Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc. Board

Christine Kovach, Chair
Mike Surguine, Vice-Chair
Mike Miller, Treasurer
Lynne Lagarde, Secretary
Dr. Art DeCabooter
Diana Yazzie Devine
Joan Fudala
John Graham
Dan Gruber
Steve Hilton


Rachel Sacco
Wellington Reiter

Advisory Board

Richard Bowers
Dr. Robert Breunig
Dr. Lattie Coor
John Flicker
Dr. Jan Gehler
Robert Perciasepe


Executive Director
Sam Campana

Director of Development
Randy Schilling

Executive Assistant
Cecilia Riviere

The Desert Discovery Center

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Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc. is the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established for the purpose of planning and possibly operating the Desert Discovery Center. The organization grew out of a grassroots group of volunteer community leaders who formed to advance the Desert Discovery Center concept by gauging support in the private sector. The group has moved from project advocates to project planners with a team that has the knowledge, expertise and passion to create a business plan and feasibility analysis for the proposed Desert Discovery Center; conduct public outreach; and explore the private fundraising potential of the project.

Our volunteer board consists of Scottsdale community leaders who are established founders, leaders and supporters of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The board has assembled a professional team that is dedicated to the community and this project, as well as selected strategic partners such as Arizona State University. Collectively, this team has deep knowledge, insight and understanding into the history of and vision for the Preserve and this embedded nature education and visitor center, which has been included in plans for the Preserve for more than 20 years.

Envisioned since 1993, the Desert Discovery Center is destined to be an international focal point poised to teach future generations about living in an arid environment. Scottsdale is now more than ready to share with a global audience its sensitivity to the rich and fragile Sonoran Desert environment and its experience conceiving, acquiring, conserving and maintaining the nation’s largest urban preserve.

For a comprehensive look at how the Desert Discovery Center concept has evolved and how Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc. was formed, take a look at our timeline.

For information regarding the current City of Scottsdale Desert Discovery Center Project, including information on upcoming public meetings, please visit: scottsdaleaz.gov (search Desert Discovery Center).