Alan is a Rural Sociologist with a background in Sustainable Community Development and Natural Resources Law and Policy. He has a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in Sociology and Spanish, an M.S. from the University of Washington in Forest Management, a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Development Sociology. He has worked with the Peace Corps, the National Park Service, the National Audubon Society, and has taught Sociology and Community Development at several universities. Alan has worked at the FWRI since 2015, serving as Collaboration Program Manager and Assistant Director.
Buddy joined the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute team during the summer of 2023. He has more than 30 years’ experience in public service, which includes active-duty military service and public higher education. He was born and raised in northern New Mexico and holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering, and Engineer’s Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. His work has taken him around the world with overseas assignments, international collaborations, and numerous leadership positions. Over the last decade, he has been with New Mexico Highlands University with positions as a Director at the NMHU Farmington Center, Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research, and Assistant Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.
Budget and Finance Manager
(505) 454-3360 email@example.com
Kris joined the NMFWRI in January 2023. She comes from a 28-year background in university budget and finance management. She previously worked at the Northern Arizona University School of Forestry for the past twelve years. Her experience in grant administration has been a key part of her career for the last decade. She has managed a large grant portfolio and worked with many amazing Principal Investigators and crews over the years. She specializes in USDA NIFA funds and enjoys working closely with the researchers and help them carry out their projects plans and field work. She also has extensive experience in managing state funds, revenue generating funds and foundation funds. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Business Economics degree. Kris feels at home in both the desert and the mountains. When she visited Las Vegas, New Mexico for the first time she was automatically drawn to want to live here. She’s the mom of a smart, talented daughter who is a college student and rising artist. She enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, gardening and traveling. She looks forward to exploring New Mexico and all that is has to offer.
(505) 426-2009 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marla Martinez was born and raised in Las Vegas, NM, graduating from Robertson High School. Immediately after, she started her career with the City of Las Vegas Fire Department as an Administrative Assistant. She then was promoted to Financial Specialist with the City of Las Vegas Police Department where she managed substantial budgets. After 25 years of service she retired. She was hired in February 2020 at New Mexico Highland University as the Administrative Assistant with the ARMAS Center under the grant STEMfast. She assisted Faculty, Staff, and students with daily activities and managed the budget for the department. After working with NMHU for over two years, she was hired with the New Mexico Forestry and Watershed Restoration Institute as an Administrative Assistant. She likes to spend time with family and especially her grandkids. She likes to hike, sew, cook, and enjoy the outdoors.
Public Information Specialist
(505) 470-9843 email@example.com
Staci joined FWRI in 2021 as the Institute's public information specialist. Her focus is helping NMFWRI staff and collaborators explain their vital research and projects through multimedia stories. Staci was a longtime environment and community reporter with the daily Santa Fe New Mexican and a former editor of the Taos News. Staci grew up in the Navajo Nation. She has a BS in Agriculture and an MA in Journalism, both from the University of Arizona. She launched a Spanish/English newspaper and distributed it on both sides of the Sonora/Arizona border as part of her Masters project. She lives in Sapello, New Mexico and is a member of the Sapello-Rociada-San Ignacio Volunteer Fire Company.
GIS Program Manager & Administrator
Since 2007, Patti has been working as a GIS Specialist and now GIS Program Manager at the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute. During this time, she has worked on projects ranging from object-oriented land cover classification using eCognition, using LiDAR for Forest monitoring assessments, and developing web mapping applications. She currently holds an FAA Remote Pilot License (UAS) and expects her future work will include conservation monitoring and mapping with drone technologies. Patti holds a Master of Applied Geography Degree (MAG) from New Mexico State University. She is currently adjunct faculty at New Mexico Highlands University and has taught NMHU’s Remote Sensing and Analysis class using ArcPro. She has is currently on the NMGIC board.
GIS Specialist & Data Manager
Katie has worked as a GIS Specialist at the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute for 7 years. During this time she has worked on various projects including the SWERI IIJA Project National Treatment Map, New Mexico Opportunity Map and Vegetation Treatment geodatabase, developing online WebApps, developing and conducting geospatial training courses, and conducting monitoring and mapping with drones. She currently holds a FAA Remote Pilot License (UAS). Katie's background includes watershed planning and restoration for the Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance. She has a BA in Geography from Humboldt State University and an MS in Environment and Development from King’s College London.
Dana has been in the geographic field for over a decade, earning her BS in Geology and Environmental Science and her MS in Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), as well as teaching GIS at the college level. She has worked as a GIS specialist for federal and state governments, private consultants, and academic institutions with work roles spanning from imagery science to human geography. She is excited to use and develop her skills at NMFWRI. Although a Michigander at heart, Dana grew up in the Middle East and Europe and continues to travel and explore new cities whenever she can.
Elizabeth has worn many hats throughout her life: organic farmer, mom, landscaper, plant nursery owner, and wedding florist. Then through a serendipitous series of events she went back to school, discovered her inner computer nerd, got an Associate of Applied Science degree in GIS and now she maps things. She worked as a GIS Intern and Project Leader for SCA, a GIS Technician with Evari GIS Consulting, and before joining the team at NMFWRI she was the GIS Intern at Bandelier National Monument. Recently she became a GIS Specialist (in training) for wildland fires, as well as an Emergency Management Specialist (GIS) for disaster relief with the Department of Health and Human Services. Central Texas has been home throughout most of her adult life, with short stints in Colorado, but she's thrilled to now call New Mexico home. When not working she loves hiking, exploring, travelling, cooking (and eating), reading, writing, and despite how much it hurts and how mediocre she is, snowboarding.
Conservation & Restoration Ed. Prog. Mgr. / Conservation Science Center @ HU
Shantini builds capacity of New Mexican youth to lead the conservation of local landscapes through the Conservation Science Center @ Highlands University. She develops place-based outdoor learning programs to build a pipeline in STEM disciplines, which combined with mentorship, leadership development and resilience strategies, encourages persistence among students of color in STEM. She has been working in northern New Mexico since 2012, and has experience in protected land management, habitat restoration, disease ecology, and community engagement. She holds an MS in Life Sciences with a concentration in Biology from New Mexico Highlands University, a BS in Zoology from Southern Illinois University, and a BA in Mass Media from Mount Union College. She serves as a board member with the High Plains Grasslands Alliance and Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance, an outreach committee member with Albuquerque Wildlife Federation and a fellow with Environmental Education New Mexico.
Education and Outreach Coordinator
(505) 454-3225 firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalia has a background working for Tribal Nations in developing programing for air quality monitoring and education and monitoring of water resources at the watershed scale. She previously worked for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP), where she worked with Tribal youth and families to encourage meaningful engagement with the sciences and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders. As a researcher at Northern Arizona University she developed a hydrologic model for the Canyon de Chelly watershed for tracking soil moisture in an effort to support land managers and community agricultural practices. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Redlands and her M.S. in Environmental Science & Policy from Northern Arizona University.
Education and Outreach Program Assistant
Melendez started his career in Forestry by having a dream and goal to be a Renaissance man - educated, physically strong, and willing to serve his country. Melendez graduated from Robertson High School in 2013 and attended NM Highlands University. While in college, Melendez worked with the U.S. Forest Service in 2013, 2015 and 2017 as a timber technician. Melendez also worked in carpentry, vehicle mechanics, restaurants, animal husbandry, welding, ranching, wood harvesting, rock laying, bailing hay, and drawing – in short, a Renaissance man. Melendez graduated in 2018 with a B.S in Forestry and a Minor in Wildland Fire. Since the summer of 2018, Melendez has worked with the New Mexico Forest and Watershed as a monitoring technician/ supervisor and now the Education and Outreach Program Assistant. Melendez loves being outdoors, joking, laughing, hanging out with loved ones, and being creative in what he does at work. He is strong in his beliefs, which brought him a gift of strength to be the man he is today.
Michael joined FWRI as a Research Associate in February 2023. Michael is an interdisciplinary researcher with expertise conducting applied and community-engaged research in environmental policy implementation and collaborative planning. Most of their work focuses on water governance in the West and Southwest, United States. In 2018, Michael earned an MS in Water Resources Conservation and Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where they are currently a PhD Candidate, studying Water Governance and Policy. With training in both the natural and social sciences, Michael draws on a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodologies to facilitate research that addresses community needs and builds collaborative relationships across diverse stakeholders and audiences. In addition to conducting research, Michael has worked as an environmental educator for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and has taught a variety of Natural Resource Conservation and Communication classes at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Crystal A. Medina
Collaboration Program Manager
Crystal grew up along the Río Chama in northern New Mexico where she developed a deep love for the land. She earned a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in Native American Hispano Cultural Studies and a M.A. in Public Affairs with an emphasis in Applied Sociology from New Mexico Highlands University. Her graduate research focused on northern New Mexican culture and identity. Upon graduation, Crystal began working for the State of New Mexico where she gained invaluable experience working with the public on child welfare-related issues. Crystal later returned to NMHU as the director of a National Science Foundation Hispanic Serving Institution STEM education grant program where she fostered the development of place-based student activities with faculty, staff, agency partners and other professional partners of the local STEM community. She joined NMFWRI in 2023 and is invested in growing collaborative action within her home state of New Mexico. Crystal spends her free time with family, reading, or tending to her small garden.
Alejandro cultivated his passion for natural landscapes as a child growing up in Latin America. After ten years living abroad, his family returned to the US where he eventually attended the University of Georgia to pursue an athletic career in throwing javelin and earn a B.S. in Forest Resources in the Spring of 2021. He continued his education at the University of Georgia and graduated with an M.S. in Forestry – Policy and Sustainability in the Spring of 2023. His M.S. thesis research evaluated the role of land tenure and communal organizations in adapting to a changing climate for pastoralists in a rural and arid region of Northern Argentina. Importantly, this interdisciplinary research considered environmental and social justice, institutions, and resource access. Alejandro joined NMFWRI in the Fall of 2023 and is committed to draw upon his personal, cultural, and academic backgrounds to further the Collaborative Program’s goals and objectives. In his free time, he enjoys birding, fishing, and spending time with loved ones.
Eleanor works for NMFRWI through the AmeriCorp VISTA program as Collaboration Specialist where she supports place-based collaborative conservation groups to find their voice and reach their goals. Previously, she worked as Sustainability Intern and Map Librarian at her alma mater of Calvin University. She has a special passion for water and rural-focused issues facing the West today. Eleanor grew up in La Junta on the Southeastern Plains of Colorado. She graduated in the Spring of 2023 from Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a BA in Environmental Studies with emphasis in Geography and a minor in Chinese, along with her GIS certificate.
Monitoring Program Manager
Kathryn Mahan is an ecologist with a M.S. in Natural Resources Management. She has a particular interest in long-term ecological monitoring programs and building capacity for adaptive management at all levels. Before she joined NMFWRI in 2014, she worked as an outdoor educator for the United World College Wilderness Program and the University of Wyoming, a biotechnician for the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, and an independent natural resources consultant with organizations such as Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Her other passions include wilderness and emergency medicine, volunteer firefighting, backpacking, being outside, writing, and growing vegetables.
Crew Logistics Support / Assistant Manager
Carmen graduated in Forestry and has a minor in Spanish from New Mexico Highlands University. Some background job experience includes working for a greenhouse and nursery in Colorado and the Denver Zoological Foundation stationed in Watrous, NM at the Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge Area. At the Wildlife Refuge, she gained many conservation and restoration skills like building one rock dams to slow down water. Now she works for NMFWRI and has a blast out in the woods collecting field data.
Hailing from the woodlands of Ohio, Corey attended the University of Delaware where he earned a BS and MA in cognitive science before spending three and a half years working as a data engineer in Boise. After spending the summer working with the Idaho Conservation Corps, he is particularly interested in work related to restoration and wildfire mitigation and is excited to apply his technical expertise to the work at NMFWRI. In his free time Corey enjoys climbing large rocks, skiing in the backcountry, long trail runs, and cooking.
Alex grew up in the Hudson Valley and graduated from Walsh University with a degree in Environmental Science and three years of division 2 lacrosse. He worked seasonal jobs to travel the country. He enjoys spending time on his mountain bike and exploring trails with his dog Tito. His favorite ecosystems are wetlands and tall grass prairies because of the diversity of plants and the awesome benefits they provide.
Meredith graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2017 with a B.S. in Environmental & Sustainability Studies. Her introduction to the world of ecological restoration began while she was working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Ecological Restoration Institute in Flagstaff, Arizona. Meredith has spent several field seasons throughout northern Arizona and New Mexico leading monitoring crews. Prior to joining the NMFWRI team, Meredith spent two years in the southern Appalachian mountains leading backpacking trips on the iconic Appalachian Trail, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Pisgah National Forest. In December 2021, she finished her first thru hike on the Arizona Trail, traversing 800 miles from the Utah to Mexico border. Her favorite pastimes include making art, identifying plants, reading, and crawfish boils.
Carolina grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and earned a B.S. in Biology & Environmental Science from the College of William and Mary. Following graduation, she worked three seasons at Bandelier National Monument doing wildlife surveys, fire effects monitoring, and restoration projects. She received a M.S. in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2022, completing a thesis on forest regeneration after repeated prescribed fire. In her free time, Carolina likes to backpack, grow plants, and do creative projects.
Monitoring and Data Technician
Patrick Clay was raised on a farm in Mora County, New Mexico and received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from New Mexico Highlands University. While working on his master's he discovered his passion for applying ecology to agricultural systems. He has worked as a recycling technician, bio technician, farmer, and maintenance technician over his short professional life. He has a passion for plants, agriculture, reading and writing, and existing in natural spaces.
Monitoring Technician Assistant
Zoe grew up in Minnesota camping and hiking in all 75 state parks. She moved west studying biology at University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Montana State University in Bozeman and is now a student at New Mexico Highlands University. Zoe was a data analyst in the MSU Paleoecology lab, researching wildfire frequency and past ecosystems in the Americas. She has an interest in animal and wildlands conservation. Zoe looks forward to being a part of watershed and forest conservation by joining NMFWRI through an Internship while finishing her Bachelor of Science degree.