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

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

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

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

Scott Wilbor

Conservation Science Director

I bring 17+ years of experience working in the Southwest as a conservation biologist and researcher and a passion for conserving the diversity of life and natural heritage of the Sky Island Region to my job at Sky Island Alliance. My expertise is in ecosystem conservation, landscape-scale ecology, connectivity, water and riparian systems in the Southwest, and wildlife inventory and monitoring. Additionally, I have worked throughout my career to build respect, trust, and support, and gain knowledge from those living and working in the region, to achieve our common goals. I believe in inspiring people to the values and wonders of our Sky Island region wild lands.

I have a Master of Science from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, studying large landscape conservation, climate adaptation, and Geographic Information Science. I also have MS and BS degrees in Wildlife Biology, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado State University, respectively. I initiated and co-led Audubon’s Important Bird Areas Program in Arizona for 11 years and have worked with colleagues for the conservation of the lower San Pedro River watershed over many years. Prior to coming to Arizona, I worked as a biologist in Alaska, studying fish and wildlife populations throughout the state. When not working, I enjoy running with my dog, hiking, birding, camping with family and friends, and seeking out the best food and music of the stunning Southwest, Mexico, and the Sky Island Region.

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

Tadeo Pfister

Regional Program Manager

I was born and raised in a bi-cultural environment on the US–Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. As the son of a large animal veterinarian I spent much of my youth caring for animals and visiting local ranches on both sides of the border. I also spent a lot of time exploring in the Santa Rita Mountains, which gave me a life-long appreciation for the Sky Islands. For the last twenty five years I have worked in education and conservation programs in Northwestern Mexico. Eighteen of those years were spent living and working in the small town of Bahia de Kino, Sonora as the Station Manager and Instructor for Prescott College’s Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies. While there, I worked on a diversity of projects ranging from seabird conservation and environmental education to working closely with the Seri Indian tribe on island conservation and land management. I served as a Natural History guide and the primary boatman for Prescott College students and countless visitors to the Midriff Island Region of the Gulf of California.

In 2008 I moved back to Tucson, Arizona to work for the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment coordinating PANGAS, a binational fisheries initiative in the Northern Gulf of California. The goal of PANGAS was to connect science and society for the health of marine ecosystems and to improve the management of small-scale fisheries in the region. I am excited to bring my experience and knowledge to the Sky Island region as Regional Program Manager for Sky Island Alliance. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College and am father to two amazing kids.

Phone: 520-624-7080 x12
Email: tadeo@skyislandalliance.org

Karilyn Roach

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

Conservation Biologist & GIS Specialist

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 x16
Email: sami@skyislandalliance.org

Bryon Lichtenhan

Field Coordinator

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

Mexico Conservation Biologist

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

Field Biologist

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.org

Madeline Ryder

Database and Outreach Assistant

As a proud Tucson native, I feel honored to work for an organization that gives so much back to the community and landscape that shaped who I am today. I grew up playing in the neighborhood wash (now gone to make way for a road expansion), watching from the roof as coyotes, javelina, and jackrabbits migrated through our yard, and camping with friends and family in our Sky Island mountain ranges. I have experience in operating heavy equipment on a large-scale composting facility, working with local utility companies to integrate renewable energy into their long-term vision, and chairing a university funding committee for sustainability projects around campus, among many other experiences. In 2014, I received a BA in Environmental Studies and a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Arizona. Currently, I’m pursuing a Master’s in Water, Society and Policy, focusing on long-term ecological and cultural restoration of the Santa Cruz River Basin. When not working, studying, or dedicating time to one of my many other commitments, you might see me riding my bike throughout town or find me in a hatha yoga class. Most likely though, I’ll be spending my time with dear friends and family, cooking something delicious (preferably in the great outdoors).

Phone: 520-624-7080
Email: madeline@skyislandalliance.org