Activist Spotlight Banner

WildEarth Guardians could not function without the dedication and determination of people like you. These Guardians have gone above and beyond to protect the West’s wildlife and wild places—share your story with us, "Why are you a Guardian of the wild?"

snapshot Jeanne-Marie Aurnague

“I have been an environmental activist since 1985. I fought for the Northwest Forests in Oregon for many years. Over the last decade, I have focused on online activism, signing and sharing important petitions for the environment, animals, and humanity. I am passionate and very concerned that our children will not have the future they deserve. I believe that clean water, air, and earth are natural rights. The selling off and destruction of natural resources, like water, should be illegal. WildEarth Guardians is a very important organization working to save the natural earth for us and for the future. I love them for that and hope to continue to help them succeed.”

~ Jeanne-Marie Aurnague, Santa Fe, N.M.

snapshot Jeremy Gregory

Jeremy Gregory is the Executive Director of Tindakan, a nonprofit that supports solutions-based endeavors that focus on ecological & social justice causes, worldwide. Jeremy is also pursuing an individualized degree at Metro State in Eco-Social Justice Principles. It was through Tindakan's working relationship with WildEarth Guardians that Jeremy decided to intern with us for his senior experience at Metro State.

~ Jeremy Gregory, Denver, Colorado

snapshot Brendan Young

"Wild places have always been where I feel the most alive. Film is all about story. Vital to a complete story is emotion and ultimately empathy. A successful story and film moves the heart. My aim in telling these stories is to allow viewers to connect with the individuals, and the images and sounds of the bird and the landscape, so that they can empathize with these wild places."

~ Brendan Young, Washington D.C., Filmmaker of Guardians Voices: Sage Grouse Stories

snapshot Judy Williams R1

We are grateful to Judy Williams, our amazing volunteer in Santa Fe. She is currently working on our “emergency response” policy. Judy says, “I love WildEarth Guardians. They are fearless and a heck of a lot of fun!”

~ Judy Williams, Santa Fe, New Mexico

snapshot Wendy Volkman

"WildEarth Guardians works across sectors to link issues, constituents, strategies, and short- and long-term goals. I got involved via their work to protect the Greater Chaco region. I’m impressed Guardians is connecting this struggle with others around the country to build a broader, national narrative about, and vision for, our collective energy future. Go Guardians!"

~ Wendy Volkmann, Santa Fe, New Mexico

snapshot Milton and Marcia Berg

"We love volunteering for WildEarth Guardians for the people that work here, and because we love doing what we can for the animals."

~ Milton and Marcia Berg, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Snapshot Juli Wagner

"As an intern at WildEarth Guardians this summer, I had a great opportunity to learn the hard work of raising environmental awareness and protecting the wild. I helped organize Guardians events, expanded their presence online, and spread the word about their efforts in the courtroom. I worked and was mentored by Guardians’ amazing staff mostly doing graphic design. I live in Albuquerque, where I attend Bosque School, so I commuted to Santa Fe every day on the train. Overall, Guardians has helped me come to appreciate the wild places of the west and learn more about endangered species protection, fracking, and our shared environment as a whole."

~ Juli Wagner, Albuquerque, New Mexico

snapshop Carly Bonwell

Carly Bonwell, a high school senior, is one of our summer interns. Carly comes into the Santa Fe office twice weekly and has quickly become indispensable. This week she is working on our Montana, Utah, and Arizona events—see details below. Thank you Carly!

~ Carly Bonwell, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Snapshot Logan Ezra

I have been interested in protecting wildlife and nature since I can remember. I have a wildlife organization I started called the Anti-Killing Campaign to protect wildlife. It is a great feeling to know that WildEarth Guardians values and protects the same thing I am fighting for.

~ Logan Ezra, age 14, Boulder, Colorado

snapshot Jules Elise

"What an amazing and incredible event! As a volunteer, I was impressed by how classy the Howling Affair in Denver was. Guardians rocks! I was honored to be part of the evening. Thank you for all the wonderful work you do."

~ Jules Elise, Ft Collins, Colorado

Snapshot Connor Calvert

"This is my first time volunteering with WildEarth Guardians. I got involved with Stream Team through my University of New Mexico class, so I thought this would be a great idea because I love to fly fish, hunt, and hike. I love the outdoors and this fit perfectly. I've come up here today (to Rio de las Vacas) and I really had a great time."

~ Conner Calvert, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Activist Snapshop Keora

"WildEarth Guardians is full of amazing and friendly people that are fun to work with.  They do positive things for the environment and humanity, and I love helping an organization with great goals!"

~ Keora Flanary-Olayvar, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Snapshot Jeff Davis Activist Spotlight

"I did quite a bit of research on non-profit environmental and animal protection groups working in the western United States before I decided where I was going to invest my time and money for volunteer work. WildEarth Guardians came out the winner for many reasons, primarily because I was convinced they had the correct ethics to do this important work. As the Boulder Wolf Pack Leader, I am strongly opposed to hunting/trapping of all apex predators and WildEarth Guardians leads the pack on this issue. I am very happy with my commitment to this organization and know in my heart they are in it for the right reasons to protect and preserve our wonderful western landscape and animals."

~ Jeff Davis, Boulder, Colorado

Snapshot Jackie Shane volunteer

Jackie Shane has been a Guardian for five years, collaborating with our development and administrative team. We love how she will take on any project. Jackie’s most recent endeavor has been to distribute our Wild at Heart newsletter around Santa Fe. We particularly love that she does this by bike despite the winter cold. “Working with Guardians enables me to free up some time from the busy Guardian staff members." Her bike is equipped with a rack, two sturdy metal baskets, and a sticker that says "Powered by Me."

~ Jackie Shane, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Snapshot Meg

Meg Townsend, an Oregon Law School alumna, is spending the next several months as a fellow in the Wild Places and Wild Rivers Programs. Meg has already drafted comments to ensure a Forest Service land exchange does not undermine protections for the mighty Rio Grande. "Working with Guardians allows me to protect our precious lands, rivers, and fish and wildlife by ensuring that the agencies responsible for enforcing our environmental laws are held accountable for their decisions.”

~ Meg Townsend, Royal Oak, Michigan

Annie_Parizeau activist snapshot

Annie Parizeau featured and fundraised for WildEarth Guardians as part of her school’s fifth grade “charity awareness” project. Annie says, “I chose this organization because wildlife is very important to me. More and more wild places are being taken over by humans, and I would hate to see a world one day where no one knows what trees look like because they are so scarce.”

~ Annie Parizeau, Sherborn, Massachusetts

Snapshot Rahul Mukherjee

"As a bird conservationist, I speak for those that cannot speak. I have chosen in particular to become an activist for the Greater sage grouse because it is a species in danger and clearly in need of protection. Sage grouse habitat loss is largely a result of development and thus, as citizens of the world, we all share the moral responsibility to protect this species. It has been a great pleasure in getting to know the staff of WildEarth Guardians and I am VERY appreciative of your work to protect sage-grouse."

~ Rahul Mukherjee, Sandy, Utah

Snapshot Activist Gavin Epstein

“I love the wild. Working with Guardians this summer has been a wonderful experience; I’ve learned a lot about the workings of a nonprofit, and feel good about helping the outdoor southwest I care about.”

~ Gavin Epstein, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Activist Joseph Thomas Snapshot

"Conservation is frequently an arduous uphill battle against vested interests and entrenched bureaucracies. Thank goodness the talented folks at Guardians are there to take up the challenges of protecting animals that have no voice, defending places that must be preserved, and safeguarding resources that cannot be replaced. As a Colorado landscape and wildlife photographer, I know well what has been lost, and what we still stand to lose. Because of this, I enthusiastically contribute my images as well as my financial support to WildEarth Guardians."

~ Joseph Thomas, Colorado
    (Visit Joseph's photo website here to see a sampling of his gorgeous images.)
Jan Ellen Burton Snapshot

"I love the outdoors and wildlife. I have worried about wolves coming into Utah because they are wolves and Utah is not always wildlife friendly. However, the main position of Wildlife Guardians is to protect the environment, and although that is a very difficult task these days, life in Utah is changing. People are more pro-animal than the legislature appears to be. So--I think it is time to work to save the animals."

~ Jan Ellen Burton, Salt Lake City, Utah
Snapshot Activist Spotlight HA 2014 Volunteers,

Many thanks to our Sixth Annual Denver Howling Affair volunteers. They helped to create a welcoming and warm atmosphere for all of our event supporters.

~ Megan Collins, Joan Welch, and Lianna Ferguso, Denver, Colorado
Activist Sarah Chang snapshot

During Aveda's Earth Month in April 2014, I raised money for WildEarth Guardians to plant trees. Every $10 a guest donated entered them into a raffle for a free haircut. WildEarth Guardians does so much for New Mexico. I'm a native New Mexican and that means a lot to me.

~ Sarah Chang, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Activist Spotlight Kadin Bacon snapshot

WildEarth Guardians’ activists come in all sizes. Recently Guardians' Information Technology Manager Whitney Bacon’s son helped us out by zealously selling raffle tickets at our recent Santa Fe Telluride Mountainfilm event. When we asked him why he likes WildEarth Guardians, he wrote us a note. Click here to see what he said.

~ Kadin Bacon, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Activist Spotlight Laura and Robert Malone

When retired high school teacher's Robert and Laura Malone are in between travels at their home in Santa Fe, they often volunteer with WildEarth Guardians. They like the hands on projects, taking down fences and planting trees, but they can also to be found stuffing envelopes or riding their bikes around town posting flyers for fundraisers and delivering newsletters. Laura says, "We believe that WildEarth Guardians is the smartest organization who aligns with our conservation values. We especially support Guardians’ work with wolf reintroduction, river habitat restoration, powering past coal, and the strong legal actions and community work they undertake for wildlife, and for clean water, air, and energy."

~ Robert and Laura Malone, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Activist Spotlight Kimberly Rhodes

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a church whose entire gospel is based upon the premise of restoration. This led me to volunteer with the Utah Environmental Congress, which recently merged with WildEarth Guardians. I see a real need to remind my people of what we really believe—which is that God created all creatures (even the ones we love and fear), and that every creature, great and small, serves a purpose. My readings on the importance of wolves as a top predator is a testimony to me that nothing man could create will ever compare with the masterful infrastructure of an ecosystem.

~ Kimberly Rhodes, Salt Lake City, Utah
Activist Spotlight Kurt Menke

When John Horning asked me to make a map of impaired waters in 2001, my impression of then Forest Guardians was that they were a group that wouldn't take no for an answer—the bull dogs of conservation. Eleven years later I know they're the most effective conservation group in the West. Their approach is as diverse as the wild lands they're committed to protecting. With attention to wild places, wildlife, oil & gas issues, policy issues, grazing, rivers, forest planning and the law, there's always a creative strategy to tackle the issue at hand. Over the years I've made more than a thousand maps for Guardians. I feel grateful to contribute to their efforts, and proud to be part of the solution.

~ Kurt Menke, Bird’s Eye View, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Activist Spotlight Geramy Quarto

Geramy Quarto went way above and beyond the call of duty event managing the Guardians Gala this year. The evening went super smoothly and Geramy exhibited his good taste in everything from the colors to the lights. We are so grateful that he shares his skill set with us.

~ Geramy Quarto, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Kaitlynn Fernandes, Abigail Tills, Gemma Figer

During September 2013, the Pittsford Endangered Species Charity Team held a two-day charity event in front of the Walmart in Victor, NY. The event was held to raise awareness of, and seek donations to support, endangered species protections. This represents a year of preparation and leadership by a group of 9-year old girls who formed a charity group just for this purpose. “The reason I wanted to do a charity for endangered species was because of a magazine I read at school. We chose WildEarth Guardians as the national partner after looking at their web site,” said Gemma Figer (located on the far right of this photo along side coactivists Kaitlynn Fernandes, far left, and Abigail Tills, middle).

~ (left to right) Kaitlynn Fernandes, Abigail Tills, Gemma Figer, Victor, New York

Vera Taylor activist snapshot

Just a few miles from her apartment in Baton Rouge, Vera Taylor noticed pollution coming from a large petrochemical refinery run by Exxon and a chemical manufacturing plant run by Dow. They were both pumping filth into the air, and her family had to breathe that air. She wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, and later took pitures that she submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. Not long after, Vera noticed that the emissions received more media attention. [Exxon’s] emissions are now being monitored, and they have to sound alarms any time there is a problem.

~ Vera Taylor, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Janelle Roybal activist snapshot

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be working with WildEarth Guardians on their Beaver and Climate Change Project. It’s an amazing organization filled with highly intelligent, friendly, and respectable people. I grew up in a small community in northern New Mexico and have a deep appreciation for the exceptional beauty and value of our natural surroundings. As a summer intern, this hands-on experience will not only help me in my future career as a conservation professional but also enhance my academic knowledge."

~ Janelle Roybal, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Maria Arefieva activist snapshot

"It was thanks to WildEarth Guardians that I first learned about the cruelty and utmost disregard with which the USDA's Wildlife Services treats animals. I'm very passionate about Guardians' campaign to expose Wildlife Services crimes, to show people that our tax money gets spent in ways none of us would ever approve of, and to demand that this be changed. I want this campaign to succeed and reach its goal, and thus I will support and help it in any way I can."

~ Maria Arefieva, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sophia Coury activist snapshot

"I’m thrilled to be interning with WildEarth Guardians. Currently working on law school applications, I’m grateful for the exposure to see how and why strategic policies and grassroots efforts are so vital to preserving the Earth’s resources and natural treasures. All of the campaigns are well designed, thoughtful, and effective, and I’m so lucky to gain experience and work alongside such passionate and intelligent thinkers, doers, and hard-workers."

~ Sophia Coury, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Brad Hill activist snapshot

"I'm a full-time wildlife photographer and biologist focused on promoting effective conservation organizations and causes. I channel my support to groups that effectively blend a science-based approach to ecosystem health with strong public awareness and outreach programs. And that's why I believe in and support WildEarth Guardians - they're effective and passionate about preserving wildlife, wild rivers, and wild places!"

~ Brad Hill, British Columbia, Canada
Dave Thomas activist snapshot

“Stories in Guardians’ newsletters often make me angry. And it feels darn good to get stirred up over wolves, and coyotes, and birds, and clean air and water. Guardians takes a gutsy stand on these issues. They don’t just write op-ed pieces, they get into the ring and fight it out. In a recent Frontline, Guardians had the courage to out the “he-men” of USDA’s Wildlife Service’s predator control unit, men who “controlled” coyotes not by clean-kills but through butchery and sadomasochistic practices against wild animals. What sort of men could (and would) do this? And my tax dollars are paying them to do it! I was angry. I was appalled. I took action. I don’t know of any other environmental group working this hard.”

~ Dave Thomas, Ogden, Utah
Ron Loehman activist snapshot

Dr. Ronald Loehman loves rivers, hiking and fly fishing.  He also understands how rare those habitats are and has see how easily they can be degraded by overuse. This love lead Loehman from observation to action—he went from merely observing riparian systems to deciding to do something to repair the damaged ones and to work to protect those that are still in good condition.  Loehman has done hands on restoration work and supported Guardians and several other groups to successfully protecting Outstanding waters in New Mexico by gathering support and testifying before the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) for Outstanding National Resource Water (ONRW) status for the headwater streams in New Mexico’s wilderness areas.

~ Ronald Loehman, Wild River activist, Albuquerque, New Mexico
German Mendez activist snapshot

"For the last seven years I have worked in the Florida everglades restoring habitat for wildlife. Currently I am engaged in coral reef conservation on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, and busy defending the island's last jungle habitat. I support WildEarth Guardians because they care for the preservation of biodiversity and are effectively working to preserve our natural resourses."

~ German R. Mendez, activist, Cozumel, Mexico
Kathleen Hopkins activist snapshot

"We all need to be guardians and protectors of the planet and living things upon it. Wild animals and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Left unchecked greedy corporate interests will kill every last plant and animal, pollute the waters and air, and even drill into the earth itself to satisfy their hunger for profits. It is up to us to stop the abuse."

~ Kathleen Hopkins, activist, Oakland, California
Charles Fox activist snapshot

Charles Fox has been a Guardian since 2005 and is committed to seeing an end to animal trapping. Ask Charles about his food choices and he’ll tell you, “knowing what you’re eating is probably one of the most important ways of relating with the world!" The relationship between what we eat and public lands policy, and the impact of public lands policies on wildlife, clearly inspires his food choices. He encourages people to learn where their food comes from, especially beef, since ranchers often don't coexist with wildlife and when this happens, wildlife, especially carnivores like coyotes and wolves lose.

~ Charles Fox, Web Designer, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Randy Barnhart activist snapshot

Colorado Attorney Randy Barnhart provides pro bono legal services to WildEarth Guardians. Randy allows his Associate Attorney, Melissa Hailey to work hundreds of hours on our lawsuits. Currently these cases include one against New Mexico for allowing trapping of endangered Mexican wolves and one against Nevada for allowing excessive air pollution—fouling the views at the Grand Canyon and Zion national parks. Randy has supported Guardians as part of his, "commitment that people live in a world of biodiversity and vibrant ecosystems."

~ Randy Barnhart, Attorney, Denver, Colorado
Robert Ukeiley activist snapshot

Robert Ukeiley supports WildEarth Guardians because of our efforts to power the nation past coal. "It’s so hard to witness the devastation that climate change is causing. Out of control wildfires, extreme heat, drought-stricken streams—it’s a stark reminder of the urgent crisis we face."

~ Robert Ukeiley, Attorney, Berea, Kentucky
K Powelson and J-F Chabaud activists snapshot

"We support WildEarth Guardians and their Stream Team campaign to protect and restore our rivers in the American West, like the Santa Fe River. We are thankful for their work."

~ Karen Powelson & Jean-Francois Chabaud, Owners of Potomac Garage Solutions, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Henry and Jean Kroll activists snapshot

"I am so glad to be associated in a small way supporting the work of WildEarth Guardians. They are an organization on the cutting edge of preserving The Commons we all share and must safeguard in the Western States." 

~ Jean and Henry Kroll, Prairie Dog Day activists, Boulder, Colorado
Dennis Kost activist snapshot

"Living in the midst of 12 coal-fired boilers here in North Dakota gives you some perspective.  I've farmed my whole life in Washburn near the MIssouri River, raised a family, and enjoyed the beauty of this state.  But more than three decades ago I realized what these coal-fired power plants were doing to our air, our water, and our communities.  Asthma, heart disease, and other ailments seem to be the norm these days.  Clear skies, healthy and happy families, and fresh air seem to be a thing of the past.  I'm sick of it and I'm sick of the fact that the coal industry gets away with this.  Our children deserve better and North Dakota deserves better.  That's why I've taken it upon myself to speak out on the impacts of coal and to do everything I can to make things better.  The future is ours to shape and I tell you, I'm not stopping until our future is nothing but clean air."

~ Dennis Kost, Climate activist, Washburn, North Dakoka
Walter Skymanski activist snapshot

From the moment Walter “Ski” Skymanski discovered that New Mexico permits trapping of public wildlife, he dedicated himself to its elimination.  He successfully wrote a formal resolution calling for the banning of trapping on public lands in NM and got the resolution passed through the Town of Silver City. Now, a year and one-half later eight additional NM municipalities, counties and other government bodies have also approved resolutions calling for a ban on trapping on public lands. Ski will not rest until the governor and state game commissioners banish trapping in New Mexico. We salute Ski for his efforts to end cruel traps on public lands.

~ Walter Skymanski, Trap-ban activist, Silver City, New Mexico
Bart and Whitney Sheldrake activists snapshot

Intrigued with solar since high school Bart Sheldrake, along with his wife Whitney Painter, started Buglet Solar as a way to promote renewable energy and save the planet. Early 2011 they installed a system for WildEarth Guardians' Climate and Energy Program Director Jeremy Nichols. For Guardians' Howling Affair in Denver 2011, Buglet Solar donated a lifetime of renewable energy with a 30% system discount. Thank you Bart and Whitney - for making renewables doable.

~ Bart Sheldrake & Whitney Painter, Owners of Buglet Solar, Golden, Colorado
Telluride Prairie Dog activists snapshot

“Our small group of Telluride locals share a passion for the preservation of biodiversity and an appreciation for the role of the indigenous Gunnison's prairie dog in Telluride. We have been working for over 5 years to educate local folks about the importance of allowing the prairie dogs to exist without "management."  In late 2010, a proposal was made to begin poisoning prairie dogs that had advanced beyond an arbitrary boundary. Thanks to the superb help of WildEarth Guradians, our little group of prairie dog advocates was able to sway the council members to unanimously shelf the poisoning plans.  We are grateful to WildEarth Guardians for helping us win this victory.”

~ Amy Cannon, Jerry Davidian, Ramona Gaylord, Dan Chancellor, & Carol Black, Prairie Dog advocates, Telluride, Colorado
Erin Collins activists snapshot

"When I moved to Denver I was looking for worthy non profits to lend my volunteer time and passion to. A friend recommended WildEarth Guardians who welcomed me warmly. I began helping out first with the Denver gala and the volunteer opportunities from there had a snowball effect for me. I shortly realized all of the great work that WildEarth Guardians is doing to protect all of the things that I hold close to my heart and volunteering for such a great non profit became a perfect fit for me."

~ Erin Collins, Howling Affair volunteer, Denver, Colorado
Susan Cover activist snapshot

"I worked at the University of Delaware computing department for 17 years before retiring. I started volunteering for WildEarth Guardians in the summer of 2010. My background with computers made it easy for me to take on projects updating the WildEarth Guardians website;it is another small way that I can contribute to saving the planet in addition to what I do at home, like recycling and composting.  I am most passionate about WildEarth Guardians climate and energy campaign.”

~ Susan Cover, Computer Analyst, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Trinity Demask activist snapshot

"As a child growing up in the San Francisco bay area, I saw the wild places I roamed bulldozed for housing developments and eventually I saw the small wildlife species like toads and lizards that were plentiful in my neighborhood slowly disappear. I see the same thing happening in Colorado and am especially saddened by the toll it’s taking on prairie dogs. I strive to educate my friends and neighbors about how important prairie dogs are to their ecosystem. People here enjoy seeing foxes or hawks in their neighborhood, but they often don’t realize that those species rely greatly on prey like prairie dogs to survive. Since moving to Colorado, I’ve been active in supporting Sinapu and now WildEarth Guardians in their efforts to protect large carnivores and their habitat. As a singer-songwriter, I lend my talents whenever I can to help support organizations that are doing the important work of protecting wildlife and the environment."

~ Trinity Demask, Singer Songwriter, Arvada, Colorado