March 21, 2005
The north East Valley will become a hotbed of environmental activism if a recently formed local subchapter of the Sierra Club is successful.
The Saguaro Group wants to rally more support for land preservation, urban growth control, natural resource conservation and wildlife habitat protection across the northern reaches of Maricopa County, particularly in north Scottsdale and the Cave Creek and Carefree areas.
"The area is growing so much and there are so many issues. . . . We need more people to be active and represent our interests," said Scottsdale resident Beverly Full, who took the lead in organizing the group.
The group includes more than 1,300 north East Valley residents who are members of the Arizona Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter. The statewide chapter has about 13,000 members, said spokeswoman Sandy Bahr. The Sierra Club is one of the oldest and largest environmental organizations in the United States, with more than 700,000 members.
The Saguaro Group will encourage its members and other residents to aid local environmental organizations, ranging from land preservation groups to wildlife shelters, said Full, a retired schoolteacher and 40-year member of the Sierra Club who years ago started a large subchapter in Orange County, Calif.
The director of the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust, which assists Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve project, recently addressed the Saguaro Group’s leadership about getting involved in the city’s preservation program, said Louis Lantz, chairman of the subchapter’s executive committee.
There have been discussions about potential collaborative endeavors with the Desert Foothills Land Trust, which is spearheading preservation pursuits in the Cave Creek and Carefree area, and Lantz said he met recently with board members of the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale’s largest residents group.
Lantz, who lives near Carefree and works in construction financing, said the subchapter also made a donation to the Southwest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Foundation, which runs a shelter in Rio Verde Foothills east of Scottsdale.
The group intends to endorse Cave Creek’s plans to annex a few thousand acres of state trust land and preserve much of it as open space.
Sierra Club group
For information on the Sierra Club’s Saguaro Group, call (480) 488-4591 or (480) 221-2554, or visit www.arizona.sierraclub.org