Staff Highlight: Emma Rocio Fajardo Pulgarin

Emma Rocio Fajardo Pulgarin: Community Engagement Program Manager

What is your favorite place in the Sky Islands?I have a very special place in my heart for Saguaro National Park, where I began my career in the conservation field nine years ago. While I had been living in Tucson for quite some time by then, it wasn’t until I worked at Saguaro that I truly discovered the Sonoran Desert. As I walked along the washes, swam in the tinajas and discovered the vast diversity from desert floor to mountain top, I fell in love.

What is your favorite animal?
I’ve always been mesmerized by roadrunners. They inspire and intimidate me at the same time. I see such a clear connection to dinosaurs in roadrunners that makes me respect them even more. These animals are incredibly fierce and brave, so I find it impossible not to be humbled by them.

What is your favorite plant?
The landscape between my hometown and my grandparent’s town in Durango, Mexico was a mixture of grasslands and mesquite forests. Every weekend my family and I would pack our bags to go spend the weekend in my grandparent’s town. We drove that route so many times that I memorized the scenery. When we immigrated to the US everything was so different, this country felt like a whole different planet to me. But the mesquite trees, their smell and their beauty always reminded me of that drive to my grandparents’ house. So, I love mesquites, the ones here and the ones in Durango.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is getting to work with professionals and students from Mexico. As an immigrant from Mexico myself, I love being able to communicate professionally in my native language and knowing that while I left Mexico, I am still doing something to help the nation that shaped me.

Describe a cool wildlife encounter
Some years ago my parents and I were sitting around the kitchen table looking out to the garden and out of no where a red-tailed hawk landed with a dove grasped in its claws! It was amazing to see the unfiltered nature of the predator-prey relationship. To add to our very own National Geographic moment, the hawk was beginning to pluck the feathers off the dove at which point we all raced to put our faces against the window to get a closer look. However, our own awe was ultimately our demise since the hawk sensed our movement and flew away to enjoy its meal in peace somewhere else. That was the last time we saw that, or any hawk in our backyard for years. Thankfully our luck changed, and we now have a hawk that comes over almost daily to the garden and perch on the fence as it scopes out its next meal. Nothing is better than sitting in your favorite chair, sipping some coffee while having the privilege of witnessing nature at its very best just outside!

Email: [email protected]
Work Phone: (520)624-7080 ext. 18

To learn more about Emma, read about her in the Field Guide to Staff page