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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Sky Island Alliance

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: Sky Island Alliance is dedicated to the protection and restoration of the native species and habitats in the Sky Island region - home to an incredibly diverse group of plants and animals. With volunteers, scientists, land owners, public officials and agencies, SIA works to establish protected areas, restore healthy landscapes, and promote public appreciation of the region's unique biological diversity.

Target demographics: wildlife and protect wild places.

Geographic areas served: Southeastern Arizona, Southwestern New Mexico, Northern Sonora and Chihuahua.

Programs: Landscape Restoration, Wildlife Linkages, Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment, Adopt-a-Spring and more!

Community Stories

93 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance creates a unique opportunity for the public to connect to their local wild lands. As a volunteer, I have engaged in meaningful habitat restoration work with like-minded individuals. The Sky Island staff always create a welcoming environment; as a result, the organization has cultivated a large cadre of dedicated, long-term volunteers. We adventure to wild places to restore the land and ourselves.

howardf41

Board Member

Rating: 5

I grew up here, hiking these mountains and exploring our wonderful desert regions. I'll probably never see a jaguar in the wild, but knowing that these magnificent cats are out there and that Sky Island Alliance is leading the charge to protect wildlife corridors makes me proud to be a donor and board member of this terrific group. I encourage everyone reading these reviews to join, become a volunteer, and help make the Sky Islands a permanent home for all native wildlife.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

"Boots on the ground" sounds too catchy a phrase, but it does in fact describe one of this organization's enduring qualities - dedicated staff doing work to affect positive changes for conservation and the environment. These efforts range from overseeing volunteers in land restoration projects to working with public and private landowners on maintaining or opening wildlife corridors in the region.

If you're looking for a worthy group to honor with a donation, consider Sky Island Alliance.

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Vanessa37

Donor

Rating: 5

As a Tucson native and lover of the outdoors, Sky Island Alliance is my absolute favorite local non-profit. The advocacy and collaborative nature of the work they do is so key to the diversity and beauty of our natural spaces.
I first became involved in 2015, through a friend's recommendation. This year, we have tripled our giving and become regular monthly donors. And I am now on the Board, and getting involved in some committee work.
Our family is also looking to adopt a Spring soon. Can't wait to see what Sky Island accomplishes in their next 25 years!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Island is a wonderful organization, I have volunteered with Sky Island Alliance for over seven years. Starting when I was middle school a they helped me grow as a scientist conducting cutting-edge research projects using noninvasive monitoring through tracking and remote cameras. This fueled my passion for the Sonoran desert and the Sky Island region and they are why I am studying wildlife conservation at the University of Arizona today. Sky Island Alliance is full of wonderful, caring individuals who truly wish to see our natural resources protected and restored.

1 Writer

Donor

Rating: 5

The work of Sky Island Alliance is unlike any other organization in the region! They are building strong partnerships, preserving wild places, protecting our region's precious water resources...and always having a lot of fun doing it!

If you have money, donate. If you have time, volunteer. If you have a voice, tell your friends about this great group!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

First, you need to know what our desert Sky Islands are. They stick up out of the broad desert valleys that stretch the Great Basin and Range region of the American west. The Sky Islands are incredibly important to wildlife, offering habitats with water and habitats above the grass, cactus and desert scrub . The Sky Island Alliance (SIA) works to protect the mountains and the corridors that connect them despite our human foot/road/freeway prints. This grassroots organization does more than that, it restores habitat, conducts field surveys, trains trackers and raises awareness with citizen scientists, volunteers of all kinds as well as public lectures, etc. An exceptionally active and worthwhile nonprofit that profits both wildlife, landscapes and humans.

Allison55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with SIA as a senior in college and was provided with many great networking opportunities and field experiences. I would recommend any student looking for an internship to apply with Sky Island Alliance, they are true to their mission and do such an amazing amount of work for the number of staff working there. They need volunteers and interns to continue their amazing work - so get out there, you will have a great time!

Donor

Rating: 5

I feel extremely proud to be involved in the conservation of the Sky Island Region as a staff member with SIA. We are able to achieve all we can in habitat restoration, wildlife connectivity, climate change adaptation study and more because we have the support of so many equally passionate volunteers and conservation partners in the U.S. as well as in northern Mexico.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

About a decade ago, Sky Island Alliance approached the Forest Service, where I worked as a staff officer, to offer volunteer services to help with some difficult ecological restoration projects. One entailed wading out in stinky cattle stock tanks to capture invasive bullfrogs to help recover native frog and fish populations. I was so impressed. They were so dedicated, worked very hard without complaint, showed much interest in learning and sharing knowledge, and were all great fun to spend time with. This was just the start of many environmental improvement projects on public land that continue to this day. Thank you, SIA, for all the good work you do!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance is a wonderful grassroots organization. They do great work restoring habitat, conducting important field surveys, advocating for the Sky Islands and raising awareness of the importance of plants, animals & the environment to our well being. One of their best features is how they involve members in all of the work they do. Keep up the great work! Paula H.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance fills a really unique niche in the region - a bi-national conservation effort that combines the best conservation science with outstanding on-the-ground restoration work. On any given weekend you can join dedicated staff and volunteers in fieldwork to help restore portions of our unique landscapes and learn about our region's natural history. As an organization committed to the power of partnerships, SIA works with land managers of all stripes - ranchers and communities, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations on both sides of the border. Join in - volunteer, donate, educate yourself about this important work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Islands Alliance does great work in the field of environmental conservation and advocacy. They have wonderful, expert staff and a dedicated cadre of volunteers (such as myself0 which is truly inspiring. They have forged wonderful liaisons with organizations, ranchers, and politicians both in the US and Northern Mx to further the cause of preserving our wild lands .

1 Meagan B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Island has been such a large contributor to my interest in wildlife biology today and I am grateful for all the work they put into the effort they put into saving our sky island and desert seas. I started volunteering at Sky Island Alliance when I was in Sixth grade and have never stopped. The staff are wonderful and supportive of a student interested in wildlife conservation, and the efforts they are making to protect both the wildlife and habitat has led me to major in wildlife conservation at the UofA this year.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sky Islands is a great non-profit serving critical environmental needs in Southern Arizona. I have enjoyed partnering with them on many projects involving public lands, youth engagement, and overall community health. They have a great staff to boot. Please help support this local organization.

1 Emily125

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Sky Island Alliance over the summer, and it was one of the best things I've experienced. They are by far one of the best conservation organizations I know of. All of their staff know so much and are an absolute joy to work with. If I still lived in Tucson, I would be volunteering with them every chance I got. The work they do for the nature and wildlife of the sky islands and the surrounding areas is amazing. I'm so happy that SIA is out there advocating for our wildlife.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Sky Island Alliance for 14 years, tracking as part of the Wildlife Linkages program. I am very impressed with the organization. It has a robust restoration program, making good use of many, many volunteers. It is a conservation organization that works by education and research and not by confrontation. People who work for the organization are very well informed and they work to help others to become informed regarding habitat issues in our Sky Islands.

JessicaMoreno

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer and monthly donor, and full disclosure, also have had the honor of working for Sky Island Alliance for eight years! From wilderness to wildlife linkages and communications and development, I've watched this organization grow as I have grown in my many roles here. Although our budget and staff are small, we have a powerful impact in conserving the Sky Islands, and I am extremely proud of our work and our volunteers and supporters. What a fun, passionate group! Together we can get anything done - and we have! I give to only a few organizations, and this one remains on my list, and will for many years to come. The organization has seen many changes in the past year, and now we are poised for some really exciting and great things... there is no better place to give your time and money right now!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance is restoring southern Arizona. This organization with mostly volunteers restores riparian, desert, and mountain habitats for plants and animals. It does very important work. The staff are extremely knowledgeable about the local Sky Island ecosystems. They are absolute experts. This is a welcoming organization for volunteers. I have learned so much being a volunteer with Sky Islands.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sky Island Alliance is an effective, hardworking organization, free of the corporate trappings of many larger environmental organizations. Think globally & act locally, you can't do better that the SIA. Landscape restoration and preservation, Spring assessments, Biological surveys... this is a boots in the mud, dirty hands, bunch that won't shy away from hard work or waste your valuable donations. I give all of my free time and $$ to these folks!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sky Island Alliance is a “boots on the ground hands in the dirt” kind of an organization. Based in Tucson Arizona, they focus their attention on the unique Sky Island region that straddles the US, Mexican border. Important work is accomplished by this amazing group. By mobilizing teams of volunteers to collect data, restore habitat, document regional diversity, map wildlife corridors… They help preserve, protect & restore this incredible region.

My favorite project managed by the SIA is the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment program. Teams of volunteer citizen scientist work side by side with trained biologist, university students and agency officials from the US and Mexico to catalog the amazing diversity of the remote, rugged mountain ranges that make up the Sky Islands.

I really can't say enough nice things about this terrific group. This is where I spend my volunteer time and make my cash donations. The projects are always fun and deeply satisfying, I honestly feel like I'm making a difference when I work with these guys!

1 parawatchdogs

Donor

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance is amazing! I was initially impressed with their conservation work in southern Arizona from stories and articles that I had heard and read. When I was about to jump into volunteer work with them--I found my own small community in need. My attention shifted toward my home, but --lo and behold-- SIA recognized my community's need as well. I soon found myself working side by side with SIA's amazing group of dedicated people.
I am grateful for all the work that Sky Island Alliance does in our region to protect and preserve the sky islands--and especially grateful for all the work they've done and continue to do in the little corner of the Patagonia Mountains that I call home!

1 RobertVilla

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Sky Island Alliance for me is an example of training citizens to be natural historians and stewards of the natural world in the borderlands of the Southwestern US. Their data are synthesized into real-world conservation efforts that set an example to other.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This group, Sky Island Alliance, is studying climate changes on the ground, starting with water. Not too surprising in the desert. But, knowing how facts about seeps and springs are changing is almost as important as knowing how to reverse it. One must study any aspect of life on earth to know what it means, and what the future could be like, and also know if there are changes one direction to the other. Sky Island is studying and working to know our environment for the health of our Sky Island area so that the animals and the humans have a better place to live and benefit from in all ways.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group of conservation oriented people works by bringing international scientists and citizens together to discover the wildlands of the Sonoran Desert. It does work with developers, ranchers, interested citizen trackers, re-establishing water courses, advising road planners about crossings and wildlife tracks to surrounding mountains and much much more. Because the Sonoran Desert knows no barrier walls or fences we deal with the lovers of the desert from both sides of the international border and the animals that traverse the geography in the area.
The "sky islands" are sources of genetic diversity that all the inhabitants need to visit in order to maintain their species. This occurs across the Sonoran Desert and therefore human interruptions of the acreage is important and crucial. Repair and knowledge of the area is very important to all inhabitants. Groups such as the Sky Island Alliance are quietly protecting, teaching and repairing as much as they can as fast as they can.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

These guys really care about what they do! I have never had a bad experience volunteering with SIA and I don't expect to. I can only hope they are able to continue to receive funding so that the important research they are involved with can continue for many years to come.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

SIA has been organizing, teaching, encouraging local participation for the preservation of this incredible biodiversity that we call the Sonoran Desert. Who else goes out there and builds ladders in the cattle water tanks so that the frogs and other little water seekers can get in and get out safely!
These people DO! I give them triple Hip Hip Hoorays and five stars!
The scope of their mission crosses the national borders of USA and Mexico! Not always a savory endeavor in these times of border tragedies. However, I have faith that they will be the ones to succeed!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I know of no other grassroots organization who does so much to nurture the preservation, awareness, restoration, advocacy of cherished places. Their "place" is the sky island region of southwest Arizona and I have been supporting them for years. They put together tremendous volunteer outings with outstanding hands-on accomplishments, they reach out to the neighboring sky islands south of the border, they have raised an awareness of jaguars and are a strong voice of advocacy on their behalf, they work to preserve, protect, restore the land, as well as raise awareness of the greater need for conservation efforts in the area. This is one of the best action-oriented, boots on the ground, passionate and community minded groups I've ever encountered!

1 Murray B.

Donor

Rating: 5

Arizona's borderlands with Mexico are at tremendous risk due to fragmentation of lands, wasteful unneeded strip mining, water depletion, and degradation of landscapes by traffic from border patrol vehicles, migrants, and border criminals. Plus, global climate disruption is degrading the biome habitats of the various elevations of the Sky Islands. All the while there continues to be important evidence of successful struggles of remnant megafauna populations such as the ocelot and even the jaguar in the USA. Sky Island Alliance works tirelessly to protect, preserve, and restore the natural world of the borderlands. As a borderlands art & heritage photographer, I've worked with this group since 2004 in various ways, supporting it as I can. Without this group, the Sky Islands would be in much more dire circumstances.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance is one of those run-silent-run-deep organizations which has the delicate and inclusive skill of building bridges between and among seemingly disparate groups. They bring opposing and opinionated people together to see each others' points of view and to find common ground. Their staff understands issues from the ground up--from deep ecological studies of sky island flora and fauna, up through the action arena inspiring volunteer boots on the ground to care for threatened natural places, and at the top, advocating as a team player on Capitol Hill to bring about changes in wildland management policy.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I'm a new volunteer, I recently attended their 20th Wildlife Tracking Workshop, part of their wildlife linkages program. SIA staff were so knowledgeable about wildlife, natural history, the issues and their work. I left feeling very informed and confident in my abilities to identify wildlife and completely understood how my work as a volunteer was directly supporting their mission and makes a clear difference to protect the astounding biodiversity of the Sky Islands region. From a volunteer perspective, that is the most I could ask for.

2 Jose L.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

SIA is a great non profit organization. Their work across the border (US-MEX) forges true friendship and teamwork between nations to protect our Sky Islands. Also by being a volunteer now I can put in practice what I have learned in my community.

1 Mary197

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance demonstrates incredible leadership in involving its volunteers in a citizen science initiative. Volunteers are trained and then utilized to collect data that is then used by the organization to
effect important changes in preserving the species of the Sky Island region. Just one example of this
groundbreaking effort has been use of the data collected by it's volunteers and hard working staff
to work to get highway underpass corridors approved and implemented. This organization is doing a great job with a limited budget. The staff members are great people who are enthusiastic and committed to
preserving our southwestern region for future generations. They do this across borders and by working with people from many different walks of life, helping all to come together to support an ideal shared by a diverse group of people.

Volunteer

Rating: 4



I would like to thank Sky Island Alliance for all the great work that they are doing for Southern Arizona's wildlife corridor, riparian area, and protecting water.

I was able to take a tracking class 4 years ago and have volunteered on a transect every since. What a great class and awesome way of getting out there and understanding the importance of this area.

Volunteers and staff work so closely together. I was also able to volunteer with Sky Island staff on a BioBliz, taking school children out to learn and collect photos and tracks, surveying and recording all the different species they came along on the trails.

What a hard working wonderful group and I feel so lucky being part of the importance of the Sky Island Alliance work - team/family.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance has flourished by putting aside political concerns nationally and internationally to prioitize the habitats as a whole. I have been impressed by the quality of data collected on their bioblitzes and the follow-up of entering data into regional databases accessible by all. Thank-you!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sky Island Alliance is an important and effective regional leader on issues at the intersection of climate change and the environment. They have brought together a diverse array of regional resource managers, decision-makers, and private land owners for constructive dialogues on environmental change, habitat vulnerability, wildfire threats, and the potential compounding effects of climate change. Moreover, SIA's ability to mobilize volunteers for monitoring key regional ecosystem processes and species, has improved the ability of scientists and others to track environmental change, and contributed to scientific understanding of wildlife and ecosystem issues.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I logged over 100 hours volunteering for Sky Island last year on projects as diverse as spring assessments, tracking and camera trapping, and data entry. I have only lived in Tucson a couple of years and have found a family of extremely dedicated professionals that I embrace not only with time, but also emotional gratitude for the necessary work that they accomplish. Thank you Sky Island for what you do and allowing me to contribute to protecting the great quality of life that Southeast Arizona and Northern Sonora offers.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sky Island's stated objective of preserving wildife corridors is matched by its physical presence in the field. Staff members and volunteers effectively demonstrate how a dedicated group can make a difference, not only on this side of the border, but in Northern Sonora as well where cooperative programs are being implemented and accepted.