Arizona Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards ‘reflect visionary efforts’

Source:  Queen Creek Independent – October 8, 2018

The Northern Arizona Forest Fund took the top honor Saturday night in the Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP at the Westin Kierland Resort. Judges also named the Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge as winner of the Governor’s Award for Arizona’s Future, and two new categories – Sustainability Champion and Waste Reduction – made their debuts. Northern Arizona national forests provide the majority of water to the Salt and Verde rivers and eventually into the homes of millions of Phoenix-area residents.

“But the health of the forests and watersheds is threatened,” according to a release announcing the winners. “The Northern Arizona Forest Fund was created to address these declining forest health conditions. To date, the Northern Arizona Forest Fund has completed over 10,000 acres of projects, reducing severe fire risk by about 25 percent.”

The Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge overturned a long-standing legal prohibition against potable water reuse. It also used craft beer to educate the public about the benefits of the “toilet to tap” revolution, the release stated. The team took to festivals, conferences, parades and expos to get their message out, which resulted in changing a law.

Arizona Forward celebrated the 38th anniversary of its signature awards program, drawing more than 500 social influencers and innovators representing public and private sector interests.

“I’ve attended the Environmental Excellence Awards as an Arizona Forward member for 20 years, and this year’s finalists show how far sustainability has come during that time,” stated Lori Singleton, Arizona Forward president and CEO. “Every year, we see a wider range of entries that make our communities healthier, more vibrant and more resilient.”

Finalist projects were submitted by Maricopa and Pima counties, as well as Chandler, Flagstaff, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Tolleson and Tucson. “The results of this year’s competition reflect visionary efforts in both the public and private sector,” said lead judge John Flicker, who serves as president of Prescott College. “The judging panel had the diverse knowledge to evaluate how these projects will impact their communities well into the future. It was an honor for us to be part of this process.”

In addition to the Northern Arizona Forest Fund and the Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge, Crescordia winners include:

WURTH HOUSE (Kimber Lanning) – Buildings and Structures (Civic and Historic Preservation)

Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning saved a bungalow that was slated for demolition and gave it new life as the Local First Arizona headquarters. The process took more than three years to complete. Today, more than 30,000 people see the restored bungalow during monthly First Friday events.

OCOTILLO RESTAURANT (TRUEFORM landscape architecture studio) – Buildings and Structures (Commercial and Institutional)

The Ocotillo Restaurant features desert-adaptive materials and water-harvesting elements that blend into the Southwest. Desert palo brea and mesquite trees provide shade, while the restaurant’s namesake ocotillo plants are featured at key locations. A sunken lawn provides a gathering place and harvests water.

NORTHERN ARIZONA POLLINATOR HABITAT INITIATIVE (Green NAU)– Site Development and Landscape (Landscape and Preserves)

The Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative promotes the creation, protection and registration of pollinator habitat across Northern Arizona, while highlighting the important role pollinators fulfill in the global food supply. The effort increased local pollinator garden registration tenfold in its first year.

SPACES OF OPPORTUNITY (Orcutt Winslow) – Healthy Communities (Sustainable Communities)

Spaces of Opportunity addresses community connections, food deserts and social justice and allows residents to learn about science, technology, engineering and agriculture. The incubator farm encompasses 3,000 square feet; kale, mustard greens and beets have sprouted this year.

MESA RIO SALADO – STADIUM CONNECTOR PATHWAY (City of Mesa – Engineering Department) – Healthy Communities (Multimodal Transportation and Connectivity)

The Mesa Rio Salado-Stadium Connector Pathway filled a 3.5-mile gap in the Valley’s network of shared-use paths along the Salt River, Crosscut Canal and adjacent neighborhoods. Community partners include the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, Riverview Development, SRP, Arizona Department of Transportation, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the cities of Mesa and Tempe.

SOUTH MOUNTAIN PARK AND PRESERVE TRAILS MASTER PLAN (City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department) – Healthy Communities (Public Policy/Plans)

The South Mountain Park and Preserve Plan will help the desert mountain preserve address the challenges of increasing popularity so future generations can connect with the desert. The plan identifies 51 miles of existing designated trails to be protected or improved and adopts 38 miles of existing non-designated trails into the designated trail system.

(Submitted photo)

U-HAUL – THE CONSERVATION FUND: UPPER GRANITE CREEK ASPEN RESTORATION PROJECT (U-Haul International) – Healthy Communities (Parks and Trails)

U-Haul designated a portion of customer contributions in 2017-18 to the National Forest Foundation to support its Prescott Aspen Restoration Project in the Prescott National Forest. One-hundred-fifty acres across two aspen stands were restored, protecting a watershed.

PEORIA POLICE PATROL SERVICES BUILDING (Energy Systems Design, Inc.) – Energy and Technology Innovation

The city of Peoria’s new Patrol Services Building provides an immediate return on investment through ongoing water and energy reduction while providing a comfortable work environment for Peoria’s officers and staff. The building’s energy costs will be 41 percent less than a typical building, and it is tracking LEED Gold certification.

GLENDALE DESERT FOOD FOREST (City of Glendale Water Services Department) – Environmental Education and Communication

Part regenerative landscape and part outdoor classroom, the Glendale Desert Food Forest connects residents to the Sonoran Desert’s array of water-wise edible plants. It includes more than 100 edible plants and involves partners such as the Glendale Public Library, Linking Edible Arizona Forests Network, Maricopa County Master Gardener program and Trees Matter.

GREG STANTON (Greg Stanton Supporters) – Sustainability Champion (Individuals)

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton worked to establish Phoenix as an oasis of pragmatic, economically beneficial environmentalism. He asked Phoenix voters to approve a tax increase to benefit mass transit while running for his own re-election, while also converting 100,000 Phoenix streetlights to efficient LED bulbs. Mr. Stanton was also instrumental in developing public-private circular economy partnership through ASU to raise landfill diversion to 30 percent.

COMPLETE LIST OF 2018 WINNERS

GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR ARIZONA’S FUTURE

CRESCORDIA

Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

RISN Incubator – A partnership between the City of Phoenix and ASU

Submitted by: ASU Rob and Melanie Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Salt and Verde Alliance

Submitted by: The Nature Conservancy

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES

Civic

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

LEED Gold Tolleson Fire Station + Administration Building

Submitted by: LEA-Architects, LLC

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES

Historic Preservation

CRESCORDIA

Wurth House

Submitted by: Kimber Lanning

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

South Mountain Park and Preserve Big Ramada

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES

Commercial & Institutional

CRESCORDIA

Ocotillo Restaurant

Submitted by: TRUEFORM landscape architecture studio

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Arizona State University – Biodesign Institute C

Submitted by: McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

SITE DEVELOPMENT AND LANDSCAPE

CRESCORDIA

Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative

Submitted by: Green NAU

CRESCORDIA

Tohono Chul Park Master Plan

Submitted by: John Douglas Architects

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel

Submitted by: TRUEFORM landscape architecture studio

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

Sustainable Communities

CRESCORDIA

Spaces of Opportunity

Submitted by: Orcutt Winslow

AWARD OF DINSTINCTION

Downtown Chandler Infrastructure Improvements: Commonwealth Avenue and Dakota Street Extension

Submitted by: Achen-Gardner Constructions, LLC

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

Multimodal Transportation and Connectivity

CRESCORDIA

Mesa Rio Salado – Stadium Connector Pathway

Submitted by: City of Mesa – Engineering Department

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Tempe Bike Share Program

Submitted by: City of Tempe

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

Public Policy/Plans

CRESCORDIA

South Mountain Park and Preserve Trail Master Plan

Submitted by: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

Sustainable Workplaces

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Orcutt Winslow Office

Submitted by: Orcutt Winslow

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

CBRE Phoenix Workplace 360

Submitted by: Gensler

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

Parks and Trails

CRESCORDIA

U-Haul – The Conservation Fund (TCF): Upper Granite Creek Aspen Restoration Project

Submitted by: U-Haul International

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Pioneer Park

Submitted by: Dig Studio, Inc.

ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

CRESCORDIA

Peoria Police Patrol Services Building

Submitted by: Energy Systems Design, Inc.

ART IN PUBLIC PLACES

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

El Paso Greenway Project

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION & COMMUNICATION

CRESCORDIA

(Submitted photo)

Glendale Desert Food Forest

Submitted by: City of Glendale Water Services Department

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

“Up in the Air” an Air Pollution Education Program

Submitted by: Maricopa County Air Quality Department

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Master Recycler Program

Submitted by: City of Flagstaff Sustainability Section

SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION

Organizations and Projects

CRESCORDIA

Northern Arizona Forest Fund

Submitted by: National Forest Foundation

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge

Submitted by: Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION

Individuals

CRESCORDIA

Greg Stanton, Sustainability Champion

Submitted by: Greg Stanton Supporters

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Bill Auberle

Submitted by: Pinyon Environmental, Audubon Arizona, Northern Arizona University

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

U-Haul Sustainability Champion: Alexia Bednarz

Submitted by: U-Haul International

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Tim Thomure, Director, Tucson Water

Submitted by: Tucson Water

WASTE REDUCTION

CRESCORDIA

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Submitted by: Waste Management of Arizona

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Global Water Resources – Total Water Management

Submitted by: Global Water Resources

AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Barley to Beer: Saving the Verde River

Submitted by: The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

PRESIDENT’S AWARD

Northern Arizona Forest Fund

Submitted by: National Forest Foundation

Land and Water Conservation Fund Lauded for benefiting recreation, criticized for land acquisition

Source:  ASU Now by Mary Beth Faller, September 2018

The patio of the clubhouse at Encanto Park in Phoenix was an oasis of shade on a hot, sunny day earlier this week. There, Arizona State University Professor Dale Larsen described how a federal funding program has given millions of dollars to the city to create hiking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas — and shady spots.

That 54-year-old program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is set to expire Sept. 30. Over five decades, Arizona has received more than $230 million from the fund, which it has passed on to municipalities for projects including South Mountain Park and Goodyear Community Park, to state parks including Lost Dutchman and Slide Rock, and even to the Arizona Board of Regents for a park at the ASU West Campus.

The fund gave a total of $100 million to all 50 states this year, including $2.1 million to Arizona.

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

The money does not come from taxpayers, but from fees paid by energy companies that extract oil and natural gas along the Gulf Coast, according to Larsen, a professor of practice in the School of Community and Development. He was assistant director and then director of Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation Department for 27 years, retiring in 2010.

“That bipartisan legislation was an innovative way to share those funds all over the country in parks, conservation areas and wildlife areas as sort of an environment tradeoff,” he said.The fund divides the revenue into federal and state portions according to a formula that changes frequently, but for many years it was 60 percent federal and 40 percent state.

“Phoenix and other municipalities benefit from the state side,” he said. “The rest would go to federal agencies for purposes primarily of acquiring and expanding their federal property footprint, primarily in Western states. So the rub, over the years, has been from Western state legislators who think the LWCF has been used as a land grab for federal properties to be expanded, which would then preclude the opportunity for mining, for grazing or for hunting and fishing.”

The National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management use the fund to acquire more land. The conservative Heritage Foundation supports allowing the fund to expire, not only because the organization opposes expansion of federal lands but also because federal money is going to support local projects that should be funded in other ways.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, blocked reauthorization of the LWCF in 2015 because he believed too much of the money went to buy land in the West. However, this year, Bishop co-sponsored the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, with Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., to permanently restore the fund and also allocate money toward the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Parks Service.

Larsen said that the program has been frozen and temporarily extended a few times, but never been allowed to expire. The city of Phoenix has received more than $10 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund since it began. Larsen teaches a class at ASU called “creating community,” and he tells his students that parks not only provide recreational and environmental benefits but they also have an economic impact.

“Parks, if they’re managed properly, tend to increase the property values of the neighborhood they’re located in,” he said. But a poorly maintained park, with trash and graffiti, can lower property values. “In Phoenix, what is the most treasured commodity? Shade,” he said.“The LWCF provides shade development opportunities so people can enjoy those parks.”

Baby boomers retire here for the hiking, yet Arizona starves its parks. How smart is that?

Source:  Opinion by Linda Valdez – Arizona Republic – azcentral.com – September 17, 2018

Opinion: Arizona’s environment is an asset. Yet we are starving the state parks that provide exactly
what baby boomers say they want from us.  Arizona’s has a fast horse in the race to attract Baby Boomer retirees. But our state is starving the poor beast. Recent census figures put Arizona second only to Florida as a destination for today’s retirees, according to reporting by The Republic’s Catherine Reagor. And what is at the top of the list of what these retirees want? — Hiking. It’s the great outdoors that Baby Boomer retirees crave, and we’ve got plenty of it. But we aren’t taking care of it.

Consider:

  • The total operating budget for Arizona’s State Parks was $29 million in fiscal 2018, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. This is $15 million less than what Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute said was needed in 2009 to operate and maintain the state’s parks.
  • Since 2009, state parks have gotten no general fund money.
  • The parks don’t get to use all of the money they bring in through gate receipts and concessions. That money goes into the State Parks Revenue Fund, which reported total revenue of $20,460,700 in fiscal 2018. Only $14.4 million of it was appropriated back to the parks.
  • More than a decade ago – in 2007 – the parks had fewer visitors and more money. The fiscal 2007 parks budget was $37 million, and that included $27 million from the general fund.
  • During the recession, Arizona’s GOP-controlled Legislature stripped away $10 million a year in Heritage Fund money that had been dedicated to the parks by a 1990 citizens’  initiative. This funding, which came from the Lottery, has not been restored.
  • In 2014, then-Parks Director Bryan Martyn put a $80 million price tag on the cost of needed capital improvements in the parks – no-frills things like water lines and septic tanks.
  • Gov. Doug Ducey’s Parks Director Sue Black has faced criticism and investigations over her treatment of staff, according to reporting by The Republic’s Craig Harris. Concerns about her leadership remain but have not been resolved.

Open spaces mean economic growth

This isn’t just about the spiritual, emotional and psychological benefits nature provides to those who take the time to get out into the wide open spaces. This is about cold, hard cash. It’s about planning for an economically sustainable future. Arizona’s environment is an asset. It attracts people. That’s increasingly true as the large cohort of Baby Boomers look for retirement options that include outdoor experiences. Our State Parks include first-class natural, archaeological and historical sites. The parks need to be properly maintained to conserve the resource and give visitors a first-class experience.

It’s a National Parks problem, too

Arizona’s parks – along with Arizona’s wealth of National Parks and other federal lands – give us an edge in attracting Baby Boomer retirees who have money to spend on an outdoor lifestyle. And guess what? There’s a problem at the national level, too. The Restore Our National Parks and Public Lands Act of 2018 aims to begin spending on deferred maintenance on federal public lands. The price tag in Arizona alone is $531 million, including $330 million in needed maintenance at Grand Canyon National Park. Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Kyrsten Sinema are original sponsors. Other Arizona House members signed on are Democratic Reps. Tom O’Halleran and Ruben Gallego, as well as Republicans Andy Biggs and Debbie Lesko. The bill is not moving.

Arizona’s missed opportunity

Meanwhile, back in Arizona, Ducey and his Republican colleagues in our Legislature like to talk about their commitment to economic development. But they lack awareness of how to market and maintain Arizona’s natural assets. They are systematically starving the horse that can help us win the national competition for retirees who want exactly what our state parks offer.

 

Desert Museum Pioneer Bill Woodin Leaves Lasting Legacy

Source:  Arizona Daily Star – May 5, 2018

When Bill Woodin was 6, he captured a snake that gave birth to 52 offspring in a single day. At age 11, he was photographed in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson holding a gopher snake longer than he was. At age 12, he charmed the Tucson Rotary Club with a snake talk.

Courtesy Anne Warner

These childhood events symbolized a lifelong love affair with the desert and its wildlife that crystallized in Woodin’s tenure as executive director of the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum from 1954 to 1971. The museum’s second director, Woodin still has the longest tenure of any director in its 66-year history. He played a key role in building the museum into one of the top 10 zoological museums in the United States and making it an inte! rnational tourist attraction. ‘He was a living legend for all of those involved in the museum,’ said Craig Ivanyi, the museum’s director since 2010. ‘His passion and fingerprints are still there, found throughout this organization. He’s kind of into the fabric of its DNA.’

Woodin died in March at age 92, at the adobe ranch house on a 40-acre parcel bisected by Sabino Creek where he had lived since the early 1950s. His second wife, Beth, a longtime conservation activist and a former Desert Museum trustee, died in January at 71. A memorial service for both will be held May 27 at the museum.

Woodin as director shaped the museum’s future as much as any individual, after its initial vision was laid down by its co-founder and first director William Carr and co-founder and financial benefactor Arthur Pack. Carr resigned after barely two year! s due to ill health after the museum opened on Labor Day 1952. Woodin’s work catapulted the museum into a site whose visitors during his tenure included Eleanor Roosevelt and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

He inherited a facility with annual visitation of about 160,000. The year before he left, attendance had grown to 302,000. Today, the museum draws about 400,000 annual visitors.

Born William Woodin III, his introduction to the Sonoran Desert came at age 4 in 1930, when his parents moved the family to Tucson from his native New York City. His grandfather, also named William Woodin, was President Franklin Roosevelt’s first treasury secretary, instrumental in shaping Roosevelt’s declaration of a bank holiday in 1933 that helped rescue the then-ailing financial system during the peak of the Great Depression.

William III’s father, William Woodin II, and his mother, Carolyn Hyde, had a house built along a dirt Wilmot Road near Speedway, recalled Peter Woodin, a son of the former museum director. It was one of a handful of houses existing that far east in Tucson at the time. A neighboring home belonged to novelist Harold Bell Wright, for whom the Harold Bell Wright Estates neighborhood is now named.

Woodin’s parents were divorced in the 1930s. His mother married nationally known horse breeder Melville Haskell. They raised Woodin on a horse farm near the Rillito River near Swan Road. Haskell was a founder of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Woodin left and returned to Tucson several times, graduating from high school in California, getting a bachelor’s in zoology at the University of Arizona and a master’s in zoology at the University of ! California, Berkeley.

! In pursuit of his master’s degree, in 1950, he identified a kingsnake species in the Huachuca Mountains, where he and his first wife, the former Ann Snow, were camped out. The species was later named after him: lampropeltis pyromelana woodini .

He started as a volunteer for the Desert Museum before it opened, and later became a staff zoologist and deputy director until taking over as director in December 1954. The museum was in a financial crisis, with benefactor Pack having pulled back his support by then. The staff had been cut to five and the museum budget was $60,000. (Its current staff and annual budget are 140 and about $9.5 million, respectively.) Woodin embarked on a period of expansion, and introduced the museum’s first admission charge: 50 cents for adults and a quarter for kids.

Under him, the m! useum built an underground tunnel where visitors could see bat-roost systems, bats nesting in caves, foxes snoozing in dens and snakes nesting, wrote the Saturday Evening Post in a 1962 profile of Woodin titled, ‘People on the way up.’ A museum exhibit called Water Street made an early pitch for saving water in the desert.

Also came exhibits and enclosures for amphibians, black bears, birds, tortoises, otters, coatimundis and other small animals, an aquarium room, artificial habitats using rocks to look like natural habitats, and a vampire bat cave. The museum’s renowned Desert Ark TV program also began under Woodin.

Woodin was always willing to allow his staff to try new things and ideas, encouraging creative people to design exhibits that were copied around the country and around the world, said Peggy Larson, the museum’s archivist.

He was called ‘the most promising young naturalist in the United States’ by Roy Chapman Andrews, a former American Museum of Natural History director, an Asian explorer and an early Desert Museum trustee, the Saturday Evening Post article reported.

But Woodin gave the job up in 1971 on deciding ’17 years was enough,’ said his son Peter. He wanted to concentrate on another lifelong passion, small arms ammunition used by the U.S. military. He spent most of the rest of his life writing a three-volume history on the subject, publishing the final volume in 2015. He also compiled ‘one of the great collections of ammunition in the world,’ said a second son, Hugh Woodin.

He kept the collection at his Woodin Laboratory, built in 1973 and now a 3,000-square-foot underground vault, built of masonry block and reinforced concrete slabs. The laboratory, tracing the ev! olution of small arms ammunition, contains many thousands of specimens, many of which are the only ones of their kind, says a 2010 article about the laboratory in the publication Small Arms Review. The laboratory is a private, nonprofit foundation and educational institute. The family has kept its location private for security reasons.

In an interview in the Small Arms Review, Woodin credited his stepfather for his interest in guns. He said Haskell introduced him to shooting at an early age and ‘instilled in me a real respect for guns and gun safety.

‘To this day, I get the creeps when someone points anything at me, even a finger,’ Woodin told the interviewer.

He also compulsively collected snakes for most of his life, at one time simultaneously owning a green rock rattlesnake and two large kingsnakes. He often prowled aroun! d the desert at night with a flashlight, stick and burlap bag, searchin! g for specimens, and kept bobcats at his home as a hobby. Woodin used to keep his favorite snakes inside sacks in the living room until his wife Ann domesticated him, the Saturday Evening Post article said.

‘It was a terrible sight when the sacks wandered around at night,’ said Ann Woodin, who also forbade her four sons from bringing snakes to the dinner table. Ann, an author, naturalist and community volunteer and activist, died in 2017 at age 90.

Woodin is survived by four sons: Peter, a lawyer and fulltime mediator in New York City; Hugh, a professor of philosophy and mathematics at Harvard University; John, a contractor in Tucson; and Michael, a painter and photographer in Tucson. He also had eight grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Contact reporter Tony Davis at tdavis! @tucson.com or 806-7746