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 – Walter W. (Bill) Meek

Source:  Arizona Heritage Alliance December 29, 2017 Newsletter

In early December 2017, the Arizona Heritage Alliance elected Walter W. (Bill) Meek to serve  a three year term on the Alliance’s Board of Directors. Welcome Bill and thank you for your support of the Alliance’s mission and goals.

Walter W. (Bill) Meek, a 50-year resident of Arizona, is past president of the Arizona State Parks Foundation, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving conditions at State Parks.  Bill retired in 2007 after 14 years as the founding president and CEO of the 7,000-member Arizona Utility Investors Association, now known as the Arizona Investment Council. Before that, Bill spent 15 years running marketing communications companies in Phoenix, San Diego, and Tucson and another 15 years working as a newspaper reporter and editor, including ten years at The Arizona Republic.

Environmental Study Ranks Arizona Second Lowest Among Western States

Source:  Joshua Bowling, The Republic/azcentral.com, October 18, 2017

It found Arizona’s access to public lands and responsible energy development need improvement.