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 the author of the book The Ecology of Herbal Medicine (University of New Mexico Press). Dara is also a columnist for Plant Healer Quarterly, writing on medicinal plants, changing ecosystems, and environmental issues. She has an MS in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of New Mexico, and is a graduate of Dr. Tieraona Low Dog’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.

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.

Francesca Shirley, Restoration Site and Internship Manager

Francesca has a background in plant ecology, land management, biology, natural healing, and art.  She is currently a Water Resource graduate student at the University of New Mexico, deepening her understanding of water resources and management in the southwest.  Her love for the outdoors inspires her to study 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.

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. 

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!

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