Diana Hadley, Founding President

Diana is a founding board member of NJP. Retired as director of the Arizona State Museum’s Office of Ethnohistorical Research, she specializes in the history of land use and ecological change in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. Diana holds degrees in archaeology and history, and is the former operator of a family ranch. She has organized conferences on grassland restoration, Native American sacred sites, deforestation in the Sierra Madre, and restoration of the Santa Cruz River. Diana has also served on the board of directors of Native Seeds/SEARCH, Audubon Research Ranch, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace, and the Center for Desert Archaeology.

Matt Skroch, President

Matt is a manager with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ U.S. Lands and Rivers Conservation Program, working with governments and partner organizations to conserve wildlife and public lands in the American West. He has served in numerous roles dedicated to protecting core wild places and connectivity across Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. From 1998-2008, Matt helped lead the Sky Island Alliance. While there, he hatched the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment, which would become the first major binational effort to inventory and conserve the natural heritage of the Sky Island ecosystem. Matt has an M.S. in Conservation Planning from the University of Arizona, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.

Rick Williams, Vice President

After becoming familiar with jaguars in the Southwest, Rick moved to Arizona to assist Carlos López González in maintaining his jaguar research and budding conservation project in the Sierra Madre foothills. Rick worked as a volunteer organizer during the early stages of NJP’s development and eventually settled in Sonora to be more engaged with northern jaguar conservation. He previously worked as a wildlife photographer in the Northern Rockies. Rick was the Northern Jaguar Reserve manager from 2010-2015 and is a founding board member.

Angelina Martínez Yrízar, Ph.D., Secretary

Angelina has worked as a researcher and professor at the Instituto de Ecología of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Hermosillo since 1989. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Cambridge. Angelina’s research interests are in understanding the functioning of ecosystems in the Sonoran desert and tropical deciduous forests of Mexico, with an emphasis on litter production and decomposition processes. She is a member of the Red Mexicana de Investigación Ecológica a Largo Plazo, analyzing the impact of climatic events on tropical deciduous forest.

Harry Lex, Treasurer

Harry has worked as a financial consultant for Fidelity Investments in Arizona and Boston, Massachusetts. He studied business economics at the University of Arizona, during which time he became deeply interested in the conservation of jaguars in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Harry has been able to use his professional knowledge and experience in the financial world, along with his enthusiasm to protect wildlife, to enhance NJP’s mission. He lives in Arkansas and works as a flight instructor at Summit Aviation.

Alberto Búrquez Montijo, Ph.D., Director

Alberto is a population ecologist, desert botanist, and researcher at the Instituto de Ecología of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Cambridge. The environmental variation and landscapes of northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. provide him with the ideal setting for comparative studies using the progression of biomes from desert to tropical deciduous forest. Alberto links research and conservation to share scientific knowledge with the general public. He is presently working in population and community ecology of desert plants, plant-animal relationships, biogeography, and conservation of the Sonoran desert.

Carlos López González, Ph.D., Director

Carlos has been researching jaguars and other carnivore species in Mexico and the U.S. since 1992. He is co-author of Borderland Jaguars, a comprehensive analysis of the historic presence of jaguars in the region. Having received his Ph.D. in Biology from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Carlos is a research professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro. His main interests are in predator-prey interactions, vertebrate community ecology, and the behavior and conservation of large mammalian carnivores. Carlos has worked as a research associate for the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative and Denver Zoo.

Froylan Hernandez-Ruiz, Director

Froylan has a strong academic background and professional experience in real estate and corporate law, public administration, and environmental issues. He is a licensed attorney in Mexico and New York State and holds law degrees from CIDE, and The University of Pennsylvania. He is a Senior Attorney at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global environmental organization that works to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. He joined TNC in 2013 and has been involved in various projects across the world. Froylan has also worked for institutions such as White & Case, the Mexican Federal Government, Harvard University, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. Froylan is passionate about finding creative ways to protect nature and improve people’s lives.

Benjamin T. Wilder, Ph.D., Director

Ben is a biogeographer, botanist, and desert ecologist whose research looks at the origin and future of the Sonoran Desert. He received his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California, Riverside for his research into the historical biogeography of islands of the Gulf of California. He is co-founder and Director of the Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers (N-Gen). His scientific and conservation efforts strive to combine multiple disciplines and perspectives to better understand and care for the desert that drives his passion.

Jeffrey M. Banister, Ph.D., Director

Jeff is director of the Southwest Center, editor of Journal of the Southwest, and associate professor of geography in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment, University of Arizona. He is a human-cultural geographer who researches the politics of land and water in northwest Mexico, Mexico City, and in Latin America more broadly, and both past and present. He lived and worked in southern Sonora during the 1990s and the mid-2000s. Since that time, he has been active in a number of projects ranging from social-enviromental research to coastal conservation.