Gear Drive: Help Support Our Sonora Work

Mexico team pic


This March, Sky Island Alliance is hosting a gear drive to benefit our work in the rural Sky Islands of Sonora, and there are several ways to get involved. You can give us certain used items in good condition. You can buy us new gear at Summit Hut, or you can simply donate any amount and we’ll get the stuff. All proceeds will go to our Mexico office in Moctezuma (a few hours south of Bisbee) and form a lending library of items we can loan out to student biologists at Universidad de la Sierra.

Learn more below about the program’s history, specific items we’re looking for, and an event we’re hosting in Tucson on March 31, where you can meet some of our Sonoran staff and the UniSierra students doing this great work.

Project Background

Moctezuma, Sonora, is a small rural town nestled in the southern valleys of the Madrean Sky Islands. Known for its talabartería (leather arts) and carne machaca, it’s also home to the Universidad de la Sierra. Over the past five years, Sky Island Alliance has collaborated with the school’s biology department, investing in its students as future stewards of the region. In 2022 we elevated our commitment with an updated agreement with UniSierra. Half of our Sonora staff are alumni of the school, and we only expect that to grow. And we couldn’t have been happier when our Environmental Outreach Coordinator Monica Montaño recently pulled the strings to open our first satellite office on the school’s campus.

The shared vision is simple yet profound: We seek to continue providing resources, mentorship, and opportunities for students to thrive and become the very experts protecting and managing the landscape they call home. In 2023 we’ll be opening a lending library for field gear to facilitate the research and restoration work happening in the region. We’re calling on Tucson and the greater Arizona community to consider donating new and used items. All gear will be available to students at UniSierra and will aid in project work managed by SIA and independent thesis work in the Sky Islands.

Gear Drive Details

Here are a few ways people can help the lending library at the Universidad de la Sierra. Find what works for you:

  1. Simply Donatemake a gift of any amount on our website and we’ll get the stuff. When filling out the form, let us know in the comment box that this is for the Sonora Gear Drive.
  2. Donate New Gear — we created a registry for items you can buy online at Summit Hut, Tucson’s local outdoor gear shop. Find an item that you’d like to get, then follow through with the purchase and prompts to update the registry site so we know the gear is accounted for. The package will be mailed to our Tucson office, and we’ll coordinate the transfer to our Sonora office.
  3. Donate Used Gear — here’s the full list of items we need. We’ll accept gear that’s in good condition. That means it still functions as an original new item would but has acceptable cosmetic defects or other minor defects.

Acceptable — A GPS unit with a broken clip but the device functions as normal. A sleeping bag that’s in good condition but has a tear. A tent with a few missing stakes.

Not Acceptable — A sleeping bag with a zipper that doesn’t work. A headlamp battery that doesn’t hold a charge.

Drop-off Locations — From March 27-31, you can drop off used gear at Summit Hut’s Oracle or Speedway stores (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or at SIA’s Tucson office (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Another option is to drop off the gear at Tucson’s Westbound during our March 31 event. Details below.

March 31: Come Meet the Team

On Friday, March 31, from 6-8 p.m., we’re hosting an informal gathering at Tucson’s Westbound within the lovely outdoor MSA Annex and would love for you to join us. This is a chance to meet some of our Sonoran staff and UniSierra students doing this great work. You can also drop off used gear at this time.

We’ll give an informal presentation of current UniSierra work with Sky Island Alliance. If you have questions about the event or gear drive, feel free to reach out to our Field Coordinator Jimmy Gribbin.