Sam Draper

Arizona Policy Manager, Audubon Southwest

Sam Draper is the Arizona Policy Manager for Audubon Southwest, a regional office of the National Audubon Society. In this role, she contributes towards Audubon’s mission, “to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow,” by analyzing and engaging in complex issues affecting water policies, especially groundwater and Colorado River management. Sam collaborates with a strong network of Audubon advocates to elevate environmental considerations and historical inequities in decision-making spaces and to communicate the nexus between people, birds, and water. 

Prior to joining Audubon, Sam worked at the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). As AMWUA’s Conservation and Efficiency Program Manager, she advanced water conservation, demand management, and efficiency programs across AMWUA’s 10 member cities, including the creation of various outreach materials on the beauty of native and low-water-use landscaping. Sam also led larger successful regional efforts by developing collaborative proposals for state-regulated municipal conservation programs. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Arizona State University, and entered the nonprofit sector motivated to work on water stewardship policy.

Located in Mesa, Arizona, Sam can be found cultivating her jungle of houseplants or enjoying the outdoors. Most likely though, Sam and her husband are chasing after their curious toddler and dog named “Goose.” Her favorite bird is Gambel’s Quail.

Articles by Sam Draper

Explore the Habitats along the Lower Colorado River
June 13, 2024 — Audubon StoryMap guides viewers along the Lower Colorado River, highlighting its importance for birds and people.
Arizona Grants $200 Million to Promote Water Savings
August 22, 2023 — Funds will support innovative water metering, agricultural improvements, and turf replacement initiatives.
A hummingbird with a bright pink head sits in a bush of yellow flowers.
What Can I Do to Save Water?
June 13, 2023 — Pro tips to help you conserve Arizona’s most precious resource.
Wet Winter Brings Arizona’s Salt River to Life
May 11, 2023 — A river flows through the heart of the Phoenix Valley.