Two weeks ago Sky Island Alliance partnered with Earth Camp students and the Forest Service to plant 32 native black walnuts in Bear Canyon. These trees were gathered from seed in Bear Canyon and were grown by our partner, Borderlands Restoration.
Earth Camp is run by the Arizona-Sorora Desert Museum, teaching local Tucson students about the region we live in. The Earth Campers that helped us plant the trees were culinary students high school students from Catalina Magnet High School. During the camp they learned all about native foods of the region. While planting the trees the students learned how walnuts are important food sources for the native peoples and wildlife.
Sky Island Alliance and the Forest Service has been planting walnut trees up and down bear canyon to bring back a vital food source for the native Arizona gray squirrel. The Arizona gray squirrel has been displaced from the Catalina mountains by the invasive Abert’s squirrel. Once these walnuts are full grown they will provide habitat and food for the gray squirrel.
The planting was hard work, we had to carry tools, trees, and water down the trail on a warm day. But the students were up to the challenge and got all the trees planted. Sky Island Alliance and the Forest Service look forward to see these trees grow and produce walnuts. and a big thank you to the Earth Camp students and teachers in helping them get established.