Tumamoc Hill Science Café

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New Explorations on the Río Mayo

Did you know that the Sonoran Desert originated in part from the tropics? The Río Mayo drainage of the Sierra Madre mountains near Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, is a convergence zone of astonishing biological and cultural diversity. Research into this unique and imperiled ecosystem at the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill extends back to the 1940s. Please join the Desert Laboratory and The Southwest Center for this series as we venture back to the Río Mayo and hear from a diversity of researchers and community members who will highlight new explorations, biocultural understandings, and efforts to preserve the tropics next door.

The talks are held in the library of the Desert Laboratory, the buildings roughly half-way up Tumamoc Hill.

Please reserve a space with Anna Seiferle-Valencia at  desertlaboratory@gmail.com or 520-629-9455, due to limited seating.

Tumamoc Hill Cliff Art
Photo by Ben Wilder

Fall 2019 Science Café Presenters:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 6:00PM

Conserving the Dry Forest and its Biocultural Diversity

Presenter: Lydia Lozano, Program Director, Nature and Culture International

Operated by Nature and Culture International, Reserva Monte Mojino outside Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, is an ambitious approach to large-scale conservation of one of the most endangered habitat types in the world—the tropical dry forest. Lydia will share the unique partnerships between private landowners, ranches, local communities, and natural protected areas dedicated to protecting this beautiful, biodiverse, and imperiled ecosystem.




Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 6:00PM

Life of the Secret Forest

Presenters: Dra. Angelina Martínez Yrizar, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Autónoma de México

Eminent Mexican ecologist Angelina Martínez Yrizar will connect us to the life of a secret forest that the pulses with the monsoons. The tropical dry forest is a land of two faces: dry and austere during the rainless months, verdant and teaming with life upon the summer rains. Located across a steep elevational gradient from the coast up through pine forests, the forest is home to a dazzling array of life, including beaded lizards, oaks festooned with orchids, military macaws, and dozens of jaguars. 





Wednesday, November 13 2019 at 6:00PM

The Social Fabric of the Sierra

Presenters: Jeff Banister, Director, Associate Research Professor, Associate Research Social Scientist and David Yetman, Research Social Scientist, The Southwest Center, University of Arizona

The Río Mayo region is the home of indigenous peoples, small-scale farmers and ranchers, foreign and local landowners, big business, and countless small pueblos. It is a place of profound local knowledge, accumulated over millennia by people with a close connection to the land.  It is also shaped by the arrival of expats, tourism, and by large corporations with industrial interests. David Yetman and Jeff Banister will connect us to the human dimensions of this culturally diverse region and will explore the challenges it currently faces.  




Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 6:00PM

Multiple Ways of Knowing

Presenter: Dra. Teresa Valdivia, Instituto de Estudios Antropológicos, Universidad Autónoma de México

Teresa Valdivia will offer an intimate portrait of the Guarijío, an indigenous society whose pueblos, farm fields, and pastures are spread across the region’s diverse topographies. While their languages and lifeways remain firmly rooted, they also struggle with the same contemporary challenges facing rural communities across Mexico, from climate change to large-scale infrastructure projects. 







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