Building Bridges through Sisterhood – Sister Parks Project

For years, Sky Island Alliance has played a key role in building relationships between reserves in Arizona and northern Mexico that share similar ecological communities and resources. Since 2014, Sky Island Alliance has worked to connect resource managers from Mexico and the US to talk about management needs, identify challenges, and brainstorm collaborative solutions, since all of our natural resources are shared across the international border. Through our Sister Parks Project, we focus on connecting resource managers and sharing tools and techniques for water conservation, habitat restoration, and wildlife monitoring with reserves in northern Sonora and Southeastern Arizona. The 6 “sister parks” in the US and Mexico are Saguaro National Park, Coronado National Memorial, Chiricahua National Memorial, APFF Bavispe, Parque Nacional Sierra San Pedro Mártir, and Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857. 

In December 2018 Sky Island Alliance brought Parque Nacional Sierra San Pedro Martir staff and Saguaro National Park staff together for a training on springs monitoring

Throughout the years, it has become increasingly difficult for park staff in either country to cross an international border and collaborate with colleagues in the neighboring country. However, conservationists on both sides recognized the huge need for collaboration for the sake of the natural resources of the shared region. While federal employees in Mexico and the US are bound by bureaucracy that limits their travel, Sky Island Alliance as a nonprofit is still able to travel back and forth between both nations. This freedom to travel, as well as a binational staff and history of collaboration allowed Sky Island Alliance to be well-positioned to find a way to make international collaboration between park staff a reality.

In 2017 As part of our Sister Parks project we held a Pollinator Blitz in Area de Protección de Flora y Fauna Bavispe on the east side of Sierra Los Ajos.

In collaboration with Saguaro National Park, we created the Sister Parks Project with the aim of facilitating collaboration between park staff and resource managers from Mexico and the US.  Sky Island Alliance acts as a bridge for communication and resource sharing between reserves, translating and interpreting when necessary, relaying materials and funds when appropriate, and leading meetings when permitted. Park staff are the experts, we simply find ways to allow them to communicate and work with their counterparts in the neighboring country to advance the conservation of the shared, binational region.

As a way to connect communities to our regional parks, in November of 2018 we held a four day Sister Park Tour with 5 people from the Club de Ecología y Conservación Cananea

Learn more about the amazing species that call the Sky Islands home by visiting our Species Gallery.