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Nature Conservancy Working In Phoenix To Put Landscaping, Shade

The Nature Conservancy isn’t known for its work in cities. It’s known for working to protect some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes across the globe. But a few years ago, the conservancy shifted its focus to the urban landscape.

Phoenix is one of 20 cities where the conservancy is working to show that nature matters, even in the middle of the city — especially when it comes to the hottest places.

The Conservancy just received a more than $120,000 grant from the Vitalyst Health Foundation to work in the hottest Valley neighborhoods to put in landscaping, green spaces, shade and storm water management practices to reduce heat illnesses and deaths.

I met up with Maggie Messerschmidt recently. She’s the Urban Conservation program manager at the Nature Conservancy. And she showed me around one of the sites that’s serving as a model for what they’re trying to do in our city’s neighborhoods. 

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.