PHOENIX- (February 7, 2023) - The Arizona Lottery’s “Gives Back” program is teaming up with Watershed Management Group (WMG) in Tucson to expand their “Living Lab”—a community hub and leading demonstration site of watershed resilience. The Living Lab features water harvesting, native habitat, food forests, passive solar energy, and composting systems, culminating in a campus supported entirely by rainwater. WMG directly engages around 3,000 school-aged children, families, and adults at the Living Lab every year through their educational programs.
$50,000 from the Arizona Lottery’s Gives Back sponsorship program is helping to fund the expansion of WMG’s Living Lab by adding a multi-purpose indoor classroom, known as the Learning Center. Lottery funds would also pay for the infrastructure (cistern and gutters) needed to harvest another 5,000 gallons of rainwater annually in addition to their existing 11,000 gallons of cistern capacity. With additional rainwater capture, their facility will be more resilient to rely entirely on rainwater for indoor and outdoor water uses instead of imported Colorado River water.
"We are thrilled to support the expansion of Watershed Management Group's Living Lab through our Gives Back sponsorship program. This will provide valuable educational opportunities for the community and aligns with our mission of giving back to organizations that promote environmental conservation and making a positive impact in Arizona,” said Arizona Lottery Public Information Officer John Gilliland. “We are proud to play a role in helping WMG achieve its goals and look forward to the continued growth and success of the Living Lab."
Thousands of people visit WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center annually, participating in tours, workshops, family programs, green job training, and social events. However, the demand for these services has outpaced the available resources and infrastructure, and many of WMG programs require a large, multi-purpose space. With increasing water shortages and climate impacts in the Southwest, it’s more important than ever that WMG has adequate space to teach about hydro-local water solutions. Hydro-local solutions focus on valuing and stewarding local water resources instead of depleting distant rivers and watersheds, like the Colorado River.
“At a time when many Arizonans are concerned about their water supply, Arizona Lottery is investing in pragmatic, conservation-based water solutions by helping fund WMG’s Learning Center” said Lisa Shipek, Executive Director of WMG. “Visitors of all ages can experience what hydro-local living looks like--capturing rainwater, recycling greywater, and embracing native gardens for food and shade—including many low-cost solutions that can be done at their own home.”
To learn more about WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center, visit www.watershedmg.org/LivingLab.