Field Notes

Celebrating Pride Month

June 23, 2020

Many of the faces, and facets of conservation and environmentalism in the U.S. are not visible or celebrated. When I look back on my own conservation biology studies, I remember the predominant focus on white men like Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and others who played a prominent role in developing the system of public lands in the U.S. These…
Read more »

Pollinators and Interns

June 22, 2020

As we celebrate National Pollinators Week and kick off our Binational Internship Program, we’d like to highlight the amazing work of our 2019 Pollinator Conservation Interns last summer!   In collaboration with the National Park Service through a joint Sister Parks Project, Sky Island Alliance hosted three interns from Mexico for a Pollinator Conservation Internship in summer 2019. Estefania Ramirez, Ines Griego, and Miguel Enriquez Galaz studied pollinator gardens with…
Read more »

Friday Fauna Feature: Animals Immediately Return after Fire at the Border

June 19, 2020

On May 31, 2020, lightning ignited a wildfire in the San Rafael Valley near the U.S.-Mexico border at one of Border Wildlife Study camera sites. After several days, the fire reached our wildlife camera as it burned across about 400 acres before it naturally went out. Fortunately, we were able to recover the memory card from the burned camera and replaced the camera, so our wildlife chronicling continued after with…
Read more »

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….
Read more »

Coffee Break Recap—The Incredible Story of Jaguars in the Borderlands

June 16, 2020

Together we celebrated World Jaguar Day last week with Turtle Southern from the Northern Jaguar Project and Randy Serraglio from the Center for Biological Diversity. They both shared inspiring stories of jaguars roaming across the borderlands and discussed conservation opportunities for jaguars in both the U.S. and Mexico.   Turtle explained that seeing female jaguars and their cubs on the 58,000-acre Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora drives everything they do to protect…
Read more »

Friday Flora Feature: Monkeyflowers

June 12, 2020

Monkeyflowers are iconic desert plants found here in the Sky Island region and in much of the Western United States. Today’s Friday Flora Feature highlights the scarlet monkeyflower (Erythranthe cardinalis) and the seep monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata).   It’s all in the name..or is it?  Biologists and nature enthusiasts tend to use scientific names (written as Genus species) when referring to flora and fauna. This reduces confusion as common names may vary by region and change over time. Yet, scientific names can also be befuddling. As our knowledge of the natural world grows, and our understanding of…
Read more »

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…
Read more »

Mexico Abandons its Protected Areas

June 5, 2020

Ignored for many decades, Protected Areas (PAs) in Mexico finally got the attention of the federal government in the mid ‘90s thanks to the demands of civil society and prominent environmental groups. Between 1996 and 1999, a series of new PAs were decreed and a wave of increasing funding for conservation research and policy allowed the recruitment of prominent scientists and policy makers into the federal government, laying the foundations of what would…
Read more »

A Time For Transformation

June 3, 2020

At Sky Island Alliance we deeply value the cultural diversity that is found in this shared region between the U.S. and Mexico. We work to protect and restore the diversity of life and lands in the Sky Island region – so nature thrives, open space and clean water are available to all, and people are…
Read more »

A Stroll on the San Pedro River – Virtual Coffee Break Recap

Last week, our Executive Director, Louise, immersed us in an enchanting virtual tour of the San Pedro River during our first Coffee Break with Sky Island Alliance. During the webinar, we walked alongside Louise listening to soothing running water, birds singing in the riparian canopy overhead, saw a lively troop of coati, a swimming Sonoran…
Read more »