Humans are lucky to inhabit this beautiful Earth. However, we all pollute the land, water, and air almost everyday. As a result, there has been a recent push for sustainability. Cox decided to be a part of this movement in 2007 with the creation of Cox Conserves. The program’s mission is to reduce waste and energy consumption, as well as conserve water. This year, Cox Conserves is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! In addition to Arizona, Cox Conserves also takes place in California, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington. The program is a collaboration between Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land, and it is locally sponsored by OdySea Aquarium.
Every year, Cox and The Trust for Public Land recognize volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing shared outdoor spaces. The award is known as Cox Conserves Heroes, and this year’s top three finalists have recently been announced. By becoming finalists, all three of them have secured a $5,000 donation for their environmental nonprofits of choice. However, they are now all competing for an additional $5,000, bringing the total award for the winner’s nonprofit of choice to $10,000. Below you can find a short summary of the three Cox Conserves Heroes finalists, which will hopefully aid in your decision of who to vote for.
In 2015, Eric Sophiea founded the Climbers Association of Southern Arizona (CASA). He had two goals in mind for CASA- to build an empowered group of rock climbers, and to provide an opportunity for that group to give back to the community. As President of CASA, Sophiea has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to managing the nonprofit. CASA members mainly climb on Mount Lemmon. In order to keep this mountain in good condition, Sophiea and his volunteers carry out restoration projects, erosion control, trail maintenance, grafitti removal, litter pick up and more. He has even forged collaborations with nonprofits and conservation agencies, including the AZ Wilderness Coalition, AZ Conservation Corps and the US Forest Service. If selected as the winner of Cox Conserves Heroes, Sophiea’s nonprofit of choice is Climbing Association of Sourthern Arizona.
Ashley Camhi is a doer. As executive director of the Arizona Sustainability Alliance, Camhi has rallied over 100 volunteers to work on issues related to renewable energy, water conservation, protection of open space, elimination of food deserts and more. The group is constantly active, whether it be educating people or participating in an “Adopt a Park” day to beautify one of Arizona’s parks. Additionally, Camhi has worked for the past 10 years with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean identifying optimal natural resource protections while expanding development. Camhi is currently a doctoral candidate researching ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture can incentivize farmers to increase land conservation, which would improve water quality. If selected as the winner of Cox Conserves Heroes, Camhi’s nonprofit of choice is Arizona Sustainability Alliance.
Dora Martinez is a Univeristy of Arizona Distinguished Professor Emeritus and the former Acting Dean of the College of Architecture. Between all of that, she still has time to work as Pro Bono advisor to a nonprofit called Flowers and Bullets Collective. Flowers and Bullets symbolizes the art and the struggle, and the nonprofit uses food as a vehicle to talk about food systems and systemic oppression. They carry out programs such as goat processing and pop-up gardens, as well as hold workshops about nutrition. Martinez’s current project is to repurpose what was once the Julia Keen School into an 9.7-are conservation site. She hopes to turn it into an agriculture center, and she plans on mobilizing the youth and community members to produce healthy food at the site. If selected as the winner of Cox Conserves Heroes, Martinez’s nonprofit of choice is Flowers and Bullets Collective.
Now that you have a better understanding of each finalist and his or her ambitions, it’s time for you to visit the Cox Conserves Heroes website, select the Arizona area, and vote for who you think is most deserving of the grand prize. Voting is open until August 7th, so act quickly to show your support of these three passionate individuals who are all doing their parts in sustaining our planet.