Save Our Bosque Task Force Board
Gina Dello Russo, Chair
As a riparian ecologist, Gina has been building regional interest in and capacity for addressing river ecosystem restoration opportunities and its long term health for the last twenty years. She is from a farming family of the Socorro valley, New Mexico. She worked with the federal government for 27 years, retiring from Bosque del Apache NWR, and now runs a consulting business. She is on the board of the Save Our Bosque Task Force that partners with many entities including the federal, state, and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners to protect and restore riparian lands.
Yasmeen Najmi, Vice Chair
Yasmeen is the Planner for the Middle Rio Grande (MRG) Conservancy District, a political subdivision of the State of New Mexico responsible for agricultural water delivery, flood control and drainage. The Conservancy District is the largest landholder of “bosque” riparian forest in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. She represents the District in cooperative efforts to manage and restore the MRG ecosystem, community planning and a variety of natural resource initiatives on District lands, and serves as a representative and advisor to regional conservation initiatives. She received her Masters Degree in Community and Regional Planning with a concentration in Natural Resources from the University of New Mexico in 2001. A die-hard Valley Girl, she lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley and can be found walking the acequias, tending her garden and fruit trees and writing poetry.
Matt Mitchell, Treasurer
Matthew Mitchell is a native New Mexican who holds a bachelors of science in biology. He has a lifetime passion for training, hunting, and captive breeding of raptors. With his wife Stephanie he has run a successful southwestern jewelry manufacturing business since 1975. Matthew has volunteered with the Save Our Bosque Task Force since 2003 and has served on the board of directors for fifteen years.
Amy Erickson, Secretary
Amy Erickson is the avian biologist for Audubon New Mexico, where she works with private landowners and other partners to improve habitat for birds in the Middle Rio Grande valley. Amy formerly held the position of Program Director for the Save Our Bosque Task Force. Originally from Kansas, Amy received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Kansas State University, where she studied the effects of fire and grazing on grassland birds. Before moving to Socorro, Amy spent three years in the shortgrass prairie of eastern New Mexico working with landowners to improve habitat for Lesser Prairie-Chickens. In her free time Amy and her husband Casey enjoy travelling, hiking, backpacking, and exploring the beautiful state of New Mexico.
Sandra Noll, Board Member
Sandra is a native New Mexican who has traveled as a volunteer naturalist and working at a wide variety of National Parks, Fish and Wildlife Refuges, Forest Service Archeologic Sites as well as for Audubon and other NGOs. She continues to have a strong connection with Bosque del Apache NWR, Sandhill Cranes, and birds in general. As an active member of Protect Our Rio Grande she is working to ensure that all high voltage transmission lines slated to cross the Rio Grande will be buried under the river and its flood plain.
Chad McKenna, Board Member
Chad McKenna has been a private consultant in Albuquerque NM since 2001, particularly focused on enhancing riparian and wetland habitats in riparian corridors throughout the southwestern U.S.. He is presently an ecologist/GIS analyst with GeoSystems Analysis and has supported numerous agencies, private landowners, and tribes in the Middle Rio Grande (MRG) Basin during large-scale habitat restoration projects. As a GIS Analyst, Chad has developed numerous MRG geo databases, led riparian vegetation mapping projects and performed habitat impact analysis on the recently completed Rio Grande Trail Master Plan.
Rex Myers, Board Member
Rex Myers has been birding and hiking along the Rio Grande for more than 25 years, enjoying it so much that he and his spouse Susan Richards retired to Socorro in 2017, after careers in higher education. As an historian of the American West he’s studied and written about human activity in the region. Active volunteering has been an important part of his life helping such entities as the Nature Conservancy, Audubon, Kiwanis, and, most recently, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Holidays, he’s a volunteer Santa. He’s built fence to keep out cattle, taken down fence to improve pronghorn migration, and improved trails for hikers. He joined the Save our Bosque Task Force in 2020.
Jerry Wheeler, Board Member
Jerry Wheeler began serving as a board member in January 2019, representing Socorro County who has been a strong partner to SOBTF for years.
Save Our Bosque Task Force Staff
Sarah Anderson, Program Director
Sarah joined the Save Our Bosque Task Force team in October of 2019. She has a Master of Science degree from North Dakota State University where she investigated the impacts of restoration management on plant and avian community composition in both prairie-oak savanna and wetland ecosystems.
After receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Conservation in 2007, Sarah spent a few years working on various restoration and monitoring projects, including a comprehensive stream monitoring and restoration project benefitting the endangered Greenback Cutthroat Trout and surveying mammal, avian, fish, and macroinvertebrate populations in Colorado and Minnesota. Sarah's passion is ecological restoration but her purpose is people and she looks forward to the opportunity to work with the people of New Mexico as part of her role with SOBTF. Sarah and her fiancee, Brent, are both avid hikers who enjoy being outdoors and interacting with nature.
Phil is from Rochester, Minnesota and graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor's in Wildlife Ecology and Management. Phil enjoys exploring local natural areas, reading, biking, and trying all the wonderful spicy foods the southwest has to offer. Phil's ecological interests are primarily focused on interactions between pollinators and their local forbs. This summer, Phil is hoping to expand his plant identification skills, learn as much as he can about local bosque ecosystemics, and gain first hand knowledge of how conservation projects are planned, put into action, and surveyed.
Tyler Pounds is an Ecological Anthropologist and an Ethnobiologist who is graduating with his Master's Degree in Anthropology with two grad minors in Fisheries, Wildlife, Conservation Ecology and Native American Studies. Tyler specializes in Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Human Wildlife Interactions. He graduates December 2020 from New Mexico State University. Tyler plans to work for the federal government and obtain a dual masters degree in fisheries and wildlife. Tyler is a prior "Summer Scholar" from the National Science Foundation. He has experience in Science Policy/Administration, volunteering at La Mancha Wildlife Refuge in Las Cruces, NM in the field of Restoration Ecology. Tyler also has volunteered at Hawkwatch International as a former docent and has an interest in conservation education and outreach.