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Sonoran festival to celebrate, educate about the Sky Islands region

A two-day festival in northern Sonora this weekend will be the first in the state to celebrate the sky islands region of Arizona and Sonora.

The first  Sky Islands Festival in Sonora is being held in the town of Moctezuma, about 120 miles south of the Arizona border.

The event this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15, will celebrate the rich biodiversity of the Madrean Sky Islands — isolated mountain woodlands separated by “seas” of lower elevation desert and grasslands on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We want to help people here value this unique region,” said Mirna Manteca, a conservation biologist with the nonprofit Wildlands Network, one of the organizations putting together the festival in collaboration with local community groups.

She came up with the idea to bring people together to learn more about the Sky Islands and conservation efforts in the region.

There will be food, music and cultural activities like face painting and feline drawing contests for kids, as well as conservation focused talks and workshops.

And there will be hotels and camping areas available for  people visiting from out of town.

“Everyone is welcome,” Manteca said. “The more people who come the better it will be.”

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.