Conservancy Kids

We bring the Sonoran Desert to you!

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Welcome to Conservancy Kids!

We are so excited to have you with us on this virtual journey of inquiry and place-based learning! Right now we may be social distancing, but we're all connected by the awesomeness of science. We're junior scientists, exploring the natural world, asking questions, and making discoveries. Join us for an adventure that will take you outdoors, around the house, and into the incredible Sonoran Desert. Welcome to Conservancy Kids! We're excited to see you!

Surviving in the Desert

It's hot out in the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures in the summer can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit--that's really toasty! Plants and animals have to adapt to these extreme conditions in order to survive. Water loss is a big challenge living things have to overcome. You'll notice many desert plants have small, light colored leaves (or no leaves at all) to reduce how much water they lose. Animals have adapted by requiring very little water (some, like the quail, can survive on the water they gain from their diet alone), seeking cooler shelter during the heat of the day (like snakes and rodents in underground burrows), and storing water in their bodies to use later (tortoises have a bladder they store water in for long periods of time).

Luke Spots Adaptations

Luke Spots Adapatations

Humans in the Desert

Sometimes it seems like humans are very separate from nature. But, like we've talked about in previous newsletters, we are actually a part of the ecosystem! Humans shape the environment and it's our job to balance our needs with the needs of nature. The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve is managed through a unique partnership between the City of Scottsdale and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The City of Scottsdale owns and operates the Preserve and the Conservancy supports the City in the important work of managing and caring for the Preserve. Cool places like the Preserve have Natural Resource Coordinators to help serve both the people and the land. Join Luke as he talks with John Loleit from the City of Scottsdale about a water catchment in the Preserve and how people and nature can work together.

City of Scottsdale Water Catchment


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Contact us

We're socially distanced but still connected by the awesomeness of science!

Have questions about the Sonoran Desert? Want a lesson on a specific topic? Email us at

You can also connect by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram @mcdowellsonoranconservancy. We would love to see your science notebooks or learn what teaching resources you're using.

Luke Challis, Program Manager

Luke loves science and being out and about in nature! He studies a lot about biology, ways of thinking, and philosophy. Luke also loves to teach and encourage kids and adults to always keep learning.

Nicole Kallman, Education Coordinator

Nicole loves science and exploration. In college, she studied physics and biology. Now, she shares her excitement about science with others, encouraging everyone to follow in the footsteps of Miss Frizzle: "take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"