Here is a collection of stories from our Stewards that highlights their journey, passion and determination to continue the mission of the Conservancy — a movement that was started more than 30 years ago. Each story is unique and all of them are inspiring.
Alice Bauder, Legacy Steward
In her professional life, Alice Bauder had a natural interest in making organizations work effectively and developed an ability to identify obstacles to smooth organizational functioning. Early in her tenure with the Conservancy, Alice noticed that the organization lacked consistent internal communication. Taking matters into her own hands, she conceived of, designed, and implemented the first regularly published newsletter, The Preserver, for which she remained responsible for seven years.
Bob Cafarella, Preserve Pioneer
To many people, Bob Cafarella was the face of the City in the numerous and often complicated interactions and transactions associated with the creation and growth of the Preserve, including the acquisition of land and the planning and building of trails and trailheads. But Bob was also responsible for conveying the interests of private groups back to the City. He functioned as an intermediary, ensuring that the views of each party were effectively conveyed to all other parties so that each interest group felt that it was being treated fairly in a process that was complex and at times controversial.
Dan Gruber, Legacy Steward
Dan believes that the creation of the “self-managing, self-evolving” Steward organization may be the most far-reaching achievement of the Conservancy. Many non-profit organizations rely on volunteers to solely execute the instructions of staff, but the Conservancy has developed into an organization where the stewards are directly responsible for many aspects of the strategic direction of the organization.
Christine Kovach, Legacy Steward
After moving to Scottsdale in 1993, Christine came to appreciate the majesty of the McDowell Mountains, not just as a beautiful feature of the landscape but as home to a broad diversity of plant and animal life. Christine describes the Sonoran desert as a complex ecosystem that is both hearty and fragile.
Len Marcisz, Legacy Steward
Whether Len’s involvement with the Conservancy was happenstance or predestination, he believes that the Conservancy has, in many ways, defined him as a person in his retirement. More particularly, Len’s work with the Conservancy set him on a path of a very rewarding second career as a historian.
BJ Tatro, Legacy Steward
A vision that started with a cup of coffee and thrives as an important service the Conservancy continues to provide even today. BJ states that her work with the Conservancy was motivated by “rational self-interest in the pursuit of the public good.” Great things can be achieved when skilled people work together on matters that have both personal importance and a clear public benefit.