Daniel Armenta: Development Director
Favorite place in Sky Islands?
I love the Santa Catalina Mountains. Living in Tucson, I feel this mountain range embodies the spirit of the Sky Islands for me and my family best of all. Like so many other Tucsonans, we drive up Mt Lemmon highway any time the opportunity arises. I like to think of it as if we are doing the same thing that wildlife does. We go up to higher elevations to escape the heat or to cool our feet in the many streams. Our favorite place to go is the end of Turkey Run Road. There’s a nice little stream that has water most of the year and we love the trail.
What is your favorite animal?
Mountain Lions are awesome!
What is your favorite plant?
This is an impossible question for me to answer as I love so many. I will name the first plant that came mind: Creosote – There is no other plant, with its incredible aroma and resilience that characterizes the uniqueness of the Sonoran Desert more than Cresoste.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love hearing people’s stories. Everyone has a vast history entangled in other stories. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t teach me something.
Describe a cool wildlife encounter:
As a horticulturist at the Arizona Sonora-Desert Museum, I encountered rattlesnakes often. I had more than a few close calls. Once, I reached up to grab a dead Palo Verde branch that was hanging a bit to low over the walking path. My intention was to snap the branch, which I succeeded in but following the sharp sound of the cracking branch, I heard and felt a thud at my feet. Instantaneously, I heard the unmistakable, menacing sound of a rattler at my feet. Luckily, the snake was as scared as I was and remained coiled up long enough for me to slowly back away. It turns out, the snake must have been stretched out on the branch above me, which I later learned was atypical behavior for a diamondback.