Beth Woodin, Past President of the Alliance and Longtime Arizona Conservation Activist

Source:  Tony Davis, Arizona Daily Star – January 17, 2018

When the state bought 1,400 acres near Patagonia 14 years ago, the wetland home of a major endangered fish population was saved from the bulldozer. Beth Woodin was a driving force in creating the Arizona Heritage Fund that supplies money for such purchases.

Woodin died last week at her Sabino Creek home at age 71. She spent at least 40 years fighting to save wildlands like that acreage around Coal Mine Spring, home to the endangered Gila topminnow but until then a likely subdivision site. Woodin, a native New Yorker, lived along Sabino Creek since the 1970s with her husband, William Woodin, an early Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum director.

Beth Woodin, President of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, (c)2010 Tye R. Farrell

Just before her Jan. 10 death from cancer, Woodin left her nine-year position as board president of the Arizona Heritage Alliance advocacy group. On Saturday, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission gave her an award of excellence, at a Phoenix-area ceremony she had hoped to attend.

“She was one of the most dedicated persons around to doing
wonderful things for wildlife,” said Jim DeVos, a state Game and Fish Department assistant director who knew Woodin for 35 years. “She was always looking for that compromise to move conservation forward. She had her fingers in more conservation projects than anyone I know.”

Woodin was a state Game and Fish commissioner from 1990 to 1995, sat on the Arizona Nature Conservancy’s board in the 1980s and ’90s, and was on the Desert Museum’s board of trustees multiple times. In the 1980s, she was instrumental in persuading the Legislature to create a checkoff program allowing residents to set aside some of their state income taxes for programs benefiting nongame wildlife. The checkoff raised nearly $860,000 in the five fiscal years that ended June 30, 2017, state records show.

In 1990, she was a prime mover for a statewide voter initiative creating the Heritage Fund, which then took $20 million annually from state lottery proceeds for parks and nongame wildlife. Game and Fish has used the fund to buy nearly 18,000 acres of habitat.

Woodin and other fund backers fought at least 30 legislative efforts to divert some of that money, succeeding until the 2007-’08 economist bust. After that, the Legislature swept $10 million annually, which had gone for parks, into the general fund. She and her allies unsuccessfully tried to push through legislation to restore the parks fund.

At the end of her life, Woodin was plotting another run at restoring the Heritage Fund for parks, said Janice Miano, the heritage alliance’s board president. “She never gave up. She always had a plan.”

Woodin is survived by her husband; four stepsons; a sister, Jill Burkett, of Northern California; and eight grandchildren. Services will likely be held in the spring.

Welcome New Board Member – Bryan Martyn

Bryan Martyn grew up in Tempe and attended McClintock High School where he was active in student government and was a varsity athlete in baseball and football. He later earned a baseball scholarship to attend Arizona State University where he majored in Wildlife Biology. Following ASU, Bryan entered the US Army Helicopter Flight Training program where he graduated at the top of his flight class and was selected to fly the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. While flying in the Army, Bryan served in Germany, Korea, Texas, and Alabama-completing combat tours in Iraq during Desert Storm and Bosnia. He was later hand-selected for an inter-service transfer from the Army to the United States Air Force to fly Special Operations helicopters. While flying in the USAF, Bryan served in New Mexico, England, and Arizona-completing multiple combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. Bryan retired after more than 20 years of military service. Shortly following his retirement, Bryan was elected as a County Supervisor in Pinal County. While serving as a County Supervisor, he was hired by the Arizona State Parks Board to serve as the Executive Director of Arizona State Parks. Bryan today owns a small consulting company with offices in Phoenix and Washington, DC. His firm focuses on veteran, military, environmental, and government policy issues.

Welcome New Board Member – Cheyenne Walsh

Cheyenne Walsh received her bachelor’s degree and law degree from University of  Arizona. She also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Arizona State University. Prior to entering law school, Cheyenne worked as a legislative intern for the Arizona State Senate Government & Transportation Committee, and as a legislative associate at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, where she worked closely with municipalities on issues relating to land use, utilities, development fees, taxes and budgets, and transportation. She also worked as a legal extern in Washington D.C. on the staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Jon Kyl. She was admitted to practice law in 2012 and joined the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, where she assisted clients with environmental and state and local government relations issues. Cheyenne became a partner at Isaacson & Walsh, PC  in 2015 and specializes in representing clients before the Arizona State Legislature, and state and local agencies. Her clients include governmental entities, nonprofits, trade associations, and Fortune 500 companies. Cheyenne has been nominated by her peers as a Best Lobbyist under 40 each year since 2014, and was honored to be named Best Female Lobbyist under 40 by the readership of the Arizona Capitol Times in 2016 and 2017. She also has been recognized in Southwest Super Lawyers as a Rising Star annually since 2014.

Letter of Support on Behalf of The Nature Conservancy

Source:  Arizona Heritage Alliance Board of Directors’ Letter of Support Sent to Arizona Game and Fish Department for the Verde River-West Clear Creek Conservation Area – November 23, 2017

Ty Gray, Director
Arizona Game and Fish Department
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000

Dear Director Gray:

On behalf of the Arizona Heritage Alliance Board of Directors, I am writing to voice our strong support for the Verde River – West Clear Creek Conservation Area as proposed by The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. As you know, the mission of the Alliance is to preserve and enhance Arizona’s historic, cultural, and natural heritage. The proposed partnership between your agency and the Nature Conservancy offers a unique opportunity for protecting and enhancing a significant swath of water resources, streamside forests, and wildlife habitat in the Lower Verde Valley.

We believe It is important to protect both Park Central Farm and Shield Ranch with conservation easements in order to preserve connectivity of habitat along the Verde River corridor for three miles and the confluence of the river with West Clear Creek. Protecting only one property will not achieve unified protection along both sides of the river and the West Clear Creek confluence.

Conservation easement acquisitions are an effective tool because they provide direct habitat protection and protect recreational opportunities while significantly reducing O&M costs. We also believe the use of Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Funds to facilitate this initiative is just the type of project the citizens of Arizona envisioned when voting to approve the Arizona Heritage Fund 27 years ago.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter and for your public service.

Sincerely yours,
Elizabeth T. Woodin
President