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Image by Frankie Lopez

Water Is LIfe

​Ṣu:dagī ‘O Wuḍ Doakag means ‘Water is Life’ in the language of the Tohono O’odham (TO), a desert Indigenous community located along what is today known as the US/Mexico border. 

Ṣu:dagī ‘O Wuḍ Doakag (Water is Life) is a paid ecological restoration and rainwater harvesting internship that introduces youth to habitat restoration through the lens of culture and ecology. Youth learn the theories of rainwater harvesting, then harvest rain on the Baboquivari High School campus with hands-on activities as well as other learning opportunities. 

Questions? Contact Jordan Sene, Education Program Manager at

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Baboquivari High School is located near Sells, AZ, the modern-day capital of the Tohono O'odham (TO) Nation along what today is recognized as the US/Mexico border. This large reservation, equal in land area to the state of Connecticut, is in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and receives less than 10” of rain per year.

While the TO have lived on these arid lands for many generations, the reservation's groundwater resources face increasing encroachment from Tucson’s urban sprawl and for concrete footers of the new border wall, endangering himdag for the people who have lived here long before Tucson was founded.

At a Climate Change Forum, TO youth discussed their endangered water resources, voicing a desire to preserve rainwater and groundwater and to connect more deeply with their himdag or ‘Way of Life.’ 

Baboquivari High School and Borderlands Restoration Network collaborated to pilot an after-school program that hired BHS students to work alongside conservation professionals, designing and installing a rainwater-harvesting native plant and heritage food garden on campus. This program, called Ṣu:dagī ‘O Wuḍ Doakag, was designed for TO youth to learn valuable skills, training, and work experience. 

In April 2019, the Ṣu:dagī ‘O Wuḍ Doakag program was presented the annual Stewardship Award by the Tohono O’odham Environmental Protection Office at the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Earth Day Festival. 


Check back soon to learn about the next session of Water is Life!


 Thank you to our current and past funders and partners who make this important program possible!

Alan & Joan Lamborn

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