Kevin Bixby
Executive Director

As the son of a naval officer, Kevin grew up all over the world, but the American West has always been home. While attending high school in Oakland, he began his activist career by volunteering at the Berkeley Ecology Center. After graduating with a B.A. in biology from Dartmouth College in 1978, he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and began volunteering at Friends of the Earth where he rubbed elbows with the late, great David Brower. Working to save condors and whales by day, he made a living by driving a San Francisco taxicab at night. Realizing that more education might be useful, Kevin set off to the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan in 1985, where he earned a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Policy. But the West beckoned, and in 1988 Kevin moved to New Mexico with his future wife, Lisa LaRocque, and started the Southwest Environmental Center in 1991.

Ashley Martinez
Membership Coordinator and Canvass Director

Ashley considers the Southwest her home. She was born in Albuquerque and spent most of her life between the Duke City and El Paso, TX.  Her passion for wildlife conservation started at a young age, while spending her childhood summers taking pack trips on horses and hiking with her father in the Gila wilderness. Her advocacy work for conservation and social change began right out of high school. While attending college, she started canvassing for several different regional and national organizations in Albuquerque. Ashley started her work with the Southwest Environmental Center as a canvasser in the summer of 2010. In her free time, she creates mixed media art and is active in the art and music scene of El Paso, TX. 

Sonya Kumpuckal 
Border Campaign Coordinator

Sonya Kumpuckal was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey but grew up in Illinois. She just graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in Public Health and a minor in Spanish. Her passion for immigration first sparked two years ago on an immersion trip to the borderlands where she was able to gain multiple perspectives surrounding the issue. Sonya is a year long Border Servant Corps fellow that is living in intentional community, learning about living simply, and working for social justice. At SWEC, Sonya works to broaden and strengthen public support for wildlife, public lands and environmental laws in the southwest borderlands, with a focus on activating young people to oppose construction of the border wall.

Martha Valadez                                                                   
Field Organizer

Martha is a child of Mexican immigrants and a first generation collegiate to graduate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with her Master’s in Social Work in 2012.  After graduating, she stayed in Michigan for six years working as community organizer with grassroots networks fighting for immigrant rights and transit advocacy in the Detroit area.  In 2016, Martha made the move back to California as an organizer working with families living in Single Resident Occupancy Units in San Francisco’s Mission District and then fighting alongside Mechanical Trade Unions and the Wage Theft Coalition in San Jose, CA.  She recently relocated to Socorro, Texas where she enjoys spending time with her pooch Luna, Grandma Ana and extended family in El Paso.  She is looking forward to the important work of building movement to fight for the plantitas, the people, animalitxs, and tierra in Otero Mesa and the greater Southwest.