Research projects extend to all areas in the Preserve.

Research to understand the Wildland Urban Interface is important because of the Preserve's proximity to development.

How We Support the Preserve

The Field Institute organizes and conducts scientific research programs that uncover facts about the flora, fauna, geology, and human history of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The information we gather is used by the City of Scottsdale in its management of the Preserve and by scientists who are seeking information about a variety of natural resources.

Gathering Baseline Information

The scientists and experts who lead our flora and fauna research work with our trained citizen scientists to document the populations of plants and animals that inhabit the Preserve, and to monitor those populations over time. The Field Institute just completed a biological inventory of the flora and fauna of the Preserve, which will serve as baseline information for future monitoring. You can download the complete report, The Flora and Fauna of Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve, or contact Melanie Tluczek here to obtain a hard copy for $20.

Working with geologists, our citizen scientists assist in compiling data and mapping the geology of the Preserve. We are currently mapping of the strange and beautiful quartz outcrops that dot the Preserve.

Our Pastfinders study the history of the McDowells and Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Volunteers recently organized and preserved historical papers and documents donated by Jane Rau, cofounder of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy in 1991. In 2012, they published The Stoneman Military Road Digital Compendium, a compilation of all known references, articles, maps and military reports relating to the Stoneman Military Road, which travels through the Preserve.

Monitoring Ecological Processes

Now that we have completed our baseline information, we have begun developing ecological monitoring programs that will help us continuously assess the ecological integrity of the Preserve. These studies, done in partnership with scientists and subject-matter experts from Arizona State University, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the Desert Rivers Audubon Society, will be used to develop and continuously update an Ecological Resource Plan for the Preserve.