Field Notes

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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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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Sky Island SPOTlight: Kartchner Caverns State Park

February 24, 2020

Kartchner Caverns State Park is a limestone cave that was explored in 1974 and became an official Arizona State Park in 1999. With 2.4 miles of passages, the cave is teeming with life. It is home to a large colony of myotis velifer bats as well as countless microorganisms and macroinvertebrates. Kartchner Caverns State Park…
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Volunteer Dispatch: Sourcing Devotion: The art of nature, a sublime Sky Island natural spring, pt. 5

June 11, 2018

by Valarie lee James, Sky Island Alliance Adopt-a-Spring volunteer Sky Island Alliance Volunteer Log Springtime 2018 Visit to the Spring “Nature is the Art of God.” – Dante Had we missed the last spring wildflowers this year? Super blooms in the desert grasslands: Southern Arizona’s dazzling Art of Nature: wide swatches of color and scent,…
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Volunteer Dispatch: Ecology as contemplative practice, pt. 4

March 21, 2018

by Valarie lee James, Sky Island Alliance Adopt-a-Spring volunteer “Darwin’s manner of deep watchfulness allowed the ordinary ground of life to become sanctified, to be brought into Sensus plenoir—a fuller sense—through the offering of simple attention.” – Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author and naturalist. “…what would it mean for contemplative practice to be considered an integral…
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Volunteer Dispatch: To everything a season, pt. 3

February 7, 2018

by Valarie lee James, Sky Island Alliance Adopt-a-Spring volunteer “Within the recesses of the forest, even when in the midst of it (the deafening noise of the insects), a universal stillness appears to reign,” – Darwin, Brazil, 1830s. Sky Island Alliance Volunteer Log Fall 2017 Visit to the Spring In Fall of 2017, our adopted…
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Volunteer Dispatch: The life of a desert spring, pt. 2

October 24, 2017

by Valarie lee James, Sky Island Alliance Adopt-a-Spring volunteer Sky Island Alliance Volunteer Log Monsoon 2017 Visit to the Spring Our first visit to the spring at the height of the Sonoran Desert Summer exceeded our expectations, yielding water flow, nothing short of a miracle. Now, at the end of the monsoon season, we continue…
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Volunteer Dispatch: The life of a desert spring

August 3, 2017

by Valarie lee James, Sky Island Alliance Adopt-a-Spring volunteer Sky Island Alliance Volunteer Log Our First Visit to the Spring: Summer 2017 Note to the Reader: the whereabouts of this wilderness spring is not revealed to ensure the survival of its unique ecosystem. Deep in a mountain range in southeastern Arizona, dry summer grasses flanking…
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This lonely pine flycatcher built her nest at Aliso Spring in 2016, credit Jennie Duberstein

Pine flycatcher—harbinger of climate change, ray of hope for adaptation

October 4, 2016

By Louise Misztal Five years ago I wrote—in the pages of this very newsletter—about the effects of climate change that were already visible in the Sky Islands and that the region’s ecosystems and species were facing new and more complex challenges as a result. What I wrote then is still true to today. “[W]arming has…
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Hermitage Seep Restoration

October 9, 2015

Get muddy with us at this lush site in Rucker Canyon on the western flank of the Chiricahua Mountains! We will be improving the conditions for area bats, pollinators, and Chiricahua leopard frogs.