January 14, 2020

The Conservation Fund Hires Kirste Kowalsky To Lead Arizona Conservation Efforts

PHOENIX — Today The Conservation Fund announced the establishment of a Phoenix office and the appointment of Kirste Kowalsky as the organization’s Arizona real estate associate.

A top-ranked national environmental organization, The Conservation Fund creates land and water protection solutions that make environmental and economic sense and has protected nearly 975,000 acres of land in Arizona since 1985. With increasing growth and development in Arizona, including major renewable energy infrastructure, the Fund is uniquely positioned to meet the demands of balancing vital economic development with long-term conservation. Kowalsky will oversee the Fund’s conservation efforts working with federal, state, and local agencies in cooperation with private partners, tribal interests, and local and regional conservation partners.

“I am excited to have Kirste join our team and establish an increased presence directly in Arizona,” said Mike Ford, southwest director with The Conservation Fund. “Her personal and professional experience makes her uniquely qualified and will allow the Fund to enhance relationships by providing day to day boots on the ground in the greater Phoenix area.”

An Arizona native, Kowalsky recently worked as a planner specializing in land use, zoning entitlements and project management with a prominent zoning and real estate law firm, Withey Morris, PLC. Prior to that role, she spent nine years with another nationally recognized zoning law firm, Earl & Curley P.C., representing a full spectrum of property owners, developers, investors and lenders. With over 18 years of experience in land use and real estate, she has strived to incorporate long-term policies focused on sustainability along with balancing economic development, environmental quality, transportation and community needs for a better Arizona. 

“This is an exciting time to advance the Fund’s aim for a successful statewide conservation effort that continues to produce tangible and long-lasting results in Arizona,” said Kirste Kowalsky, Arizona real estate associate with The Conservation Fund. “I’m thrilled to be part of this progressive organization and the opportunity to strengthen our Valley-wide partnerships who share a common desire for healthy, vibrant communities and the continuation of our diverse natural environment.”

After graduating from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Kowalsky began her professional career with the City of Phoenix working in the Planning and Development Department where she provided guidance on processing development plans and interpreting adopted ordinances and regulations. As an Arizona native with an extensive background in sustainable land use practices and experience influencing strategic decisions, Kowalsky has established a dependable reputation with the development community at large, planning staff, community leaders, and appointed officials throughout Arizona. In her time away from the office, you will likely find Kowalsky on a hiking trail near her home in Ahwatukee or just enjoying the outdoors with her husband Chris and their energetic son, Braedon.  

Much of The Conservation Fund’s work in Arizona benefits public parks and parklands, including at Grand Canyon National Park. Over the last decade, the Fund has helped expand protection of Petrified Forest National Park by 25 percent, assisting the National Park Service’s purchases of more than 30,000 acres of expansive vistas, colorful eroding badlands of the Painted Desert, and the rainbow hues of large petrified trees, which have turned completely into stone during the last 225 million years. The Fund has also worked with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to conserve key lands and waterways across the state.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land. 

Contact: Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | (703) 908-5809| asimonelli@conservationfund.org