Robert Anthony Villa

Community Outreach Assistant

I’m a proud, Spanish-speaking Tucsonan and conservationist deeply in love with the Sonoran region — studying, exploring, and documenting it’s bio-cultural diversity (often with violin in tow) most of my adult life – specializing in amphibians, reptiles, plants/horticulture, agave and sotol appreciation, landscape evolution and biogeography, ethnoecology, and gastronomy. I have worked in many corners of the Sonoran Desert region for a variety of ecological and educational projects. In 2019, I had the honor of meeting with Sir David Attenborough as part of consulting on his series on plants, Green Planet. I currently preside Tucson Herpetological Society, and member of various local and international botanical and herpetological groups. I consider myself a follower in the footsteps of Sonoran naturalist-explorers such as Howard Scott Gentry, Paul Martin, Charles Lowe, Tom Van Devender, Ana Lilia Reina-Guerrero, Mark Dimmitt, Martha Burgess, George Ferguson, and others. They have shaped me personally – investigating, documenting, and espousing a region defined and embraced by varied regions, cultures, and languages


Tortuga de la Sierra Madre

Notes from the Field

A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert, 2nd revised edition

Editor of the herpetology sections

The Night Flower, by Lara Hawthorne

Children’s book on the ecology of the Saguaro

Film animal handler/scientific consultant/fixer

BBC Television, National Geographic TV, NHK World, Vice, and others.

Green Planet Series (BBC)

Desert plants section (sand dunes of the Gran Desierto de Altar)

The Psychedelic Toad (Vice)

Episode 1, Season 2, Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia

Ethno-herpetology of the Sonoran Desert Toad

The Best of Saguaro National Park (National Geographic TV)

Animal handler for staged sequences, scientific consultant, and field guide resulting in the filming of spring emergence, courtship, and male combat wild Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes.