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.
Mikaila grew up in the foothills above Boulder before moving to Bellingham to complete her Bachelor's degree. During her time in Colorado and Washington, she gained a deep respect for the scenic and wild landscapes of the American West and the wildlife that inhabit those ecosystems. Wanting to learn more about policy and how it can work to benefit wildlife and the environment, she spent two years completing a Master's degree in Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University. Upon graduation, she moved to Santa Fe to complete an internship with WildEarth Guardians. Her work was focused on efforts to ban the cruel practice of trapping on public lands throughout New Mexico. It was through this experience that Mikaila realized her ambition to work for a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and improving policies that benefit native wildlife.