Staff

New Mexico Wild Staff, November 2023

Mark Allison

Mark Allison

Executive Director

Mark has over thirty years of professional experience working with social-profit nongovernmental organizations in leadership positions, including twenty four years as executive director. Before joining New Mexico Wild, Mark’s activities focused on anti-poverty and social justice work, with an emphasis on developing permanent affordable housing for persons experiencing homelessness. Mark’s projects earned national recognition for modeling award winning sustainable “green” design. Mark subsequently led a national project team providing technical assistance and training to cities and NGOs on community development. He has served on numerous local, regional, and national boards of directors, including serving as Chair of the Board of the DC-based National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Mark has demonstrated success in strategic planning, organizational development, management, and fundraising and is adept at partnerships and coalition building. Since coming to New Mexico Wild in 2013, Mark has been proud to build and lead a growing team that has helped secure numerous new protections for New Mexico’s land, waters, and wildlife. Mark earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Illinois State University. Mark fell in love with New Mexico in 1977 and moved here permanently in 1993. He resides in Albuquerque with his wife, Jenny Metzler, and his two sons, Levin, and Jack.
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Tisha Broska

Deputy Director

Tisha has worked for New Mexico Wild since 1999. She has served as Interim Executive Director, Development Director and Membership Coordinator. Tisha was a member of the Wilderness50 Executive Committee in 2014, when the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act was celebrated in Albuquerque. With a degree in environmental science and a background in environmental consulting, Tisha manages fundraising, communications and membership for the New Mexico Wild. Tisha also works to build community partnerships and lead youth outreach and volunteer service projects.
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Akashia Allen

Conservation GIS Specialist

Akashia was enchanted by the magic of western landscapes in high school when she traveled from the Midwest to backpack in the Colorado Rockies and the Grand Canyon. She went on to earn a B.A. in Biology from The Colorado College and a M.S. in Geography, specializing in Geographic Information Sciences, from The University of New Mexico. Her studies focused on the remote sensing of native plant species in southwest desert landscapes. Professionally, she has worked with the National Park Service, the Native American Water Rights Settlement Project, and in both public and private sector GIS roles. She serves as a volunteer GIS specialist for The Yerba Mansa Project, a bosque restoration effort in Albuquerque.

Calling New Mexico home for 24 years, Akashia has loved raising her family in a state with abundant beautiful and wild places. She loves hiking, camping, backpacking, exploring outside with her husband and kids, and always looks forward to the next wilderness adventure. Akashia has a lifelong passion for using her skills and experience to support conservation efforts, and she is so happy to join the NM Wild team as the Conservation GIS Specialist.
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Sara Bergthold

Communications Coordinator

As a native New Mexican, Sara's love for nature was sparked at a young age, with her earliest memory being a barefoot encounter with a prickly pear cactus in her parents' Cedar Crest backyard. This early experience set the stage for a lifelong connection to the outdoors, even as her journey took her to less cactus-filled places like Oregon and Alaska, where she studied Psychology at the University of Alaska.

With a diverse professional background that included time spent in the legal and healthcare fields, Sara discovered a passion for communications work while establishing a communications and marketing department for a small behavioral healthcare organization serving rural New Mexico communities. Now, as New Mexico Wild's Communications Coordinator, she brings her passion for public land conservation, stewardship, and equitable outdoor access to her role, working to engage and inspire a wider audience to protect the wild places she loves.

Away from her laptop, Sara can be found galavanting around New Mexico, birdwatching in the bosque, making bad art, and reading nonfiction. She's based in Albuquerque.

E-mail Sara>>

Noah Demko

Noah Demko

Wilderness Ranger

Noah, originally born and raised in Houston, Texas, came to New Mexico in 2020. A canoeing trip on the Green and Colorado rivers made a lasting impression on him, and he felt the need to pursue and contribute to the unique feeling which nature and the wilderness can grant someone.

During Noah's undergraduate years at St. John's College, he worked at the Outdoor Program, facilitating backpacking, day hikes, and ski trips, among other outdoor recreation activities. He enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and generally just spending time in the sunshine.

Joining New Mexico Wild as a Wilderness Ranger is the newest opportunity for Noah after his college graduation. He is excited for the chance to further give back, in the development and cultivation of the land, and for the time he'll be spending in the backcountry.
E-mail Noah>>

Bjorn Fredrickson

Conservation Director

Bjorn grew up in Seattle, Washington and spent his childhood and young adult years frequenting public lands across the West. Experiences in remote settings – often in designated wilderness – instilled in him a passion for wild places and environmental issues. These passions led Bjorn to obtain B.A and M.S. degrees in environmental studies and science from Yale University, as well as a graduate certificate in wilderness management from the University of Montana.

In the initial chapter of his career, Bjorn spent 13 years working with the U.S. Forest Service, with positions focused on the management of recreation, wilderness, wild & scenic rivers, commercial uses and infrastructure, archaeology, and minerals in Washington DC, Washington State, California, and New Mexico. In his current role as Conservation Director, he leads New Mexico Wild’s federal lands advocacy, defense, and stewardship programs staff.

Bjorn and his wife, Amy, moved permanently to New Mexico in 2015, and in his spare time Bjorn enjoys cooking, gardening, mountain biking, gravel grinding, backpacking, and kayaking. Bjorn is thrilled and honored to bring the knowledge, skills, and experience gained from his previous work to furthering New Mexico Wild’s efforts to protect wildlands, water, and wildlife.

E-mail Bjorn>>

Mollie Fullerton

Grants Manager

Mollie grew up in North Dakota as an indoor child. She started to venture outside to urban green spaces when she moved to Minnesota to attend Macalester College where she received her BA in History and German Studies. After college, she began to discover the magic of wilderness and has been making up for lost time ever since, spending her free time exploring canyons, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and peaks.

Professionally, Mollie has worked in informal education and program management at museums and educational institutions. She's excited to user her experience to support New Mexico Wild's work to protect and restore wildlands.

E-mail Mollie>>

Julian Gonzales

Julian Gonzales

Northern New Mexico Grassroots Organizer

Julian was born and raised in Santa Fe. He is married to Peggy and has three children. He is an avid hunter, angler, and all-around sportsman who enjoys recreating on public lands. He served 27 years in the military and is a decorated combat veteran, serving as 1SG in the New Mexico Army National Guard. He has shifted his energy and is now a passionate advocate for wildlife and public lands. If you get him talking, he may tell you a story or two from catching a hybrid bass in a pond at Saddam Hussein's palace to catching wild, attacking javelina bare-handed. He carries a remarkable wealth of knowledge on mountain and Spanish traditions. Passing this knowledge is one of Julian's passions. He is a firearms expert, bowhunter education instructor, HE instructor, NM land navigation instructor, survival instructor, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish northeast chair for the habitat stamp program and livestock rancher. As Northern NM Grassroots Organizer, Julian uses his local knowledge to unite individuals and communities for the protection of public lands with an emphasis on our Caja del Rio campaign.
E-mail Julian>>

Keila Gutierrez

Keila Gutierrez

Stewardship and Outreach Manager

Growing up in the southern Argentinian Andes surrounded by a family of scientists and mountaineers, Keila has always had a deep sense of wonder for the ecology of the temperate rainforest and steppe landscapes around her hometown. After immigrating to New Mexico when she was eight, she came to fall just as in love with the diverse lands and wildlife around this second home. She obtained her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Sustainability Studies from the University of New Mexico (as well as a B.A. in Dance, but that’s a story for another time). After working in field ecology, museum research collections, and molecular biology labs, she spent several years as an ecologist and educator with the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program contributing to data collection, outdoor education, and outreach efforts across the Middle Rio Grande Valley and its surrounding communities. She is passionate about the intersections between conservation, land management, ecological research, outdoor learning, community science, access to wild spaces, and environmental justice. In her spare time she enjoys backpacking, climbing, making art, and swimming in particularly frigid alpine lakes.
E-mail Keila>>

Matt Kahabka

Matt Kahabka

Wilderness Ranger

Originally from New England, Matt fell in love with the mountain west on a backcountry skiing trip. Drawn to the open spaces, stunning terrain and beautiful weather he moved west in 2020. Matt studied chemical engineering in college and worked in the aerospace industry for several years. After years of studying maps and daydreaming from a cubicle he decided to make a career change and start working in, and for, the places he loves. Now, Matt works as a ski patroller and backcountry ski guide in the winters and a wilderness ranger in the summers. He enthusiastically brings his passion for the outdoors to his work and is excited to protect the wild places that make the west so special. In his spare time you’ll likely find Matt out exploring with his dogs, riding his bike, or cooking up some tasty food.
E-mail Matt>>
Keegan King
Keegan King
Advisor
Keegan King is from the Pueblo of Acoma and has over 15 years of experience in political and public policy work. He has managed dozens of candidate and issue campaigns beginning with his time at the Albuquerque based Soltari Inc. Keegan continued as the Executive Director of the League of Young Voters New Mexico and New Mexico Youth Organized. In 2009, Keegan founded Atsaya Consulting a Native-owned political consulting company. Since then he has worked as Political Director of the NM Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, national Field Director to the Pushback Network and Data Director for United We Dream. He has been instrumental in protection campaigns such as Chaco, particularly in his work with the All Pueblo Council of Governors and the National Congress of American Indians. Keegan was most recently the Policy, Legislative Affairs, and Communications Bureau Chief for the NM Department of Indian Affairs.
E-mail Keegan>>

Luke Koenig
Luke Koenig
Gila Grassroots Organizer

Luke grew up in Maryland where a 200 acre forest across the street from his childhood home and yearly family camping trips instilled in him a lifelong love for the natural world and its undeveloped corners. That love grew on the banks of the St. Mary’s River, where he studied philosophy and environmental studies at St. Mary’s College. There, he led a student effort to restore a natural history area, worked in the campus farm, led a windsurfing club, and established a campus apiary—experiences that taught him the deeper relationships with land and water that are possible when we get together as a community.

Conservation work has brought Luke all over the country. He’s led field work in the remote canyons of Grand Staircase-Escalante, worked for the NPS in Yellowstone, and most recently, managed the volunteer program for Wild Arizona. He eventually made his way to Silver City, NM, which he’s proud to call home. In his role as Gila Grassroots Organizer, Luke works with Southern NM communities for the protection of the Greater Gila Region and to achieve Wild and Scenic River protection for the Gila River.

Luke is passionate about the protection of wild places and the empowerment of communities, and believes the key to each lies in the other. When he’s not working, you can find Luke exploring the Gila with a backpack, a fly rod, or canyoneering rope.
E-mail Luke>>

Aidan Manning

Rivers and Waters Program Associate

Aidan grew up in Colorado’s semiarid foothills during unprecedented drought. Western waters and wildlands have since taken a central role in their life, drawing them to a B.A. in Ecology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, a Ph.D. in Hydrology at the University of Nedava in Reno, and environmental science communication roles in Grand Canyon National Park and the San Juan Mountains. They are an expert on the effects of forest change and land management on the function of mountainous western watersheds.

Aidan was drawn to Northern New Mexico by the region’s diverse and dynamic communities, lands, and waters. They enjoy building kinship with these watersheds through hiking, long-distance running, skiing, art, and foraging. They are excited to bring their technical hydrology knowledge and dedication to protecting wild lands and waters to New Mexico Wild.
Email Aidan>>

Walker Martin

Walker Martin

Cibola Wilderness Ranger

Walker's adoration of the Southwest is tied directly to the land and all of the astonishing places to explore. At an early age, Walker was able to explore the San Juan mountains, the vast Ponderosa-Piñon forests and stunning canyons that make the Southwest landscapes so special. Being an avid hiker, runner, and rafter fostered his enthusiasm for conservation and stewardship. Walker studied film and music in college and still finds the best creative inspirations come from the being out in the Wild. Walker is excited to work with Wilderness in a professional capacity as an advocate and ranger with New Mexico Wild.
Email Walker>>

Katie McCarver

Wilderness Ranger

Katie has held a fascination for the natural world since a young child. Growing up near the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Katie was able to expand on that fascination through trail running, backpacking, and climbing. While on a road trip through the western states in college, she was blown away by the grandeur and isolation of the southwestern landscape. Katie then decided to pursue her Masters degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University. The wilderness has become a place of solitude and comfort for Katie. She often recreates in wilderness areas and enjoys identifying plants, understanding the various ecosystems, and pushing her physical limits through sport. Katie is thrilled to give back to the wilderness areas she enjoys so much by joining New Mexico Wild as a Wilderness Ranger.

E-mail Katie>>

Ben Mortensen

Ben Mortensen

Friends of the Rio Grande del Norte Youth Outreach Coordinator

As a teacher and an avid outdoors person, Ben is passionate about connecting the youth of New Mexico to their public lands. After finishing his undergrad in Environmental Planning and Sustainability at UNM, he moved North to get closer to the mountains and rivers he enjoys the most. While living in Taos for the last 7 years, Ben has worked with the USFS building the Continental Divide Trail, the BLM conducting botanical surveys, and with NM Wild as a Wilderness Ranger before becoming a teacher in the Taos Public Schools. Now, as a teacher, he has the opportunity to teach the importance and joy of the natural world to his students both in the classroom and in the wild. Strongly believing that we are not able to defend something that we do not love, Ben works hard to provide opportunities for our students to practice loving stewardship of the lands that surround them.

E-mail Ben>>

 

Devon Naples

Devon Naples

Operations Manager

A lifelong visitor to New Mexico, Devon moved to Albuquerque with her husband Jason in the spring of 2021 to be closer to the wild beauty of this totally unique state. You can catch them zealously hiking, camping, and rafting their way around New Mexico.
Devon grew up in Dallas. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Northern Colorado, she lived in Denver and worked for the Harm Reduction Action Center in homeless outreach. She is thrilled to finally be “home” in New Mexico, and is so inspired by the work New Mexico Wild does to protect our state’s precious ecological and cultural heritage.
E-mail Devon>>

 

Vicente Ordoñez

Gila Wilderness Ranger/Gila Grassroots Organizer

Vicente comes to New Mexico Wild after a 33-year career with the US Forest Service. He brings a wide range land management experience including wildlife biology, wildland firefighting, land management (timber/rangeland/recreation/fire management) expertise, wilderness management and trail maintenance experience, endangered species impact analysis in relation to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). The last eight years of his career he worked as the FS Liaison to the Mexican Wolf Recovery effort.
“My career with the FS has all been in the SW. The Gila Wilderness has always been my favorite place to work and recreate. I am thrilled to be able to focus my land management expertise, experience and passion in the Gila with New Mexico Wild”. At New Mexico Wild, he uses his expertise to coordinate stewardship in the Gila.

E-mail Vicente>>

 

Sally Paez

Staff Attorney

Sally fell in love with nature and all things wild at an early age. She moved to New Mexico with her family in 1989. Prior to law school, Sally studied biology at the University of New Mexico, where she focused on biodiversity, conservation, and ecology. Sally obtained a law degree in 2009 from the University of New Mexico, completing the Natural Resources Law Certificate Program and serving as editor-in-chief of the Natural Resources Journal. Prior to joining the staff at New Mexico Wild, Sally served in several capacities at the New Mexico Supreme Court, including law clerk to Chief Justice Charles W. Daniels, Senior Counsel, and Deputy Clerk of Court. She has also clerked in federal district court for Senior District Court Judge James A. Parker and has worked as Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Santa Fe, where she focused on land use and property law. Sally spends her free time exploring the outdoors with her husband Danny, hiking, backpacking, and exploring the beautiful landscapes and communities of our beautiful state and beyond.
E-mail Sally>>

 

Kerry Renshaw

Kerry Renshaw

Administrative Assistant

As a resident since 1979, Kerry has developed a love for the mountains and deserts of New Mexico. She has been to every corner of the state, and particularly likes to visit the Gila Wilderness, Ojito Wilderness and the Jemez area. As a former public school teacher, she brings her organizational skills to the task of protecting and enhancing New Mexico’s wilderness areas.
E-mail Kerry>>

Terry Richey

Fundraising and Marketing Advisor

Terry is the former Chief Marketing, Membership and Philanthropy Officer for The Nature Conservancy is Washington, D.C. When he retired, he moved back to New Mexico and has been supporting New Mexico Wild for the past six years. Terry is the author of “The Marketer’s Visual Tool Kit” published by the American Management Association. He describes himself as an enthusiastic hiker and a very mediocre fly-fisherman.
Email Terry>>

Nathan Small

Nathan Small

Wilderness Wrangler

Nathan first joined New Mexico Wild in in 2004, after graduating with dual degrees in Philosophy and English from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. Nathan is a third generation New Mexican who comes from a family of ranchers and educators. Nathan was a key team member working to secure and then safeguard National Monument protection for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and continues to work on additional landscape scale protections in Southern New Mexico.. Now there are 10 new wilderness areas in the OMDP, and Nathan’s focus on community conservation partnerships are a key part of recovering and rebuilding from the twin challenges of Covid-19 and the climate crisis. You’re as likely to see him riding horseback out in the OMDP wilderness areas as you are to see him walking on Las Cruces’ Main Street.

Email Nathan>>

Tricia Snyder

Tricia Snyder

Rivers and Waters Program Director

Tricia Snyder claims El Paso, TX as home and credits growing up along the often-dry banks of the Rio Grande as the catalyst for her interest in water resources. She received a BS in Geography, with a focus on the human-environment connection, from New Mexico State University and started her career in Las Cruces working to protect and restore the southwest borderlands. She moved to central Washington to pursue a MS in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management, completing her thesis on the Upper Klamath Basin. She worked in community-based salmon recovery in the Yakima Basin before returning to New Mexico to fulfill a career goal of working on her home river, the Rio Grande. She joined New Mexico Wild in 2022 as the organization's first staff person dedicated to water policy and is excited to bring her passion for climate resilient water systems that center equity for all the plant, wildlife, and human communities that depend on them.

Email Tricia>>

Suzanne Soto

Suzanne Soto

Finance Manager

Suzanne was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. Her love of the outdoors began at a young age and has carried through to adulthood. She loves spending her free time connecting with family and friends, and loves living in the southwest. During the summer months, she will find any excuse to get to one of NM’s many lakes and rivers. Suzanne attended UNM’s Anderson School of Management and brings NM Wild a diverse skill set in nonprofit administration and management.
E-mail Suzanne>>

Nick Streit

Friends of Rio Grande del Norte Coordinator

Getting into the family business at an early age (his father, Taylor, literally wrote the book on Fly Fishing New Mexico, as did his uncle Jackson for Colorado), Nick was guiding fisherman before he was old enough to drive them to the river. By the age of 17, Nick was a member of the U.S. fly fishing team that took second place in the World Championships in Wales. In 2004 Nick, along with his wife Chrissy, opened the Taos Fly Shop. The shop has grown from its humble beginnings and is now Northern NM’s premier Fly Shop. In 2012, Nick, along with longtime friend and fellow guide Ivan Valdez, purchased The Reel Life, a fly shop and guide service in Santa Fe.

Nick has also done considerable volunteer work for conservation groups like Trout Unlimited and the Wildlife Federation. In recent years, Nick was the driving force behind the Red River Habitat improvement project, which raised nearly 1 million dollars for habitat restoration on the Lower Red River.

If not at work, Nick is usually camping, hunting of fishing in the woods somewhere with his wife Chrissy and their two children, Taylor and Christian.
E-mail Nick>>

BJ Trejo

Southern New Mexico Grassroots Organizer

As in avid outdoorsman, BJ has spent his life exploring this great state that he calls home. Spending the past 10 years in education, BJ has done his part to show students that there is much more to learn outside the traditional 4 walls of a classroom. This has led BJ to New Mexico Wild as the Southern New Mexico Grassroots Organizer, where he helps ensure that future generations are able to share the same opportunities he has been fortunate enough to have by working to protect lands in Southern New Mexico.

Any spare time BJ has is spent exploring what New Mexico has to offer, hunting, fishing, doing volunteer work with agencies advocating for our lands and wildlife, or simply floating a river with family and friends.
E-mail BJ>>

Garrett VeneKlasen

Garrett VeneKlasen

Northern Conservation Director

Garrett was a candidate for the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands in 2018 and then worked as a political advocacy strategist for Conservation Voters of New Mexico leading up to and during the New Mexico Legislative session. Before running for office, Garrett was Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. He was also the Southwest Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Project (NM. AZ and CO) as well as Trout Unlimited’s New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator and also founded the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Garrett has been a tireless champion for the conservation and protection of public lands and native wildlife, fighting for everything from federal and state funding for native wildlife, stricter regulation of off highway vehicles on public lands, higher state water quality standards, stricter regulation on mineral development, to enhanced conservation and protection of threatened and endangered species. As New Mexico Wild’s Northern Conservation Director, Garrett continues to work for the conservation and protection of public lands and native wildlife.
Email Garrett>>

Ralph Vigil

Ralph Vigil

Northern New Mexico Organizer

Ralph is a twelfth-generation Nuevo Mexicano from Pecos whose passion lies in his work protecting the precious resources that have sustained New Mexico's traditional acequia communities for hundreds of years. He is the Chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission where he has fought tirelessly to protect acequias and the watersheds that feed them for 16 years. Ralph is also the owner of Molino de la Isla Organics, a small organic farm that grows healthy, acequia grown food for his community and helps educate the public about acequia culture and its contribution to the environment that sustains them. Ralph was instrumental in the founding of the Stop the Tererro Mine Coalition. bringing stakeholders from the environmental, traditional, and pueblo communities together to protect the Pecos River and its tributaries. It is Ralph's goal to ensure that New Mexico's natural resources and traditional communities are cared for, respected, and protected for future generations.
Email Ralph>>

Dillon Zehnder

Dillon Zehnder

Community Science Coordinator

Dillon grew up in Culver City, CA and has been fascinated by the natural world from a young age. He got a bachelor's degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz and is proud to use the knowledge from his education as part of the NM Wild team. He is thrilled to take over as the Rio Chama Bug Coordinator- managing the ongoing citizen science project taking place there.

E-mail Dillon>>

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