Naomi Primero, 2016 Doris Duke Conservation Scholar

Naomi Primero, one of our amazing 2016 Doris Duke Conservation Scholars, spent three weeks this summer exploring and learning with us in the Sky Islands—and she wants to share her Sky Island Alliance story with you.

On our hikes lugging buckets of plants or searching for invasive fountain grass, each small patch of shade provided by the mesquite felt like a gift. I caught the merest glimpses of the magnificent hummingbird, heard the weirdly feline growl of the leopard frog, and saw three tiny fawns bound up the steepest rock face with their mother. I had never truly understood or sympathized with others’ love for rain, but when it poured in Patagonia—the first time the monsoons had hit since I had arrived in southeastern Arizona—I stood outside for over an hour and danced in the rain.