McDowell Sonoran Conservancy

Discover our history, achievements and the desert dwellers who made it all possible.

Celebrating Science, Education & Stewardship

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, has been an advocate for and champion of the Sonoran Desert for more than three decades. We have emerged as one of the leading volunteer organizations in the nation, a committed partner in scientific research and an indispensable educational resource for our community.

Explore a living treasure and make memories for a lifetime! Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve includes more than 30,500 contiguous acres. Annually, over one million people visit the Preserve wishing to connect with nature and experience its more than 225 miles of recreational trails.

The Preserve is open from sunrise to sunset, and there is no charge for parking or access.

View Activity Calendar HERE.



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 eight 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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Support Your Sonoran Desert!

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