FORMING WILD ARIZONA
Wild Arizona is the newly launched merger of Arizona Wilderness Coalition with the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council. We are blending two long-standing conservation organizations with strong roots in Arizona’s rich conservation history, the wilderness movement, the Colorado River community, deep ecology/rewilding, outdoor adventure, field-based ecological research, hands-on habitat restoration, and working for and with Indigenous partners.
WILDERNESS, WILD RIVERS, & MONUMENTS
Arizona Wilderness Coalition (AWC) formed in 1979 as an all-volunteer organization instrumental in the passage of two landmark bills, establishing the 90 designated Wilderness Areas Arizona boasts today and leading the campaign that gained Wild & Scenic designation for Fossil Creek. Grand Canyon Wildlands Council (GCWC) was founded in 1996 to implement a conservation area network for the Grand Canyon Ecoregion. GCWC conducted assessments that were the basis of the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermilion Cliffs National Monuments near Grand Canyon. Together, we are able to expand our resources, broaden our constituency and geographical focus, and redefine our narrative.
PROTECT, LINK & RESTORE
Wild Arizona’s mission is to protect, unite, and restore wild lands and waters across Arizona and beyond, for the enrichment and health of all generations, and to ensure Arizona's native plants and animals a lasting home in wild nature. We organize and amplify multi-community voices of support for legislation and special designations; advocate for conservation science-based environmental policy and planning; and cultivate stewardship, social/environmental awareness, and well-being through outdoor volunteerism, science, and education.
Wild Arizona was born concurrently, but not coincidentally, with Arizona’s recent dramatic and long-awaited shift in political climate. This shift is critical to proactively move forward with preserving Southwest landscapes and sustaining natural and human communities; it also reflects an increased recognition of the interconnectedness of social and environmental justice—including a higher regard for the resilience that comes from biological and cultural diversity and equity, from sharing and hearing stories from the land. We are collectively learning that our state’s diverse inhabitants, human and wild, thrive when we save and heal our wild lands and waters.
CONSERVATION IS LOVE IN ACTION
By analyzing the interconnectedness of social justice and environmental issues through a critical lens, we aim to find solutions that best serve humans and nature in a reciprocal way. Throughout our work, we strive to unite people across culture circles with the common goal of protecting and restoring wild places—for the longevity and resiliency of species, for the enjoyment and vibrant health of future generations, and for the love of wildness itself.
We find ourselves returning to this idea: Know it. Love it. Protect it.
CONNECTION IS KEY
Ask yourself, can you really love what you don’t know? Are you willing to protect what you love? We believe that you need to know—to experience, to make memories and learn about—something in order to love it. And that when a person loves something, they will take action to protect it. Therefore, we recognize how vital it is to connect people with wild places and one another. We do this through fostering meaningful relationships with partners and constituents, grassroots organizing, educational outreach, engaging in mentorship opportunities, empowering advocacy, and leading place-based volunteer excursions.
REGIONAL-SCALE WILDLIFE PATHWAYS
Wild Arizona’s programs have been re-envisioned within a new strategy we call Wild Connections. These are regional-scale terrestrial and riparian wildlife corridors within which we seek protections such as Wilderness, Wildlife Conservation Areas, National Monuments, administrative wildlife corridor protections, and more.
Officers and Directors
Michael C. Quinlan, Ph.D., Tempe
Department of Physiology, Midwestern University
Kurt Mënke, Denmark
Founder and GIS Specialist, Bird’s Eye View
Brandon Arents, Phoenix
Associate, Squire Patton Boggs, LLP
Kim Vacariu, Portal
Former Western Director, Wildlands Network
Media specialist, editor, and writer
Winnie Liang, Phoenix
Adjunct faculty, TGEN
Alexis Finley, Costa Rica
Rock climbing guide and wood craftsman, Alexis Finley Mountain & Wood Craft
Kim Crumbo, Ogden, UT
Wildlands Coordinator, The Rewilding Institute
Former Conservation Director, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council
Bart Koehler, Juneau, AK
Independent campaign consultant
Former Senior Wilderness Campaigns Director of the Wilderness Support Center, The Wilderness Society
Don Hoffman, Alpine
Former wilderness program manager, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Past Executive Director, Arizona Wilderness Coalition
Doug Hulmes, Prescott
Professor of Environmental Studies, Prescott College
CEO (Ex Officio)
Kelly Burke, Flagstaff
Executive Director, Wild Arizona
Kate Mackay, ID.
Director of Wildlands Communications, The Wilderness Society
Joe Trudeau, Prescott
Southwest Advocate, Center for Biological Diversity
Julie Polovitch, Flagstaff
Youth Outreach Coordinator, Arizona Trail Association
Joel Barnes, Prescott
Former board member, Arizona Wilderness Coalition