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SKY ISLAND ALLIANCE
April 9, 2010

I first learned about Sky Island Alliance as an undergrad in college. I was looking for a class project combining my interest in wildlife research and photography. Over coffee I met with two SIA staff, Mike and Sergio, to talk about my ideas, and we set up a date to go out in the field setting remote camera traps for a mountain lion and jaguar study... a turning point for me and the best weekend of my life. In the course of three days of rough hiking and great food, I saw my first lion tracks. In the evening, watching the sun set over the rugged mountains - jaguar country - I felt a powerful connection to the land and the people who were working to protect it. I returned home sore, tired, scratched and bloody, and knowing exactly what I wanted to do for my life and career. I continued to volunteer with the organization for the next two years with wildlife tracking, jaguar conservation and Wilderness designation, eventually getting a part-time job with SIA doing Wilderness outreach for the Tumacacori Highlands in 2008. Today, I work full time as a wildlife biologist for Sky Island Alliance and am gearing up to take on a position as their Wildlife Linkages Program Coordinator. It all began with good people doing good work to protect and restore a region special for its great biodiversity, and special to me as my home. There is a great sense of camaraderie and scientific work ethic with this small organization, which relies on volunteers and big ideas to achieve conservation action in a region that spans four states in two countries. I greatly admire this organization and the work it does.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

knowing one rancher in Mexico, Carlos, whose ranch, home to over 30 threatened and endangered species, including ocelot and jaguar, is an example of wise land stewardship. Resulting from our partnership, his ranch will be made into a private reserve

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, eager and committed to conservation. Despite differences in background or beliefs, they reach common ground and work together effectively.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

secure the continuation of its current work to restore, protect and connect the Sky Islands in the future, and increase its capacity to conduct on-the-ground habitat and wildlife research, achieve policy changes and land protections, and engage the public

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & Wilderness outreach, jaguar conservation research.