Meet an SIA Staff Member: Amy Amoroso

Amy Amoroso, our Development Director, started with Sky Island Alliance in November 2021 to lead our cultivated giving program, stewardship of donors, legacy giving, and fund development. She works closely with organizational leadership to innovate giving practices and to ensure the sustainability of Sky Island Alliance into the future.

Read this fun highlight to learn more about Amy.

Tell us a little about your background

I grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and went to college in upstate New York where I designed my own major studying world indigenous cultures. After college, I worked for the Wetlands Institute in Avalon, New Jersey for a few years. I moved to New Hampshire for graduate school at Antioch New England in Keene and then to Boulder, Colorado for a job with the National Wildlife Federation working with Native American Tribes across the county on wildlife restoration.

In 2004, I was hired by a small Tribe in Southern Oregon to manage their Natural Resources Department, which I did for a total of eight years, taking a few years off in the middle to have my son, teach writing at a community college, and learn and teach yoga. We moved to Tucson a few days before Christmas in 2015.

I “moonlight” as a local DJ at KXCI Community Radio and have volunteered there since I moved to town. I also emcee at several local music and cultural events. Besides my family, I have three things that I devote my time and energy to: nature, culture, and music.

What brought you to Sky Island Alliance?

I have been familiar with the Sky Island Alliance’s work prior to living in Tucson. Sky Islands Alliance is a respected conservation organization regionally and nationally, and I remember visiting the website back in 2005, thinking the organization’s work is critical. I have followed the work of Sky Island Alliance since I moved to Tucson, and in the fall of 2021, I was introduced to the Executive Director Louise Misztal by a colleague who clearly knew we would connect on the possibilities of development work for the Alliance. I am honored to be hired as Sky Island Alliance’s Development Director and look forward to supporting the critical and innovative work that we do.

What is your favorite thing about the Sky Island region?

My one favorite thing?! Goodness. How can I pick one? I love the way the light plays on the mountains. I love that we can go from a sunny desert winter morning through several ecoregions to eventually walk in snow. I love our dark skies and how saguaro’s have personality. I love our open space and the rich culture that fills it with life. But most of all, I love the fact that I get to be with my family here, appreciating it all.

Do you have a fun wildlife encounter you could share with us?

Back in grad school, during the summers, I was a loon biologist. Not a looney biologist … a biologist that studied and protected common loons. Those two summers I patrolled lakes in Southern New Hampshire with a Boston Wailer or kayak to document territory, mating and nesting behaviors, chick numbers and survival rates, and any other interesting behavior. I also participated in monitoring lead and mercury blood levels through banding. One of the lakes I monitored, Squam Lake, is where they filmed the movie On Golden Pond.

During one of my field days later in the season on Squam Lake, I documented a game of tag between two loons. It wasn’t mating behavior. That window had passed as the chicks were all hatched and learning to navigate their environment. Their behavior wasn’t aggressive and the vocalizations they were making were not signs of stress. This was play. For two hours I floated on the water in my boat, engine off, data sheet out, documenting and totally enthralled with this simple game of tag by two common loons. I was so taken by this event that I ended up writing an essay that was eventually published in Antioch’s graduate school newspaper, and it changed the way I look at wildlife to this day.

What’s one fun fact about you?

I talk to my pet in funny voices, doesn’t everyone?


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