Board of Directors

Diana Hadley, 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 Madres, 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.

Rick Williams, Vice President
After becoming familiar with jaguars of 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 with displays at art shows, regional galleries, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and Grand Teton National Park’s visitor centers. Rick was the Northern Jaguar Reserve manager from 2010-2015, and is a founding board member and past treasurer of NJP.

Laura Paulson, Secretary
From 1999 until 2018, Laura worked for The Nature Conservancy in Mexico, where she directed the Northern Mexico, Chihuahuan desert grasslands, and national private lands programs and developed a passion for continental-scale species recovery, grasslands, and sustainable rural livelihoods. With a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona, Laura has held positions with the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and the Latin American Area Center. She has also served on the management boards of the Sonoran Joint Venture and Rio Grande Joint Venture.

Harry Lex, Treasurer
Harry has worked as a financial consultant for Fidelity Investments in Arizona and Boston, Massachusetts. He received a B.S. in 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 has served as treasurer since 2016.

Alberto Búrquez Montijo, PhD, Board Member
Alberto is a population ecologist, desert botanist, and researcher at the Instituto de Ecología of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He received his M.S. from UNAM and Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Cambridge in 1988. 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 thornscrub to tropical deciduous forest. Alberto links research, conservation, and sharing 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.

Aaron Flesch, PhD, Board Member
Aaron has worked extensively in Sonora since 2000 and on the Northern Jaguar Reserve since 2005. He is currently a research scientist in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, where he focuses on ecological questions important for management and conservation of wildlife and habitats. He is the author of nearly 60 publications and technical reports. Aaron is passionate about fieldwork, natural history, and landscape conservation, and is committed to producing science that has both theoretical and applied value. He has an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in Organismal Biology and Ecology from the University of Montana.

Angelina Martínez Yrízar, PhD, Board Member
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 an M.S. from UNAM, where her dissertation focused on the tropical deciduous forest of the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, and her Ph.D. 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 Mexican Long-term Ecological Research Network, analyzing the impact of climatic events on tropical deciduous forest.

Matt Skroch, Board Member
Matt is an officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ U.S. Public Lands Program, working with governments and partner organizations to conserve the wildlife and public lands of the American West. He has served in numerous roles dedicated to protecting core wild places and connectivity across Arizona, New Mexico, northern Mexico, and other western states. 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. from the University of Arizona, where he studied conservation planning as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.