Scottsdale Independent

Meet Your Neighbor: Vallee supports McDowell Sonoran Preserve efforts

Fountain Hills resident Toni Vallee. (Special to the Independent)

Name: Toni Vallee

Where I live: Fountain Hills, AZ

When & why I moved here: Originally, it was for the professional opportunities, the beauty of the land and the weather. My husband and I traveled all over the U.S. for two summers and decided this is where we wanted to live.

What I like most about living here:
a. the ability to make a difference and other residents’ commitment to making this area a great place to live
b. the beauty of the desert

Activities I enjoy: Cycling (both road and mountain biking), hiking, reading and teaching financial literacy classes.

Clubs/organizations I’m involved in: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix

My favorite charity or volunteer activity and why it deserves support from others? The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy because it enables me to make a difference across a wide spectrum of values important to me and our society such as preserving land, citizen science, as well as teaching children how to respect the land. The Conservancy is unique in that you get involved when you want and how you want without a set schedule. It worked for me, in the beginning, because I was able to volunteer when it fit my schedule. You can make a difference in many different ways.

My No. 1 suggestion to new residents looking for ways to get involved in their community: Find something you are passionate about, uses skills you currently have AND want to develop.

What one thing would you like to see changed in Scottsdale? I would like to see more residents become aware of the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, use the Preserve trails for their own personal well being and to understand its economic value to the northeastern Valley.

My family: My husband and I have lived in Fountain Hills for over 30 years.

What I do: I am retired and spending my time volunteering for organizations that are making an impact in the Valley of the Sun.

People who are an inspiration to me: The original founders, such as Jane Rau, of the predecessor organization to the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. It took uncommon vision, persistence and hard work to create both the Preserve and an ongoing organization that supports the Preserve.

My advice to today’s youth:
a. Try a variety of activities to learn what you like to do and don’t like to do
b. Work with a variety of diverse people so you learn to how to interact with others to achieve common goals