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Art gallery to help conserve Arizona's forests

The Arizona Nature Conservancy has developed a new approach to restoring the state’s forests – an art gallery. The conservancy wants to start cutting trees effectively, and get the public involved in restoration.

NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: The gallery in Old Town Scottsdale has a certain foresty smell to it. The Nature Conservancy’s Restoring Arizona’s Forest Gallery houses photos, paintings, wood furniture, and a section of a tree trunk that dates back to 1750. The Nature Conservancy created the gallery to build awareness on the immediate need to thin out trees in four Arizona forests. The conservancy’s Pat Graham says his group wants to thin 1 million acres in the next decade. He says this will create space for healthier trees to grow, and reduce the possibility of massive forest fires.

PAT GRAHAM: The opportunity is here now. It’s probably a one generation opportunity so we want to build awareness, build a broad base of support.

ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Graham says the Rodeo–Chediski and Wallow fires have forced the Conservancy to rethink how it cares for the state’s forests. He says the gallery will help generate funds to start using new technology that will identify the best areas to thin. He says, the effort is also about helping businesses take advantage of the harvested wood.   

GRAHAM: We’re also gonna be launching a $3 million campaign to raise funding support our efforts to help these wood product businesses get into a place to be more effective in terms of providing them the technology and the training.

ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: The gallery will be open to the public for the next four months starting Jan. 16.