Oak Creek Ambassador Program

Stewardship Engagement

In partnership with the following groups: the United States Forest Service (USFS), the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the City of Sedona, the Arizona Community Foundation, and the National Forest Foundation; several young people spent the last seven summers working on Oak Creek recreation sites, talking to visitors, picking up trash, human and dog waste, monitoring water quality, and making presentations at local and regional events. This program has engaged hundreds of volunteers, educated thousands, and have kept over 26,000 lbs of trash out of the watershed. Additionally, maintenance and coordination of a network of 31 pet waste stations have kept over 35,000 lbs of pet waste from polluting Oak Creek.

Pet Waste & Trash


pounds removed

The Oak Creek Ambassadors were funded in previous years by a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More recently, the United States Forest Service (USFS) and smaller grants from the National Forest Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation, and the City of Sedona have been crucial in continuing this highly successful program. In 2020, the Ambassadors will work under a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This project will allow the Ambassadors to monitor water quality, overall use, and remove trash during high-use times in Oak Creek Canyon.

Our very first Ambassadors were trained and hired by the AZCC, USFS, and OCWC and coordinated closely with OCWC, Recreation Resource Management (RRM) and others who work and live in the Oak Creek corridor.

The program has proven a great success and we hope that we are able to receive future funding for this groundbreaking, and highly effective educational outreach program.

Please watch the documentary Loved to Death: The Story of Oak Creek to see first-hand what it’s like to be an Oak Creek Ambassador!

Our 2021 Ambassadors

Elise Guzman

Elise Guzman is a Northern Arizona University graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. Elise is an Arizona native who was born and raised in Prescott, Arizona. She has had a love for the natural world ever since she could remember, enjoying northern Arizona’s pristine land through city camps such as the Prescott National Forest, the Verde River, Oak Creek, and its tributaries, and the Mogollon Rim as some of her favorite places to enjoy the great outdoors. Elise is particularly interested in forest health and ecological restoration, including expanding her knowledge on hydrology, agriculture, agroforestry, and biomass.

In her off time, Elise enjoys hiking, camping, and responsible OHV use.

Emma Harries

Emma Harries is an Ambassador for the Oak Creek Watershed Council. She attended Northern Arizona University and studied environmental science and communication. With this degree, she hopes to use the knowledge and skills she’s learned to continue to work on important environmental issues that are prevalent now and those that will come up in the future. Through her storytelling abilities, Emma captivates listeners while educating them about environmental issues, providing scientific explanations and solutions that resonate with people and make others more conscious about their actions.

Emma strives to live a low-waste lifestyle and she has maintained a vegan diet for going on four years. She likes to spend as much of her free time as possible outside: whether it be hiking, climbing, kayaking, or just laying on a blanket in a park reading. Emma is from Phoenix and grew up exploring the state with her dad and brothers. 

Ambassadors’ Year-by-Year Breakdown