Biodiversity In the Heart of the Sky Islands

A film by Vincent Pinto & Michele Gisser

In this new film, Wildlife Biologist, Naturalist, & Ethnobotanist Vincent Pinto explores the rich ecology and inherent beauty of key wild areas in the Sky Islands – including looming threats to their ecological integrity, valuable natural resources, and continued survival.  Will generations to come have these natural treasures to enjoy or will they be carelessly squandered?  Passionate about the urgent need to protect the area’s unique biodiversity and promote conservation efforts in the region, Vincent came up with the concept of this new Nature Documentary – Biodiversity in the Heart of the Sky Islands – serving as the film’s Screenwriter, Film Narrator, and on-screen Presenter.

This Nature documentary explores Arizona’s renowned Sky Islands – a region hosting more biodiversity than any comparable area in the U.S.   Southeast Arizona hosts soaring mountain ranges carpeted with forests – each isolated by surrounding foreboding deserts and parched grasslands. These ranges are thus virtual habitat islands, lending the region its most famous name – “The Sky Islands”.   Here we enjoy a world-class biodiversity hotspot!

Six different biological provinces overlap in this region:  Rocky Mountains, Sierra Madre, Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, Great Plains, and Neo-tropics.  This new film explores the wilds of these key Sky Islands conservation zones, their rich ecology and inherent beauty – including new threats to their valuable natural resources and continued survival.

In the heart of this Madrean Archipelago the Patagonia Mountains and Sonoita Creek are world-class biodiversity hotspots supporting a myriad of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and a dazzling array of native plants. The film delves deeply into the lives of their intriguing species. There are more than 100 Federally Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species in the Patagonia Mountains area.  Further, the Patagonia Mountains are also undoubtedly a gateway for rare Jaguars and Ocelots traveling to and from breeding grounds in Sonora, Mexico.

Highlights of our amazing Sky Islands Biodiversity include:

    • More than 600 species of native Bees, making it the pollinator capital of the U.S.
    • Over 500 species of Birds – many more typical of Mexico and the tropics including:

      18 species of Hummingbird
      12 species of Owl
      ~23 species of Hawks and Vultures
      13 species of Woodpecker
      ~30 Flycatcher species
      7 Vireos
      8 Corvids
      8 species of Wren (all of Europe has only 1!)
      3 species of Gnatcatcher
      9 species of Mimic Thrushes
      ~10 Thrushes
      ~33 species of Warblers
       ~36 species of Sparrows & Towhees – the most in the world!

    • 108 Mammal species – more than any comparable area in North America and including species more characteristic of the Neotropics such as White-nosed Coatis and Mexican Long-tongued Bat
    • The greatest diversity of Reptiles in North America, including:
      • 32 species of Lizards
      • 45 species of Snake

The Biodiversity in the Heart of the Sky Islands film ventures into the wilderness delving deeply into the lives of their intriguing denizens. Join us to learn why we are so fortunate to have so many species inhabiting the heart of the Sky Islands and the multitude of intriguing flora and fauna that call these beautiful mountains and this rare perennial creek home. Further, the film also explores looming threats to the ecological integrity of the Patagonia Mountains and Sonoita Creek.

Vincent Pinto is the founder of Ravens-Way Wild Journeys LLC (RWWJ). Since 1987 he has been passionate about the urgent need to help protect the unique Sky Islands biodiversity, offering education and conservation programs via RWWJ.  In addition, as a Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) board member Vincent felt compelled to help protect local fauna and flora by coming up with the concept of this ground-breaking film. Vincent approached the content of the film with a broad view, giving prominence to both rare and common species, temperate and tropical ones, the flashy and the cryptic, the large and the diminuitive…  The result is a kaleidoscopic view of our region’s much vaunted, yet imperiled biodiversity.  

If you love all things wild and feel compelled to help protect the landscapes and species that make the Sky Islands so unique, then you won’t want to miss this ground-breaking film! This Nature documentary promotes the urgent need for conservation efforts in the Patagonia Mountains and Sonoita Creek.

Join us and other fellow nature-lovers and conservationists in Tucson for the Premier of: 

Biodiversity in the Heart of the Sky Islands

When: Sunday, March 26, 2023

Where: The LOFT theater in Tucson

Time: 2:00pm

Admission: $20 – All proceeds benefit the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance – PARA – to support its  conservation mission in the Patagonia Mountains & Sonoita Creek.

    Come, enjoy, get involved, and make a difference!