Tom Swenson-Healey, Sky Island Hero

Whether he’s bushwhacking up a side canyon in search of a spring or chatting with passersby at a local outreach event, Tom has gone – and continues to go – beyond the call of duty as a volunteer for Sky Island Alliance. In 2017 he contributed innumerable hours of his own time to many of our various projects, and he’s already racking up the hours for 2018 too! Perhaps more importantly though, Tom has a wicked sense of humor, constant enthusiasm in the field, and humility about the impact he has on our organization. It seems only necessary to call Tom a Sky Island hero.

A few years back, I had been a retired nurse with too much time on my hands and really needed to get out of the house. One day, I happened upon a Sky Island Alliance information booth at the Festival of Books and found what I was looking for. As a volunteer these past two years, trips with SIA have taken me to places very few have ever walked and introduced me to people I might not have ever known otherwise; students, other retirees, ranchers, birders, animal trackers, botanists, entomologists, biologists, hydrologists, astronomers, resource and land managers. I am especially encouraged from meeting young people passionate about the environment and seeing their potential. Beyond that, I’m learning about the flora, fauna, and geology of the area and the enormous importance of water. – Tom