Building bridges not walls

In summer 2019, Sky Island Alliance ratified a formal partnership with Universidad de la Sierra (UNISIERRA) in Moctezuma, Sonora by updating the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which we laid out a collaborative plan of work for the next year! The main themes were: Water, Wildlife and Empowering future generations of conservationists. 

Sky Island Alliance Executive Director, Louise Mistzal, and UNISIERRA Rector, Francisco Javier Figueroa Montaño, officially celebrating the partnership between both institutions

Moctezuma is a community adjacent to the Sierra La Madera section of the Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna (APFF) Bavispe, one of the natural reserves in our Sister Parks Project. As part of our MOU with UNISIERRA, the Biology Department committed to assessing 15 springs in adjacent lands by August 2020. To support them, Sky Island Alliance will lead a Springs Monitoring Training for UNISIERRA Biology students to equip them with the necessary tools and knowledge needed to carry out these spring assessments. 

Sky Island Alliance giving a presentation about our organization and our work to UNISIERRA Biology students in Summer 2019




The agreement is composed of exciting approaches that not only advance our conservation goals in Mexico but also provide learning opportunities for Biology students. Students will also have opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge while they collect information that will help the entire binational conservation community!

Some of the goals we hope to achieve together include:

  • Provide training and workshops for UNISIERRA Biology students
  • Assess and map springs in Mexico
  • Document the condition of habitat quality within critical wildlife corridors
  • Document biodiversity in the area
  • Assess the threats to wildlife movement
  • Propagate native plants in UNISIERRA’s Greenhouse
  • Create relationships with landowners in the area

And many more!

Biologist Carlos Leonel Santacruz Montaño, Head of the Department of Studies and Projects of the Universidad de la Sierra and M.C. Guilebaldo Lavandera Barreras, Chief of the Biological Sciences Division and Professor at the Universidad de la Sierra show SIA staff the fruit of their labor propagating native plants



Sky Island Alliance would not be able to achieve these goals without the help and knowledge of local institutions and individuals who live in the area and are passionate about its uniqueness. We are immensely grateful to UNISIERRA for being actively involved in the conservation of our beloved Sky Islands, and we are excited to be working together to continue that important mission! 


Want to be a part of continuing to offer this program every year?

Your donations directly support training, networking and community building for our future Sky Island conservation leaders through our summer internship program for Mexican students!