Arizona Land and Water Trust protects Southern Arizona’s vanishing western landscapes, its farms and ranches, wildlife habitat, and the waters that sustain them. In addition to our role as land steward, we also support programs that carry out our purpose, including appropriate legislation, public education and outreach. We believe the preservation of Southern Arizona’s landscapes and ecosystems to be vital to the well-being of all residents, present and future.
Since 1987, we have protected nearly 49,000 acres through conservation easements, donations and fee acquisition. In 1985 the Trust was instrumental in establishing legislation in Arizona enabling conservation easements.
The Trust is part of a growing movement of land trusts across the nation, which are in general responsive to an entrepreneurial approach to protecting the land. We work with willing landowners, municipalities and other organizations to protect resources through acquisition and donation. Due to our small size, expertise and a diversely talented board of directors, the Trust can expeditiously pursue protection opportunities that may be more difficult for larger organizations or agencies.
Liz Petterson, Executive Director – As a Tucson native I have always had a deep connection to the Sonoran Desert. Weekend drives with my family throughout Southern Arizona anchored my interest in this Sky Island region. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology I worked for the Soil & Water Conservation Districts providing conservation resources for landowners. I joined the Trust in 2007 as Land and Water Program Manager and became Executive Director in 2011.
Scott McDonald, Deputy Director –After originally moving to Tucson in 2008, I was immediately struck by the unique desert landscape and all that Southern Arizona has to offer. We moved to Orange County in 2011 but knew even back then that we would return – gladly that happened this year and I’m thrilled to now leverage my varied business background and non-profit board and volunteer experience toward the meaningful work underway by the Trust. I look forward to contributing to the legacy of the organization’s Board, volunteers, supporters and staff!
John Barrett, Land and Water Program Director – After spending many years living in other parts of the country, I was happy to return to my hometown of Tucson and join the Arizona Land and Water Trust in 2017. I have seen the cities in Southern Arizona grow, and understand that expanding urban areas can pressure rural communities and strain natural resources. The Trust responds to urbanization with collaborative solutions that protect the region’s biodiversity and respect the ranching traditions of the American Southwest. As a former attorney, I also appreciate the Trust’s emphasis on partnership and enjoy helping the organization strengthen its relationships with landowners, government agencies, conservation professionals and dedicated supporters.
Bailey Kennett, Desert Rivers Program Manager-Having grown up along riverbanks and shorelines, I’ve always felt a strong personal connection to water. An interest in global water issues motivated my undergraduate education in environmental studies and economics, and after working at the federal level to promote water sector resilience, I studied interdisciplinary water resources management at the University of Arizona. Since moving to Tucson, I’ve been inspired by Southern Arizona’s reverence for local springs and rivers, and I’m excited to be a part of the Trust’s efforts to help sustain these incredible resources.
Cameron Becker, Land & Water Program Manager, Stewardship Coordinator – I am a fourth generation Tucsonan and I grew up exploring and enjoying the outdoors from the Sky Islands down to the Sea of Cortez. My work with the Trust allows me the opportunity to make a difference in these open spaces and working landscapes. I couldn’t ask to work with a better team of people who share my passion for conserving the legacy and resources that make our community such an amazing place to live.
Janelle Gaun, Project Assistant – As a native Arizonan, I have always been fascinated by the unique beauty of our state’s landscapes, from tiny desert springs to snow-capped peaks. I started with the Arizona Land and Water Trust in 2017 and I am excited to help the Trust continue developing collaborative conservation solutions in Southern Arizona. With a background in hydrology, I am particularly interested in finding innovative partnerships to preserve desert waters and the communities they sustain.
Colleen Iuliucci, Development Coordinator – A Tucson transplant, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the vast mountains and open landscapes of Southern Arizona and consider it home. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Arizona Land and Water Trust’s legacy protecting the cultural heritage of the West and their collaborative approach to conserving open spaces and resources critical to sustaining this unique environment. I’m grateful to integrate my non-profit development experience with my personal responsibility to preserve the resources that sustain these landscapes for future generations.
Mark Fischer, Administrative Coordinator– I moved with my family to Tucson when I was ten years old and later came back to Tucson several years ago after six years in the Bay Area. It’s been nice to be back in this desert paradise, continue hiking weekly and revisit several favorite areas, including Chiricahua National Monument. I have worked for businesses and non-profit organizations and volunteered as president for over five years for a local non-profit organization. I earned a BS in Business and Finance from the U of A, and an MA from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. I am excited to be part of the Trust’s team to sustain Arizona’s lands and waters.