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.
Education and Outreach Intern
Amberly was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, where she spent her time exploring the Great Lakes Basin. Her interest in aquatic and wildlife began when she was young, camping and kayaking frequently with her family. Into her adult life, she began sharing that passion with generations beyond her, leading at outdoor education camps throughout Ohio and Michigan. After moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, her interest in the outdoors and wildlife grew into a passion for protecting it, especially waterways. Following a year of travel, Amberly moved to El Paso, TX and began her Wildlife Science Degree at New Mexico State University in 2017. Here, she found an entirely different environment and wildlife composition to explore and protect. She is excited to expand her activist career at SWEC and be a voice for wildlife in the Southwest region.
Rachel was born and raised on the Navajo Nation. She grew up roaming the mountain ranges of the small community Baahaali, New Mexico. Her love for the outdoors began as a child, playing in the forest with her brothers and going on camping trips with her family. Rachel left home after completing high school and went on to be a first generation college student, studying Wildlife Sciences at New Mexico State University with an interest in native fish restoration. She is an aunt of 11 children and wants to continue to share and encourage them and others to be involved in conservation. She is excited to be working with SWEC to speak for wildlife and wildlands.