Lynn Walsh

Reinventing herself for civic duty

When it comes to giving back to the community, Lynn Walsh believes you must reinvent yourself every seven years. Since she moved to Cave Creek in 1988, residents of the Cave Creek community have benefited from her 7-year reinvention nearly five times over with many of Cave Creek’s bio-diverse outdoor amenities.
In her time serving as President of the Foothills Community Foundation, Chair of the Desert Awareness Committee and Desert Foothills Land Trust, and Chair of the Town of Cave Creek’s Median Landscape Committee and PARCS Commission, Lynn wrote numerous grants and organized massive volunteer efforts to create Cave Creek’s Desert Awareness Park and our landscaped medians.
Currently, Lynn teaches kids and adults about the Sonoran desert through the Holland Community Center’s Desert Awareness Committee program. She serves on the Holland Center board, and is also active with political campaigns, education, and her church.
What do you like best about living in Cave Creek? Wide open spaces… Waking up every morning and looking out my bedroom window at the wonderful desert landscaping and the Continental mountains. I love having 360-degree mountain views and never tire of seeing the bright blue sunny sky or dramatic cloud formations that just constantly change. The wildlife never ceases to amaze me and challenge me to learn more about our critters.
Interests/hobbies: Love watercolor, acrylic, and Icon painting. I love desert landscaping and flower arranging. I love to entertain and have parties. Discussions of theology and mindfulness are also inspiring.
Things you can’t live without? My rescue husky puppy, family, friends, and Tai Chi.
Favorite quote? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Love our neighbors.
Person who has made a difference in your life? Grace Schoonover taught me to slow down and study the stars like I did when I was a child. Be curious always and search for truth.
My first job was: Selling Girl Scout cookies.
My most interesting job was: Creating the Desert Awareness Park in Cave Creek.
A lesson I learned the hard way: “You can’t please all the people all the time, only some of the people some of the time.”

What led you to doing most of your volunteer work in the outdoors with nature and conservation? I find my spiritual foundation in nature. I am just awed by the diversity of desert life and its adaptations. I am always seeking new scientific findings and sharing that knowledge with others. We must learn to live in harmony with nature and not destroy our fragile desert.
What has been your most memorable volunteer project?  Landscaping the medians in Cave Creek during 1989-1992. We received Make America Beautiful Federal grants of $10,000 for each of eight medians, and used all volunteer labor and a lot of donated plants to create a native plant demonstration garden that highlights the biodiversity of our Sonoran Desert locally.
What makes all the work you're doing now and in past years worthwhile in terms of future generations?  I had a young girl helping her brother’s Boy Scout troop plant the medians instead of going with her mother to a fashion show. The girl said to me “see that tree I just helped plant. It’s right in front of town hall and I will always remember that special mesquite tree. I am so proud.”
Tell us about a recent experience that has inspired you to keep doing what you're doing with the Desert Awareness Committee. Recently the husband of a friend of mine told me how much his wife had learned about our desert plants at the Walk, Talk, and Taste of the Desert event. She shared her new knowledge with him, so now he too can harvest the wonderful fruits of the desert—which had always been on their property, but they had no idea how to use them. That’s a “wow” moment.

What advice do you have for others who want to get involved in the community and make a difference?  It’s not about one person, but about joining with others who are like minded and then the sky’s the limit. Community building is the most important civic duty for each of us.
Do you have any ideas for how you'd like to reinvent yourself next? I’m just going to stay open to new ideas and experiences… and say “yes”!
For more information about the Holland Community Center and its Desert Awareness Committee Program visit or call (480) 488-1090.