Field Notes

Finding Springs to Protect and Restore in the Bighorn Fire Area of the Santa Catalina Mountains

September 7, 2021

One year after the colossal Bighorn Fire burned 120,000 acres in Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains, ecosystems are recovering. In these ecosystems, springs are a critical feature of the post-burn landscape and provide water for wildlife and opportunities for regrowth of plants.   Photo caption: Annabel spring in the Santa Catalinas, January 2021. Fire can be beneficial, especially for plants that have evolved to reproduce when there is a…
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Spring Seeker Stories: Agua Caliente Tank

July 16, 2021

We’re back this month with another installment in our Spring Seeker Stories! This time, retired wildland firefighter and Sky Island Alliance volunteer Brit Rosso takes us on a rollercoaster of a journey through the Santa Catalina Mountains to find Agua Caliente Tank and Possible Spring. If you missed the last one, you can read Brit’s notes…
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Webinar Recap: Binational Experts Discuss Sky Island Biodiversity and Conservation

July 6, 2021

In April, our Conservation Director Paulo Quadri had the pleasure of moderating the University of Arizona’s three-part webinar series on Sky Island biodiversity and conservation. Diverse panelists from different universities, nonprofits, research labs, and government agencies across the U.S. and Mexico joined to discuss the scientific work they’re doing to help protect and restore the Sky Island region on a transnational scale. Each session consisted…
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Thank You for Making a Difference in Aravaipa Canyon

June 25, 2021

Photo Caption: Volunteers removing vinca under the beautiful fall colors of Aravaipa Canyon. Years have passed since we first partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to remove invasive periwinkle (vinca) from the creek that flows through Aravaipa Canyon. The canyon was full of vinca when we started—so thick in some places that it had choked out the canyon’s native plants, so widespread that it covered miles of creek bed and understory,…
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What Our Sky Island Fellow Learned about Springs in Sonora

June 21, 2021

¿Hablas Español? Lee el blog en Español. Earlier this year, our 2021 Sky Island Fellow Ángel Garcia — who also spent the summer and fall of 2020 with us as part of our binational internship program — graduated from the Universidad de la Sierra in Sonora, Mexico with a degree in biology! (You can read…
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Border Wildlife Study: Vegetation and Drought in the Borderlands

May 21, 2021

For the last year, the Border Wildlife Study cameras have documented an amazing array of wildlife species across the San Rafael Valley and the Patagonia and Huachuca Mountains that flank it on the west and east. One of the interesting questions of our study is: How does the wildlife community vary across the different habitats…
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Spring Seeker Stories: Bear and Grapevine Spring in the Southern Rincon Mountains

April 28, 2021

We’re back this month with another installment in our Spring Seeker Stories! This time, retired wildland firefighter and Spring Seeker volunteer Brit Rosso takes us on a visual journey through the Southern Rincon Mountains to find Bear Spring and Grapevine Spring.  In his field notes, Brit muses about the creation of the Rincon Mountain Wilderness, a…
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Notes from the Field: Van Trap and Chimney Spring in the Southern Rincon Wilderness

March 29, 2021

Volunteers lie at the heart of our Spring Seeker program. In 2020, 63 people helped us check over 220 springs in the U.S. and Mexico—a feat that would be impossible for staff alone. Retired wildland firefighter Brit Rosso is one of our steadfast Spring Seeker volunteers. Not only is he dedicated to hiking rough terrains…
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We’re Rooting for Native Flora at Aravaipa Canyon Preserve!

March 22, 2021

In early March, a team of six volunteers and three Sky Island Alliance staff braved the chilly spring evenings at Aravaipa Canyon Preserve to do two days of hard, earnest work: pull invasive periwinkle from the creek bed.  The nine of us spent over ten hours total that weekend bent over the cool Arizona water, which felt good in the sun as we loosened vinca from the hard…
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Notes from the Field: Searching for High Spring in the Huachuca Mountains

January 14, 2021

Volunteers lie at the heart of our Spring Seeker program. In 2020, 63 people helped us check over 220 springs in the U.S. and Mexico—a feat that would be impossible for staff alone.  Retired wildlands firefighter Brit Rosso is one of our steadfast Spring Seeker volunteers. Not only is he dedicated to hiking rough terrains in order to document the status of springs…
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