We envision the Sky Islands as a place where nature thrives, where open space and clean water are available to all, and where people are connected to the region and its innate ability to enrich our lives. We use science, conservation, education, and advocacy to connect the binational landscapes, people, and wildlife of the Sky Islands for the benefit of all.
Our Commitment to Diversity
Connecting biological and social diversity is central to Sky Island’s work in the region. Sky Island Alliance is committed to cultivating a culture that embraces diversity and representation in all the work we do. Our programs, employment, volunteer opportunities, and activities are open to all.
What We Do
We cross geographical boundaries.
We protect and restore the wild lands, wildlife, and waters that embody the sacred landscape of the Sky Islands. We work in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northwestern Mexico on lands that share a common legacy, culture, and beauty. We work across the landscape, from saguaro-studded valleys to towering oak and pine-covered mountains. Between them the vibrant sycamore canyons echo with the calls of cuckoos and elegant trogons and stitch the land together.
We cross political boundaries.
We protect the places where Aldo Leopold and Edward Abbey found solitude and inspiration, and where gray wolves and jaguars still roam. We identify, restore, and protect critical water resources across watersheds. These life-sustaining waters are vital arteries crisscrossing our landscape. Through restoration and habitat creation, we sustain life in our wild mountain ranges and wide open grasslands in two countries.
We cross physical boundaries.
Working side by side with citizen scientists, we ensure that broad-billed hummingbirds, spotted skunks, and mountain lions all have a safe path to move and have water, even in times of drought. We track wildlife movement to learn which washes, canyons, and streams wildlife use, and we create safe pathways across roads and fences. Because we fight fragmentation of their habitat, ocelots can still move freely from the wild and remote Sierra el Tigre in Sonora to the Patagonia and Santa Rita mountains in Arizona.
We cross international boundaries.
We connect experts, students and volunteers across borders, to share information, visit new places, and work together. Through scientific exploration, we have discovered new species, including the Black-Tailed Ringtail dragonfly and a new orchid. We are building the tools and increasing our ability to protect and preserve this priceless diversity of wildlife – wildlife that knows no boundaries.
Why We’re Effective
Sky Island Alliance has a proven track record in connecting people and science to conservation action. We proactively push the practice of conservation forward and engage on priority conservation needs using the best available scientific and management information, acting through partnerships and networks, and bringing people, agencies and organizations together to tackle large landscape problems. We work collaboratively to find solutions and address new and emerging conservation issues. Our local on-the-ground knowledge and willingness to work across boundaries makes us a trusted resource for information and conservation solutions.
Why It Matters
Nature and open space provides many benefits we often take for granted. We’re concerned about climate change and all that we stand to lose. Things like fresh water, clean air and even our food – and more than that, our need for rest, beauty and inspiration. Rising demand for water, energy and other natural resources is straining our natural ecosystems, and in turn, straining nature’s ability to provide what we all need and cherish, in a unique region that is recognized among the most biologically diverse places in the world. We are passionate about our work, so that our children today, and future generations tomorrow, can enjoy clean air, clear water and visit natural places in the Sky Islands with abundant wildlife. So together, we can thrive.
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Sky Island Alliance has worked to protect and restore the wild lands, wildlife, and waters that embody the legacy of this sacred landscape since 1991. We pioneered landscape-level conservation planning in the Sky Islands by integrating the science of conservation biology with grassroots organizing, volunteerism and landscape restoration in the mid-1990’s. With our partners, we built the first comprehensive regional conservation plan for this region: the Sky Island Wildlands Network. By engaging scientists, land managers, and citizens to create this science-based conservation blueprint and then implement it, we began connecting the dots between planning and conservation action.
Today Sky Island Alliance has become a leader in connecting citizen science and conservation policy to achieve effective results throughout the Madrean Sky Islands. As we continue into the future, we are:
- Conserving the biodiversity of plants and animals in the Sky Islands and protecting the ecosystems on which they depend.
- Safeguarding high-value wildlife habitat, water and roadless wild places.
- Promoting open space values and defending healthy ecosystems.
- Increasing ecosystem resilience to the stresses of land management and climate change.
- Protecting the ability of wildlife to move and to thrive.
- Building support for sustainable land management decisions, using science.
- Exploring understudied places and build critical knowledge to inform conservation and restoration priorities.
- Engaging local communities in exploration and conservation of the region’s biodiversity.
- Connecting people with wildlife and engaging them as leaders in conservation.
- Training a new generation of scientists, and people who care.