Sky Islands High School, in partnership with the Tucson Audubon Society, received a grant from the AZ Game & Fish Heritage Fund to complete a large-scale ecological restoration site on the school’s campus. This site, similar to the C2E Water Harvesting Project completed previously, will also highlight native species of plants that will attract various species of birds in the area, becoming a kind of bird and wildlife sanctuary.
The first item of business was to draw up the plans, and construction on a new irrigation line began in earnest. Then, the students conducted data collection on the diversity of native species of plants at Saguaro National Park for the conceptual model of the project, as well as collected data and toured the Swan Wetlands to gain an understanding of what a completed ecological restoration site and bird sanctuary looks like.
In addition, the students got a real treat when they were able to see firsthand one of southern Arizona’s premier wild riparian habitats at Aravaipa Canyon. Ranger Heidi Blankenship, who has taken our students on tours of Aravaipa for several years now, came to the school and gave a presentation to the entire student body about Aravaipa Canyon, then later led the students in Restoration Ecology through the wilderness area itself, where they conducted studies on topography, vegetation, soil, and faunal life.