A McDowell Sonoran Field Institute seedbank study at Scottsdale Community College. 

Understanding our natural resources is necessary to conserving them. 

McDowell Sonoran Preserve Research Symposium, 2015

The Field Institute Holds Its First Research Symposium

By Steve Dodd, Certified Citizen Scientist and McDowell Sonoran Conservancy master steward

Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve Research Symposium was proclaimed a success by both organizers and the 150-plus people who attended the two-day event hosted by the McDowell Sonoran Field Institute and the Center for Native and Urban Wildlife (CNUW) at Scottsdale Community College (SCC).

The symposium, held in late October, featured speakers, poster presentations, tours of CNUW facilities, workshops, and guided hikes in the Preserve. Topics included research conducted on flora, fauna, geology, and human history of the Preserve, and a discussion about the future of conservation in the Phoenix area by a panel of representatives from the City of Scottsdale, City of Phoenix, the Sonoran Institute, and Maricopa County Parks. Keynote speakers were Virginia Korte, CNUW’s first director and a current Scottsdale City Council member, and Dr. Sharon Hall, associate professor and senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University.

“The research symposium was a great opportunity to showcase the research by the McDowell Sonoran Field Institute and its partners, and to initiate conversation about valley-wide preservation and conservation efforts,” said Dr. Helen Rowe, director of the Field Institute, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy’s research center “As we think more regionally, we’ll be more effective in what we do for the Preserve.”

Dr. John Weser of Scottsdale Community College echoed those thoughts and also noted the benefit that the symposium provided for SCC students. “This gave our undergraduate students a rare opportunity to attend a superb scientific research symposium, see, hear and learn about research going on locally, and personally interact with those researchers,” explained Dr. Weser, a professor of biology and executive director of CNUW.

Symposium proceedings: Coming Soon!