Desert Botanical Garden announces 2019 Conservation Award Finalists | Desert Botanical Garden


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Desert Botanical Garden announces 2019 Conservation Award Finalists

October 3, 2019

Since 2017, Desert Botanical Garden has awarded a Conservation Award to an individual, organization or corporation to celebrate their achievement and innovation in biodiversity conservation. The Conservation Award is presented annually at the Conservation Celebration luncheon to benefit the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA), an initiative of Desert Botanical Garden. This year’s luncheon is November 21, 2019, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit

The finalists for this year’s award are true examples of visionary leadership in conservation in the greater Phoenix area.

Maxine Lakin – Maxine Lakin was a founder of the Phoenix Mountains Preservation Council, working tirelessly during the 70s to ensure our open spaces be preserved for future generations. For more than 50 years, she has been a true champion, from being instrumental in changing the designation of Camelback Mountain from a Phoenix park to a preserve, by advocating and gaining public support for the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative (3PI) to helping re-open the North Mountain Visitor Center, among many other achievements.

Dr. Kimberlie McCue – Dr. McCue began working at Desert Botanical Garden in 2009 and has led the creation of several partnerships and conservation initiatives that extend far beyond the Garden walls. She was the lead in creating the CAZCA, a collaborative initiative for the conservation and protection of regional open spaces, parks and preserves. Dr. McCue also worked with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to develop strategies to protect and conserve the world’s succulent plants. For this effort, the Garden was chosen to be the host institution for the IUCN Cactus and Succulent Plant Specialist Group, and now has the responsibility to facilitate cactus and succulent conservation efforts worldwide.

McDowell Sonoran Conservancy – Throughout its 28-year history, the staff of this organization have worked tirelessly to protect important landscapes and to provide opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy these areas. Their mission is “to preserve and advance natural open space through science, education, and stewardship.” Which is evident through their many programs and projects in research, education and through the tireless work of more than 650 volunteers. In working to protect the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, its research and education efforts influence management decisions on a broad scale as well as inspire people in their daily lives.

In 2018, the Conservation Award was given to Tamara Woodbury for her pivotal leadership as the CEO of the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council; her work has led to the connection of countless young women to nature. It was also under her guidance that the Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain was opened to serve the Arizona community in 2017.

The first Conservation Award was bestowed on Mayor Jackie Meck in 2017 for his visionary leadership in Buckeye, which emphasized the protection of the city’s open spaces for residents, and included his involvement in the formation and management of the White Tank Mountains Conservancy.

WHAT:             Conservation Celebration

WHEN:             Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, 11 a.m.

WHERE:           Desert Botanical Garden, Dorrance Hall
1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Individual Tickets – $150

Tables of 10­ – $1,500

Corporate Sponsorships Available

INFO: For tickets or information, contact Lauren Cassidy at 480 481.8160 or

About Desert Botanical Garden

Discover the tranquil vibrancy of 50,000 desert plants nestled amid the red rocks of the Papago Buttes at Desert Botanical Garden. An Arizona icon celebrating 80 years in the Valley, the Garden has grown into a compelling attraction and desert conservation pioneer, offering worldly plants, vibrant trails, world-class exhibitions, festive events, fascinating classes and so much more.

About Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA)

Launched in 2012 by Desert Botanical Garden, the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) unites a network of land managers, scientists, planners, policy makers, educators, community members and conservation-based nonprofit organizations to develop, align and elevate efforts to conserve and enhance open space in the Phoenix metropolitan region. Comprised of more than 60 partnering organizations, CAZCA’s vision is a sustainable preserve system that supports healthy ecosystems and provides beautiful, safe open spaces for healthy, vibrant communities. For more information about CAZCA, visit