Sky Island Alliance has a skilled and passionate staff, dedicated to getting great things done in the Sky Islands. We welcome you to join us in the field, meet us at the office, attend our special events, and get to know us in person!
Louise MisztalExecutive Director
Louise Misztal has worked at Sky Island Alliance for the past fourteen years in various positions. She was the principal architect of a regional climate change adaptation workshop series designed for resource managers to advance understanding of impacts on ecosystems and wildlife. This led directly to critical new work to survey, protect, and restore fragile spring ecosystems. In 2015, she conducted sabbatical work in Australia, where she met with natural resource colleagues to share methodologies for assessing vulnerability of biodiversity, water sources, and human communities to climate change, and developing responsive science, policy, and adaptation strategies.
Louise is committed to crafting creative solutions to pressing conservation issues and building collaboration among diverse partners. She was previously principal investigator on a project to collaboratively develop a climate-smart landscape conservation design for the Sky Island region, focused on springs, streams, and grasslands.
Louise holds a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a B.S. in Microbiology, and an M.S. in Geographic Information Systems, all from the University of Arizona. For her master’s work, she mapped bi-national conservation priorities for wildlife corridor and habitat protection in the Sky Island region. In her spare time, she loves hiking desert rivers and Sky Island creeks, looking for birds and swimming holes, and seeking out quiet camping spots with lots of bear sign nearby.
Revisit Louise’s sabbatical in Australia on her blog, Springs Down Under.Phone: 520-624-7080 x 19
Emily BurnsProgram Director
Emily Burns, Ph.D. joined Sky Island Alliance in 2019 with 15 years of research, conservation, and restoration experience. Most recently, Emily was the Science Director for Save the Redwoods League in California. As Science Director, she led the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative, Redwood Genome Project, multiple conservation planning efforts, and co-founded Redwoods Rising, a public-private partnership to restore more than 70,000 acres of logged coast redwood forest in Redwood National and State Parks. She started the citizen science project, Fern Watch, to track the health of a common understory plant (Western sword fern) along forests of the Pacific Northwest to learn how climate change and recent drought affects this inhabitant of coastal forests. Under Emily’s leadership, Save the Redwoods League established a restoration program, grew the education program to teach more students how climate change affects their local forests, grew a stewardship program to care for thousands of acres of private redwood forestland, and sequenced the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes to aid conservation efforts for the species. Emily received her doctorate in 2010 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 where she remains a research associate today. Emily lives in Tucson with her family which includes three rescue tortoises that have been in the family for more than 30 years. You can read more about Emily’s work on DoctorFern.org.
Emily spent her early career studying how plants adapt to drought and is fascinated by the climate extremes within the Madrean Archipelago of the Sonoran Desert. While working in the coast redwood forest of Northern California, she discovered that most redwood forest plants are able to absorb fog water directly into their leaves and stems, an adaptation helping redwood forest flora take advantage of ephemeral water sources and stay hydrated during rainless times of year. She also discovered that the most common plant in the coast redwood forest, Western sword fern, shrinks in size during drought, making this species an excellent indicator of forest hydration and climate change. Emily is eager to learn more about the unique adaptations of the Sky Island species and dedicate herself to protecting the diversity of life, habitats, and water sources of this spectacular region. 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.Phone: (520)624-7080 ext. 14
Maggie TrinkleChief Financial Officer
Maggie returned to The Old Pueblo in 2010 after straying miles from home. In her twelve years away from Tucson, she worked as a quality and systems manager for a manufacturing firm in Silicon Valley, started her own internet solutions business, and, most importantly, created a few DNAlings.
Once her son and daughter were of school age, she was ready for her next journey and found Sky Island Alliance. Maggie appreciates the atmosphere of learning and collaboration at Sky Island Alliance, and loves that she is able to give back to the region that nurtured her into adulthood all those years ago.
Maggie has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Operations Management from the Eller College at the University of Arizona. At Sky Island Alliance, she provides program support behind the scenes and manages our accounting and finances. In her free time, she exercises in excess, writes, dances, and secretly arranges fresh roses from her garden on her coworkers’ desks.Phone: 520-624-7080 x 10
Georgina WallerDevelopment Manager
Georgina Waller joined Sky Island Alliance in 2019. Georgina was born and raised in Nogales, Arizona, and graduated from the University of Arizona earning her bachelor’s degree in merchandising and fashion promotion. She spent over 30 years in the retail merchandising world gaining considerable experience in sales, buying, marketing and management. Towards the end of her career, she provided administrative support to members of Stores district management team. At Sky Island Alliance Georgina interacts with our wonderful donors to keep them informed about all they are making possible and oversees our donor stewardship. Georgina and her husband enjoy watching sports and spending time with family and friends. One of their favorite activities is attending their two youngest grand-daughters softball games.Phone: (520)624-7080 ext. 12
Anna SofiaCommunications and Advocacy Manager
Anna joined Sky Island Alliance in 2020 to help direct our communications strategy, outreach, and engagement. Born and raised in the Midwest (she spent most of her life straddling Minnesota and Wisconsin state lines), she transplanted to Arizona in 2018 and hasn’t yet looked back. She moved to the Sky Island mountain town of Bisbee and fell in love with the flora and fauna in the region—the Mexican blue oaks, the cholla cacti, the turkey vultures, the hog-nosed skunks.
Soon after her relocation, Anna decided to segue from a bachelor’s degree in Technical Communication and Professional Writing to a graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, where she studied and wrote about the environmental work happening in the American Southwest. Anna graduated in August 2020 with a master’s degree in Science Writing.
Anna’s previous work experience includes developmental editing at a publishing house, communications and grant writing at several environmental / literary nonprofits, freelance reporting at multiple newspapers, and writing copy at a large software corporation. When she’s not writing, she enjoys drinking too much tea, learning how to roller skate, hiking our incredible mountain ranges, and reading nonfiction.Phone: 520-624-7080 x 25
Sarah TruebeHabitat Conservation Manager
Sarah Truebe, Ph.D., joined Sky Island Alliance in 2021 with almost two decades of fieldwork and research experience spanning various disciplines. Previously, she has worked in natural resource management at Kartchner Caverns State Park in Arizona and in environmental sustainability in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sarah earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, where her major research interests included monsoons, fire, drought, caves and speleology, climate variability, hydrology, using climate information for resource management, and science and society.
Well before these scholastic endeavors, Sarah was born in Tucson, Arizona and grew up watching monsoon cumulonimbus clouds form over saguaros and prickly pear, listening to curve-billed thrashers and cactus wrens chatter every morning, and playing in the dirt under mesquite trees behind her backyard wall. When not exploring our Sky Islands (above or below ground), Sarah volunteers with the Southern Arizona Rescue Association and trains with the National Cave Rescue Commission.
Follow Sarah on iNaturalist (username: paleogal)!Phone: 520-624-7080
Zoe FullemCommunity Science Manager
Zoe joined Sky Island Alliance in 2020 to lead the fieldwork component of the Border Wildlife Study. A Tucson transplant by way of the Midwest and Upstate NY, she’s already smitten with the Sky Island panoramic vistas and the unexpected blooms and fruits of the desert.
Zoe received her bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in Economics and Environmental Studies, and then later attended graduate school at the University of Michigan, receiving an M.S. in Natural Resources with specializations in Conservation Ecology and GIS, during which she collaborated on projects involving wildlife tracking in Central America and ethnobotany of the Great Lakes region.
In between schooling, she worked in microfinance in underinvested neighborhoods of Chicago and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for three years in Panama, living and working with Indigenous Ngäbe cocoa and coffee farmers.
At Sky Island Alliance, Zoe loves the collaboration with the wide variety of partner organizations, students, and volunteers from Southeastern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Over the next 30 years, she hopes to continue to see binational cooperation and strengthened partnerships with Indigenous peoples, including with the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona. She is committed to making Sky Island Alliance’s community science projects engaging, inclusive, and accessible to all.
In her free time, Zoe can be found hiking the Arizona Trail, exploring all that Tucson has to offer, and working on her never ending list of DIY home projects.Phone: 520-624-7080 x 26
Bryon LichtenhanStewardship Specialist
Bryon was born and raised in Tucson, and the deserts and mountains of the Sky Island Archipelago have always been his source of inspiration, beauty, and solace. He is constantly struck by the amazing diversity of this place and feels that there is no more important work than the protection and restoration of the planet upon which we live, and the building of a deep connection between people and the natural world.
Bryon’s background as a homesteader and permaculturalist, ancestral skills instructor, tree service technician, and nature guide and educator, as well as his studies of biology, ecology, and anthropology at institutions such as Carleton College in Northfield, MN and Prescott College in Tucson, have made him keenly aware of our undeniable connection to, and dependence upon, the natural world for our lives and livelihoods.
While Bryon’s principal duties at Sky Island Alliance involve interacting with our amazing volunteers to prepare and implement our restoration and spring assessment field work, he is also an instructor for our wildlife tracking workshops and other education efforts. In his free time, he might be found birding in our borderlands, partaking in a backcountry deer hunt, or sleeping next to a fire made by friction, under a hand-made shelter up some hidden Sky Island canyon.
Bryon feels truly inspired by the chance to collaborate with his remarkable co-workers as we help improve the vitality of our native plants, animals, and habitats while creating a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, our Sky Islands.Phone: 520-624-7080 x 27
Meagan BethelWildlife Specialist
Meagan was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and her passion for biodiversity and interest in wildlife conservation began with riding on her father’s shoulders, pointing out wildlife, crouching under bushes, and peering under rocks.
Though this, Meagan learned to love the Sky Island region and appreciate the species that occupy it. But her interest in wildlife conservation started in 4th grade when a Sky Island Alliance employee came to her class to teach them about the ocelot — and she was hooked.
Meagan has volunteered with (and now works for) Sky Island Alliance ever since, helping with tracking workshops, checking and analyzing remote camera data, even conducting her own research projects in high school to better understand the environment around us. Meagan followed her passion for wildlife and habitat conservation all throughout school and graduated from the University of Arizona in the School of Natural Resources with an emphasis on wildlife conservation and management.
In her free time, Meagan loves to draw and act in community theater, and is in several Star Wars costuming/charity clubs.Phone: (520)624-7080 ext. 28
Ángel Octavio Garcia GodinezSky Island Alliance Fellow
In March 2021, Angel graduated from the Universidad de la Sierra with a degree in biology (read his thesis here). As a student, he especially enjoyed his coursework in zoology, ecology, and chemistry, and the fieldwork and practical experience the classes offered. He is fascinated by nature, and plans to find a job in conservation, continue volunteering for projects like reforestation, and hopefully return to school for a Master’s degree. His favorite Sky Island to visit is the Sierra del Tigre, in Sonora, which he first visited as a young child.
At Sky Island Alliance, Angel has focused on the Spring Seeker program, visiting and monitoring important springs throughout Sonora. We are grateful to keep Angel on this year as a Sky Island Fellow.
En marzo de 2021, Angel se graduó de la UniSierra con el título de Biología (leer la tesis de Ángel aquí). Como estudiante, disfrutó especialmente de sus cursos de zoología, ecología y química, y del trabajo de campo y la experiencia práctica que ofrecían las clases. Está fascinado por la naturaleza y planea encontrar un trabajo en conservación, continuar como voluntario en proyectos como la reforestación y, con suerte, regresar a la escuela para obtener una maestría. Su Sky Island favorita para visitar es la Sierra del Tigre, en Sonora, que visitó por primera vez cuando era niño.
En Sky Island Alliance, Angel se ha enfocado en el programa Spring Seeker, visitando y monitoreando importantes manantiales en todo Sonora. Estamos agradecidos de mantener a Angel este año como miembro de Sky Island.Email: email@example.com
Miguel Francisco Enriquez GalazSky Island Alliance Fellow
In April 2021, Miguel graduated with a degree in biology from the Universidad de la Sierra (UniSierra). As a student, his favorite classes were botany and GIS, where he gained experience in ecological and biological applications. Outside of class time, he participated in birding workshops—and is now an avid birder!
Miguel has interned with Sky Island Alliance for two years and is now staying on as a 2021 Sky Island Fellow. He hopes to eventually work in conservation with a focus on birds and perhaps pursue a masters degree in the future. He loves to visit family properties near Agua Prieta, Sonora to explore, observe birds, and take photographs. His favorite Sky Island is the Sierra de Mesa Tres Ríos, which is the first place he saw a pine forest.
As a Fellow, Miguel focuses on analyzing data from Sky Island FotoFauna and the Border Wildlife Study.
En abril de 2021, Miguel se graduó en biología por la Universidad de la Sierra (UniSierra). Como estudiante, sus clases favoritas fueron botánica y SIG, donde adquirió experiencia en aplicaciones ecológicas y biológicas. Fuera del horario de clases, participó en talleres de observación de aves, ¡y ahora es un ávido observador de aves!
Miguel ha hecho una pasantía en Sky Island Alliance durante dos años y ahora se queda como becario de Sky Island 2021. Espera trabajar eventualmente en la conservación con un enfoque en las aves y tal vez obtener una maestría en el futuro. Le encanta visitar propiedades familiares cerca de Agua Prieta, Sonora para explorar, observar aves y tomar fotografías. Su Sky Island favorita es la Sierra de Mesa Tres Ríos, que es el primer lugar donde vio un bosque de pinos.
Miguel se ha enfocado en analizar datos de Sky Island FotoFana y del Estudio de Vida Silvestre Fronteriza.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org