New Staff in Sonora Pay it Forward at Universidad de la Sierra

New Sky Island Alliance staff members based in Sonora, Angel Garcia and Miguel Galaz, return to their university to inspire more biology undergraduates to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in conservation.

“¿Qué significa para ti la conservación ambiental (What does environmental conservation mean to you)?” Zach Palma, our Mexico Project Manager, asked of the room full of biology students at the Universidad de la Sierra (UniSierra), located in the town of Moctezuma which is in the central region of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Sky Island Alliance partners each year with UniSierra to offer multi-national internships, support undergraduate thesis projects (examples here and here), and help mentor the next generation of conservation professionals. We visited the university in February 2022 to discuss plans for the year with faculty and present to students on our programs and internship opportunities.  

“Restore.” “Preserve.” “Protect.” The answers to Zach’s question trickled in slowly at first and soon the whole room was responding to the question. Although the answers were varied, most centered on taking action on local and broad-scale environmental challenges. It was motivating, to say the least.  

It was even more inspiring when Angel Garcia and Miguel Galaz spoke to the students. Angel and Miguel are both alumni of UniSierra and the Sky Island Alliance internship program and are now working for Sky Island Alliance as Springs and Wildlife specialists respectively. They spoke passionately about the work they do, the career paths they followed, and the reasons they care about the Sky Island region. As Angel and Miguel presented, the eyes of the students lit up with excitement and we were soon peppered with questions about our programs and internship opportunities. Heading home we felt energized by the enthusiasm of this young generation of conservation-minded students. And we are certainly looking forward to working with them this year!