sky island alliance

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image of volunteers at sycamore canyon

Volunteers plant riparian saplings along Aravaipa Creek

Our volunteer program started in the early 1990ís when a few concerned citizens turned their desire to engage in environmental issues into action, shaping the future of our public lands in the Sky Island region. Today, Sky Island Alliance has a growing volunteer base of over 300 people who remain actively involved throughout the year. From riparian restoration to wildlife tracking, volunteers are the key piece of the puzzle for achieving on-the-ground results for conservation in the region.

The Sky Island Alliance volunteer corps includes a diverse group of citizens from a variety
of backgrounds. On a typical volunteer outing you may find university students from the US and Mexico, retirees, and middle-aged couples new to the region, all eager to get involved in conservation action. Activities on Sky Island Alliance volunteer field projects are designed to include a variety of tasks to fit a broad range of physical abilities and comfort levels.

Our volunteer field outings are accessible, well-organized and typically occur over an entire weekend
where volunteers and Sky Island Alliance staff can enjoy the camaraderie of camping in the same area
we are working to restore. This provides ample opportunity not only get to know fellow like-minded
outdoor enthusiasts, but also allows time to explore the natural surroundings through group hikes and
other outdoor activities.

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image of volunteers around a fire

Volunteers gather around the fire after a day's work


Volunteer in the field:

Habitat Restoration: Learn hands-on restoration techniques such as building one-rock dams and other water harvesting structures that aim to control erosion, trap sediment, stabilize stream banks and retain water on the landscape. These structures combined with the planting of young riparian trees and grasses will increase quality habitat along vital riparian corridors and heal sections of degraded watershed. > Find out more

Habitat Assessment Surveys: Conduct hikes in teams of 3-4 volunteers on designated routes on selected areas of public land. Routes are easily accessible by vehicle and vary in length in order to encompass varying comforts and abilities of volunteers. Using a camera, GPS unit, topographical map and data sheet, hiking teams collect data on plants, wildlife, riparian areas, recreational impacts and landscape erosion. Data collected allows Sky Island Alliance to input and guide future land management planning on public lands in the Sky Island region. > Find out more

Monitoring the presence of mammal species in important inter-mountain corridors: This volunteer program involves the largest commitment. After an extensive training in identification of wildlife sign and how to properly document the presence volunteers are teamed up with other trained trackers to monitor a transect every six weeks. > Find out more

Volunteer in the office or at outreach events:

Data entry: The data collected in the field is compiled into a database so that Sky Island can put that hard-earned information to work. If you are interested in data entry and analysis please contact Sarah at

Outreach: We are always seeking commited volunteers to represent SIA at tabling events, give general presentations to the public and help internally at SIA outreach events and workshops. If you enjoy interacting with the public, sharing your knowledge of the region and spreading the mission of SIA , this job is for you! Email Sarah for more information at