May 13th, 2013

Sensational Sky Islands Sexual Strategies!

Pollination

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Spring has arrived in the Sky Islands and we find our lives suddenly transformed by the ephemeral, yet powerful beauty of wildflowers. Winter, save for perhaps a looming late frost, has vanished and in its stead is a new world – abuzz with life thanks to countless yellow, white, orange, purple, and blue blossoms. Fortune, it seems, smiled upon us with ample-enough cool season rains and snows, spawning a veritable pageant of life in some areas. Continue reading…

May 12th, 2013

Amazing Madrean Plants

The biodiversity of our Sky Islands is truly astounding.  Here at the meeting point of 4 major bioregions – The Sonoran Desert, the Chihuahuan Desert, The Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Madre Occidental – we have towering and isolated mountain ranges that loom as mesic, forested beacons above the drier interceding habitat of grasslands and deserts.  At our relatively low latitude – for a temperate region – of about 32 degrees we already are candidates for high levels of diversity.  Add to this the Galapagos-like element of our Sky Island ranges – isolation that contributes to evolution – and the seemingly competing influence of connectivity that the stepping-stone arrangement of our mountains facilitate and the resultant mix of flora and fauna is truly astounding! Continue reading…

August 31st, 2012

A Surprising Slithering of Snakes

Sky Island Snakes

OK, so this is not Ethnobotany…but I do see plenty of incredible Sky Island Snakes while collecting and exploring for wild plants!

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Despite the plethora of wildlife encounters we are collectively graced with in our hyper-diverse Sky Islands Region those involving snakes tend to hold a special place in our realm of Nature experiences. Continue reading…

August 30th, 2012

Creator, Trickster, Big-Black Bird

Raven

 

Chances are that if I say “Raven” you will conjure up some sort of coherent images of this iconic bird. Be it evil omen, portend of good luck, battle bird, poetic messenger (think Poe), or symbol of wilderness, the Raven rarely lurks in the background of the human imagination or in our beliefs. Instead it inspires, reviles, and even defiles us in ways that render it impossible to ignore or dismiss. Continue reading…