Meet Our Crew
Dara Saville, Founder and Executive Director
Dara is an Herbalist and Geographer with a passion for native plants, public lands, and community engagement. She is the founder and primary instructor of the Albuquerque Herbalism bioregional herbal studies program and a columnist for Plant Healer Quarterly, teaching and writing on medicinal plants, changing ecosystems, and environmental issues. She has a bachelor’s degree from New York University, a master’s degree specializing in southwest landscape geography from the University of New Mexico, and is a graduate of Tierona Lowdog’s Foundations of Herbal Medicine Program. Additionally Dara has many years of fieldwork and resource management experience with the National Park Service and well as a long history of community volunteer service with the City of Albuquerque Open Space and the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP). She is also a board member of the Native Plant Society Albuquerque Chapter, a mother, homeschool educator, gardener, and lover of wild places.
Angie True, Administrative Director
Angie True is an ecopsychologist/psychotherapist, herbalist, writer and mountain-dweller. She is a graduate of Prescott College, Indiana University and the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism. In her postgraduate work, she defined, researched and is continuing to develop a theory of ecocultural trauma, which includes the cumulative effects of widescale habitat loss upon individual and collective human psyches. Angie is the executive director of The Calyx Institute, a practice featuring holistic psychotherapy and botanical wellness for all ages. In addition, she has taught literature at the college level, frequently teaches on herbalism at Albuquerque Herbalism and has presented on ecopsychology and herbalism at the annual Plant Healer conference. Angie’s interest in New Mexico’s bosque regions began when she got lost in one circa 1995 in the Jemez foothills.
Shannon Miller Jones, Education Coordinator
Shannon Jones has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a M.S. in Earth and Planetary Science specializing in Climatology from the University of New Mexico. Her Master’s thesis analyzing climate model projections for the Southwest region was published in the Journal of Climate. Shannon’s interest in environmental science started while exploring the Bosque as a kid growing up in Albuquerque. Her interest in science and nature along with her passion for working with the community have lead her to pursue education outreach work in Albuquerque as well as Oaxaca, Mexico. Shannon currently lives in the North Valley and enjoys walking in the Bosque with her husband and their young son.
Rachel Furnari, Restoration Site Manager
Rachel is a native New Mexican, born in Belen with a passion for sustainability and plant medicine. She has worked in the medical field for over twenty years, recently as a Registered Nurse in the Albuquerque community, with experience in pediatric oncology, orthopedics, and cannabis nursing. Rachel has been attending herbal classes with Dara Saville at Albuquerque Herbalism for the past three years and has realized how important it is for us to get back to our roots. She is attending the American College of Healthcare Sciences towards her degree in Complimentary Alternative Medicine with a focus in herbal medicine. She also currently works part time at the local La Montanita Cooperative (Westside) in hopes to touch more lives in the community with the importance of locally sustained food and the importance of food as medicine. Rachel cares deeply about people and plants in the community and is willing to do what it takes to secure and nurture our environment.
Jim McGrath, Restoration Consultant
Jim McGrath has been a field botanist performing rare plant surveys, botanical inventories, and wetland delineations as a contract botanist for over 25 years. Jim has specialized in wetland plants, especially sedges in the genus Carex and in recent years he has collaborated with several others in studying the taxonomy of Carex. Jim is especially interested in the preservation of natural areas and is currently working with the Cibola National Forest to protect Little Water Canyon in the Zuni Mountains. On the Yerba Mansa Project Jim provides advice regarding plant identification and habitat characteristics of various plant species that may be used for YMP plantings.
Francesca Shirley, Restoration Site Co-Manager
Francesca is a biologist studying at the University of New Mexico. Her love for the outdoors inspired her to study plant ecology and conservation in order to preserve our wild places. She grew up playing in the cottonwoods and considers the Bosque a piece of home. She has dedicated over 10 years to learning about natural healing and spent many years teaching yoga and meditation in the community. The Yerba Mansa Project is where her love for science, community, and healing come together.
Akashia Allen, GIS Specialist
Akashia Allen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from The Colorado College and a Masters of Science in Geography, specializing in Geographic Information Sciences, from The University of New Mexico. Her studies focused on the remote sensing of native plant species in southwest desert landscapes. She has worked with the National Park Service, the Native American Water Rights Settlement Project, and currently is a GIS Planner with Albuquerque Public Schools. Akashia loves running and hiking, being outside with her kids, and exploring in nature. She has a deep respect for and curiosity about Earth’s systems.
Our Bosque Restoration Field Crew
Our field crews are comprised of community volunteers who either come out for a single work day or become regularly particpating members. Our crews are family friendly and include all ages and abilities. These dedicated people are what drive the work taking place in the Bosque. Contact us to join our crew!