Sky Island conservation is a binational effort that requires a multitude of land managers, scientists, volunteers, and conservation practitioners on both sides of the border. We proudly collaborate with Naturalia. A.C., a Mexican nonprofit that has played one of the most important and longest roles in the conservation of Mexico´s biodiversity.
Naturalia´s story began back in 1990 when a group of academics and activists concerned about Mexico´s future founded the organization with the goal of conserving and restoring the biodiversity and ecosystems of the country, which is one of the top five most biodiverse countries in the world. Since then, Oscar Moctezuma has been Naturalia´s General Director, whose leadership enabled the organization to be part of some of the most important species recovery and conservation projects in North America, including the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf and the creation of the Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora, Mexico. Closer to Tucson, Naturalia has also been managing Rancho Los Fresnos (Fresno means ash tree in Spanish), as an area voluntarily destined to conservation or ADVC in Spanish, which is one of the many conservation policy instruments that exist in Mexico. Rancho Los Fresnos is directly south of Coronado Memorial and in the southern foothills of the Huachuca Mountains.
Thanks to the Sister Parks Project funded by the U.S. National Park Service, and with help from Mexican and American volunteers, Sky Island Alliance and Naturalia have collaborated for years on implementing restoration actions, protecting water sources, and mitigating soil erosion forces at Rancho Los Fresnos. In addition to being a critical piece of the ecological and conservation mosaic of the Sky Islands region, Rancho Los Fresnos has now officially joined our Border Wildlife Study. Los Fresnos is now equipped with 10 wildlife cameras that are documenting the diversity of species that migrate across the border every day. We are very excited for the opportunity to work with Naturalia in this binational effort to push back against the construction of the border wall, which would have disastrous consequences for our Sky Islands ecosystems. In the coming weeks, we will share more about our collaboration with Naturalia in the borderlands featuring wildlife monitoring, spring protection, and native planting. In the meantime, you can check out some of the work that Naturalia has done in Mexico, plus some pretty cool pictures of Rancho Los Fresnos and the Northern Jaguar Reserve.