Behind every great organization are great people. We call them stewards. These dedicated volunteers share our passion for natural open spaces and want to make a difference. They educate, they research, they preserve. And they have a little fun. Think you might be one of us? Learn more about joining the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy’s steward team.

Our stewardship program was recently awarded the prestigious Service Enterprise Certification. That puts us in the top 11 percent of nonprofits nationwide. It means you’d be joining an organization that uses volunteers where they can make the biggest contribution to our mission.

You choose how to make a difference

So what do stewards do? The answer is simple—it’s up to you. We offer eight programs, from rugged outdoor work to public outreach. Take a look what’s available and use your talents to make your own unique contribution:

  • Citizen science – participate in research, fieldwork or program support activities
  • Construction and maintenance – maintain trails, perform land restoration activities
  • Education – enhance understanding of the area’s natural and human history
  • Guided hike & bike – help visitors safely enjoy the area while hiking or biking
  • Nature guide – conduct interactive tours and trailside learning opportunities
  • Pastfinders – preserve our historical heritage with publications, lectures and hikes
  • Patrol – monitor trails on foot, bike or horseback and report on safety conditions
  • Steward Experience – help assure you and your fellow stewards enjoy all the benefits and rewards of stewardship throughout your tenure

You’re not alone

The best thing about becoming a steward is you don’t do it alone. You’re part of a supportive team that’s ready to help. It starts with Stewardship 101—a seven-hour orientation where you can learn about the various programs. It’s fun and fast-paced.

Then you’ll choose four of our programs and complete a series of activities in each. This helps you get a deeper understanding of what to expect. We want you to have the information you need to choose the program that’s right for you. On average, most stewards-in-training complete this training phase in six to eight weeks.

Most importantly, you’ll have mentors and program representatives to help guide you through the process. As well as online resources to help you learn and track your progress. We’ve got your back.

Getting started

Becoming a steward starts with an online application and a $75 orientation fee. Because stewards are also volunteers for the City of Scottsdale (COS), you need to complete the COS application, which includes a background check.

Keep in mind, stewards are expected to contribute in four key areas: volunteer a minimum of 60 hours per year, assume a leadership role, support public-facing and behind-the-scenes work, make a financial contribution (minimum $60/year).

Community Service Days

Not sure if you’re able to commit to becoming a steward today? We also offer Community Service Days. They’re a great way to sample the volunteer opportunity.

Our next one is Jan. 20, a working celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We provide the tools, you bring your enthusiasm (and some sunscreen). Contact the Conservancy at 480-998-7971 for more information.

Make a difference and share your passion for the beauty of natural open spaces. Become a steward for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.