Wednesday, 19 Sep 2001

TUSCON, Ariz.

Back in the office. Tuesday was a day off, as I will work all weekend in the Gila Mountains. Today, the fun stuff happens: confirming attendance for the weekend work, getting the maps straightened out, photocopying the applicable portions, and getting the volunteer field packs ready. Then it will be on to fund-raising — yea!

October is the big fund-raising month for the Sky Island Alliance; we have many talks and presentations scheduled, as well as an open house and a volunteer appreciation party. I am in charge of finding donations of food and drinks for the open house, and I have already hit up 10 of the finest restaurants in Tucson. Now, it is time to give those restaurants a call back and confirm with them. Then, it is on to calling our volunteers — over 200 strong — to confirm attendance at the big volunteer party we will be hosting in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the sky island region, the Dragoons. The Dragoons are also the setting for some of the most advanced work we have done. We have already closed a road in the area and have been working with local ranchers to figure out how their operations can benefit habitats and wildlife. It is very exciting to see our visions being realized on the ground.

New email with more volunteers for this weekend’s work! I have been pretty diligent in trying to get kids out with us. One of our leading tenets is building advocacy groups and, of course, I have been trying to get as many University of Arizona students as possible interested in what we are doing. Too many of the kids over there are business majors, with visions of great riches dancing in their heads. Unfortunately, most of them don’t realize that all riches are derived from natural capital, and that we first need to protect and enhance that natural capital.

One other task today is to confirm that the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation is still going on in Keystone, Colo., and that my flight is still booked. One of the major barriers to animal movements in the sky island area is Interstate 10, and it will be very important to have strategies and plans in place as the Arizona Department of Transportation envisions upgrading I-10 as the population in southern Arizona continues to grow. I will be in Colorado all next week looking at and learning how other states have incorporated large mammal crossings into their transportation plans.