In Real Life- MasterNaturalist Workshop, April 13, 4:30-6:30PM

In Real Life- MasterNaturalist Workshop, April 13, 4:30-6:30PM

Santa Cruz River: Life Blood of the Tucson Valley

The title of this field lab pays homage to the Santa Cruz River which is the central character in the story of Tucson (Chuk-son). This presentation is designed to engage Naturalists in recognizing that the Tucson community is inseparable from the natural ecosystem. Today we will traverse a cross section of the Santa Cruz River from A Mountain to Barrio Viejo and explore the ecological, cultural, physiographic and historical perspectives that make our home in the Sonoran Desert unique.


Workshop Itinerary:

Join us on a computer that has a strong internet connection. 

4:30 PM: Log on to ITE Webpage (this will be emailed to PCMN) and type your name in the chat

4:35 PM: Welcome and Introduction to ITE, staff and learn about FSS IRL programs on Public Lands, and become familiar with the “In Real Life” mobile live streaming equipment.

4:45 PM: Begin Live stream tour at A Mountain

6:15 PM: Conclude in Barrio Viejo


Sky Island Biodiversity

Map-of-Sky-Island-Region

Borderland Sky Island Region

Map-of-Sky-Island-Region

The great cordillera, sometimes called the spine of the North American continent, has but one break, a low saddle called the Cordilleran Gap between the Rocky Mountains/Colorado Plateau and the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. This low-elevation gap is a biogeographic barrier between the high-elevation, temperate and tropical montane biotas of the cordillera.  About 65 isolated mountain ranges span the cordilleran gap, rising like islands from a sea of desert and grassland around them.

~Rick Brusca

SkyIslandBiomesFigF_6-10-13

Sky Island Biomes - Image by Wendy Moore

SkyIslandBiomesFigF_6-10-13

Ecologists categorize the world’s major ecosystems into “biomes,” classified by their distinctive vegetation and associated climatic conditions.  The scheme presented here is basically that given in Niering and Lowe’s classic 1985 publication, and it is based on vegetation analyses of transects in the Catalinas established by the Arizona Sky Island Arthropod Project (see Moore et al. 2012), which recognized 8 biomes on the slopes of Arizona’s Sky Islands there is (from lowest to highest): Desertscrub, Desert Grassland, Oak-Grassland (also known as Oak Savanna), Oak Woodland, Pine-Oak Woodland, Chaparral, Pine Forest, and Mixed Conifer Forest.  Not all of the Madrean Sky Islands are high enough to have all of these biomes, and many lack Pine Forest and/or Mixed Conifer Forest.

~Rick Brusca

2019-03-santa-cruz-river-cr-ATCA

Riparian Ecosystem

2019-03-santa-cruz-river-cr-ATCA

Riparian ecosystems make up less than 2% of the land area in the American Southwest. They also support the highest density and abundance of plants and animals of any habitat type. Streams and associated riparian areas are critical to the ecological integrity of the region. Riparian areas supply food, cover, and water for a variety of wildlife. They also serve as migration routes and habitat connectors. Riparian corridors help control water pollution, reduce erosion, mitigate floods, and increase groundwater recharge. Riparian systems perform numerous ecosystem functions important to human populations. Yet they are one of the most endangered forest types in the United States.

8 minute Sky Island Video