Board of Directors

Kenneth Cole, Albuquerque, Chair

Ken is a retired International Official with extensive experience in negotiating financial and technical support for community based economic and social development undertakings. As a lawyer (Berkeley Law) and an avid bird watcher, Ken has traveled all over the world and observed the benefits of healthy habitats and the problems caused by the degradation of natural resources. Ken has been involved in protection of dryland habitat for 15 years and worked to get the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification ratified.

Todd Schulke, Silver City, Deputy Chairperson

Todd is a co-founder and senior staff member of the Center for Biological Diversity. He holds an environmental studies degree from the Evergreen State College. He has been working to protect and restore forests and rivers in the Southwest for over 20 years. He has been on the board of directors of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance since its inception and is also on the board of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Gila Conservation Coalition – dedicated to protecting the Gila River and Gila WoodNet, a community-based forestry group advocating ecologically sound forest restoration. He sits on the Western Governor’s Forest Health Advisory Committee and the Arizona Governor’s Forest Health Council. He also served on Senator Bingaman’s Collaborative Forest Restoration Program Advisory Panel and the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program federal advisory committee and the New Mexico Forest & Watershed Health Planning Committee.

Nancy Morton, MS, RN, CCRN, Albuquerque, Secretary

Nancy is a nurse and teaches at the University of New Mexico. She’s been a volunteer wilderness activist for more than 30 years. She was a founding board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Nancy’s favorite wildland activities are hiking and river running.

Hamish Thomson, Albuquerque, Treasurer

Hamish is a professional CPA, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) and works as a forensic accountant at the State Attorney General’s Office. Hamish enjoys hiking and has spent much of his spare time exploring the wild landscapes of New Mexico. He has participated in wolf howling surveys to prepare for the reintroduction of wolves and has been a member of NMWild since 1997.

Joe Alcock, Albuquerque

Joe is the director of the emergency department at the VA in Albuquerque and is an associate professor of emergency medicine at the UNM Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Alcock received his MD from UCLA and moved to Albuquerque in 1997 to complete his residency at the University of New Mexico. Besides practicing medicine, Joe’s passions include exploring and protecting wildlands and teaching. He combines both in his role as co-director of the UNM School of Medicine’s Wilderness Medicine Program. Joe also is an adjunct professor of Biology and teaches undergraduates about evolution in health and disease.

Rick Aster, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Dr. Rick Aster holds degrees in earth sciences, geophysics, and electrical engineering, and is department head and professor of geophysics in the Department of Geosciences at Colorado State University. He is a past president of the Seismological Society of America, and has research and teaching interests that include earthquake and volcano seismology, including a number of projects in the western United States and Antarctica. Rick is a charter member of the Wilderness Alliance and served on the board from 1997-2002 and rejoining in 2009.  As a resident of rural New Mexico for nearly twenty years, an Earth scientist, a parent, Rick is a passionate outdoor recreationist energetically working to advance protection of our precious wild lands.

Ernie Atencio, Taos, NM

Ernie Atencio is a cultural anthropologist, conservationist, and writer with deep Indo-Hispano roots in northern New Mexico. He is Rio Grande Water Fund Program Associate for The Nature Conservancy and works on other projects through his Land & Culture Consulting business from his home near Taos. He previously spent nine years as executive director of the Taos Land Trust, where he worked on the public acquisition of Ute Mountain, and returned a sacred site to the legal ownership of the Taos Pueblo Tribe. Ernie has also been executive director of a national association of cabin owners, coordinated the Valles Caldera Coalition, and worked for other environmental organizations. Growing up in inner-city Denver, he discovered the larger world—and the land—through an Outward Bound “hoods-in-the-woods” program, in what would later become the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area, and has worked throughout the West ever since as a wilderness instructor, national park ranger, environmental educator, journalist, and activist.

Wendy Brown, Albuquerque, NM

Wendy recently retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where she managed the endangered species recovery program for the Southwest Region. Her professional career spanned experiences from field research and project management for whooping cranes and Mexican wolves to briefing Congressional representatives on various government actions. She has held voluntary leadership positions in non-profits such as the North American Crane Working Group, the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, and the Southwest International Folk Dance Institute.   Wendy has a deep commitment to New Mexico, and its varied landscapes that support so many inhabitants – plant, animal, and human.

Sam DesGeorges, Taos, NM

Sam is a recent federal agency retiree, having worked as a steward for public land resources with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for 36 years.  Over this time he held several positions with the BLM, principally within the Range, Lands, Fire and Wildlife programs.  For the last 11 years he was the BLM Taos Field Manager which included the recently designated Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, the Sabinoso Wilderness and the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act lands. As a former manager with responsibilities for managing designated wilderness, national monuments and wild and scenic rivers he brings an understanding of laws and policies that apply to wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and other specially designated areas.

Carol Johnson, Glorieta

Nature and wild places have influenced Johnson all her life. She has hiked and backpacked throughout the Southwest for 35+ years, developing a love of quiet, wild places, watersheds and wildlife. Johnson’s relationship as a volunteer with NM Wild began in 2009, when we began working to further protect the Pecos Wilderness by incorporating adjacent Inventoried Roadless Acres. Her involvement includes outreach to county commissions in four counties, city governments, businesses, pueblos, equestrian groups, environmental groups, and many other stakeholders. Johnson is also a board member of the Upper Pecos Watershed Association, a co-leader of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness Sangre de Cristo group, and is a member of the New Mexico OHV Advisory Board, representing hikers, equestrians and other quiet recreationists on public lands. As a community activist, Johnson worked extensively on the Santa Fe National Forest Travel Management Plan, fighting to limit motorized travel and protect the quiet forest.

Roberta Salazar-Henry, Las Cruces

Salazar-Henry is a lifelong New Mexico resident with family ties that go back to the 1600s. She currently resides in Las Cruces where she is active with many local organizations. Recently she served on the staff of the state Senate and previously worked twenty-five years with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), including six years as assistant director. For many years at NMDGF she was federal grant liaison with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responsible for the administration of all wildlife and habitat projects associated with the Sportfish and Wildlife Restoration Programs and grant funding for endangered species research and recovery. Among her many commitments, she is an active member of the Wild Turkey Sportsmen Association, Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen, a member of Audubon and current vice-chair for the Southwest Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Habitat Stamp Program. She is involved in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks initiative to establish a national monument in Dona Ana County. She notes that when she moved to Las Cruces 10 years ago she was very disappointed “to learn that much of the 10 million acres of federally managed public land in southwest New Mexico remains in limbo for permanent protection. In addition, most people coming to this area do not know of the many hidden treasures that exist in this desert landscape.”

David Soules, Las Cruces

David is a lifelong resident of southern New Mexico. He has been an active participant in numerous outdoor volunteer projects, including wildlife water catchments and livestock exclosures, various cleanup and tree planting initiatives, wildlife surveys, and trap and transplant efforts for desert bighorn sheep. David is an engineer and manager by trade, but his passion lies with protecting the outdoors.

Bob Tafanelli, Ph.D., Las Cruces

Dr. Tafanelli holds multiple degrees in biology. His history of environmental activism stretches back to the 1960’s when he helped found the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club. In the 1980’s he formed and headed the Coalition of Conservation Organizations in Las Cruces, a coalition of 50 individual and group members that later evolved into the Southwest Environmental Center. He served for several years on the NM Game and Fish Dept Habitat Stamp Program Citizen’s Advisory Committee and is currently Conservation Committee Chair of the Mesilla Valley Audubon Society. He was a founding board member of NM Wild.