We need volunteers to help us locate and survey springs in the Sky Islands. Using a simple smartphone app, you can tell us about the health of the spring and surrounding vegetation so we can track the state of water sources for wildlife and identify priorities for future stewardship projects. Learn more about Spring Seeker and how to join us below. If you have any questions about this project, feel free to reach out to our Habitat Conservation Manager Sarah Truebe.
About Spring Seeker
In most places in western North America, water is scarce. That is as true for wildlife as it is for people. Springs are places where water emerges from the ground and is available for wildlife, plants, livestock, and people. Although some spring locations have been known for millennia to people, we’re collecting information on current conditions and highlighting locations of high conservation value. [Related Reading: The Different Types of Springs in the Sky Islands]
Spring Seeker is a survey, in both English and Spanish, that you can add to the Survey123 smartphone app (Android | Apple). This survey lets us collect photos, locations, and other information about springs throughout the Sky Islands.
As volunteers submit data to Spring Seeker through Survey123, we’ll be able to use the data to:
- Monitor and understand the health of springs, including:
- The amount of water
- How seasonal the water source is
- Which threats to the spring are present (fire, erosion, invasive species, etc.)
- Which plants are present
- How wildlife, livestock, and people are using springs
- Share data with partners such as:
- The Spring Stewardship Institute, which curates a global database of spring (we contribute data regularly)
- Coronado National Forest and other land managers who are interested in springs for management reasons
- Steward springs throughout the Sky Islands by:
- Monitoring the health and wellness of springs over time
- Understanding which springs need restoration or protection
- Restoring water habitat for wildlife
- Working with ranchers and stakeholders to protect springs and safeguard livelihoods mutually
- Removing threats to springs, like invasive species and erosion
Note: You may be familiar with our previous program, Adopt-a-Spring, which focused on a few sites across southern Arizona. We grew Spring Seeker from this program in 2020 when we realized we needed more data about springs across the landscape (e.g., if water is available for wildlife).
See Spring Seeker in Action
Ready to Get Involved?
Hikers, birders, ranchers, families, and water enthusiasts of all kinds are welcome! If you’d like to contribute to our ongoing Spring Seeker project, here’s how to get started.
I’d like to join and have a smartphone.
Great! Visit our Getting Started page to learn how to install the survey on your phone, then check out our events page for ongoing opportunities to head out into the field with Sky Island Alliance staff and experienced Spring Seekers.
I’d like to join but don’t have a smartphone.
We are working on a program to check out a tablet with Spring Seeker pre-installed, but it isn’t quite ready yet. Contact Sarah Truebe to be sent updates on this program.
I’d like to seek springs but don’t feel comfortable going out alone.
We understand that everyone has different comfort levels for hiking in the backcountry. Here are a few options for you:
- Check out our events page to join Spring Seeking opportunities with others.
- Read our safety documentation.
- Email Sarah Truebe to be added to the Spring Seeker email list where people post for buddies to go out to springs together.
I’m from a school or organization and would like to learn more.
We are working on a springs program for schools, but it’s still in progress. In the meantime, invite a Sky Island Alliance staff member to your organization to give a presentation on springs in the Sky Island region.
You don’t have a current campaign going on in my area. Can I still contribute to Spring Seeker?
Yes! We collect data on springs throughout the Sky Islands in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. If you find a spring, please survey it. Get started here and continue to check our events page as new campaigns are being added all the time.
Want to learn more before you jump in?
Or are you already an experienced Spring Seeker who has expert tips to share? Contact Sarah Truebe to be added to our Spring Seeker email list.