Cochise Stronghold is located within one of North America’s few dozen Sky Islands. These spots of high elevation that dot the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico together form the largest remaining oak forest in the world. Straddling the gap between temperate and tropical climate zones, they are host to an enormous diversity of wild life. Because the ecosystem of each island has developed independently, the flora and fauna may differ radically from one mountain range to the next.
Our particular Sky Island is the Dragoon mountain range. Sitting in a valley 5,000 ft high, Cochise Stronghold is surrounded by the peaks of the Dragoons and nearby Chiricahuas. For over twenty years, Culadasa and Nancy have attuned themselves to the natural rhythms of these mountains, carefully observing the plant and animal communities that share this space.
An avid student of permaculture, Nancy has learned to design with — and not against — nature. Her designs include water harvesting systems, solar panels providing nearly all of our power, the strategic location of buildings to maximize the benefit of solar passive heating, compost toilets, grey water systems, natural building materials (including straw bale), ponds, swales and berms to direct our rainwater, and the management of native shrubs and grasses.