UA SRP contributes to 2018 Madrean Conference

UA SRP Trainees Denise Moreno-Ramirez and Lydia Jennings were invited to present at the fourth 2018 Madrean Conference focused on “the current state of knowledge about the unique natural resources and human communities of the Sky Island region” that was held in Tucson from May 14-18.

The Madrean Sky Islands, found in northern Mexico and the US Southwest, are renowned as a biodiversity hotspot. The Madrean Conference focused on the protection and management of this region.

Moreno-Ramirez presented her research, the Voices Unheard Project, and also participated in a panel, “Disconnected: What Do Cities, Governments, Ecosystems, Native Nations, and the Voiceless Have to Say to One Another?”

The Voices Unheard Project is a community-engaged research project that preserves the oral history of those working and living next to two Superfund sites -- the Tucson International Airport and the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter.

Moreno-Ramirez said that even though her project presented an urban perspective, whereas most of the other presenters addressed a natural reserve perspective, everyone responded positively.

“I thought it was good that I was there because many people had questions on what a Superfund site was and then on how Superfund sites are handled in the United States. In Mexico, they do not have a system of dealing with contamination.  Many people present at the conference were interested in the history I was talking about, and how the different populations have fluctuated in the South Side of Tucson,” Moreno said.

Jennings also presented her current research, which is developing microbial bio-indicators of soil formation on reclaimed mine tailings in Southern Arizona. She said even though she works for the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining (CESM), and the mining industry and conservationists usually don’t get along, she found common ground at the conference.

“I think when we talk about regeneration of lands, that’s something where people can find a common interest,” Jennings said. “We know we have damaged places, but how can we be solution-orientated, to repair these places? And the mining industry is interested in this and I think that’s something conservation biologists are also passionate about.”

Well done Denise Moreno-Ramirez and Lydia Jennings! Keep up the good work!