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.

Peter Sloan
Field Organizer

Born in Seattle and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Peter is a recent transplant to New Mexico, where he has fallen in love with the landscape, the sky, the sunsets and stars of the Land of Enchantment. He has been an activist since his time as an undergraduate at the University of Alabama, where he studied music and philosophy. At SWEC Peter works to mobilize public support for Mexican gray wolf reintroduction, banning wildlife killing contests, and protecting the Otero Mesa. Peter has an MA in music from Mills College in Oakland, California, and when not hanging out with coyotes and wolves, he teaches music to children and other wild creatures around town.

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. 

Cindy Laatsch
Office Manager

Cindy grew up in southern New Mexico and graduated from NMSU with an accounting degree. After obtaining her CPA license in Austin, TX, she moved to Santa Fe to work for the state. She and her family moved to Wisconsin in 1995 where she was controller for a manufacturing company. The desire for warmer winters took her to the gulf coast of Mississippi where she was CFO for two related non profit corporations. Twenty years away from NM was too long, so she and her husband moved back in 2016. They have a daughter in Austin, a daughter in San Diego and a son in Denver, making Las Cruces a perfect location. As a longtime financial supporter of environmental causes, Cindy is thrilled to be working for SWEC.

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 volunteer that is living in intentional community, learning about living simply, working for social justice, and exploring spirituality. 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.