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
Rick is one of the incorporators of the Northern Jaguar Project and is a founding board member. He served as treasurer from the organization’s inception until 2012. Prior to the formalization of the Northern Jaguar Project, Rick was a wildlife photographer in the Northern Rockies with works appearing at art shows, regional galleries, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and Grand Teton National Park’s visitor centers. After becoming familiar with the jaguars of the Southwest, Rick moved from Driggs, Idaho, to Tucson, Arizona, to assist Carlos López González in maintaining his jaguar research and budding conservation project in the Sierra Madre foothills. Rick worked as volunteer organizer and coordinator during the early stages of the Northern Jaguar Project’s development and eventually settled in Sonora to be more fully engaged with northern jaguar conservation. Most recently, he worked as the Northern Jaguar Reserve manager from 2010-2015.

Laura Paulson, Secretary
Laura is The Nature Conservancy’s arid lands program manager and has experience in the fields of conservation and rural development since 1997. Laura is responsible for providing strategic direction and day-to-day management of The Nature Conservancy’s conservation work in northern Mexico. Prior to her current position, she was the Conservancy’s private lands conservation program manager and worked across Mexico to develop and implement strategies focused on private and social lands conservation. Laura has served as a consultant for the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and the Latin American Area Center of the University of Arizona, where she examined rural land use issues in Mexico, and also with the Gunung Palung Community Forest Management Project in Indonesia focusing on the creation of a community-managed timber concession. With a M.S. in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona, Laura also serves on the management board of the Sonoran Joint Venture.

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 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.