Meet Sky Island Alliance’s Board of Directors!
Board Membership is a volunteer position, and members meet four times a year. You can frequently see them at our public events, volunteer trips, making thank-you calls, and around the office. We appreciate all of the time and commitment that our amazing Board Members dedicate to ensuring our organization stays strong, and our mission endures.
Howard FrederickPresident of the Board
I have always enjoyed the outdoors and, growing up in Tucson, had the opportunity to spend countless hours wandering in the desert, swimming in Sabino Canyon, and camping in many of the surrounding mountain regions. Now, seeing the changes brought on by a growing population that seeks to increase its development footprint, I appreciate the work done by Sky Island in helping to maintain open corridors for wildlife and restoring over-used spaces. My work as a ruminant animal nutritionist has afforded me the privilege of observing the sky island environment from the wildlife’s perspective and recognizing the need for maintaining these high quality open spaces. Our family owns part of Ruby Mines in Santa Cruz County, and we have developed a productive relationship with Sky Island staff and volunteers as they work to map the region’s watershed, identify the native flora and fauna, and control non-native species.
Vanessa RichterTreasurer of the Board
I am a Tucson native whose relationship with our beautiful desert started with hiking and camping in the Southern Arizona mountains with my father. Guided by a commitment to conservation and a love of nature, I studied Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona. Working as an engineer in Arizona and Florida through 2008 advanced my knowledge of waterways, wetlands, wildlife protection, and the need to balance development with the natural world. In 2008, I switched my career focus to energy efficiency working for a non-profit focused on saving energy across the United States. I am committed to finding scalable solutions to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. I live in Tucson with my wife, Lori, our son Harrison, and three crazy dogs. Thanks to Lori, I was reminded of my love of hiking in 2011 and we now hike as often as we can, with Mount Lemmon a favorite destination. As an advocate for empowering our youth through education, I am also involved with my son’s elementary school, including being a PTA board member and advancing sustainability initiatives such as water harvesting and the installation of on-site solar panels. I am honored to be a part of the Sky Island Alliance board, using my business and engineering experience to advance various initiatives that benefit the beautiful and unique spaces that I love in Southern Arizona.
Larry FisherSecretary of the Board
I’m a Research Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona. My teaching and research interests focus on large landscape conservation, climate change adaptation, public lands policy, and international conservation and sustainable development, and I remain actively involved in a range of field projects related to public lands management, both in the U.S. and internationally. I grew up in California (which actually wasn’t that bad), but have always loved the desert Southwest, and was lucky enough to marry a third generation Arizonan, Tahnee Robertson, and become part of the landscape here.
Juan Carlos Bravo
I am the Director of the Mexico Program for Wildlands Network, a partner group of SIA for many years, and I’ve been living in the Sonoran Desert since late 2005, working on projects like the Northern Jaguar Reserve, the recovery of prairie dogs in the Mexican portion of the San Pedro River and the first Mexican wolf reintroduction into Sonora. My work revolves around fostering connectivity between distant landscapes and different people; promoting conditions necessary for large carnivores to thrive; and effecting strategic changes that add up to a continental-scale vision of conservation. I’m a native of Mexico City and could not be happier to have left that huge city behind as I enjoy immensely the wide empty spaces of northwestern Mexico.
Soy Director del Programa México de Wildlands Network, un grupo socio de SIA desde hace muchos años, y he vivido en el Desierto Sonorense desde finales del 2005, trabajando en proyectos como la Reserva Jaguar del Norte , la recuperación de los perritos llaneros en la porción mexicana de la Cuenca del Río San Pedro y la primera reintroducción de lobos mexicanos a Sonora. Mi trabajo gira alrededor de fomentar conectividad entre paisajes distantes y personas distintas; promover las condiciones necesarias para que los grandes carnívoros prosperen; y efectuar cambios estratégicos que contribuyan a una visión de conservación a escala continental. Soy originario de la Ciudad de México y no podría estar más feliz de haber dejado atrás esa enorme ciudad pues disfruto inmensamente los vastos espacios abiertos del noroeste mexicano.
When I was growing up, spending time outside was my refuge and sanctuary. I carried this love of the outdoors into adulthood with my graduate degrees and early work experiences focused on the conservation of native species and landscape continuity. These principles guide me and influence every decision I make in my current role as Manager for Land Resources with Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services. I have lived in Tucson since 2007, and I quickly developed a connection and enduring affinity for the Sky Island Region. My wife and I are avid campers and hikers, and our greatest joy has been introducing our 6-year-old daughter to the incredible beauty and biodiversity of this region. I appreciate Sky Island Alliance’s work and collaboration with agencies, jurisdictions, and the public to inform and influence policies and actions that encourage sustainable development and sound, science-based decisions on landscape planning. It is an honor to be part of the board and have a role in contributing to this important work.
I work as a manager of natural resources in northern Mexico in the beautiful Sky Islands of Sonora, in one of the most beautiful natural areas in this country: The Ajos Bavispe Reserve. We focus on the protection, management, monitoring of priority wildlife species, management and control of exotic, fire management and forest fire fighting, and environmental education and management. I have a degree in ecology. I consider myself an enthusiastic field naturalist and ecologist who has worked for twenty-one years for land and wildlife conservation. I worked four years with Mexican Spotted Owl for the Centro Ecologico de Sonora in collaboration with the University of Arizona across the mountainous portion of Sonora. I worked three years for the Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) as Director Assistant at the Cabo Pulmo National Park and in charge of the Revillagigedo Archipielago Biosphere Reserve in the Pacific Ocean of Mexico, and 17 years in the Ajos Bavispe National Forest Reserve and Wildlife Refuge in the Sky Island Region of northeastern Sonora, Mexico. I like camping and hiking in the mountains and snorkeling on a reef, I love photography of landscapes, wildlife and flowers. I grew up in Nacozari, a small mining town located 65 miles south from the U.S. Border, which allowed me to learn much about the land use from local people and also learn about Apache and Opata history and land use in the Sky Islands.
Trabajo como manejador de recursos naturales en el norte de México, en las hermosas Islas del Cielo del estado de Sonora, en una de las más bellas áreas naturales de este país. Entre las líneas principales de trabajo están la Protección, manejo, monitoreo de especies prioritarias de vida silvestre, manejo y control de exóticos, manejo de fuego y combate de incendios forestales, educación y gestión ambiental. Tengo una licenciatura en ecología. Me considero un entusiasta naturalista y ecólogo de campo que ha trabajado durante 21 años en favor de la conservación. De los cuales, cuatro años laborando con Búho Manchado Mexicano para el Centro Ecológico de Sonora en colaboración con la University of Arizona en toda la porción montañosa de Sonora; en la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas trabajé tres años como subdirector en el Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo y encargado de la Reserva de la Biosfera Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, en el pacifico mexicano y 17 años en la Reserva Forestal Nacional y Refugio de Fauna Silvestre Ajos Bavispe en las Islas del Cielo del Noreste de Sonora, México. Me gusta el campismo y las caminatas en la montaña así como el bucear en un arrecife, me gusta la fotografía de paisajes, de la vida silvestre y las flores. El haberme criado en Nacozari, me permitió conocer mucho sobre el uso de la tierra por la gente local e incluso aprendí sobre la historia y uso de la tierra por los Apaches y Opatas que vivieron en la región de las Islas del Cielo.
I am a retired veterinarian who creates the essence of the horse and other animals with steel. As a vet for I worked professionally with horses, dogs, cats and rabbits doing acupuncture and spinal manipulation. My artistic endeavors began in high school but were not formalized by education until after spending seven years in Australia. A have a four year Associate Diploma degree in painting and a Certificate in Ceramics. I have barrel raced, ridden event horses, followed cattle on ranch work and reached FEI levels of dressage. The many different animal body types of these different disciplines frequently show up in my steel and bronze sculpture. When I’m not designing and welding a new piece, I also help manage the historic Ruby Mines property of Ruby, Arizona, which is a lovely wild spot with a history. I am a Board Member of Sky Island Alliance, secretary of the board and a member of the HR committee. I feel honored to work with a group that participates in the wild places of the sky islands by using science and naming or counting what exists in wild places, and improving other geographic areas that need restoration. I thrill to think of what it means to put wildlife bridges or underpasses across our highways.
Michael Van Alsburg
I am a Tucson attorney with a wide variety of clients including those with land use, natural resources, environmental, and water law issues. Having grown up in Southern Arizona, I have been hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, and enjoying nature as long as I can remember. I spend most of my free time with my family exploring the Sky Islands, with a particular fondness for Santa Cruz County. The Sky Islands are a unique treasure, unprecedented in both beauty and biodiversity. I was drawn to serving as part of the Sky Island Alliance Board because of the important work this organization does in serving the community and preserving this resource for future generations. I am an advocate for conservation efforts designed to encourage sustainable practices balanced by the obligations we all share to protect the wildlife, plants, and fragile ecosystem vital to this region.