Mónica Montaño joined Sky Island Alliance in 2021 as a summer intern and first started working with us on our wildlife-camera projects. In her current role, she is our full-time Environmental Outreach Coordinator, helping with various conservation projects in Sonora.
What kinds of work do women do in the environmental field?
That’s a question I’ve asked myself many times, and my start in the environmental world was something I didn’t expect. However, it’s comforting and super gratifying to realize the importance of the work and and to see the range of options available and other women as models. For me, my journey all started a little over halfway through my career (I have a degree from Universidad de la Sierra as a biologist) with the arrival of Sky Island Alliance in my field of vision. I started my career with them with two important projects for the organization — FotoFauna and the summer internship program. Some time later, I had the opportunity to prepare my presentation and final project to finish my degree with the help of Zoe Fullem and Ángel Garcia, two former SIA staff who were very important support for carrying out this task. Today I’m part of SIA’s Sonora team and am super happy with how much I’ve learned over these months with the organization.
2022 was a super enriching year for me and for women in general. Everywhere we are seeing the growth of women in science and in the field of work. With SIA in particular, I am super proud to know that the percentage of women in the organization is higher — highlighting the fact that we all have important roles, especially when it comes to conservation and care for the environment.
For this new year that’s beginning, I have some ideas to continue growing in the communities with our work. Without a doubt, the support of students and volunteers is something of great importance. If we connect with them and understand each other, we can achieve anything. During the time that I’ve been working with SIA, we have participated in various conservation and restoration activities. For example, I have learned how to construct trenches to retain soil and water, level curves to stabilize soils eroded by landslides, properly disperse seeds, and create rainwater harvesting systems. This has all been a great experience for me, and I look forward to seeing what’s next on the horizon — for myself and all the other women in the environmental field.