Staff Highlight: Samantha Hammer

Samantha “Sami” Hammer: Conservation Biologist & GIS Specialist

Sami (right) leads the way on a spring backpacking survey

What is your favorite place in the Sky Islands? I truly can’t pick a favorite place. But one area I’ve gotten to explore much more deeply than I ever would have on my own is the Galiuro Mountains. I love how when you are in the backcountry, it feels as if you’re the only humans in the mountain range. And often that may very well be true! Those mountains have some amazing springs, pine-tree lined canyons, and lots of maples that are unbelievable in the fall.

What is your favorite animal? Coyotes. I’ve just always really loved them, and I think they are beautiful.

What is your favorite plant? Again, I can’t think of a favorite, but I always love to point out cane beargrass to people. It an attractive perennial bunchgrass native to the Sky Islands. It has a pretty, fluffy seedhead, and when you crush the freshly dried seeds in the fall, I think they smell like blueberries.

What is your favorite part of your job? Getting to visit hundreds of different springs all over the Sky Islands. Despite the fact that I’ve been to many at this point, visiting one never ceases to amaze me. Water coming out of the ground! They create incredible ecosystems; so many plants and animals are found nowhere else, and all the animals in the surrounding areas rely on them, too.

Describe a cool wildlife encounter In April a few years ago, Louise, Carianne, and I hiked into Aravaipa Canyon from the east side to do a spring assessment on this really special spring in Deer Creek. It was raining on us as we hiked in, and while we were still in the main canyon, we surprised a troop of coatis. There were probably 20 of them, and about a third were babies. The only thing cuter than a coati is a bunch of baby coatis!

Email: [email protected]
Work Phone: (520)624-7080 ext. 16

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