Field Notes

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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Notes from the Field: Florida Canyon, Wilderness Springs Survey

August 18, 2020

Driving back from the field the other day I smiled as I merged onto I-19 heading back towards Tucson. I had traveled just a mere hour from my home and had enjoyed another rewarding day in the field, learning, connecting, and appreciating the natural beauty of our Sky Islands.  The day was spent getting to some harder-to-reach springs in the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness…
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Explore our Springs Map to Understand Conservation Need

July 28, 2020

Our Sky Island region is estimated to have 10,000 springs—places where groundwater comes to the surface and provide vital water for plants, wildlife, and people. That is a huge number of water sources to track and care for across Arizona and Sonora, but we’re up for the challenge! To help us understand which springs need our help most, we developed a Spring Prioritization Tool to compare the relative…
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Wilderness Springs Training

July 21, 2020

Did you know that springs on U.S. Forest Service land might not be protected unless they are surveyed to validate the water rights? Come learn more about our new Spring Seeker survey and how you can help survey wilderness spring this summer in Coronado National Forest! We’ll cover topics including which wilderness areas need to…
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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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