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Whitney Bacon |Bryan Bird | Lori Colt | Sophia Coury | Angelisa Espinoza | Kevin Gaither-Banchoff | John Horning | Taylor Jones |Wendy Keefover | Jim Matison | Jeremy Nichols | Carol Norton | Jen Pelz |Samantha Ruscavage-Barz | Jay Tutchton | Jodie Wheeler |Ashley Wilmes |
Since 1997, Whitney Bacon has been an indispensable part of the WildEarth Guardians team. He plays such varied roles as river restoration specialist, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping expert, Information Technologies (IT) whiz, and is single-handedly responsible for building our custom membership database. Born in Denver and raised in Santa Fe, Whitney has always been interested in conservation. He has a degree from Middlebury College in Geography and Environmental Studies. When he's not spending time with his partner, Tanja, and his two sons, he loves to run rivers and practice Iyengar yoga. firstname.lastname@example.org or 505.795.0539.
Bryan Bird is WildEarth Guardians’ Wild Places Program Director. Bryan received his Masters in conservation biology from New Mexico State University in 1995 and holds an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1990. He has undertaken conservation research, planning, and protection projects in Central America, Mexico, and the Southwestern United States. Since first working for the Guardians in 1996, Bryan has focused on restoration of national forestlands and their critical ecological processes, as well as monitoring, reviewing, and challenging destructive Forest Service logging proposals and land management plans. Bryan serves by appointment of the Secretary of Agriculture on the New Mexico Collaborative Forest Restoration Federal Advisory Committee. Bryan lives with his family in the Galisteo River watershed and in his spare time enjoys backpacking, skiing, and traveling. Bryan also leads our Clean Waters, Wild Forests priority campaign. email@example.com or 505.819.5922.
Lori Colt is WildEarth Guardians' Communications Director. Lori grew up in San Diego and received her B.A. in European History from San Diego State University. After 20 years in "Corporate America" she decided to shift career paths and use her skills and passion for improving the lives of animals and wild places. Lori enjoys vegan cooking, writing, travel, cycling and spending time with her husband Mike and their crazy feline Billy. firstname.lastname@example.org or 760.405.5898.
Sophia is an Oklahoma native with a penchant for traveling and learning. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in International Relations, she set out to South America for an inspirational jaunt, and came back to the states to land in Santa Fe. Sophia has volunteered and worked for a handful of non-profit organizations over the years because she enjoys the camaraderie of the workforce and the feeling of contributing to worthy causes. Her time at WildEarth Guardians has been enlightening and has served as good hands-on preparation for her law school applications, where she plans on studying Environmental Law. Sophia enjoys spending time outside and searching for creative outlets and adventures. email@example.com or 918.691.3619.
Angelisa Espinoza joined WildEarth Guardians in 2010 and is our Office and Events Manager. She has spent the last eight years working as a travel guide in various places including New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii, Maine, Alaska and New Zealand. She has a passionate love for wild places and enjoys being part of an organization that works hard to keep these places wild. She grew up in Arizona and received her degree from Northern Arizona University. Angelisa enjoys spending time on her road bike, taking in the scenery and impressive lightening around New Mexico. She also enjoys cooking and playing guitar with friends. firstname.lastname@example.org or 505.988.9126 x1151.
Kevin Gaither-Banchoff joined WildEarth Guardians in 2010 as our Development Director. Kevin moved to the Southwest in late 1994 and has worked ever since to protect the biodiversity and wild nature of the southwest. He has served as Development Director for both Native Seeds/Search and The Wildlands Project, worked as a fundraising and organizational development consultant for numerous local and regional conservation non-profits, and spent the last four years working as Executive Director for the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. Kevin enjoys sharing his vision for a healthy and vibrant western landscape with his family and friends, and the many wild critters that make this same land their home. Kevin lives in Tucson with his wife Kelli and two girls Abby and Allie, loves to camp, hike, garden and just be outdoors. Kevin has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 1996. email@example.com or 520.869.4673.
John Horning was born and raised in Washington, DC and grew up on a street that bordered Rock Creek Park, one of the wildest urban parks in our country, where he cultivated an appreciation for the solace of wild spaces. He fondly recalls a childhood searching for salamanders, hearing Pileated wood peckers and watching fire flies light up summer evenings. Mr. Horning graduated in1989 from Colorado College, where he not only played football for four years (becoming the offense’s MVP his senior year) but also first developed a life-long appreciation for Wallace Stegner, the writer and the man. After biking around the country and then working for a variety of environmental education and advocacy groups he moved to New Mexico in 1994 to join the staff of what would later become WildEarth Guardians. He is grateful to live in New Mexico and feels privileged to be a voice for the voiceless. firstname.lastname@example.org or 505.988.9126 x1153.
Taylor Jones joined WildEarth Guardians in 2010 as our Endangered Species Advocate. She received an M. Sc. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, where she was a member of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab. Before entering graduate school, she did a variety of conservation work in New Mexico and Colorado, including prairie dog relocation and riparian area surveys. She has been fascinated by animals great and small her whole life, from a childhood spent watching ants to a Master's thesis on the Andean bear. She intends to apply one of the Bodhisattva vows to her work with endangered species: "Beings are numberless; I vow to save them all." She also holds an undergraduate degree in visual arts from Brown University, where she originally decided to dedicate herself to preserving the natural world that continues to inspire her paintings. Taylor leads WildEarth Guardians' Protecting the Prairie Dog Empire priority campaign. email@example.com or 505.490.5141.
Wendy, WildEarth Guardians Carnivore Protection Program Director is a leader in native carnivore (e.g., bears, coyotes, and wolves) conservation since 1997, built a coalition that stopped contest hunting in Colorado—the first state in the West to do so. She leads an ongoing campaign to expose the federal government’s indiscriminate wildlife-killing program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Wildlife Services”, the ironically-named branch of government that kills millions of animals each year using aerial gunning, poisoning, trapping, hounding and other nefarious methods. She works on mountain lion conservation in Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana. Although mountain lions are threatened by overhunting, state agencies profit from hunting license revenues. Keefover holds an M.A in history from the University of Colorado; her research focused on environmental and health activism among politically active Colorado women--during the period 1893 to 1912. Wendy also leads the following priority campaigns: Ending the War on Wildlife; Ending Public Lands Trapping in New Mexico; and Wolves in the American West. firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.819.5229.
Jim Matison joined WildEarth Guardians in 2002 and is the Restoration Projects Director. Jim leads efforts to restore riparian/wetland ecosystems with hands-on habitat restoration projects on private, public, and state school trust lands. He also directs the organization’s restoration projects on national forests, which entail closing roads as a means to restore forest ecosystems. Jim holds a degree from the University of Arizona. email@example.com or 505.795.1131.
Jeremy joined WildEarth Guardians in 2008 as the Director of the Climate and Energy Program, taking action to fight fossil fuels, promote clean energy, slash greenhouse gases, and develop innovative strategies to safeguard the climate and the American West. Jeremy has been active in conservation advocacy since 2000, when he first started working with Biodiversity Conservation Alliance to protect forests, grasslands, and imperiled species in Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota. In 2006, he founded and led Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action, a nonprofit that successfully held polluters, states, and the Environmental Protection Agency accountable to our clean air laws throughout the Rocky Mountain region. A native to Idaho, Jeremy made his way to the Rocky Mountain west to study geology at the University of Wyoming. He lives in Denver with his son, Obsidian. Jeremy leads Guardians' Power Past Coal, and Wild Skies of the West Priority campaigns. firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.437.7663.
Carol Norton is WildEarth Guardians’ Associate Director. Before coming to work at the Guardians, she spent over eight years working at Intel Corporation in Rio Rancho, NM in the information technology group as both a people and project manager. While there, she earned a Project Management Professional certification from Project Management International (PMI). Carol’s other positions have included running a family software business with her father, doing sales support for Apple Computer, and project management for the National Indian Business Association. Carol graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biology. Then she worked for the National Park Service for a year before starting a career in the technology field. She gladly returns to conservation--her true calling. Carol has lived in the Southwest since 1989 and has worked on a variety of issues here including land use and wilderness designation. Carol is an avid backpacker, hiker, and runner, which she does with her dog Paz whenever possible. email@example.com or 505.440.7158.
Jen Pelz is the Wild Rivers Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. She is focused on breathing new life into the once Great River of the West and preserving it for future generations. Jen grew up in New Mexico exploring the mesas of Albuquerque, fishing and camping along the Pecos River and wearing her father’s waders to fish the Conejos River near Platoro every summer. She received her B.A. in Field Biology from the University of Northern Colorado in 1998 and her J.D. and Certificate of Environmental and Natural Resource Law from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2002. Jen was a co-director for the 2001 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and was a clinic student for the Western Environmental Law Center. Jen practiced law for seven years at a small private firm in Denver, litigating land use, public lands and water law cases. She loves spending time with her husband and two little girls, tending her organic garden, and (slowly) remodeling her 1964 ranch home. Jen lives with her family in Colorado. firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.884.2702.
Samantha Ruscavage-Barz is a staff attorney for WildEarth Guardians. She received her juris doctorate from University of New Mexico School of Law in 2008, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington State University in 1999. Samantha joined WildEarth Guardians in 2010 after working as a staff attorney for Advocates for the West and a stint as a solo practitioner specializing in public interest environmental law. She focuses on curtailing fossil fuel development on public lands and protecting air quality. Samantha spent 17 years as an archaeologist in the public and private sectors before attending law school which led to her interest in advocating for and effecting protection of natural and cultural resources. email@example.com or 505.401.4180.
Jay Tutchton joined WildEarth Guardians' staff as our General Counsel, bringing with him 15 years of litigation experience defending wild places, native plants and animals across the country. His true love is the West, particularly prairie grasslands and southwestern deserts that allow unfettered views of wildlife and broad vistas. Representing a variety of clients, Jay has obtained Endangered Species Act protection for nearly 100 species and has challenged grazing, oil and gas, logging, and killing of endangered species. He's initiated novel approaches to use NAFTA for international environmental protection and the Energy Policy Act to promote fuel efficiency. Jay helped to start and has overseen the University of Denver's Environmental Law Clinic for the past eleven years, mentoring law students by guiding their participation in real cases, including many for WildEarth Guardians. Jay graduated from UCLA Law School in 1990 and previously worked for the National Wildlife Federation, Earthjustice, and the Center for Biological Diversity. In addition to his keen litigation skills and broad knowledge of environmental law, Jay brings with him a fierce determination to stem the extinction crisis. Jay is also a world traveler, seasoned sailor, soccer coach, and father of three children, Nathan, Alek, and Robin, who share Jay's deep love of the wild. firstname.lastname@example.org or 505.988.9126 x1164.
Jodie Wheeler is WildEarth Guardians’ Finance Director. Jodie is a Santa Fe native and started her accounting career while still in high school. She earned her Diploma in Accounting from Albuquerque TVI and brings 27 years of progressive accounting skills with her to WildEarth Guardians. Jodie enjoys camping with her family on the Conejos River, baking, reading, cross stitching, and volunteers regularly with the Santa Fe Public Schools. email@example.com or 505.988.9126 x1102.
Ashley Wilmes is a staff attorney for WildEarth Guardians where she focuses on fighting polluters and holding our federal agencies accountable for protecting wildlife and wild places of the West. Ashley comes to WildEarth Guardians after working as a project attorney at the University of Denver’s Environmental Law Clinic and as a private public interest attorney. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2002, with a specialty certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. During law school, Ashley helped organize the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and was a student attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where she enjoyed blowing glass and spent semesters abroad in London and the Central African Republic. Ashley lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband, Tom, and their two sons, and enjoys hiking and all that the natural landscape has to offer. firstname.lastname@example.org or 859.312.4162.