Join us in the field as a volunteer to learn how to check Border Wildlife Study cameras, collect data on habitat quality, track for wildlife along the border road, or help process the millions of photos collected every year at the Sky Island Alliance office. Your contributions help us understand the health of our borderlands and use this insight to champion its protection.
Volunteer to Check Cameras
Add your name to a list of people we can call to join us on camera-check days. These field days can be long, but the landscape is beautiful. We usually meet in Tucson, at the field site, or somewhere in between. And we spend 4-8 hours servicing our cameras. If you like to hike and explore remote areas but don’t have your own 4WD vehicle, this can be a great way to get involved and meet staff and other volunteers. No expertise is needed other than a willingness to trek off trail, sometimes in demanding weather conditions. Email Eamon Harrity for more info.
Take the Lead on a Block of Cameras
We’re looking for dedicated volunteers to check an entire block of 8-10 cameras. These volunteers will shadow Sky Island Alliance staff on 3-4 outings and then take the lead on checking and maintaining the cameras in a block every 6-8 weeks thereafter. The camera lead will coordinate field work logistics and supply needs with Sky Island Alliance, but largely work independently after initial training. Sky Island Alliance will support camera checks on an as-needed basis and take responsibility for processing all photo data collected in the field. If you have your own 4WD vehicle, experience navigating rough dirt roads, and like to work independently, this could be an option for you. You can also tag-team with another volunteer. Email Eamon Harrity for more info.
Help Track Wildlife at the Border
During the year we gather at the border to walk the road and sandy washes in search of wildlife tracks and signs. By collecting data on where animals cross the border under barbed-wire fences and vehicle barriers, we can better advocate for their protection. Get ready to join a future tracking expedition by watching this webinar, and email Bryon Lichtenhan to sign up. He’ll reach out to you the next time we have a wildlife-tracking event at the border.
Help Us Find Water
Become a Spring Seeker and carry our free survey on your smartphone when you hike in the borderlands. When you encounter springs or other sources of rare water near the border, use the Spring Seeker app to help us collect info on current conditions. Since the program began in 2020, we’ve surveyed more than 630 springs across the region. Already we’ve seen just how important springs are to native plants and wildlife during times of fire, drought, and climate change. With your help, we can learn even more and protect more of these sensitive sites. Get started with Spring Seeker today.
Sort and Analyze Photos
We need help sorting the hundreds of images that come in every week from our Border Wildlife Study cameras. There are false flashes and repeat takes — but you won’t forget the wildlife gems. It’s a chance to really see what’s happening at the border and help others see it too. Volunteers will need to train in person at the Sky Island Alliance office in Tucson and then commit over time to at least 20 hours of photo analysis. You can get ready for this opportunity by watching this webinar and reviewing this guide. Email Meagan Bethel for more info on how to start your training.
Consult on Tricky-to-Identify Species
If you’re passionate about wildlife and experienced in identifying species, you can help us with tricky photos. Email Meagan Bethel with your taxonomic specialty, and she’ll reach out to you when wildlife photos need extra review.