Volunteers are the at the very heart of our success. Since the beginning, volunteers have helped us shape the future of the Sky Islands. Sky Island Alliance offers volunteer opportunities for a broad range of interests, physical abilities, and skills throughout the year. From planting pollinator plants to photographing wildlife tracks, volunteers are the heartbeat of tangible and effective conservation for our wildlife and wild places.
Over 300 to 400 people from diverse backgrounds volunteer with us each year, and together they contribute more than 12,000 hours annually – and growing! On a typical volunteer outing you may meet university students from the U.S. and Mexico, expert retirees, professionals, scientists, and young couples, all eager to get dirt under their nails, get outside, and make a difference.
VOLUNTEERING WITH SKY ISLAND ALLIANCE
Our volunteer field trips are accessible and well-organized. Field trips may be a single day outing or may occur over an entire weekend or week, allowing volunteers and Sky Island Alliance staff to enjoy the camaraderie of camping under the stars. Carpooling is often available for group field trips, and we provide you with all the tools you need for each activity. Some opportunities involve going out on your own with a team, or helping in the office.
In addition to making a positive change for wildlife and habitat, we hope our volunteer activities help you meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts, explore nature, and fall in love with everything the Sky Islands have to offer.
VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES AT SKY ISLAND ALLIANCE
Restoration Field Trips
What better way to discover the stunning Sky Islands than to join us on a restoration project? Get involved on the ground and know that your efforts are immediately benefiting water and wildlife. It’s an excellent way to see new places, learn more about our native species and make new friends. There is always a little something for everyone, no matter what your background or interests! Join any trip that sparks your interest: we have day outings, and fun overnight camping trips, too.
Want to help conservation of wildlife and wild places, but prefer the comfort of air conditioning and flexible working hours? We have office volunteer opportunities from stuffing mailing envelopes to biological data entry. Please contact us to see what needs we have that fit your skills and timeframe.
If you love talking to people and sharing your love for the plants, animals and wild places of the Sky Islands, volunteering in outreach might be just for you! Throughout the year, we look for volunteers to help with staffing outreach tables at community events and giving presentations to groups of all ages.
Citizen Science Teams
The following day-trip activities require training, a commitment to attend multiple trips to the same location throughout the year, working as part of a team, and some hiking ability. Four-wheel drive vehicles may be needed to access some sites.
This activity is perfect for volunteers willing to get wet and dirty in search of secret springs and other amazing fountains of life scattered throughout our Sky Islands. You will join a small team and hike in to monitor your adopted spring site on a regular basis, five times a year. Ease of access, hiking distance and difficulty vary depending on each site. Specialized skills in plant and animal identification are a plus, but not necessary. There is no training workshop required for this activity – you learn on the job!
We are seeking adventurous, eager-to-learn naturalists, to monitor the presence and movement of wildlife by finding their tracks, scat and other sign. After completing four days of field training, volunteers form teams of 3-4 wildlife trackers and adopt a 1.5 mile long survey route. You may need to walk up to 3 or 4 miles round trip in sandy washes or along dirt roads. Surveys are every six weeks, totaling nine surveys per year. To accommodate volunteers’ busy lives, teams can schedule their survey within a two-week window. We offer two training workshops each year, in spring and fall, open to anyone who wishes to learn. Our Wildlife Tracking Workshops teach you how to identify animal tracks and sign and to document what you discover, in addition to learning wildlife camera monitoring and the natural history of native wildlife.
Wildlife Stewards (Wildlife Camera Monitoring)
For the intrepid adventurer! After completing four days of field training, Wildlife Stewards maintain our wildlife cameras in remote areas of the region, six times a year on a regular schedule. They steward their adopted camera sites and data to protect sensitive or endangered species that could be present. Volunteers need to be able to pack 30 pounds to carry in equipment and batteries. This activity may require hiking in steep or rugged terrain, as much as 5 to 10 miles round trip, and often requires a 4-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicle. Wildlife Stewards take the same four-day Wildlife Tracking Workshop training as volunteer wildlife trackers.