Field Notes

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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What We Learned from Monitoring Springs in 2020

January 8, 2021

Since the launch of Spring Seeker in July 2020, Sky Island Alliance and its volunteers have been able to visit 256 springs throughout the Sky Island region of southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.  Visitors of these springs completed a quick survey in an app on their phone, detailing the location and state of each water source—including which ones were impacted by ongoing drought, which ones need some restoration work or protection, and which ones are intermittent…
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Notes from the Field: Spring Seeking with Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows

December 7, 2020

Since the most memorable years of my life were spent in the Peace Corps, I’m always excited to meet another returned Peace Corps Volunteer (“RPCV”), which happens quite often in Tucson! These perpetual run-ins are mostly because of the University of Arizona Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program. The Coverdell program is a national fellowship that…
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Friday Flora Feature: Arizona Walnut

December 4, 2020

When searching for water in the Sky Islands, finding a walnut tree can be a great indicator that you’re getting close to a spring, stream, or other water source! These towering woody plants are a key part of our mountain ecosystems, a vital source of food for wildlife, and the focus of this Friday’s Flora…
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A Quick Guide to Springs in the Sky Islands

November 3, 2020

If you’ve ever wondered what springs are, how they form, or why they’re important to the ecosystems and habitats found in the Sky Island region, go no further. In celebration of hitting three months of spring seeking—a community project that has allowed us to monitor the health of our springs in Arizona and Sonora—we’ve put together a quick guide to help you navigate the many…
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Wall Construction at the San Pedro River

September 2, 2020

In July 2020, construction of a 30-foot steel border wall began across the last free-flowing river in Arizona. Despite monsoon floods that push water 140 miles from the San Pedro River’s headwaters in Mexico northwards to its convergence with the Gila River in Winkelman, Arizona, construction crews are actively trenching and installing steel bollards this month. This type of river barrier is unprecedented and raises many questions about how…
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Finding Water in Chiricahua Mountains

August 24, 2020

In my time living in the Sky Islands, I’ve made a habit of seeking out any water source that’s just deep enough to plop down in and taking a dunk. Finding water to jump in is one of my favorite pastimes, even when it’s freezing cold, or tiny! And, you can combine swimming hole visitation…
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