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The Sonoran Institute - Working with the West

 What is the Sonoran Institute?

The Sonoran Institute inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America.

The Institute contributes to a vision of a West with:

  • Healthy landscapes – including native plants and wildlife, diverse habitat, open spaces, clean air and water – from northern Mexico to western Canada.
  • Vibrant communities where people embrace conservation to protect quality of life today and in the future.
  • Resilient economies that support prosperous communities, diverse opportunities for residents, productive working landscapes, and stewardship of the natural world.
  • A Collaborative, Community-based Approach

The nonprofit Sonoran Institute, founded in 1990, works across the rapidly changing West to conserve and restore natural and cultural assets and to promote better management of growth and change. The Institute’s community-based approach emphasizes collaboration, civil dialogue, sound information, local knowledge, practical solutions and big-picture thinking.

What are the Focal Issues Addressed?

The Sonoran Institute works within six primary areas:

Changing Economy: Open space, outdoor recreation, sublime scenery, access to protected public land, and quality of life give the West a competitive advantage in the changing global economy. The Sonoran Institute works toward a vision of the West where conservation and prosperity go hand-in-hand. 

Climate Change: Impacts of climate change are evident across the West and are expected to intensify. The Institute is ramping up its work to help Western communities reduce and adapt to impacts.

Energy: An Institute workshop helps Western communities plan for secure, clean energy futures, and more work to promote sustainable energy is on our agenda, along with assistance for communities facing the environmental, economic and social impacts of conventional energy development.

Growth: The Sonoran Institute addresses growth issues on several fronts from promoting sustainable development to assisting counties with land use planning to working for smart growth policies.

Land and Water Conservation: Scientists, planners, researchers and other Sonoran Institute staff work on collaborative projects to conserve and protect land and water resources across Western North America.

Policy Reform: Reform of state and federal growth and land-use policies can give counties, communities and public-land managers the tools, authority and funds to better manage growth, ensure sustainable resource use, and protect our natural heritage.


To find out more about the Sonoran Institute, visit their website at The main office in Tucson Arizona can be reached from 9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, at:

44 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 350
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Fax 520-290-0969