Citizen Science
2019-2020 awards

A Special Celebration
Dear Citizen Science Community,

Each year, the Parsons Field Institute hosts an end-of-season celebration to recognize our passionate, hard-working citizen scientists.

This year is special. Our world is going through a health crisis. We've cancelled our in-person celebrations, but understand that our current precautions are aimed at the future well-being of us all.

2020 also marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Each year we are reminded to act as Stewards to our planet. Our incredible team of volunteer citizen scientists exemplifies the spirit of Earth Day -- on this 50th anniversary, we are excited to highlight their accomplishments.

Thank you to everyone who makes our work at the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Parson Field Institute possible! The accomplishments of the Citizen Science program and Parsons Field Institute this year are ultimately the result of everyone who participated.

Beginning May 1, 2019, 175 stewards have recorded over 7,500 Citizen Science hours. In singling out individuals or small groups for special awards, we always risk missing many who have contributed so much to our success and would also be worthy recipients of these awards. Please know that we appreciate all of you!
Drumroll, please...
And now for the special awards to key individuals and small groups who we feel deserve a little additional recognition:
Citizen Science All-Star Award
Our All-Star Award goes to the person who logs the most Citizen Science hours over the past year.

This year’s award goes once again to Ralph Lipfert with 680 hours logged since May 1, 2019. His tireless efforts ensure our Corridor Viability project runs smoothly.
ralph showing camera
Our All-Star in Action: Ralph Lipfert explains how the camera equipment works for the Field Institute Corridor Viability project during an outreach event with our regional partner, the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance. Photo by Mary Fastiggi
Citizen Science Team Player Award
This award goes to the individual who participates in the most Citizen Science projects during the year.

This year, we are pleased to recognize two Stewards, Jane Brady and Debbie Langenfeld , each of whom participated in six of our projects. Wow!
Team Soil Crust: (L-R) Jane Brady, Debbie Langenfeld , Helen Rowe and Tiffany Sprague pose to show the world how much they love soil crust field work during the installation of our new soil crust field site.
Photo credit: Suzanne Phillips
Citizen Science Rookies of the Year
Our Rookie of the Year Award goes to an individual who has made significant impact during their first year with the Citizen Science program. This year, we are thrilled to announce that John Zikias and Won Fogel are joint recipients.

John went through Stewardship 101 in October 2019 and rapidly became involved in many Conservancy programs. He already stepped into the key role as Assistant Chair of our program and has also actively participated in our non-native plant, restoration and phenology projects.

Won completed her Certified Citizen Science requirements last fall. With her usual enthusiasm, she jumped right into regular participation in our corridor viability, non-native plant and restoration projects and has even dabbled a little bit in our bird surveys.
John Zikias helps with fieldwork at Brown's Mountain for our non-native plant monitoring and treatments.
Photo credit: Mary Fastiggi
(L-R) Linda Kalbach, Tiffany Sprague and Won Fogel show off their costumes on Halloween before fieldwork. Won even made her own candycorn hat! Photo credit: Tiffany Sprague
This is a new award that recognizes an individual who has made key contributions to the success of the Citizen Science program.

Our inaugural recipient is Doug Jensen . Doug has provided the essence of leadership by coordinating all of our butterfly training and field survey work, even recently dealing with limited crew size due to social distancing requirements.

Doug also volunteered this year to co-lead the removal and monitoring efforts in our non-native plant project and has continued to participate in the seasonal bird surveys. Any of you who have interacted with Doug know he is always a pleasure to work with and can always be counted on to provide support in any way he can.

Photo: Doug Jensen helping with non-native plant treatments. Photo Credit: Tiffany Sprague
This award is given to an individual who has made significant behind-the-scenes contributions to the program. This year’s recipient is Jane Brady , who has spent countless hours planning and preparing materials for our restoration projects while also contributing to a number of other projects.

Jane agreed to step a little more to the forefront this year by becoming co-chair of the restoration projects. For those who know her, it took some effort for her to be convinced to step forward from behind the scenes, but she has already brought great leadership to this role.
In discussing behind the scenes contributions, special mention should also be given to Pam Templeman , who was recognized for one of the Conservancy’s overall Behind the Scenes Awards during the recent Steward Recognition presentation for her contribution to the Citizen Science program by providing much of our data entry support.
Our Harris's Hawk Award is given for exceptional teamwork to benefit natural lands and the community. We are pleased to bestow this year’s award to the Non-Native Plant Team: Con Englehorn, Doug Jabour, Doug Jensen, Barb Pringle, Paul Staker, and Toni Vallee . As Paul moved into the Program Chair role, these individuals stepped up to help manage our extensive non-native plant activities.
Doug Jensen and Con Englehorn took responsibility for the non-native plant monitoring and removal activities, including monitoring most of the 40 sites where we have done prior removals and leading countless new removal projects.
Doug Jabour became the lead for our non-native survey work to direct mapping non-native plant locations in the Preserve.
Toni Vallee has provided invaluable support by building our relationship with our local partners at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Friends of Tonto National Forest and Fountain Hills Conservancy.

Paul Staker moved into the Program Chair role, while also continuing to lead the non-native plant activities.
Barb Pringle added to her existing role of leading our native plant swap program by agreeing to lead our ongoing non-native field experiments.
Our Saguaro Award provides special recognition to a steward who stands tall as a leader in citizen science to better understand and protect the Sonoran Desert. The award this year goes to Dan Gruber .

Most of you know that the Conservancy might not have the Parsons Field Institute and the Citizen Science program without Dan’s leadership for the last 10+ years.

Dan was instrumental in the initial development and funding of these activities and has provided key strategic direction ever since. Dan’s vision has been key to the growing role of the Conservancy as a regional leader in conservation management and scientific advancement through the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance and our relationship with other regional partners.

Most importantly, no one can speak more passionately about the ability of volunteer citizen scientists to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of real science.
Thank you!
Paul Staker
Citizen Science Chair
Dr Helen Rowe
Parsons Field Institute Associate Director
John Zikias
Citizen Science Assistant Chair
Tiffany Sprague
Parsons Field Institute Manager
Mary Fastiggi
Parsons Field Institute Coordinator