Contact: Annia Quiroz – Conservation Alliance Engagement Coordinator
Phone: 480.481.8187

Phoenix, AZ (Dec. 11, 2019) – Desert Botanical Garden honored Maxine Lakin as the recipient of its 2019 Conservation Award. The award honors extraordinary individuals for their significant and enduring contributions to the conservation of the Sonoran Desert. The award was presented at the annual Conservation Celebration luncheon to benefit the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA), an initiative of Desert Botanical Garden.

For more than 50 years, Lakin has worked to protect the Phoenix mountain parks and preserves, starting at the time when Barry Goldwater was the Chairman of the Preservation of Camelback Mountain Foundation. She fearlessly joined the effort to raise money to purchase the top of Camelback Mountain for Phoenix and by 1968, the funds raised from various donors, along with a Bureau of Recreation grant (now Land and Water Conservation Fund), were enough to purchase all the land above 1,800 feet. It was around this time she became involved with the Phoenix Mountains Preservation Council (PMPC) and became active in grassroots efforts to preserve other mountains in Phoenix.

Her continuing work with PMPC in the 90s helped pass the Phoenix Parks and Preserves Initiative to protect Sonoran Desert lands, now the Sonoran Preserve. She also helped pass Chapter 26 of the City of Phoenix Charter and is the founder of Save our Mountains Foundation, who help run the North Mountain Visitor Center. Finally, in 2019 she still is an active member of PMPC, Lakin worked with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Director and team to bring what was Camelback Mountain Park into the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. These are a few examples of the legacy Lakin and fellow community members built through their work.

“Maxine is a real visionary, and a true champion for the Sonoran Desert parks and preserves we are lucky to share amongst us. There are many examples of how she has been an advocate and leader for the protection of our open spaces. She truly embodies the spirit of this award and we are thrilled to honor her,” says Ken Schutz, the Dr. William Huizingh, executive director at Desert Botanical Garden.

In addition to the award ceremony, City of Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego shared opening remarks to welcome the luncheon attendees. Also part of the luncheon, keynote speaker Dr. Bernie Krause. A soundscape ecologist and a true visionary in the field of acoustic ecology shared his work on how climate change is impacting nature and the sounds we hear in it. Since 1968, Dr. Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments large and small. Working at the research sites of other incredible scientists like Jane Goodall, he studied how each species establishes a unique frequency within a given habitat.

Learn more about CAZCA and our work to protect natural, open spaces in Central Arizona.

About Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA)
Launched in 2012 by Desert Botanical Garden, the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) unites a network of diverse professionals, organizations and community members to develop, align and elevate efforts to conserve and enhance open space in the Maricopa County. Comprised of more than 60 partnering organizations, CAZCA’s vision is a sustainable preserve system that supports healthy ecosystems and provides beautiful, safe open spaces for healthy, vibrant communities.

About Desert Botanical Garden
Discover the tranquil vibrancy of 50,000 desert plants nestled amid the red rocks of the Papago Buttes at Desert Botanical Garden. An Arizona icon celebrating 80 years in the Valley, the Garden has grown into a compelling attraction and desert conservation pioneer, offering worldly plants, vibrant trails, world-class exhibitions, festive events, fascinating classes and so much more.


CAZCA is an initiative of Desert Botanical Garden. Any donations made to CAZCA must be made through Desert Botanical Garden. You will now be taken to their website to complete this transaction. Thank you!