Madrean Discovery Expeditions Aim to Protect the Biodiversity of the Unique “Sky Islands” Mountains

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GreaterGood is turning 20! In honor of our birthday and more than $60 million donated to charity, we’re giving the GreaterGood.com website an exciting facelift and renewing our commitment to serving people, pets, and the planet. Our donation efforts for this birthday launch are focused on 24 programs that represent some dire needs and the areas where we can make the greatest impact. The Mae Tao Clinic is one of these important projects.

The Madrean Sky Islands, or the Sonoran Sky Islands, are not islands at all but rather 57 individual mountainous surrounded by desert lowlands. These mountains, which range from Arizona and New Mexico to Northern Mexico, are covered in pine-oak forests, and the unique combination of climate and terrain has allowed the flora and fauna in the area to become incredibly diverse.

The Sky Islands are some of the most biodiverse areas on the entire planet but also some of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. These mountains are home to some of the most critically endangered species that call our Earth home. Without our help and protection, these creatures are likely to perish.

These hotspots of biodiversity must be protected, and the first step in doing that is to observe, study, and record the life forms present in the area. Once this information has been recorded, conservationists can protect the flora and fauna of the Madrean Sky Islands more accurately and effectively.

That’s why GreaterGood created a signature program called Madrean Discovery Expeditions, which is dedicated to the exploration, study, and protection of the entire Madrean Archipelago. With help from scientists, photographers, enthusiasts, and students from all over the world, we’re recording the plants and animals and learning more about this amazingly diverse region so we can protect it properly and allow it to thrive.

Information from Madrean Discovery Expeditions is stored in an open-source database, so anyone in the world can find and use the data we uncover on these expeditions. It is our hope that this project will both inspire future researchers and conservationists and also provide data that will help them preserve these ecosystems forever.

The goal of these expeditions is not only to protect the biodiverse flora and fauna that exist in this region but also to inspire future generations to take more care in their actions and respect the other life forms we share this amazing planet with. Since 2017, the MDE team has worked hard to educate local students about the plants, animals, and natural history of the area by providing scholarships to Mexican college students who write about the Sky Islands in their undergraduate theses. Armed with their knowledge of the delicate ecosystem, these students will carry our conservation efforts into the future.

So far, 20 of the 57 Madrean Sky Islands have been visited and observed by the MDE team. Our ultimate goal, however, is to record all of the plants and animals located in these areas so we can better understand how their ecosystem works and how best to protect them from damaging forces. You can check out our growing flora and fauna databases here.

This important work can only continue with support from people like you. You can help us preserve our planet’s plant and animal biodiversity by donating to fund our efforts to learn more about how we can protect the Madrean Sky Islands. Every cent of your donation goes to charity so that the world can stay as beautiful and full of life as it was meant to be!

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Help protect the Madrean Sky Islands before it’s too late! Donate today to fund our expeditions.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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