Number7Interconnected Diversity

Caching Acorn WoodpeckersThe key to survival of any natural community is diversity. Higher plant diversity means more diverse wildlife. Diverse ecosystems are not only rich in species; they also support complex, interdependent relationships.

Changes to one plant or animal will affect others.  Snags (dead trees) you see along the trail are an example of how a once seemingly insignificant change can affect an entire ecosystem.

Once misunderstood, foresters that believed snags were wildfire “lightning rods” cut them down. We now know they provide vital habitat for many animals. Like a local “Dead Wood Inn,” snags provide nesting cavities and dens under bark. Birds that live in cavities feed on insects in the decaying wood, thus helping control harmful insect populations.

Snags often are riddled with acorns in  holes drilled by acorn woodpeckers to store the food vital to their winter survival.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe” – John Muir

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Big Springs is located on Woodland Road, ½ mile south of White Mountain Blvd. (State Route 260), adjacent to the White Mountain Wildlife & Nature Center. Many improvements have been made at Big Springs to facilitate environmental education and public use. Many such improvements were funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Fund, established by voter initiative in 1990, with funding from the Arizona lottery. The latest improvements and brochure printing were funded by a Secure Rural Schools Act grant from the U. S. Forest Service to the White Mountain Nature Center. Big Springs is managed under a unique partnership. Land ownership is national forest, with a special use permit for an outdoor classroom issued to the Blue Ridge Unified School District. These partners cooperate in its management and enhancement:

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