The Nature Conservancy's mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
TNC's New Mexico Conservation Science Program supports this mission through collaboration with public & private agencies and institutions on ecological monitoring, research, conservation planning, and adaptive management.
Dave currently leads the Conservation Science program for the New Mexico chapter of The Nature Conservancy, working on conservation area planning efforts, developing monitoring plans, and providing the science background to guide and prioritize New Mexico’s conservation action.
Dave received his doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona studying parental care and infanticide in blackbirds. His next stop was the Burke Museum, University of Washington, where he continued his studies on the sex lives of birds and plants. Alarmed by the global loss of habitats and species and wanting to do something tangible, he returned to the sunny Southwest to work as a conservation scientist with The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, a post he held for 17 years. He joined the New Mexico Chapter in September 2007. When not working, Dave spends his time hiking, bird-watching, traveling and teaching courses at the University of Arizona. He currently co-teaches a field ecology course for science teachers and college students in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Robert M. Findling is the Director of Land Protection and Stewardship for The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico. Responsibilities include land protection, stewardship, legislative and governmental affairs, project management and land protection activities. Projects he has managed for the Conservancy include; acquisition and development of Bear Mountain Lodge, Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, Milnesand Prairie Preserve and the enactment of the New Mexico Land Conservation Incentives Act.
He was the Director of Design and Development for New Mexico State Parks for over twenty years prior to his employment by TNC in 1999 and was responsible for planning, design, construction management and legislative activities for the state park system. Robert is a graduate of the University of Colorado (Bachelors Degree in Environmental Design, 1974) and is a registered landscape architect.
Lara manages GIS and all other resources information related for the Conservation Science Program in New Mexico. She conducts spatial analyses, assists with land protection activities, and maintains the nmconservation.org website. Lara has a masters degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has worked as a botanist, plant ecologist and GIS analyst for a number of non-profits and government agencies including the Center for Natural Lands Management, the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Patricia “Tish” McDaniel is the Southern Shortgrass Prairie Project Coordinator for TNC in New Mexico. She graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a B.S. in biology and chemistry and received another B.S. degree in Agriculture from New Mexico State University with an emphasis in wildlife biology and range conservation. She worked for 15 years as an environmental educator in Eastern New Mexico and contracted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Partners Program, Otero Soil and Water Conservation District, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Wildlife Plus and Grasslans Charitable Foundation prior to full time employment with TNC.
Anne manages the fire and forest program for the New Mexico Chapter. She has a professional background in botany, fire ecology, land management planning and natural resources policy.
Laura McCarthy is our New Mexico Director of Government and Agency Relations. Laura comes to the New Mexico chapter from the Conservancy’s Global Fire Team. Laura joined The Nature Conservancy in 2005 as the first fire policy director for the fire team.
Her national policy work has included appropriations for wildland fire management, fire and forest restoration programs and policy, market-based strategies to finance restoration treatments, and communications about fire’s ecological role. Her accomplishments include developing a legislative strategy for TNC that resulted in the Forest Landscape Restoration Act, a bill that was introduced in the 110th Congress. Laura’s prior experience includes 12 years with the USDA Forest Service in Idaho, California, Vermont and New Hampshire as a wildland firefighter, timber manager and forest planner. She also spent two years working for the New Hampshire State Forester where she co-edited “The Biodiversity of New Hampshire” and 8 years with the New Mexico-based Forest Guild.
Martha considers herself a naturalized native of New Mexico, having developed strong ties to both the landscape and the conservation community - and a particular fondness for the Gila. Martha enjoys hiking around the floodplains of the Gila and Mimbres Rivers. Trained as a forest ecologist, Martha has immersed herself in learning about Southwest rivers, preferably while swimming or rafting. When not working, Martha runs on trails with her striped and spotted dog Tessa, bicycles, tries to escape into the Gila for long back packing trips, gardens, and bakes.
Robert grew up in eastern New Mexico as a third generation farmer and rancher. After working as an engineer for a large oil company in west Texas, Robert returned to manage the family farming operation in Curry, Roosevelt, and Parmer counties. He retired from farming in 2000 to pursue his life-long interest in conservation biology. Robert has worked on several studies involving reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals in eastern New Mexico and taught science at Clovis High School. Robert lives in Clovis with his wife and two children..
Karla coordinates grassland restoration projects, rare plant habitat characterization and modeling, and ecological site mapping. She was trained in plant, soil, and restoration ecology, and has worked on grassland invasive species and forest health monitoring projects for Montana State University and Yellowstone National Park. She has also worked on database management, GIS and statistical analysis and modeling projects to study the impacts of climate change and renewable energy for The University of Wyoming and the Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Steve manages the GIS and other databases for the Conservation Science Program in New Mexico. He also conducts spatial analysis, assists with land protection activities, and maintains the nmconservation.org website. Steve has a bachelor degree in Geography from the University of Oregon and has worked as a cartographer and GIS analyst for several non-profits and government agencies, most recently for the National Park Service in Yellowstone.
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