It’s been two years of challenges and uncertainty for people and the planet, from the pandemic to our increasingly volatile climate. Yet, if there’s a key take-away from recent events, it’s that we’re learning how much our health is connected to that of nature. The World Economic Forum ranks environmental degradation as one of the most significant long-term threats to human well-being.
In Arizona and around the world, we’re prioritizing land and water protection – the goal is to protect 30 percent of our land and water by 2030. In 2021, our team worked behind the scenes to accomplish an imporant, complex project in the Aravaipa watershed, one of the wildest, least developed parts of Arizona. The Cross F Ranch project protected Stowe Gulch, which provides half of the water feeding Aravaipa Creek, one of southern Arizona’s few year-round flowing streams.
Hard work paid off with a win in the 2021 Arizona Legislature. It passed a law that allows landowners to conserve water without losing their water rights. Our partnerships in the Verde and San Pedro watersheds continue to pay dividends for the long-term health of our rivers.
We’re working to address the drivers and impacts of climate change on several fronts. Arizona Thrives, a Conservancy-supported initiative now has 70 business and organization members that are working together to grow our economy in a way that reduces harmful emissions. Our Healthy Cities program graduated its first cohort of online Urban Heat Leadership participants, and we look forward to the impact they will make in communities affected by heat and poor air quality.
In addition, our science confirms that forest restoration is not only essential for preventing devastating forest fires, but also for sequestering carbon and maintaining forest health.
Our preserves continue to flourish, and we look forward to opening them soon so visitors can enjoy hiking, birdwatching and the beauty of nature.
I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for all you do to support our mission in these trying times. This work wouldn’t be possible without your support. Together, let’s make 2022 the year of good health for people and nature.
Dan Stellar, Arizona State Director