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). She is a graduate of Dr. Tieraona Low Dog’s Foundations of Herbal Medicine Program and is currently a Geography PhD student focusing on GeoHumanities and medicinal plants in a joint program at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. 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, an instructor in UNM’s Holistic Health program, a mother, 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.
Kiley Spurlock, Secretary and Newsletter Editor
Kiley is an herbal student of 10 years with Albuquerque Herbalism with an ever growing love of the natural world around her. Originally born and raised in North Carolina, she grew up in the woods of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains camping and exploring with her family. Her family inspired her to learn and know about local plants around her. Today the exploration of the plants around her continues in New Mexico as she learns and passes on knowledge to her two children and family. She currently is active in the Yerba Mansa Project as Secretary and Newsletter Editor, and has also assisted with editing Plants of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Field Guide and Restoration Field Days.
Yana Aryze, Outreach Coordinator
Yana has a B.A. in Communications from The College of Charleston. She is a certified Natural Therapeutic Specialist graduating from The New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics. Yana is a Shamanic Practitioner, and leader of Shamanism Without Boarders. She is an artist and musician. She is passionate about helping mother earth. For as long as Yana can remember she has felt a deep connection with nature. The forest, animals, rocks, lizards, rolling desert hills, birds, flowers, stars, and water, these things have always brought her closer with her self and a deeper meaning to life. She looks forward to working together with Yerba Mansa to help restore The Bosque, having it flourish in vitality and beauty.
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.
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.
Volunteer With Us!
Site caretakers and grant writing support is needed. Contact us to join our team for field work or work from home.
Dara Saville: President, Director
Kiley Spurlock: Secretary
Casey Nairn-Mahan: Treasurer
Sarah Sheesley: Grant Writing Coordinator
Shannon Jones: Vice-President, Grant Writing
Outreach Coordinator: Yana Aryze
Aurora Craig-McBride: Restoration Site Caretaker, Team Coordinator
Hollis Moore: Restoration Site Caretaker
Jonathan Tannis: Restoration Site Caretaker
Cyndi Bemis: Restoration Site Caretaker
Laura Shank: Elementary Education Programs
Toni Gentilli: K-12 Educator
Pam McBride: K-12 Educator
Kiley Spurlock: Assistant Field Guide Editing
Shannon Jones: K-12 Educator
Jonathan Tanis: GIS Support
Drew Seavey: GIS Support
Rick Altenberg: GIS Support
Talisa Barancik: GIS Support
Akashia Allen: GIS Support
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 participating 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!