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.
Education and Outreach Intern
Emma moved from Chicago to Las Cruces to learn to climb all the desert peaks. She loves spending her time climbing and hiking with friends in the outdoors, and is so excited to work with SWEC to help protect the wildlife and wild places she adores. After receiving a B.A. in English and Creative Writing in Iowa and having a hodgepodge of experiences teaching people to climb, working at a small architecture firm and fundraising for a nonprofit dedicated to teaching creative writing, she's realized she wants to spend her life protecting our natural environment.
Mykayla Trujillo Hanawalt
Born and raised in Northern New Mexico, Mykayla found that developing a certain appreciation for the great outdoors was practically inevitable. She has always loved to surround herself with nature and adventure, from rock climbing to backpacking. Her love for the environment eventually led her to pursue a degree in environmental sciences at New Mexico State University where she is currently enrolled as a sophomore. Spending three months working in Alaska as a kayak guide only confirmed her passion for preserving and protecting what the earth has to offer. Mykayla hopes to continue to work in advocating for a more sustainable future.
Desert Waters Intern
Sara grew up north of Atlanta and attended the University of Georgia where she received a BS in Environmental Engineering. She now lives in El Paso, and is constantly amazed by the beauty of the desert landscape and loves venturing these new places. Spending her free time exploring the abundant lakes, creeks, and streams of north Georgia, Sara has always been fascinated by water systems, and the Rio Grande is no different. She is excited to work alongside SWEC to protect the waterway and the wildlife who call the river home at our La Mancha wetland project.