Cox Conserves Hero Grand Prize Winner Named

11/09/2021

Diane Vaszily, a rescue and education volunteer with the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., is the 2021 Cox Conserves Hero grand prize winner.

Vaszily helps rescue and rehab orphaned and injured infant and adult mountain lions, bobcats, skunks, opossums, black bears and other animals. Around 80% of the animals — and nearly all of the infants — are released back into their natural habitats.

More than 6,000 people voted in the 2021 Cox Conserves Heroes contest. The James M. Cox Foundation will donate $60,000 to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Diane’s honor.

“I am proud to use this award to contribute to the expansion of the environmental and conservation efforts of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center where hundreds of other volunteers join together to make things happen. With this gift, our land conservation program, education classes and wildlife rehabilitation efforts will be able to expand to ensure our continued mission!  A huge thank you to all who voted and to Cox for creating this miracle,” Vaszily said.

“The work Diane does to educate the public on the importance of wildlife in a healthy ecosystem and how to coexist with wildlife advances our mission to save our wildlife, one life at a time. Public support like the Cox Conserves Heroes donation makes our work possible and sustains our wild spaces for years to come,” said Linda Searles, executive director of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.

"Diane Vaszily is doing amazing work at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center to care for wildlife and inspire a love of nature and the outdoors among kids and their families in Arizona," said Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “We are grateful to Diane, the other Cox Conserves Heroes and to Cox Enterprises for their outstanding dedication and commitment to creating healthier and more connected communities.”

The Cox Conserves Heroes program, operated in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, recognizes volunteers nationwide who create, preserve or enhance shared outdoor spaces in their local communities.  Cox and The Trust for Public Land selected 12 regional Cox Conserves Heroes from dozens of nominations submitted this summer. The public then voted to select the grand prize winner.

The James M. Cox Foundation will donate a total of $140,000 to environmental nonprofits selected by Cox Conserves Heroes, including the $60,000 to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.

Since 2008, the awards program has donated more than $1.2 million to environmental nonprofits and honored more than 200 volunteers who have helped us make a significant impact on conservation and environmental protection in our communities. 

Cox Conserves Heroes is part of the national Cox Conserves sustainability initiative that was launched by Cox Chairman Jim Kennedy. Since 2007, Cox has invested more than $1 billion in sustainable businesses and technologies and set goals to send zero waste to landfill by 2024 and become carbon and water neutral by 2034.

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