Sky Island Alliance
Sky Island Alliance works to protect and restore the diversity of life and lands in the Sky Island region. We work across borders using science, community engagement, on-the-ground conservation work, and advocacy to connect lands, people, and wildlife. The Sky Island region of southern Arizona and northern Mexico is a world-renowned biodiversity hot spot, and a national gem. The region encompasses 55 forested mountain “sky islands” that are surrounded by desert “seas.” These already isolated ecosystems and the wildlife that live here are vulnerable to fragmentation from mining, transportation infrastructure, and human development. The Sky Islands are also one of the fastest warming and drying regions in the nation, human demand for water is increasingly in conflict with protecting water for the plants and animals that depend on it, and development including construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall is threatening to sever the few remaining cross-border corridors for wildlife. Sky Island Alliance’s major activities include protecting flowing water at springs and streams; conserving connectivity and habitat for wildlife; engaging people in understanding and appreciating this unique region and fostering the cross-border cooperation necessary to conserve this interconnected ecosystem.
Border Wildlife Study
The Border Wildlife Study is working to identify, protect, and restore vital corridors species need to move across the landscape. The binational Border Wildlife Study documents the remarkable diversity of wildlife species under imminent threat from active border wall construction between Arizona and Mexico. Established in March 2020 in partnership with Naturalia, our camera array has collected over 12,000 wildlife photographs and documented 104 species in the path of the border wall in the first year of the study.
Sky Island FotoFauna is detecting change in species distribution regionally for mammals so that we can determine where conservation action/adaptation management is most needed. FotoFauna harnesses the sampling power of volunteer-operated wildlife cameras that keep watch for when and where 43 different wildlife species are moving throughout the Sky Island region.
Sky Island Spring Seeker is tracking the health of springs as a network of vital water sources to identify where spring protection and climate adaption is needed most. Volunteers carry a simple survey form on their smartphone when hiking and collect information about the amount of water, plants and animals present, and the spring’s condition.