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Voluntourism Spotlight: Sky Island Alliance

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In this week’s voluntourism spotlight, we’re featuring Sky Island Alliance which has programs dedicated to conservation and landscape maintenance as well as a few surprising projects. Keep reading to find out about all Sky Island Alliance’s efforts and check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities and tune into Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio on Saturday for more information.

Sky Island Alliance (SIA) is a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the natural heritage of native species and habitats in the Sky Island region of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

The Sky Islands region covers 70,000 square miles of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northwestern Mexico. It’s known for its rich diversity of species and habitats. Unfortunately, this diversity is among the most threatened in North America by land development, climate change, poor livestock grazing practices, fire suppression, off-road vehicles, and resource extraction. It is also the last North American stronghold of predators such as the Mexican wolf and jaguar.

Since 1991, Sky Island Alliance has become a leader in conservation policy, grassroots organizing, and achieving on-the-ground results throughout the Southwest. What makes them successful is their unique combination of citizen involvement, science and field expertise, and policy know-how through engagement with scientists, land owners, public officials, and government agencies to establish protected areas, restore healthy landscapes, and promote public appreciation of the region’s unique biological diversity.

Volunteer opportunities are offered year-round and range from weekend outings — where volunteers and Sky Island Alliance staff camp together in the same area they are working to restore — to long-term commitments with the Wildlife Linkages program such as tracking mammals. That’s right, volunteers are actually trained in wildlife tracking and sign identification, so that they can help monitor at-risk wildlife in the region.

Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and include University students from the U.S. and Mexico, retirees, and middle-aged couples new to the region, all eager to get involved. Activities on Sky Island Alliance volunteer field projects are designed to include a variety of tasks to fit a broad range of physical abilities and comfort levels.

Ready to go? Check out all of their volunteer opportunities here.

By Kari Adwell for

Photos Credit: Sky Island Alliance