- Program Director, Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, Desert Botanical Garden
Aireona Raschke is currently the program director for the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance through the Desert Botanical Garden. She facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration among CAZCA partners, community members and decision-makers to protect, restore, and steward open and natural spaces in the Maricopa County region. She will also be continuing her research on community engagement in biodiversity conservation and nature-based tourism as a conservation tool.
Aireona was foundational to the formation and launch of the Conservation Solutions Lab (CSL) as the primary research analyst for the first year of the network’s active work. She carried out the literature review that drove and informed CSL workshops and resulting presentations. For her PhD, she examined social, economic, and conservation-related aspects of whale watching in the Caribbean in order to determine under what conditions this form of nature tourism can provide long-term benefits for local people and cetaceans. Before that, she worked on projects monitoring the endangered Mt. Graham Red squirrel population, examining invasive plants along Arizona’s roadways, and learning more about social insect communication and the import of polymorphism.
Raschke, A. B., A. Quiroz and K. McCue. 2020. The Regional Open Space Strategy for Maricopa County: Developing a shared vision for natural spaces in the urban matrix. Poster presented at the Twenty-second Annual CAP LTER All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium, January 17, 2020, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )