Meet Your Neighbor: Coopers hike, bird watch in Scottsdale

Rick Cooper (submitted photo)

Name: Rick Cooper

Where I live: Scottsdale (near Happy Valley and Hayden)

When & why I moved here: My wife Judy and I moved to Arizona in 2010 to be near our daughters’ family – including what were then our only two grandchildren. We were both retired in Houston and coming every couple of months to visit. We decided it would be easier to live here and use the extra time to travel!

What I like most about living here: Of course, being near two of our four grandchildren. We have been able to be a close part of their growing-up, which is not something everyone gets to experience. The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve is our main hiking venue until the summer heat, and then we venture to Flagstaff.

Activities I enjoy: We are hikers and bird-watchers. Arizona gives us ample opportunities for both. This state is rich in varied terrains and their resulting climates, so year-round enjoyment of both is possible. I am very involved in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, which is the volunteer organization contracted by the city of Scottsdale to maintain and enhance the Preserve. When possible, my wife and I enjoy traveling both around the U.S. and internationally.

Clubs/organizations I’m involved in: The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy gets most of my attention. I feel this allows me to give to the community in which I live by helping to promote and protect Scottsdale’s most valuable asset. I also belong to several local Audubon organizations as well as a couple of men’s social groups.

My favorite charity or volunteer activity and why it deserves support from others? Of course, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy! The nonprofit Conservancy champions the sustainability of the largest urban land preserve in North America, Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Our Arizona treasure is enjoyed by more than 750,000 hikers, cyclists and equestrians annually. Learn more at:

My No. 1 suggestion to new residents looking for ways to get involved in their community: The Valley has unlimited possibilities for volunteerism. Decide what you enjoy, and then get involved in an organization that promotes what you love. Hopefully, The Conservancy will be one of your choices.

What one thing would you like to see changed in Scottsdale? Could it please not get so hot in the summer!

My family: Judy and I have been married 51+ years and are lucky to have two wonderful children who each married the perfect partners. One has settled in Arizona with an 8 and a 9-year-old. The other is in Seattle with a 2 and a 4-year-old. Both families take all of our energy when we visit!

What I do: Volunteer, hike, bird watch and, to a large extent, travel.

People who are an inspiration to me: Anyone who has discovered their passion and let that passion drive their life.

My advice to today’s youth: Get educated, find a career that fits your view of yourself and find that perfect partner!

To volunteer in the city of Scottsdale visit

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