Wildlife corridors in the urban desert topic of Feb. 27 SALT Speakers Series

The Sonoran desert is one of the most bio-diverse deserts in the world, contributing to its uniqueness and attractiveness to developers, residents and businesses.

Anita Hagy Ferguson

Anita Hagy Ferguson on Feb. 27 will discuss the importance of biological corridors, urban open spaces and collaborative regional planning as part of the Superstition Area Land Trust Speakers Series. It is 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Room No. B-118 of the Apache Junction Multi-generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road.

The series is co-sponsored by SALT and the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation Department.  It is offered every second and fourth Wednesday October through April, is free and is geared for the public. SALT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Go to azsalt.org.

Ms. Ferguson is a consultant and facilitator for the White Tank Mountains Conservancy and leads the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance Connectivity White Tank Mountains Conservancy Learning Lab, according to a release.

Her critical focus is on how humans share space with non-human animals in changing urban and rural landscapes.  She has a background in environmental philosophy, mediation, collaboration facilitation and environmental conflict management. She is a former project manager and research associate for ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes.

“Geographic connectivity weaves the vital elements of the desert together, making the ecosystem sustainable.  But habitat fragmentation from urban development puts this connectivity at risk, making it the number one threat to the fabric of our unique and attractive surroundings,” according to the release.

Arizonans can be proud that we’ve set aside and continue to conserve large open spaces for the benefit of both humans and the natural world. Our state boasts national parks, monuments, recreation areas, and state and regional parks. Pinal County is in the process of creating two open space county parks, with plans for several more, according to the release.

“Unfortunately, there are many examples in the U.S. and around the world where specific species within even large, intact open spaces become inbred and unhealthy when surrounded by a sea of human development:  subdivisions, highways, canals, railroads, etc.,” according to the release.

“An excellent example is mountains lions in the Santa Monica Mountains in California.  Such ‘canaries in the coal mine’ clearly point out the importance of maintaining corridors to insure that our conserved open spaces remain biologically connected,” it states.

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