Staff Highlight: Georgina Waller

Georgina Waller: Development Assistant

Favorite place in Sky Islands? The area of the Sky Islands that I am most familiar with is the Patagonia Mountain range. The reason is the Patagonia Mountains made up my surrounding backyard landscape growing up. My parents used to ask us older kids to take our younger siblings for a long hike through the hills around our home on Christmas Eve day in order to tire them out and ensure they’d be in bed and sound asleep by the time Santa Claus would visit our home. Our neighboring friends along with my siblings and I, took many a long hike up to the water tower. The view from on top the hill was spectacular….you could see for hundreds of miles- or at least that’s what it felt like at that age.  It was also a popular recreational area for the many residents of Santa Cruz County.

I have very fond memories of family picnics along the streams and pools that flowed through the mountain range into the lower areas. Patagonia Lake is another area that my family used to visit frequently, way before the area became a State Park. We spent many weekends camping “in the woods” and water skiing in the cool lake. The various birds that I would see in the area always amazed me with their beautiful voices and striking colors. It’s no wonder the area I so fondly remember is now a designated bird sanctuary

What is your favorite animal? I have always loved Bears. Black. Brown.  White. I love them all!  They are so graceful for their size. They are strong, smart, run fast, climb trees, great protectors and can also be shy. Bears have a great sense of smell, sight and hearing. They make themselves look bigger by fluffing up their fur and standing on their hind legs. Bears love to eat too.  And how can you not love those cute and playful cubs?  I always wonder how secure and safe it would feel to be hugged by a bear. Although I must admit, I’m not in any hurry to find out for myself any time soon.

What is your favorite plant? This is a hard question to answer since I love many plants and flowers. The desert is so colorful when all the plants are blooming. The Ocotillo is probably one of my favorites. It stands so tall and even though they look somewhat spiny, its branches are strong. The flowers are such an intense crimson color and sit so gracefully at the tippy top of the stem, and the leaves turn lush and green especially after a nice rainfall.

What is your favorite part of your job? Most definitely the people I work with. What an amazing group of individuals. They are so knowledgeable and passionate about our mission. Their educational and field experiences just continue to astound me. I am learning so much from their conversations and interactions. The collaborative work is truly amazing. I’m also fortunate to interact with so many of our donors. Their words of encouragement and their generous support allows the amazing people I work with to continue to do the fabulous work they do. We tell our donors that our work is possible because of their support, and it’s the absolute truth. I can’t wait to see what accomplishments are realized in 2020. It’s going to be a very exciting year!

Describe a cool wildlife encounter: The closest I’ve ever come to a wildlife encounter,outside of a visit to the zoo, happened in my very own front yard. This was a few years back while my husband and I were living in Scottsdale, AZ.  We lived out on the northeast part of the city, near the McDowell Mountain Preserve. When we approached our home after a long walk with the dog, I noticed two cute little kittens climbing the boulders in the yard. I was ready to go take a closer look when my husband quickly blocked me with his arm and told me to get in the!

Once inside he told me the cute kittens were baby bobcats and their Mom was behind the boulder. I quickly grabbed my camera, went to the back bedroom and watched the cats for at least 30 minutes. One of the baby’s had cactus thorns in it’s face and Mom was very patiently trying to remove the spines. However, the kids were more interested in wrestling than listening to mom. She eventually gave up and watched guard as the kids played.

Email: [email protected]
Work Phone: (520)624-7080 ext. 12

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