RIO VERDE, AZ – Rio Verde Community Association has earned the Sustainable Planning Award from Audubon International. The award is an important milestone in Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program and recognizes a community’s successful completion of Stage 2: defining and adopting a long-term community vision and choosing sustainability indicators as a mechanism for fostering action and measuring success.
Sustainable community coordinator Sal Celona says, “Our community has worked closely with Audubon International’s dedicated and highly qualified staff to develop a formal and comprehensive program to demonstrate our commitment toward achieving only the highest standards prescribed by AI as a sustainable community. Our community is extremely proud of its strong example of engendering and applying the principles and concepts of sustainability. This is exemplified by an outstanding record of achievement during our long history, and we are excited about being recognized with this prestigious award by Audubon International.”
Since joining the program five years ago, Rio Verde has brought together the efforts of residents, local and regional organizations, businesses and the community managers. These partners have addressed priority projects under 15 focus areas such as health and transportation. Within each focus area, goals such as conserving water and energy, enhancing wildlife habitat, and fostering a safe and healthy community have yielded action items that were formally adopted by the Association. Rio Verde, with help from all of the partners, has begun to implement the action items listed in the adopted long-range sustainability plan.
Some projects areas include:
- Use of reclaimed wastewater for golf course turf irrigation
- Installation of water conserving, “Smart” irrigation controllers for domestic use
- Articles on sustainability topics included in every bi-monthly community newsletter
- Habitat for Humanity teams, Verde Cares and a long list of other service organizations
- Community produce farm
- Butterfly/Hummingbird demonstration garden
- Reduction of salinity in the wastewater discharge from household water softeners
- Installation of solar panels on community center
“Rio Verde has made tremendous strides in prioritizing community challenges, harnessing the power of partnerships, and compiling a strategic sustainability plan with reachable goals that will have a real and positive effect on the community and its residents,” says Joanna Nadeau. “Rio Verde should be rightfully proud of earning this well-deserved award.”
Rio Verde will now move forward into Stage 3 of the Sustainable Communities Program, during which the community will implement additional projects listed in the action plan and report progress to begin tracking the results of its plan.