This week we talk with another Southern Arizona environmental nonprofit, the Watershed Management Group, which is led under the direction of Lisa Shipek as Executive Director. This is a jam packed episode because Watershed Management Group is doing A LOT of incredible work in the community! Their primary mission is connecting people to their natural environment through education and volunteer based projects. Their goal is to create abundance in the community, an abundance in natural resources, an abundance of water for human and environmental needs, and an abundance in our lives so we can cherish the incredible landscape we live in. Watershed Management Group has regular classes about rainwater harvesting, greywater systems, community gardens, and a myriad of other topics to teach people the best practices for living well and sustainably in the Sonoran Desert. They reach out to the wider community through social events like mesquite pancake breakfasts and local beer crawls in order to spread awareness about water and partners with many diverse partners including government, nonprofits, and businesses. What this means is that every staff member is effectively an educator about water. This philosophy comes from the background of how Watershed Management Group started, which was at the University of Arizona, when a group of graduate students came together to dream of something bigger.
Since 2006, Lisa Shipek has served as the Executive Director of Watershed Management Group. Lisa has expertise in developing training programs for professionals; developing environmental education programs for adults and children; and collaborating with a diverse range of partners to implement community-based environmental projects. Lisa directs fundraising, strategic development and outreach activities for WMG. She manages several of WMG’s programs including the unique Tucson Conserve to Enhance program, which links individual water conservation savings with local river restoration, and WMG’s Water Harvesting Certification program that trains professionals from throughout the United States and abroad. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and an M.A. in Latin American Studies. Through her work with WMG, she is particularly interested in developing environmental programs that improve quality of life in urban areas. Lisa believes low-tech, community-based solutions can solve today’s most pressing environmental challenges and we get a sense of that in this episode of Fathoming Water.