Joan Lionetti has dedicated her life to environmental causes with Tucson Clean and Beautiful. As Lionetti celebrates her 90th birthday this year, she reflects on the significance of her lifelong mission to enhance the city’s environmental well-being.

Lionetti’s commitment to environmental causes traces back to her childhood

When I was a kid in Girl Scouts, we were doing environmental things during the war, Lionetti said.

She joined Tucson Clean and Beautiful in 1987, and within a year she became the executive director.

“We were able to coordinate the whole city and the county into really being aware of each one of our environmental improvements: recycling trees, landscape, when they do road projects,” Lionetti said.

Her impact led to the creation of various programs, including “Trees for Tucson” and an initiative educating parolees about desert landscape maintenance. She also started the first telephone directory recycling program in the country.

“We’re in a desert, and we value our desert landscape, but we also need more trees to address climate change and global warming,” Lionetti said.

Civano Nursery also honored Lionetti, naming an oak tree after her. “Its my legacy; its my honor to Tucson,” Lionetti said.

Lionetti’s dedication to Tucson doesn’t stop there; she is currently working on designating her neighborhood as a historic district.