McDowell Sonoran Conservancy

Through a unique partnership with the City of Scottsdale, we help ensure all
visitors have a safe and enjoyable visit to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is dedicated to effecting global preservation efforts through science and research at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and the surrounding Sonoran Desert.

We equip a collective of volunteer stewards with tools and structure to discover, learn and ultimately teach. We believe in empowering awareness through knowledge to transform citizens into stewards of their land. More than 700 steward volunteers provide their time and talents to help residents and visitors experience, enjoy and learn from the Sonoran Desert.


In light of COVID-19 and guidance from local, state and federal public health agencies, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy continues to suspend public activities that require the gathering of groups of people or close personal contact until guidance allows for resumption of those activities. For as long as necessary, the Conservancy, its staff, and stewards will continue with much of their work while maintaining a safe working environment.


The Parsons Field Institute at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy conducts ecological research through partnerships and citizen science for long-term natural resource management of the Sonoran Desert and other arid lands.


The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy offers educational opportunities that increase public understanding of the Sonoran Desert and promote stewardship of natural open space in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and beyond.


More than 700 stewards at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy volunteer their time and talents to ensure the success of nine programs. They pride themselves on recognizing what needs to be done and partnering with staff to assure success.

Explore a living treasure and make memories for a lifetime! Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve includes more than 30,500 contiguous acres and more than 200 miles of trails. The Preserve is open from sunrise to sunset, and there is no charge for parking or access.



The Parsons Field Institute at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy uses scientific approaches to inform the management of the Sonoran Desert’s diverse animals, plants, and other natural resources. As leaders in research and citizen science, our team advances regional invasive species control, ecological restoration, conservation of native species, and long-term monitoring and preservation projects.

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Citizen Science


The Conservancy provides valuable information about the Preserve and the environment to recreationists who use the Preserve, environmental enthusiasts and community leaders. Learning about the Preserve – including its flora, fauna, geology and history – enhances the enjoyment of visiting and reveals the significance of this living treasure.

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McDowell Sonoran Conservancy volunteer stewards support nine programs, with activities ranging from patrolling trails to rugged outdoor work to public outreach. As stewards participate in a variety of programs, they have vast opportunities to contribute and learn. Each volunteer brings unique personal contributions, helping to ensure activities are successful in supporting and sustaining the Conservancy’s mission and vision.

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Visit our blog to get the latest on our favorite trails, wildlife animals, species rediscoveries, plus much more!

Help Support Your Sonoran Desert!

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