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Our Story

Through a partnership between the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (ACNC), an Arizona non-profit, the South Mountain Environmental Education Center (SMEEC) has re-opened.

The facility is a hub for guests exploring the park/preserve that it calls home as well as a gathering place for the community to learn about plants, animals, natural history and the conservation needs of the Sonoran Desert. It also is a popular destination for school field trips.

MISSION
Arizona Center for Nature Conservation advances the stewardship and conservation of animals and their habitats while providing experiences that inspire people and motivate them to care for the natural world.

VISION
We are leaders in improving people’s lives through interaction with nature, excelling in conservation, education, exhibition and recreation.

CORE VALUES
Our core values reflect the behaviors and attitudes that lead our interactions and decisions — helping us to achieve our mission. By following these core values we develop and foster positive relationships within our community, which will ensure the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation’s long-term success.

COLLABORATION
We encourage a spirit of cooperation and teamwork by working together to build supportive relationships to meet our common goals.

RESPECT
We demonstrate compassion and service for each other and our guests, and ensure the highest standards of care for our animals.

ACCOUNTABILITY
We demonstrate integrity, fairness and professional standards, and are committed to managing and operating the organization as a credible, successful and self-sustaining enterprise.

INITIATIVE
We assess situations independently and look for solutions with a willingness to take appropriate action.

FUN
We are engaged in our work, bringing energy, enthusiasm and a desire to create enjoyable experiences for all.

Meet Our Team

ACNC and City of Phoenix Park Rangers partner to operate the facility. Together we are dedicated to helping park visitors have a wonderful experience connecting with nature and exploring the great cultural resource.

Gabby Hebert

Education Director

Gabby has been an environmental educator and non-formal science educator for her entire career. Her favorite thing about South Mountain is the generosity and gratitude expressed by the community that surrounds the park.

Lisa Herrmann

Education Manager

Lisa has worked in the field of environmental education as a classroom teacher, informal science educator, developer of science programming and curriculum, and as an environmental education advocate.

Lisa loves the evenings on the mountain – gazing at stars, walking in the light of the full moon, using the bat detector, and photo-hunting scorpions!