RIESTER Foundation

Southern Arizona Audubon Research Ranch

At the National Audubon Society’s Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch in Southern Arizona, scientists and conservationists are conducting more than 80 ongoing research and conservation projects. The RIESTER Foundation engaged with the ranch on one specific project: the restoration of native Big Sacaton grasslands that are critical to the preservation of this riparian corridor.

Through the involvement of the RIESTER Foundation, the ranch has been able to develop a functional irrigation system for the grasses, in addition to adding more plants throughout the site. This has helped diminish the invasion of non-native grasses and re-establish the Sacaton in this 13-mile sanctuary restoring essential bio-diversity.

Designated as one of the nation’s Important Bird Areas, the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch also supports such migratory birds as the Northern Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Willow Flycatcher, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Black-chinned Sparrow, Baird’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow and Sprague’s Pipit.