Into the Sky Islands

We rose early like fresh bread from the oven, as the morning sun baked us inside our tents. We downed some “dino egg” oatmeal to fuel the day ahead, while lizards skittered by our feet. We said goodbye to the beloved shade bush and the hollering donkeys we had befriended during our stay at the campsite oasis, looking forward to our visit to a raptor rehabilitation center called Wild at Heart.

As we bumped down a narrow bumpy road, I was uncertain what to expect for our first interview of the trip. A small “Wild at Heart” sign hung on the fence. We had arrived.


After meeting Bob and Sam, the married couple who founded Wild at Heart, along with the resident house cats, we headed out to the sanctuary. We each donned our equipment and took position, ready for the interview to begin. 


I was captivated by Bob’s backstory of developing an on-call bird rescue center. He spoke of their selfless dedication as though it was obvious: Arizona birds of prey needed a sanctuary so Bob and Sam would make one in their own backyard. Since their endeavor began in the 90s, the entirety of their Phoenix property has been filled with custom structures and handcrafted homes for displaced or injured birds.


Bob introduced us to an injured owl who is no longer able to survive on her own in the wild. Instead she is a permanent resident at the rescue center, serving as a foster mother to orphaned baby owls and also a traveling education outreach companion for the past several years.

Our first interview couldn’t have gone better. As part of the Adventure Term team, I had this unique opportunity to hear Wild at Heart’s inspiring story and see their work in action. I can’t wait to share more about Wild at Heart through our developing AT projects.


In the evening, we had time for reflection and recharging as we made our way south. As we approached Tucson, the saguaros thinned and the Sky Islands loomed on the horizon, with promise of some welcomed mild weather. We fell asleep under the stars at our mountain-side campsite in the clouds.