2019 Events and projects
Our 2019 projects and events center around restoration work on the Thicket Patch, native plant seed collection in the Coronado National Forest and Fort Huachuca Army Base, and public outreach to inform our community about the importance of native plants and pollinators.
Karen and Mirna Manteca, Sky Island Alliance's Mexico Conservation Manager, discussing future collaborating projects. The Thicket Patch is about 3.5 miles north of Mexico -- we share the same pollinators.
The Thicket Patch covered in snow. We're hoping this wet winter will bring on the wildflowers!
Karen and volunteer Ken installing the Davis Weather station, which transmits data to NOAA, National Weather Station and Wunderground.
Winter is our time to process seeds. Volunteers collected seeds from over 70 species of plants in 2018. Native plant seeds are given to Borderlands Restoration's seed bank for local vegetation projects. In keeping with our mission of public outreach, annual flowering plant seeds to expand the nectar corridor are handed out to the community at events.
Through Tucson Audubon Society's nest box program, we purchased bluebird boxes for the Thicket Patch. No one told this Bewick's Wren the box was for Azure Bluebirds. The Thicket Patch also has a kestrel box from Arizona Game & Fish and Lucy's warbler boxes donated to us by Tucson Audubon.
Kartchner Caverns, a state park of Arizona, invited PoCo to host an exhibit booth at their annual Earth Day festival. PoCo volunteers handed out agave seeds to children (to grow food for our local nectar-feeding bats) and other flowering plants for all local pollinators. We always emphasize limiting pesticide use.
The Paton Center for Hummingbirds in nearby Patagonia has a beautiful pollinator meadow. PoCo donated bags of seeds for this garden many years ago. Beyond its beauty, the multitude of butterflies and other pollinators proves successful habitat creation.
Through our seed collection permit granted to Borderlands Restoration and Pollinator Corridors by the Coronado National Forest, for the past three years PoCo volunteers have collected seeds of numerous species of native plants for local restoration projects needed after wildfires, floods or development.
We were fortunate to receive ample 2018-2019 winter rains, but the 2019 monsoon season (July-September) was about 1/4 the total we usually receive. On the Thicket Patch, spring wildflower species and quantities were impressive, with many annual evening primroses, toadflax, asters, mustards, and sunflowers. But seed production of native grasses was not. In November, we received almost eight inches of rain -- too late for 2019 seed production but hopefully this late rain will contribute to 2020 wildflowers and the water table for trees.
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The Coronado National Memorial, a U.S. National Park, is our close neighbor. In November, we participated in their Borderlands Festival with other environmental groups from Arizona and Mexico. While there is no seed or plant collection permitted, the hiking and healthy native habitat are a treasure.