Judith Meyer is a retired lawyer and currently a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for children in the Child Protective Services system. Judith has served on the boards of the Tucson Mountains Association (TMA), the Opening Minds through the Arts Foundation, as well as the Pima County Parks and Recreation Commission. Judith is also an avid hiker and sings with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus. We recently asked Judith to share her thoughts about the work of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection:
I learned about the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and the Coalition’s work to promote the Plan’s goals while researching Tucson as a possible place to live in 2004. I learned also about TMA and its effort to have Pima County voters issue bonds to purchase open land for the Sweetwater Preserve. I was enormously impressed by the wisdom of the people of this community when they voted to spend their tax dollars to preserve fragile wildlife habitat and the flora and fauna it supports. But it was not until years after I moved here, when I became president of TMA, that I began to regularly read about the Coalition’s ongoing advocacy work.. The Coalition’s work epitomizes the best sort of advocacy: gentle persuasion, relentlessly applied, utilizing the scientific and political expertise of many segments of the community. Each time I read a letter from the Coalition on a current issue before one of the governmental bodies, I find it impressively researched and written.
“Coalition’s work epitomizes the best sort of advocacy.”
I have no doubt that protecting our natural desert environment, and therefore the wildlife it supports, promotes the physical, emotional and financial health of the Tucson community’s residents. The Coalition’s diligent work is crucial as a balance to the ever-present pressure to develop more of our open space, rather than rebuild and improve already-developed areas. Given the difficult economic climate likely to prevail in America for some years to come, it is often too easy for politicians to promote short-sighted economic recovery options put forth by corporate and development interests, over the healthier long-term interests of continually improving our city’s core while preserving natural land in the city’s surrounding areas. The Coalition brings together many segments of the community, from the birders and bikers, horseback riders and hikers, to wildlife scientists and geologists, to form a large and therefore more powerful political force as a counterbalance.
“I have no doubt that protecting our desert promotes the physical, emotional, and financial health of our residents.”
When I worked on a citizen’s committee related to the Pima County Wastewater Reclamation Department, I learned about mistakes attributable, at least in part, to the City and the County failing to plan and work together on issues concerning our natural resources. The Coalition has helped to focus the attention of local governments and other segments of the broader Tucson community on the importance of conservation to the health of the community. I am grateful to have this organization working towards the goals I support, and so I am happy to contribute. Read the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, attend public meetings where the Coalition speaks, and I believe you, too, will want to support this organization.
Thank you, Judith, for your consistent support of the Coalition!
Mich Coker lives in Tucson and is a lawyer working for Arizona-based Farhang & Medcoff. Moving from Mississippi, Mich came to southern Arizona to attend law school and quickly fell in love with the area due to the beautiful natural environment and the amazing outdoor recreational opportunities. Mich is a self-described “birder, general nature geek, avid soccer player and world traveler.” As an enthusiastic and experienced birder, Mich joined the Tucson Audubon Society’s Board of Directors in 2005 and soon became familiar with the work of the Coalition. He recently shared his thoughts with us about the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection:
Why do you believe in the work of the Coalition?
The Coalition’s work is critical to ensuring the long-term conservation of the Sonoran Desert’s rich diversity of species and habitats. With remarkable leadership, unyielding enthusiasm, and multidimensional know-how, the Coalition and its staff do an outstanding job of staying vigilant against potential threats to our regional environment. Moreover, they routinely demonstrate mastery in bringing together various stakeholders to negotiate creative solutions to complex problems.
How is the Coalition prepared to face future challenges?
With a burgeoning population placing ever-increasing demands on limited resources, the Coalition plays an important role in fighting to preserve the ecological integrity of the Sonoran Desert. It is actively engaged with myriad issues ranging from regional transportation and urban sprawl to water conservation and wildlife corridors.
Why do you give to the Coalition?
I support the Coalition because it consistently produces great results against often-overwhelming odds. Whenever I donate my time or my money to the Coalition, I can always be confident that my contributions are going directly towards preserving the biological diversity and natural beauty of our fragile Sonoran Desert surroundings.
Have you thought to yourself, “What can I do about the proposed Rosemont mine?”
Now that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has been released, you can help by submitting comments on the DEIS! Your voice is so important in this process – the Forest Service needs to hear from our communities!
The DEIS for the proposed Rosemont mine can be downloaded at http://www.rosemonteis.us/draft-eis
Written comments on the DEIS due by January 31, 2012!
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) resources
Problems with DEIS_SIA.pdf
Sky Island Alliance compiled this list of key issues regarding water quality/quantity, springs, seeps, riparian habitats, air quality, cultural resources, dark skies, transportations, reclamation
Rosemont Impacts Summary_SIA.pdf
Sky Island Alliance compiled this list of significant issues related to the proposed Rosemont Mine and a brief summary of impacts, as determined by the U.S. Forest Service and discussed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Executive Summary.
Tips on Preparing Comments_SIA.pdf
Sky Island Alliance prepared this document to help you write your comments on the DEIS. It includes a sample letter.
DEIS talking points.pdf
A few key facts about the proposed Rosemont Mine and the contents of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), including page numbers corresponding to areas of concern within the DEIS
DEIS index of areas of concern and tips.pdf
An index of areas of concern within the DEIS and a few tips on writing good comments
DEIS summary of areas of concern.pdf
A 10-pg document with a short summary of each area of concern within the DEIS
View/download our newsletter here, Friends of the Desert #42. (must have Adobe Reader installed to view)
If you would like to receive a hardcopy of our newsletter sign up on the left hand side of your screen, or contact the Coalition office at 520-388-9925.
On October 1st, twelve outstanding volunteers joined with Coalition staff to pick up trash along north Oracle Road between mileposts 83 and 84. This section of the road encompasses two of the three wildlife crossings that are slated for construction beginning in 2013. The roadway had been neglected for quite a while and needed a lot of work to make it clean again. Our volunteers filled 25(!) bags full of trash in just two hours! We were also saddened to find several instances of roadkill during the cleanup and know that the wildlife crossings can’t come soon enough. Our next cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, January 7, 2012. Please come out and join us as we continue our stewardship of the Oracle Road wildlife crossings!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to help!
The Coalition has adopted Oracle Road / State Route 77 from milepost 83 to 84, as part of the Adopt-A-Highway campaign. This section of the road encompasses two of the three wildlife crossings that are slated for construction beginning in 2013. We were successful in obtaining the funding to construct these three crossings and want to demonstrate our stewardship for the area with regular highway cleanups. The area has been neglected for some time, so we need lots of help with our first cleanup!
Our first cleanup will be on October 1st, from 7am until we finish our one mile stretch of road, which we estimate should last no more than 2 hours. If you can help for all or any portion of the time, please let us know. We will provide breakfast foods, snacks, and water to refill your water bottles. More details once you sign up!
This is a great opportunity to check out the crossing locations firsthand and to get all the up-to-date information about the progress of the wildlife crossings! We will also be on the lookout for signs of wildlife to document their use of the area. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.
Saguaro National Park BioBlitz
Join National Geographic and the National Park Service, together with Friends of Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, for the Saguaro National Park BioBlitz, October 21-22, 2011!