Field Notes

The First Sky Island FotoFauna Insights into Wildlife of the Region

April 1, 2021

It’s here—our first look at how the diversity of mammals and birds is distributed across the Sky Island region! Since launching Sky Island FotoFauna in October 2020, volunteers and organizations in Mexico and the U.S. have contributed nearly 450 monthly checklists from this growing network of cameras. Each checklist adds another piece to the regional wildlife puzzle—helping us see more clearly where wildlife species are present and absent each month across the landscape. We want to understand the distribution of a…
Read more »

Protecting Dark Skies Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

March 26, 2021

Dark skies are a remarkable feature of the Sky Island region. When true darkness blankets the landscape at night, it provides spectacular views of the stars and high–quality nocturnal habitat for numerous migrating and resident wildlife species.  Lighting along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of any border infrastructure system stands to disrupt the health and ecology of a tremendous number of species. In our Border Wildlife Study, we’ve found that…
Read more »

Community’s Choice: The Best 18 FotoFauna Photos of Winter 2021

Our December FotoFauna photo contest was so much fun—with everyone cracking wildlife jokes and enjoying exciting regional photos—that we decided to do it all over again! This time, the Sky Island FotoFauna network helped us whittle over 1,000 submissions down to 54 finalists across 18 categories: some new and some fan favorites returning from last…
Read more »

Actualización del Programa: El Estudio de la Fauna de la Frontera llega a su meta Primero Año

March 18, 2021

La semana pasada era monumental para nosotros. Exactamente hace un año, nuestra red de cameras comenzó a documentar la comunidad de fauna silvestre a lo largo de la frontera de México y Estados Unidos. En loa días que instalamos las cámaras y las dejamos para operar todos los días y las noches, en verdad no sabíamos…
Read more »

A Sampling of Flora in the San Rafael Valley: Shrubs

March 12, 2021

In A Sampling of Flora in the San Rafael Valley: Grasses, I mentioned how I’d recently picked up a plant identification book after years of slowly falling in love with the different flora that grows in this region. Part of this decision was thanks to first time I’d gone out into the field with our Springs Specialist, Sami Hammer,…
Read more »

Border Wildlife Study Hits 1-Year Milestone

March 11, 2021

This week is monumental for us. Exactly one year ago, our Border Wildlife Study camera array began clicking away to document the wildlife community along the U.S.-Mexico border. At the time we set the cameras up and left them to operate day and night, we truly didn’t know what the year would bring. In the following months, the pandemic changed our personal and professional lives, the…
Read more »

A Sampling of Flora in the San Rafael Valley: Grasses

February 26, 2021

I’ve always loved plants, but it wasn’t until I adopted a vegan diet that I started to see plants as separate from each other instead of one big sea with fifty shades of green (or uninspiring brown, depending on the time of year). After moving to the Sky Island region from Minnesota, where everything is either very green or covered in snow, I was…
Read more »

The Border Wildlife Study Rodeo

February 24, 2021

For many youngsters around the West, it is Rodeo Break. I hardly ever went to the actual Rodeo, but I sure miss having those two days off! In our Border Wildlife Study, I’ve seen plenty of animals both cattle and wildlife having their own rodeo days all year long—with no stinkin’ humans around. Enjoy this…
Read more »

Field Notes: Joining the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 12, 2021

  One amazing thing I’ve realized by staying home during the pandemic is that if I just simply look out my window for more than a few seconds, it’s impossible NOT to see birds. My husband and I joked last spring that it seemed there were so many more birds around our house than the year before, when really we’ve just…
Read more »

A Microscopic View of a Palo Verde Root Borer Beetle

February 1, 2021

In this week’s Microscopic Monday post, we are going to continue to explore the amazing diversity of beetle species in our Sky Island region by focusing on the Palo Verde Root Borer Beetle—also known simply as the palo verde beetle (Derobrachus hovorei). Formerly classified as Derobrachus geminatus, our local (and quite common) Palo Verde Root Borer was…
Read more »