Island Hoping

 

Island hoping

In Arizona and New Mexico, a unique complex of 27 mountain ranges encompasses vast stretches of desert scrub, grasslands and oak woodlands, and is home to more than 75 species of reptiles. Called the Sky Islands (HCN, 4/26/99:Can science heal the land?), the landscape inspired Aldo Leopold to write that " ... these pine-clad mesas spangled with flowers, these lazy trout streams burbling along under great sycamores and cottonwoods, come near to being the cream of creation." The area is used for Native American sacred ceremonies, but it is also the locus of military training, mining and scientific research, and is increasingly popular for recreation and summer homes. On Oct. 19, a group of people working to preserve the diversity of the Sky Islands is holding a one-day conference to promote awareness of the region. The Tucson-based event, sponsored by five area conservation groups, includes a keynote address by author and activist Dave Foreman, workshops on restoration techniques, and a concert by the Dana Lyons Band. Visit www.skyislandalliance.org/sia/conference2002.htm to register.