2020 Virtual Earth Day Event

It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and we’re proud to create this virtual event for Fountain Hills.

Join your hosts, Vicky Derksen and Lisa Ristuccia, as they introduce you to local organizations and individuals who make Fountain Hills a better place to live, who work to protect wildlife and insect habitats, to control invasive plant species, and to protect our dark skies.

This event was pre-recorded in segments. As you scroll down this page, you can watch them in order, or skip around to the ones that interest you.

Let’s start with an introduction…



Mayor Ginny Dickey has been involved with many environmental causes and organizations. Here she is to welcome everyone to this virtual event.



The Fountain Hills Community Garden is a beloved asset in our community and has turned a vacant desert lot into a thriving oasis under the leadership of Rita Applegate. It brings neighbors together to learn how to grow organic food, reduce food waste through composting, and make donations to the Extended Hands Food Bank.

Learn more about the Community Garden at iLoveFountainHills.org.



Fountain Hills is the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community, thanks to the efforts of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association and Town staff. This designation provides the impetus for the new goal of creating the International Dark Sky Discovery Center. Joe Bill joins us to talk about protecting our night sky.

Learn more about the FH Dark Sky Association at FHDarkSky.com, and the Discovery Center at DarkSkyCenter.org.



The Greening of Downtown program has brought $300,000 in improvements to our Downtown area over the past 11 years with trees, butterfly gardens, and landscaping in several key areas. In this video, Jenny Willigrod takes you on a tour through the Low-Water Demonstration Garden located at Fountain Park.

Learn more about the Greening of Downtown at iLoveFountainHills.org.



The Flying Flowers Butterfly Garden’s purpose is to help with the national effort to save the Monarch butterfly. Through education programs, community outreach, and community projects, they are working to make Fountain Hills a butterfly-friendly habitat. In this video, Nancy Stahl takes us on a tour of her backyard, which has received the status of Certified Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation.

For more information, contact Allyn Wright at foxahall31@gmail.com or Nancy Stahl at rredrockonfire1@gmail.com.



Everyone loves Ranger Amy Burnett and her tubs and aquariums full of native Arizona wildlife. In this presentation, she talks about backyard wildlife in Fountain Hills and takes you on a tour in her yard.

You can find Ranger Amy on Facebook.



The Sonoran Conservancy of Fountain Hills is a nonprofit established to protect and promote the McDowell Mountain Preserve, Botanical Gardens, and Lake Overlook Trail. The Fountain Hills Preserve protects over 1,000 acres of open space along the eastern side of the McDowell Mountains.

One of the programs within the Conservancy is the Trailblazers. They build and maintain all the hiking trails in the Fountain Hills Preserve as well as the Botanical Garden Trail and the Lake Overlook Trail. They provide trailhead hosts and volunteers throughout the year.

Many Fountain Hills residents are eager for the full reopening of the Adero Canyon Trailhead. When it does reopen, there is a new trail waiting to be discovered. The Ridgeline Trail was designed to be a premier feature trail for Fountain Hills. It took a year to build the 1.5 mile-long path.

This beautiful video shows what it’s like to blaze a new trail in the desert.

Learn more at scfh.org.



If you’ve never hiked the little Desert Botanical Garden Trail near Fountain Hills Blvd. and Emerald Dr., your really must experience it. It was founded in 1975 by Jane Haynes as an 8-acre wildlife preserve and garden. As you meander along the half-mile path, you will encounter 29 Sonoran Desert plants that are identified with informational plaques. There are beautiful views of rock formations, desert flora and wildlife. The trail ends at an abandoned P-Bar Ranch campsite next to a constructed dam wall that dates back to 1941.

Jane celebrated her 100th birthday last year by jumping out of a plane at SkyDive Arizona.

The trail is maintained by the Sonoran Conservancy of Fountain hills. Learn more at scfh.org.

This video takes you on a tour of the trail while Jane Haynes tells the history of its creation.



One local resident, Don Scott, created his own Earth Day event. In his video, he encourages residents to talk a walk in nature, pick up some trash as you go, and donate to an environmental and/or animal organization.

Don can be found on Facebook.



Lisa Ristuccia is a 3rd-5th grade teacher at the Fountain Hills Charter School. She is a board member of the Arizona Association for Environmental Education, Keep Scottsdale Beautiful and the Flying Flowers Butterfly Garden. In this video, she shares about the National Wildlife Federation’s habitat program and how our community and even individual homeowners can work toward earning a designation.

Lisa can be found on Facebook.



Round up your kids for this fun and educational video. Ellen Bashor of the Arizona Association for Environmental Education introduces kids to the history of Earth Day and talks about the importance of protecting our local environment.

Learn more at arizonaee.org.



Jeny Davis is the EcoFlora Coordinator at the Desert Botanical Garden. She is a resident of Fountain Hills and recently graduated from ASU with a degree focused on sustainable ecosystems, and also holds a degree in horticulture.

The Metro Phoenix EcoFlora is a citizen science program that seeks to engage the community in observing and documenting urban biodiversity and contributing to plant conservation. In this video, you will learn more about biodiversity and how you can join the project.

Learn more at iNaturalist.org



Vicky Derksen has been a resident of Fountain Hills for 23 years. She serves on the boards of the Fountain Hills Civic & Cultural Association, the International Dark Sky Discovery Center, and is vice president of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association. She is also the creator of the website NightSkyTourist.com.

In this video, Vicky introduces a terrible desert invader, Globe Chamomile, aka Stinknet. Learn how to identify it and how to dispose of it to protect the Sonoran Desert from an alien takeover.

You can find Vicky at NightSkyTourist.com.



If you’re trying to think of ways to reduce waste in your home, Taylor Bakeman offers a number of great tips. After gaining a degree in Speech and Hearing Science at ASU, Taylor realized that environmental advocacy was her true passion. She went on to complete an honors thesis and certificate in Local Food Sustainability and started ASU’s first residential composting program She has dedicated herself to educating herself and others on how to live with a more positive impact on the environment.



Before we wrap up this virtual Earth Day event, we thought we’d bring you a “blast from the past”. Most Fountain Hills residents know local musician Scott Hallock. You’ve probably heard him perform at a local restaurant, at library concert events, or local concerts.

Scott wrote a song in 1989 called Believe It’s Real in dedication to Green Peace and Earth Day. The following video was created in a TV production class at Curry College in 1991. It was edited using old school VHS tapes, although they were state-of-the-art at the time.

The song was officially released on the Tapping the Grey Sky CD in 1998. It is still available on CD.

You can reach Scott at scotthallock.com.

Enjoy this 90s blast from the past.


Thank you for joining us on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day. For more information about the organization and the movement, and to see more virtual global events happening today, visit EarthDay.org.

Thank you, FountainHillsLive.com, for sponsoring this event. We encourage you to bookmark this site to use far into the future for local event information. Thank you to Clason Communications for offering your YouTube platform for this event.

Join us in this final Thank You video.