McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Volunteer Training

January 13, 2010
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SCOTTSDALE – Volunteer training is offered by the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy for individuals interested in desert preservation and protecting the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  “People take our training classes to become Preserve Stewards,” according to Ruthie Carll, MSC Executive Director.  “They learn about the history of the Preserve, the Preserve trail system, MSC’s mission and our relationship with the City of Scottsdale, as well as information on desert flora and fauna, geology and cultural history of the area.”

An added component of the orientation is the Passport to Stewardship, an opportunity for newly trained volunteers to get out into the Preserve and learn how to construct and maintain trails, lead hikes, and provide assistance to visitors at Preserve trailheads. Upon completion of the two-day course and the Passport to Stewardship, new Stewards can go on patrol, man outreach booths at events, serve on various committees, and work in the MSC office. Additional classwork enables volunteers to lead guided hikes and serve at Pathfinders at Preserve trailheads.

The next Steward training course is scheduled Jan. 23 and Jan. 30 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. each day. There is also a training course scheduled March 20 and 27 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Training will be held at La Mirada Desert Center, 8950 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd, Scottsdale (access from the east parking area of the La Mirada Shopping Center).  Cost is $50 and includes lunch both days, resource materials, and a Steward t-shirt and badge upon completion of the course.  Pre-registration for the course is required.  Prospective students can e-mail or call 480-998-7971 to receive registration forms.

2nd Annual McDowell Sonoran Challenge
Supports McDowell Sonoran Conservancy

Scottsdale – The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (MSC) and the city of Scottsdale present the 2nd annual McDowell Sonoran Challenge - Bike, Hike, or Run.

The timed challenge will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27 in State Trust Land designated for conservation, to help spread the message that the Preserve needs to be completed. Through a special land use permit, MSC has been granted access by the Arizona State Land Department for this special event to support McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

Registration will begin at 7 a.m. with parking available at the shopping center on the corner of Alma School Road and Dynamite thanks to Hurd Real Estate, and a shuttle will be available to take people to the trailhead. The post-challenge fitness expo and celebration will be held from 9 a.m. until Noon and will include food and beverage, music, merchandise and fun for hike, bike and runner enthusiasts of all ages.

The timed Challenge will be held on a section of State Trust Land normally requiring a special permit. Separate courses for trail runners, mountain bikers, and hikers will lead participants through beautiful mountains and desert. MSC Stewards will be on hand along the course to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants
Hikers will experience the historic Brown’s Ranch on their 9 mile trip and runners will race 15K past Cone Mountain. Revised from last year, mountain bike riders will complete two laps past Granite Mountain for a total of 22 miles; with a course more challenging and even more scenic, reaching far to the north into one of the most remote and stunning areas of the future Preserve. With gradual climbs to rocky technical sections to fast sweeping single and doubletrack, this course is sure to test even the experienced rider. Courses will be marked Friday, Feb. 26. Go to for pre-ride/hike directions.
Pre-registration is required and space is limited, so register early! Reservations can be made on or at or by calling Linda Raish at 480-998-7971 x101.

About McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
Since it’s founding in 1990, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy has championed the need for, establishment of, and safe public access to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.   The Conservancy works with the City of Scottsdale to: ensure completion, management and public appreciation of the Preserve; educate residents and visitors about the Preserve’s environmental and archaeological significance; ensure the public has appropriate access to the land they have repeatedly voted to protect.

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy envisions the completion of the Preserve at a size of 36,400 acres, or 57 square miles, which would protect as natural, open space nearly one-third of Scottsdale’s 185-square-miles.