McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Receives $1,500,000 Grant From The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.
Funding will support The Parsons Field Institute’s work in environmental research and education
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (the Conservancy) has received a $1,500,000 multi-year grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to continue the work of The Parsons Field Institute. The Conservancy serves as the steadfast steward of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which encompasses more than 30,500 acres, with 225 miles of trails, making it the largest urban preserve in North America.
“One of Arizona’s most spectacular landscapes, the Sonoran Desert is home to an incredible variety of plant and animal life,” said Bob Parsons, Founder and CEO of PXG. “It is critically important we do our part to better understand and protect this natural resource.”
In addition to its work to maintain and preserve the Preserve, the Conservancy is dedicated to improving management practices in ecological restoration. This work includes controlling invasive, non-native plant species and assessing the impact of urban stressors and climate change on the Sonoran Desert and other arid lands.
During the past few years, the Conservancy has transformed from a land conservation organization into a leading scientific research and education institution. Much of its work has far-reaching implications with findings and solutions that have the potential to positively impact arid lands on a global scale, and education plays a critical role in inspiring future generations about the significance of the Sonoran Desert.
This recent grant will support several key initiatives including:
- Wildfire mitigation focusing on fire-safe practices, partnerships with the local fire department and research on hazardous vegetation
- Soil crust restoration work to find new methods to lessen dust storms and the related respiratory issues they cause
- Protecting biodiversity through monitoring, research, conservation and education
- Ongoing and expanded education and outreach including the development of a K-12 STEAM curriculum
“We are grateful for the generous support of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation,” said Justin Owen, CEO of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. “Their partnership will allow us to not only continue our education programs for children in underserved communities but expand and share our scientific research with those in similar environments around the world.”
In addition to ecological research, the Conservancy places a large emphasis on education. Several of its programs work to engage students, often from Title 1 schools, in immersive experiences that highlight the importance of protecting the environment. The long-term goal of the conservancy is to continue to expand these programs and create a full STEAM curriculum.
“Each and every one of us has a duty to be a good steward of our natural surroundings,” said Renee Parsons, President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel. “The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is doing incredible work in teaching others to respect this beautiful space and leading research that will help ensure its long-term preservation.”
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has been a valued partner to the Conservancy since 2014 and this recent grant brings total funding to $2,350,000. To learn more about the work of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy or how to get involved, visit mcdowellsonoran.org and follow the Conservancy via social media: @mcdowellsonoranconservancy.