The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy preserves and advances natural open space through science, education and stewardship.

Our vision is a culture that ensures, preserves and values natural open spaces for all to enjoy.

With more than 30,500 acres protected in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, we are stewards of the largest urban Preserve in the country. Through our 3 pillars of science, education and stewardship we research, educate and raise awareness of the importance of conservation.

Quick Facts


Year Founded: 1991



Organization: Independent, tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) organization governed by a 21 member Board of Directors



Staff: 10 full-time



Volunteers: more than 650



Service Area: 48 square miles



Preserve Visits Annually: More than 750,000


Our Impact

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy lets citizens take action to effect positive change in their community. Every day our trained stewards give their time and energy to protect the Preserve and educate visitors.

Our goal is for future generations to enjoy the Preserve the same way we do today.

A Unique Partnership

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is more than 30,500 acres of perpetually preserved open space that is managed through a unique partnership between the City of Scottsdale and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

Leading-edge Stewardship

Stewards provided more than 62,000 hours of service last year, a contribution to the city of Scottsdale valued at more than $1.5 million. We equip our stewards with the tools and experiences to teach others to be stewards of the land.

Interpretive Education

We serve children, the community and life-long learners in a variety of ways through interactive, hands-on activities and in-class educational experiences, free-of-charge.

  • 13,000+ youth served through school visits, events and activities
  • 4,000+ adults served through hikes, lectures, events and continuing education
  • 50,000+ visitor contacts at trailheads and on the trails

Science-Based Conservation

In Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve more than 1,000 types of plants and animals identified through our Field Institute, making the Preserve one of the richest ecological areas in the valley.

  • 417 Plant Types
  • 178 Bird Species
  • 39 Mammal Species
  • 36 Reptile & Amphibian Species
  • More than 350 Invertebrate Species