Field Notes

In Memory of Volunteer Extraordinaire Tom Swenson-Healey

September 22, 2021

A Tribute to a Special Volunteer BY SKY ISLAND ALLIANCE STAFF A few years back, I had been a retired nurse with too much time on my hands and really needed to get out of the house. One day, I happened upon a Sky Island Alliance information booth at the Festival of Books and found…
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Love Bats? This Fall, Help Us Monitor Their Activity

September 21, 2021

At some point over the summer, did you wake up to discover that your hummingbird feeder had been drained and emptied seemingly overnight? If so, how exciting! You may have been visited by migratory bats. Photo credit: Four bats feeding from a hummingbird feeder after dusk. Taken by Emily Burns. For many years, community scientists…
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Finding Springs to Protect and Restore in the Bighorn Fire Area of the Santa Catalina Mountains

September 7, 2021

One year after the colossal Bighorn Fire burned 120,000 acres in Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains, ecosystems are recovering. In these ecosystems, springs are a critical feature of the post-burn landscape and provide water for wildlife and opportunities for regrowth of plants.   Photo caption: Annabel spring in the Santa Catalinas, January 2021. Fire can be beneficial, especially for plants that have evolved to reproduce when there is a…
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Spring Seeker Stories: Agua Caliente Tank

July 16, 2021

We’re back this month with another installment in our Spring Seeker Stories! This time, retired wildland firefighter and Sky Island Alliance volunteer Brit Rosso takes us on a rollercoaster of a journey through the Santa Catalina Mountains to find Agua Caliente Tank and Possible Spring. If you missed the last one, you can read Brit’s notes…
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Notes from the Field: The Great Porcupine Search

June 10, 2021

Photo Caption: A North American porcupine detected on one of our Border Wildlife Study cameras. Thank you to our wonderful volunteer, Alicia Stout, for this engaging blog post she wrote on her recent wildlife adventures with SIA staff in the field! If you have similar stories of volunteering with us, please send a write-up to…
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Spring Seeker Stories: Bear and Grapevine Spring in the Southern Rincon Mountains

April 28, 2021

We’re back this month with another installment in our Spring Seeker Stories! This time, retired wildland firefighter and Spring Seeker volunteer Brit Rosso takes us on a visual journey through the Southern Rincon Mountains to find Bear Spring and Grapevine Spring.  In his field notes, Brit muses about the creation of the Rincon Mountain Wilderness, a…
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Notes from the Field: Van Trap and Chimney Spring in the Southern Rincon Wilderness

March 29, 2021

Volunteers lie at the heart of our Spring Seeker program. In 2020, 63 people helped us check over 220 springs in the U.S. and Mexico—a feat that would be impossible for staff alone. Retired wildland firefighter Brit Rosso is one of our steadfast Spring Seeker volunteers. Not only is he dedicated to hiking rough terrains…
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Call for Art: Help Bear Witness to the Patagonia Mountains by Submitting Art of the Borderlands

January 15, 2021

  Help us tell the story of the critical jaguar habitat in the Patagonia Mountains that is now threatened by border wall construction. If the Patagonias are cut off from Mexico by these 4.1 miles of planned border wall, jaguar and other species, like bear, will lose access to a large portion of their migratory…
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Notes from the Field: Searching for High Spring in the Huachuca Mountains

January 14, 2021

Volunteers lie at the heart of our Spring Seeker program. In 2020, 63 people helped us check over 220 springs in the U.S. and Mexico—a feat that would be impossible for staff alone.  Retired wildlands firefighter Brit Rosso is one of our steadfast Spring Seeker volunteers. Not only is he dedicated to hiking rough terrains in order to document the status of springs…
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Seven Reasons Why We’re Thankful for Our Incredible Volunteers

December 1, 2020

Never underestimate the power we have when we come together to serve the Sky Islands—to monitor water, eradicate invasive species, and restore the health of all flora, fauna, and people. Together, we can do so much to restore our mountain ranges and desert grasslands. December 7 is this year’s International Volunteers Day. As a thank…
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