A Field Guide to Staff

Sky Island Alliance has a skilled and passionate staff, dedicated to getting great things done in the Sky Islands. We welcome you to join us in the field, meet us at the office, attend our special events, and get to know us in person!

Louise Misztal

louise backpack cropped Executive Director

I’ve worked at Sky Island Alliance for the past nine years, most recently as Conservation Director. I was the principal architect of a regional climate change adaptation workshop series designed for resource managers to advance understanding of impacts on ecosystems and wildlife. This led directly to critical new work to survey, protect and restore fragile spring ecosystems. In 2015, I conducted sabbatical work in Australia, where I met with natural resource colleagues to share methodologies for assessing vulnerability of biodiversity, water sources, and human communities to climate change, and developing responsive science, policy and adaptation strategies. I’m committed to crafting creative solutions to pressing conservation issues and building collaboration among diverse partners. I’m currently principal investigator on a project to collaboratively develop a climate-smart landscape conservation design for the Sky Island Region, focused on springs, streams and grasslands. I hold a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a B.S. in Microbiology, and an M.S. in Geographic Information Systems, all from the University of Arizona. For my Master’s work, I mapped bi-national conservation priorities for wildlife corridor and habitat protection in the Sky Island region. I am currently Vice Chair of the Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and a member of the Community Water Coalition Advisory Committee, the Art and Environment Network Executive Committee and the Wildlife Conservation Society Climate Change Adaptation Fund Advisory Committee. I love hiking desert rivers and Sky Island creeks to look for birds and swimming holes, and seeking out quiet camping spots with lots of bear sign nearby.

Visit Louise’s blog “Springs Down Under.”

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 19
Email: louise@skyislandalliance.org

Carianne Campbell

Carianne Restoration Director

Since joining the Sky Island Alliance team in 2013, I am enjoying learning the plants of higher elevations and wet places in the Sky Islands. I have over 15 years of restoration experience throughout the desert southwest, but mostly in the dry washes and desert uplands. I am very excited about how we connect people to the sky islands through ecological restoration projects – improving habitat for wildlife and the lifting human spirits at the same time. I’m the Vice President of the Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and in the past have served as President of the Tucson Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society and as the Wildlife Habitat Representative on the City of Tucson Landscape Advisory Committee. I specialize in using vegetation ecology field methods to develop and monitor restoration projects; designing and implementing invasive species management plans; and applying novel low-tech approaches to achieve restoration objectives. I studied Botany at Prescott College can often be found lying on the ground looking at flowers.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 14
Email: carianne@skyislandalliance.org

Maggie Trinkle

Maggie2 Operations Director

I returned to The Old Pueblo in 2010 after straying miles from home.  In my twelve years away from Tucson, I worked as a quality and systems manager for a manufacturing firm in Silicon Valley, started my own internet solutions business, and, most importantly, created a few DNAlings.  Once my son and daughter were of school age, I was ready for my next journey and found Sky Island Alliance.  I appreciate the atmosphere of learning and collaboration here, and that I am able to give back to the region that nurtured me into adulthood all those years ago. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Operations Management from the Eller College at the University of Arizona.  I provide program support behind the scenes, and mange our accounting and finances. In my free time, I exercise in excess, write, dance, and secretly arrange fresh roses from my garden on my coworkers’ desks.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 10
Email: maggie@skyislandalliance.org

Jessica Moreno

Jessica Conservation Manager

I am a wildlife biologist with a passion for carnivores and wild open spaces, and an enthusiasm for wildlife tracking. I have a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the University of Arizona and spent four years working with the UA Wild Cat Research and Conservation Center when we were a small staff of two. In 2004 I began helping Sky Island Alliance with ocelot and jaguar monitoring and citizen science wildlife tracking instruction and in 2008 served part-time on outreach and protection for our Tumacacori Highlands and Land of Legends Wilderness campaigns. I became the Wildlife Linkages Program lead in 2010, the same day SIA discovered the first ocelot living in Arizona. I am currently a Level II wildlife track and sign interpreter certified by CyberTracker Conservation International. I also sit as a member of the Pima County Regional Transportation Authority Wildlife Linkages Committee and serve on several statewide, county, and local area wildlife connectivity working groups. With the help of hundreds of citizen science volunteers and the data they collect, I advocate for carnivore protection, inform public policy, create partnerships, and build safe passages and protected corridors for our wildlife. I will always associate pumpkin pie and coffee with my first Sky Island Alliance volunteer trip: watching an autumn sunset light up the Atascosa Mountains after a long, arduous (but thrilling) day searching for jaguar tracks.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 21
Email: jessica@skyislandalliance.org

Karilyn Roach

karilyn-bio-pic-cropped Communications Manager

I bring to Sky Island Alliance a passion for promoting community building and connections to our natural environment in a way that has direct impacts for human well being and the health of the environment. Stories have power, so I strive to share the story of our precious Sky Island landscapes and critters in a way that inspires everyone to engage with our work in deeper ways. In addition to years of experience in nonprofit development and communications, I hold a MS in Urban Planning from of the University of Arizona and a BA in English Literature from San Francisco State University. When not working, I can usually be found out and about on city streets or mountain trails riding my bike or with my nose buried in a good book.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 11
Email: karilyn@skyislandalliance.org

Sami Hammer

Sami Conservation Coordinator

I work with Sky Island Alliance’s Adopt-A-Spring monitoring, restoration weekend trips, and spatial analysis and mapping. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Trinity University and a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from The University of Arizona. My Master’s thesis explored how the vegetative, hydrological, and geomorphological characteristics of ephemeral and intermittent streams influence their use by wildlife species of concern. Before coming south, I worked in Wyoming and Idaho as a wildlife technician surveying for species such as Wyoming pocket gophers and pygmy rabbits, as a range technician inventorying range improvements on BLM allotments, and even as a recreation/wildlife intern mapping two-track dirt roads. While living in Tucson as a student, I spent many weekends exploring the Sky Islands. I am excited to continue to work in and learn about this region as a part of SIA. I love exploring new landscapes, starry nights, ridge tops, and the quiet of remote places.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 16
Email: sami@skyislandalliance.org

Bryon Lichtenhan

Bryon Conservation Assistant

I was born and raised in Tucson, and the deserts and mountains of the Sky Island Archipelago have always been my source of inspiration, beauty, solace and so much more. I am constantly struck by the amazing diversity of this place, and I feel that there is no more important work than the protection and restoration of the planet upon which we live, and the building of a deep connection between people and the natural world. My background as a homesteader and permaculturalist, ancestral skills instructor, tree service technician, and nature guide and educator, as well as my studies of Biology, Ecology, and Anthropology at institutions such as Carleton College in Northfield, MN and Prescott College in Tucson, have made me keenly aware of our undeniable connection to, and dependence upon, the natural world for our lives and livelihoods. While my principal duties at SIA involve interacting with our amazing volunteers to prepare and implement our restoration and spring assessment field work, I am also an instructor with our wildlife tracking workshops and other education efforts. In my free time I might be found birding in our borderlands, partaking in a backcountry deer hunt, or sleeping next to a fire made by friction, under a hand-made shelter, up some hidden Sky Island canyon.  I feel truly inspired by the chance to collaborate with all my remarkable co-workers as we help to improve the vitality of our native plants, animals and habitats, while creating a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, our incredible Sky Islands.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 27
Email: bryon@skyislandalliance.org

Mirna Manteca

Mirna Conservation Coordinator

Hiking and camping through the stunning Sonoran sky islands every summer as a child triggered my profound love for open spaces and wildlife. My wild childhood lead me directly to study biology in University of Sonora. I recently worked alongside CONANP in the wildlife monitoring department of Ajos-Bavispe National Forest Reserve and Wildlife Refuge. Using remote cameras and track identification techniques we monitored the priority species of Sierra Los Ajos. I also worked in beaver and black- tailed prairie dog monitoring and conservation efforts in the San Pedro Watershed along with Naturalia. Working side by side with landowners we strove to protect two species that can be controversial to local ranchers, and to preserve the very last black-tailed prairie dog colony in the state of Sonora. I have a deep passion for butterflies and am on a constant quest to learn more about the incredible diversity of Sonoran butterflies. Ideal days for me involve a good hike, the swishing of butterfly nets, and an evening serenaded by the reassuring sound of coyote songs in the distance.

Recorriendo las impresionantes islas del cielo Sonorenses todos los veranos como niña desencadenó mi profundo amor por los espacios abiertos y la vida silvestre. Mi infancia me llevó directamente a estudiar Biología en la Universidad de Sonora. Recientemente trabajé en conjunto con CONANP en el departamento de monitoreo de fauna de la Reserva Forestal Nacional y Refugio de Fauna Silvestre Ajos-Bavispe. Utilizando cámaras trampa y técnicas de identificación de seña monitoreamos las especies prioritarias de Sierra Los Ajos. Asímismo, trabajé en monitoreo y esfuerzos de conservación de castor y perrito de la pradera en la Cuenca del Río San Pedro en conjunto con Naturalia. Trabajando lado a lado con propietarios de predios nos esforzamos en proteger dos especies controversiales para los ganaderos locales, y para preservar la última colonia de perrito de la pradera en el estado de Sonora. Tengo una pasión por las mariposas y constantemente busco aprender más sobre la increíble diversidad de mariposas de Sonora. Días ideales para mí involucran una buena caminata, redes de mariposa y una noche acompañada por la serenata de coyotes en la distancia.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x 15
Email: mirna@skyislandalliance.org

Bernardo Murrieta

bernie1 Conservation Assistant

Originally from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, I studied Biology at the University of Sonora. After finishing my studies I knew it was time to be part of a team who takes care to preserve and restore the beautiful spaces where we live, which is the Sky Island Region. I have come to Sky Island Alliance to do my part and work in this stunning place that also involves my country of birth. I am the newest member of this organization, willing to learn and improve this region. I know that working as a field technician at SIA will give me all the tools and education to restore, promote, and preserve our beautiful region and its unique biological diversity. I have a great passion for the conservation of flora and fauna in the Sky Island Region. And some things that I love are outdoor activities like hiking in forests and deserts, swimming in any lake or river, climbing, camping, and in identifying species of animals and plants around us. I am excited to be here and be part of this great organization.

Soy originario de Hermosillo, Sonora, México, y estudié Biología en la Universidad de Sonora. Al culminar mis estudios supe que era momento de formar parte de un equipo de trabajo encargado de conservar y restaurar los bellos espacios donde nos tocó vivir, que es la región de las Islas Serranas (Sky Island region). He llegado a Sky Island Alliance para poner de mi parte y poder trabajar en este lugar tan hermoso que involucra también a mi país de nacimiento. Soy el miembro más reciente de esta organización, dispuesto a aprender y contribuir a mejorar esta región. Sé que el trabajar como técnico de campo en SIA, me dará todas las herramientas y la educación para restaurar, promover, y preservar nuestras hermosas regiones y su diversidad biológica única. Tengo una gran pasión por la conservación de la flora y fauna en la región de las Islas Serranas. Algunas cosas que me encantan hacer son actividades al aire libre como dar caminatas en bosques y desiertos, nadar en cualquier lago o río, escalar, acampar, y en el proceso trato de identificar especies de animales y plantas que nos rodean. Estoy muy emocionado por estar aquí y formar parte de esta gran organización.

Phone: 520-624-7080
Email: bernie@skyislandalliance