This summer we were lucky enough to be working with two students from UNISIERRA – Inés Montaño Griego and Miguel Francisco Enriquez Galaz – and a recent graduate from Universidad de Sonora – Estefanía Ramirez- who officially became Sky Island Alliance Pollinator interns!
Sky Island Alliance worked in collaboration with Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Memorial to develop a fun and rewarding summer program that included cleaning a cave in Coronado National Memorial, designing pollinator gardens for Saguaro National Park, and managing Mexico spring data for Sky Island Alliance, among other things! All made possible through our Sister Parks Project.
By exposing Mexican students to the Public Land system of the US and connecting them with American conservation professionals, we hoped to increase the students’ knowledge of binational conservation of natural resources. Additionally, by offering work and living arrangements where Mexican students could positively interact with American students of similar age, but different cultures, we hoped to strengthen the ties between communities on either side of the border and build social bridges that can transcend physical barriers.
While an internship is traditionally focused on providing work experience, it quickly became clear to us that we could do so much more for Inés, Miguel, and Estefania. We aimed to make sure the students walked away with applied skills that will advance their career, but also felt welcomed, safe, and supported by an institution that fully backs them and wants to see them succeed.
MEET THE INTERNS
Inés Montaño Griego
“I am from Tepache, Sonora and I am working on my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the Universidad de la Sierra. I decided to do this internship with Sky Island Alliance to extend my knowledge and have new experiences, and thus learn more about the different activities SIA does.”
Miguel Francisco Enriquez Galaz
“I am from Agua Prieta, Sonora and I am studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Universidad de la Sierra. I decided to do this internship with Sky Island Alliance to learn many new things about conservation and nature to be able to share them with others.”
“I’m a biologist from the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, I mostly work with bats, more specifically with the lesser long nose bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae), and I’m interested in studying their migratory route and describing their diet along the way. Even though I’m an enthusiast for pollinators, I have never built a pollinator garden and when I found out about this part of the project, I must confess I felt like mother earth was setting up everything for me.
Besides doing this internship with Sky Island Alliance, I am also a volunteer at Coronado National Memorial, being their first international volunteer! This thanks to a workshop organized by the park and Sky Island Alliance where I found out about this program of International Volunteers in the Park (IVP). My main job there is working in interpretation, where we try to connect people to the park by talking to them about the history and the natural resources. Coronado National Memorial has an important population of bats and a roost of the lesser long nose bat, so besides working in interpretation, I am also working with the resource management team monitoring bats in the area.
My goal is to learn as much as I can and implement it in Sonora and keep doing binational work in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert. ”
In the future, we hope to replicate and grow this effort through a sustainable Binational Natural Resource Conservation Fellowship Program. Donate and help make that dream a reality!