Scottsdale Community College is situated on 160 acres leased from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The campus is comprised of a variety of habitats ranging from urban to desert, with approximately three-quarters of the land developed.
The Center for Native and Urban Wildlife strongly supports using native plants wherever possible, to promote the survival of native animals. Native plants provide shelter and food for native animals. The campus boasts impressive biodiversity figures, considering that much of the land is developed or semi-urban. For example, over 70 species of birds have been observed, and many nesting sites have been documented.
WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?
Biodiversity is the “variety of life,” including varied organisms, their genes, and their ecosystems. This diversity is continually changing through the Earth’s and our lifetimes. Biological diversity today is in decline due to many factors like over-exploitation, pollution and disease. The greatest contributor to this loss is habitat destruction. Our home, the Sonoran Desert, is not exempt from species loss. In Arizona alone, 46 species are federally listed as endangered or threatened species and the state has lost 90% of its riparian ecosystems since the 1920s.
In 1990, Arizona voters approved an initiative to “preserve, protect and enhance” Arizona’s wildlife and biological diversity. What we consider pristine nature is based upon our experiences with the natural world in our youth and knowing what species once existed in a given region compared to what lives there today. Preserving biodiversity has human, ecological and ethical values.
The Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College is involved in the preservation and protection of Arizona’s biodiversity. In order to better understand the changes over time in our local biodiversity, we need comprehensive baseline data, including inventories of species routinely or periodically inhabiting our area.