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.

McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is dedicated to effecting global preservation efforts through science and research at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and surrounding Sonoran desert. We equip a unique collective of volunteer stewards with tools and structure to discover, learn and ultimately teach. Because 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, the region, and the world.


McDowell Sonoran Conservancy offers educational opportunities that increase public understanding of the Sonoran Desert and promote stewardship of natural open space, such as the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.


700+ volunteer stewards at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy make 9 programs successful and pride themselves on recognizing what needs to be done and partnering with staff to make assure the Conservancy’s success.

Explore a living treasure and make memories for a lifetime! The 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 partners with scientists and actively involves volunteers in research as citizen scientists. We use research results to build best practices for long-term resource management and detect change in plant and animal communities and contribute to the broader scientific knowledge of natural areas.

Discover with Science
Citizen Science


The Conservancy focuses on providing information about the Preserve and the environment to recreationists who use the Preserve, families whose proximity to the Preserve creates an impact, environmental enthusiasts and community leaders. Learning about the Preserve, its residents and its history enhance the enjoyment of visiting and reveals the significance of this living treasure.

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McDowell Sonoran Conservancy volunteer stewards support 9 programs ranging from rugged outdoor work to public outreach, all of which enable stewards to learn and participate in a variety of Programs. Each volunteer brings unique personal contributions to these experiences, ensuring activities are successful in supporting and sustaining the Conservancy’s mission and vision.

Get Involved


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

Help Support Your Sonoran Desert!

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