Challie Facemire Q&A | Desert Botanical Garden


Meet Challie Facemire, Program Director for the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance

Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) was founded in 2012 as an ongoing initiative of Desert Botanical Garden. Together with regional partners, CAZCA developed a long-term strategy for the preservation of Maricopa County’s open spaces to support a healthy ecosystem and provide beautiful, safe open spaces for recreation, education, and relaxation. CAZCA welcomed Challie in November and is excited for her to be a part of the team. Learn more about Challie and her role at CAZCA below.

Q:  Tell us about your background?

A: I graduated with my Ph.D. in biology and society last spring. In that program I studied large scale land management and collaborative conservation. Prior to that, I had obtained a bachelors and masters in English literature and was working in communications, faculty research development, grant management and was teaching writing and literature. I had always cared about the environment and wanted to work in that area, so I decided to go back to school. I was incredibly lucky that at the same time I graduated this position became available. I am now doing exactly what I had hoped for upon entering my Ph.D. program and am very excited about my future and the future of CAZCA.

Q: What are your most excited about for the future of CAZCA?

A: I am very excited to build more partnerships within CAZCA and pursue new projects and working groups to further the goals of the Regional Open Space Strategy (ROSS). The ROSS was a huge accomplishment. It outlined four specific goal areas to help preserve open spaces and there is still a lot of work to do and potential for major successes in each of those areas.

Q: In regard to the Valley’s Open Spaces what do you hope to accomplish? 

A: I hope that we can work with our partners to conserve open spaces and our unique ecosystem for future generations. The CAZCA working groups each focus on a ROSS goal area, and I hope that these groups can continue their work reducing negative impacts on open spaces, promoting restoration and resilience in the desert ecosystems, reaching out to the public to engage them with these amazing areas, and engaging more partners to keep expanding our conservation vision.

Q: There are several ways the community can engage with CAZCA, can you share more? 

A: Join our partners. Volunteer for CAZCA or for a partner organization. Donate. Attend events. Let us know if you have ideas to help with open space conservation. 

Learn more by visiting CAZCA’s website at

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