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.
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.
Emily Martin Brott
I came to the Sonoran Desert a decade and a half ago to pursue master’s research with local groups in the binational San Pedro River Basin. I knew I’d stay for good, as the US-Mexico border and its people, wildlife, and rich cultural history took hold. The next 13 years found me working at Sonoran Institute, with partners throughout Tucson and Mexicali, to help secure fresh water for the Santa Cruz River and the Colorado River Delta, respectively. What an adventure! Through it all, Sky Island Alliance staff were by my side, asking the tough questions and taking critical leadership positions. I was so impressed. I earned my MBA and am now in the social justice sector at the Tucson nonprofit Our Family Services. I am deeply honored and humbled to now be part of the Alliance’s board. Sky Island Alliance has always meant so much to me – for its unwavering commitment to the border and binational work; for its leadership on watersheds and especially seeps and springs; for its tremendous volunteer force; and for its focus on science and large-landscape restoration. Thank you Sky Island Alliance staff and volunteers!
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.
Although I grew up scurrying around the green woods of eastern Tennessee, travels in the West, and eventual moves to other regions (Santa Barbara for graduate school and then to Tucson in 1992), deepened my connection to the wonderful diversity of semi-arid natural landscapes and to the Sky Island region, in particular. My professional life has followed suit. With a Master’s in geological sciences, I began my career as hydrologist in California and then spent 23 years as a watershed planner and ultimately as the Director of the Sustainable Environment Program at Pima Association of Governments in Tucson, Arizona. I currently work at University of Arizona as the Program Director for the Water, Environmental, and Energy Solutions Initiative, where I work closely with the UA Water Resources Research Center. Thinking, researching, and communicating about water and the environment has been the mainstay of my professional career. I am particularly concerned about issues related to utilization of stormwater, the importance of groundwater and springs to desert ecosystems, the threat of buffelgrass, and relationship between people, animals, water, and habitat in the West. Beyond these environmental and career interests, my life circles around family and my love of music and dance. I play traditional Irish and American Old-time music in sessions, jams, and in various bands, and for 25 years I have built community and connected people to music and dance by calling and organizing contradances.