Emily Burns

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella

Emily Burns is our Program Director and leads the team running all of our programs, including the Border Wildlife Study, the Trinational Internship Program, Sky Island FotoFauna, Spring Seeker, our stewardship projects, and our communications.

Emily joined Sky Island Alliance in 2019 after practicing conservation science and restoration for nearly a decade in the redwood forests of California at Save the Redwoods League. Emily received her doctorate in 2009 from the University of California, Berkeley in Integrative Biology and conducted postdoctoral research on drought tolerance in ferns at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Emily loves the distinct five seasons in the Sky Island region and the multitude of plants, animals, and people that call this landscape home. Her hope for the Sky Islands in the next 30 years is that communities make choices that keep water flowing, native plants thriving, and wildlife safely on the move between the U.S. and Mexico. She hopes people will stand up for the unique biodiversity of the region and tear down the border wall.

Emily lives in Tucson with her family which includes three rescue tortoises that have been in the family for more than 30 years. When she isn’t hiking around in hopes of witnessing reptiles like desert tortoises and gila monsters in the wild, she enjoys doing modern botanical embroidery.

Learn more about Emily and her favorite Sky Island wildlife in this fun staff highlight.