Field Notes

Rescuing Springs at the Border

July 15, 2020

Rancho Los Fresnos is vital protected Mexican land directly south of Coronado Memorial and Coronado National Forest in the southern Huachuca Mountains. Managed by our partners, Naturalia, this ranch is part of our binational Border Wildlife Study and a focus of our Sky Island stewardship work this year.   Los Fresnos means “the ash trees” in Spanish. Ash trees (Fraxinus spp) are in the Oleaceae…
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Springs and the Bighorn Fire

June 17, 2020

On June 5, 2020, lightning ignited the Bighorn Fire which continues to burn this week across the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Fire is a natural and necessary component of our Sky Island ecosystems. Yet there is no question that fires like these in the wildland-urban interface are of high concern for human communities….
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Springs—Oases of the future?

June 10, 2020

Last week, a new paper in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment by Jennifer Cartwright and colleagues (including Sky Island Alliance’s very own Sami Hammer and Louise Misztal) was published that describes the inspiring potential for springs to provide refuge for a large array of species in the arid Southwest region as climate changes. Springs already serve as vital habitat in our dry landscape—providing water, food, and shelter for species that locally…
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Springs 101 

May 20, 2020

What are springs? Springs are incredible places where water comes out of the ground and transforms the area around it into an oasis. In the Sky Islands, if you find water outside of a river or lake, there is a good chance you are at a spring. They can look like a pool of water surrounded by lush trees, a stream full of frogs that…
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Charting the Waters of the Mexican Sky Islands 

May 13, 2020

“The drainage that comes out of a rock, a crack in the rock, does not give you the option to look for the largest source of water, or for a larger current […] the water flows  as if it were coming from a fountain, very slowly”. This is a fragment from a conversation with one of the…
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