Field Notes

Introducing FotoFauna: Our New Wildlife Monitoring Network

October 14, 2020

Dust off your backyard wildlife cameras—a new volunteer opportunity is here!  Sky Island Alliance is excited to announce the launch of Sky Island FotoFauna, a wildlife monitoring network powered by residents and organizations in the Sky Island region. We’re looking for backyard nature enthusiasts to join us by monitoring and submitting their local wildlife data to us monthly.  Here’s how you can help:  First, you’ll need a wildlife camera. If you haven’t set one…
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Submit Your Best Photos to the Desert Visions Contest

Calling all desert dwellers and nature lovers: your photos are needed!  Sky Island Alliance has partnered with the new outdoor desert wear company Erem on their Desert Visions photo contest, and your submissions to the contest on our behalf will help us raise money to quench the thirst of jaguars, elf owls, coatimundi, and other iconic Sky Island species.  Here’s how it works….
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Sky Islands Spotlight: Rodolfo Dirzo

October 13, 2020

This month, Sky Island Alliance is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month has been observed in the United States since 1968. From September 15 to October 15 annually, the U.S. recognizes and highlights the unique histories, traditions, cultures, and work contributions of the American citizens who have come to the U.S. from…
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Arizona’s First Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 9, 2020

What does it mean to decolonize conservation? Why does mainstream environmentalism still recognize the 1960s as the “birth of the environmental movement” when communities all around the world have protected Earth’s ecosystem for centuries? How do we as a society, Sky Island Alliance as an organization, and me as an individual push back on persistent dominant narratives that attribute environmentalism to exclusive groups of white Americans? These are questions I reflect upon regularly—and especially today, October…
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Celebrating World Habitat Day

October 7, 2020

This year’s World Habitat Day was on Monday, October 5th! As communities around the globe take a moment to observe and appreciate the species and ecosystems that make up our planet, let’s also pause to celebrate the habitats—and the flora and fauna that inhabit them—that make our Sky Island region so unique and worthy of protection.  What is…
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Four Myths about Mining the Patagonia Mountains

September 28, 2020

Roughly 60 miles southeast of Tucson—past Sonoita, Elgin, and Mt. Wrightson in the Santa Ritas—rests an eight-mile stretch of canyons and corridors known as the Patagonia Mountains. One of the largest transboundary Sky Island ranges, the Patagonias provide a habitat for hundreds of species of birds, like yellow-billed cuckoos, Mexican spotted owls, and hummingbirds; pollinators, including bees, butterflies, moths, and…
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Friday Creature Feature: Turkey Vulture

September 25, 2020

Our bird of focus for this week’s creature feature is the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura). Despite the name, turkey vultures are more vulture than turkey—they belong to the vulture family—and are commonly seen across our Sky Island region; in fact, they are one of the 70+ species we’ve detected through our Border Wildlife Study.  Keep reading to…
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Notes from the Field:  The Border Wall

September 18, 2020

A large part of my job is maintaining our field cameras for the Border Wildlife Study stretching between the Patagonia Mountains and the Huachuca Mountains. I’ve always loved fieldwork—a chance to escape my desk and get out in the world to observe what’s going on around me. Each week I visit one of our camera blocks on the U.S. side of the border, which has allowed me…
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Friday Creature Feature: Lesser Long-Nosed Bat

September 17, 2020

For this week’s Friday creature feature, let’s take a closer look at the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae), one of the Sonoran Desert’s most important pollinator species for plants like agave and various kinds of cacti, including saguaro and organ pipe.  Description:  The lesser long-nosed bat, Audubon Arizona reports, weighs as much as four quarters and…
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20 Fun Facts about Sky Island Geology

September 14, 2020

Did you know that all of our favorite Sky Island mountain ranges are the direct result of millions of years of geological expansion, erosion, volcanic activity, landslides, snow melt, and other natural events?  Island Mountains of Southeastern Arizona: Geology, Vegetation, and Wildlife, a booklet authored by Dr. John Bezy and F.M Conway (published by the Arizona…
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