Field Notes

Why We Study Springs and How You can Get Involved in Their Stewardship

November 18, 2021

Have you ever wondered why we spend so much time studying springs in the Sky Islands? In the arid parts of North America, and especially in the west, springs are often the only water sources available for wildlife and people. Springs here in the southwest also harbor unique species, such as Bartram’s stonecrop, Chiricahua Leopard frogs, and tiny…
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Looking Back at a Fantastic Year of Pulling Vinca Major in Aravaipa Canyon

November 5, 2021

2021 was a great year for pulling Vinca major, an invasive plant, from the creek beds of Aravaipa Canyon Preserve in Arizona. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), who we’ve worked with on this project since 2015, we held ten trips across six months this year. Each one was critical in helping us build…
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Whence Water Flows (aka The Different Types of Springs in the Sky Islands)

October 18, 2021

Have you ever wondered what a spring is?  Well, a spring is a place where groundwater is exposed or emerges at the surface. Springs are classified into two main categories — lentic and lotic — based on whether the water flows or not. Lentic (sounds like “lenses”) springs form pools, where water may not flow. Lotic springs, however, do flow.  Scientists have even sub-categorized these types of springs into more subtypes, depending on how the water emerges from…
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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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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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We’re Rooting for Native Flora at Aravaipa Canyon Preserve!

March 22, 2021

In early March, a team of six volunteers and three Sky Island Alliance staff braved the chilly spring evenings at Aravaipa Canyon Preserve to do two days of hard, earnest work: pull invasive periwinkle from the creek bed.  The nine of us spent over ten hours total that weekend bent over the cool Arizona water, which felt good in the sun as we loosened vinca from the hard…
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Notes from the Field: Spring Seeking with Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows

December 7, 2020

Since the most memorable years of my life were spent in the Peace Corps, I’m always excited to meet another returned Peace Corps Volunteer (“RPCV”), which happens quite often in Tucson! These perpetual run-ins are mostly because of the University of Arizona Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program. The Coverdell program is a national fellowship that…
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A Quick Guide to Springs in the Sky Islands

November 3, 2020

If you’ve ever wondered what springs are, how they form, or why they’re important to the ecosystems and habitats found in the Sky Island region, go no further. In celebration of hitting three months of spring seeking—a community project that has allowed us to monitor the health of our springs in Arizona and Sonora—we’ve put together a quick guide to help you navigate the many…
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Finding Water in Chiricahua Mountains

August 24, 2020

In my time living in the Sky Islands, I’ve made a habit of seeking out any water source that’s just deep enough to plop down in and taking a dunk. Finding water to jump in is one of my favorite pastimes, even when it’s freezing cold, or tiny! And, you can combine swimming hole visitation…
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Wilderness Springs Training

July 20, 2020

Register Here Did you know that springs on U.S. Forest Service land might not be protected unless they are surveyed to validate the water rights? Come learn more about our new Spring Seeker survey and how you can help survey wilderness spring this summer in Coronado National Forest! We’ll cover topics including which wilderness areas…
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