Field Notes

Friday Flora Feature: Mexican Blue Oak

May 29, 2020

Oaks are extraordinary creatures. They are one of the most ecological important genera of trees in the northern hemisphere. They support critical food chains and ecological processes wherever they occur. This is especially true in our Sky Islands region. So, it is not surprising that we picked an oak tree to be our first plant…
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Enhancing Resilience to Catastrophic Wildfire

May 27, 2020

What do wildland fires have to do with water?  Lots, actually! In addition to the more obvious and immediate impacts—burned vegetation and habitat destruction—wildfires have extensive hydrological and ecological effects on watersheds. These impacts include erosion, debris flow, flooding, and changes in water quality—all very important factors for ecosystem health.   In the past 15 years, 25% of the Sky Islands on the U.S. side have burned in wildfires (Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity). Here, in Southern Arizona, where wildland fire season in…
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Friday Creature Feature: Hooded skunk

May 22, 2020

  Today’s Friday Creature Feature is the hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura). This little creature has been captured on Sky Island Alliance cameras as part of the Border Wildlife Study and captured on Patagonia Area Resource Alliance cameras on the west side of the Patagonia Mountains. Through this collaboration, we’re excited to observe how hooded skunks…
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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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Friday Creature Feature: Chiricahua Leopard Frog

May 15, 2020

On this Endangered Species Day, we celebrate the Chiricahua leopard frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis) and efforts to protect this Sky Island endemic species. Being an endemic means that they are only found in this region – the Sky Islands and along the Mogollon Rim!* They live in the mountains and highlands of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora,…
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Stop the Border Wall – Thank you to the Sky Island supporters

May 14, 2020

Thank you to the Sky Island supporters across the country who already voiced opposition to border wall construction! We are so inspired by seeing your comments to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials, calling for federal wall construction to stop on Arizona’s southern border.  More than 100 miles of border wall are under construction today in Arizona, but it’s not too late to still submit comments—just click HERE to voice your opposition to…
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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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What’s in your backyard? Play our Backyard Bingo!

May 5, 2020

The Sky Island region is full of amazing diversity, and we are fortunate to live in an area where wildlife can be found even in the most urban area. As you are sheltering in place, take some time to play our backyard bingo! Sit in your backyard or balcony or take a walk around the…
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Earth Day Tips for Wildlife Watching at Home

April 22, 2020

One of my greatest joys while we shelter in place is to keep a closer look at the wildlife around my home. On this Earth Day 2020, I invite you to help scientists around the world better understand the distribution of species on the move as climate changes by documenting which species live in or travel…
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SIA Guide to Celebrating Earth Day, Dark Sky Week, and National Parks Week

April 21, 2020

  The first Earth Day, 50 years ago, gave us the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the EPA. So much has changed on our planet since then, yet the vital message of Earth Day, that healthy human communities require healthy ecosystems, is still true and there is more work to do. This year we observe Earth Day from home…
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