wide variety of UA professors’ projects and research through multi-media presentations in the relaxed atmosphere of a Downtown lounge. Get more details on the center and its events at

Category: Community, DOWNTOWN / UNIVERSITY / 4TH AVE, Events