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.
Field Organizer / Communications Director
Amanda spent her childhood exploring the forests of rural Northern California, where she grew up catching lizards and climbing trees with her sister. A love of animals and the outdoors soon blossomed into advocacy; she first started calling on elected officials to protect local predator animals like mountain lions, coyotes, and bears at the age of eleven. Between the ages of 19 and 23, she spent over a year and half traveling solo in Central and South America where she developed a passion for environmental justice. After graduating from the University of Portland with a degree in Environmental Ethics & Policy, she moved to Las Cruces, NM in 2017. Amanda is beyond excited to be working with an organization that shares her values, on issues that she feels passionate about, alongside activists working both for conservation and social justice.
Rose Ann Vasquez
Operations Manager / Membership Coordinator
Raised on a small farm in San Pablo, Rose Ann grew up exploring the Rio Grande and South Valley on horseback from a young age. Being outdoors is where she feels at home. A proud Aggie, Rose Ann earned her Master’s degree as a Frontier Interdisciplinary Experience STEM Fellow focused on food security at the U.S.-Mexico border. She has built her career in the non-profit sector and is a community organizer at heart. She has organized several successful local, state and national campaigns. She believes that people should be civically active and involved in their local government, because systemic change lies in the power of the people.
A native of Southern California, Shelly has always had a passion for animals and the outdoors. Previously a Veterinary Science major, she switched to Conservation Ecology upon moving to Las Cruces and transferring to New Mexico State University. Now calling Las Cruces her home, Shelly has a fond appreciation for the city, the people, and the landscape. She is an avid hiker and traveler with years of experience in working with various animals and is now focusing her admiration of the planet on conservation efforts to help save wildlife and their habitats. Shelly is thrilled to join the Southwest Environmental Center and excited to be working alongside other like-minded individuals who share her enthusiasm.
Social Media Intern
Alma was born and raised in Las Cruces. Growing up, she spent her summers at nature camps watching and analyzing the habitats and animals of New Mexico. Alma is a recent graduate of Las Cruces High school, where she spent her time in the Students for Sustainability Club. The club's goal is to get the school to practice sustainable habits and get young adults participating in environmental justice. During her senior year, she became the club president, and her passion for implementing sustainability and animal rights grew immensely during that time. Alma believes young adults can have a meaningful impact on environmental conservation. In fall she’ll be attending Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, where she plans to continue her work in policy and administration.