Our History

One day in 1994, twelve like-minded individuals, with expertise in a wide variety of professional fields, gathered around a kitchen table in Albuquerque, New Mexico to found a nestling organization that would become Hawks Aloft. Our vision focused on protecting wild birds and their habitats. Our goal was to act with transparency and collaborate with others to build a network that would conduct research on all species of birds and foster future leaders by providing educational programs for youths of all ages. In 2013, we incorporated raptor rescue into our mission in response to overwhelming requests for help with injured birds. We continue these efforts today,  in New Mexico and beyond, throughout the Southwest.

Meet and contact our staff.

20200619-_85K7764-Burrowing-Owl-With-Owlet4X6

Our Approach

We are proud of our commitment to collaboration. We work with federal and state governments, tribal authorities, non-government agencies, businesses, and schools within New Mexico in order to expand our reach and support one another’s goals. 

We work in partnership with these various entities to provide meaningful service, education, and support. We believe that conservation, research, and education are all important approaches to the preservation of New Mexico’s birds and their habitats and that this aim cannot be achieved without active participation in our community. 

Board of Directors

Alwyn VanderWalt

Chairman of the Board

Dagny Cosby 

Vice-Chair

Patricia Rosin

Secretary

Terry Edwards

Treasurer

Members

 

Dr. Christine Fiorello, Veterinarian

Terry Edwards

Patricia Rosin

Dagny Cosby

Alwyn VanderWalt

Staff Members

Gail Garber

Gail Garber

Executive Director

As an artist, writer, and executive director of Hawks Aloft Gail has written three books and published numerous articles in many fields. Back in 1988, she met and fell in love with an educational Red-tailed Hawk. She began working as a volunteer for a local conservation organization, and it wasn’t long before she became a staff member. Today, she thoroughly enjoys all aspects of her work, from working in the field and education programs to caring for a large cadre of non-releasable education birds. In her other life, she is a professional quilt maker (Gail Garber Designs) and often travels to teach and lecture on methods that she has developed. Her leisure time is often spent outdoors, searching for birds and more birds, but she and her dogs also enjoy the peace and quiet of their mountain home.

Click here to contact Gail.

David Buckley

Avian Surveyor

David grew up in the wilds of the New Jersey shore, exploring the beaches, rivers, ponds, and woods of the area (which is to say, the real Jersey Shore). His love for birds and nature started there and he has pursued it ever since. In the 1980’s he settled in the Pacific Northwest, where birding became his central pursuit. He is a graduate of the Seattle Audubon Master Birder program and was a board member of the Washington Ornithological Society.

Since moving to New Mexico in the late 1990s, David has had the good fortune to be involved with Hawks Aloft in a number of ways, including housing and handling various raptors, writing and editing, and conducting breeding-bird surveys. He looks forward to getting out in the field each time and is grateful to be assisting in the collection of data to monitor birds in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.

David Buckley
Brian Dykstra 2021

Bryan Dykstra

Field Technician

Bryan first became interested in nature while growing up on his family farm in Michigan with walks in the woods where he would often see deer, songbirds, and other wildlife. After high school, he enrolled in Michigan Technological University’s Forestry Program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in forest management. In the early `90s, after several seasonal jobs with the U.S. Forest Service, he returned to school to study wildlife management and ecology at South Dakota State University. His graduate work entailed studying songbird community dynamics in the Black Hills in South Dakota and Wyoming. He’s been a birder ever since. In 1995, he moved to Arizona to work as a wildlife biologist. During a 17-year stint working along the Mogollon Rim, he coordinated yearly Mexican Spotted Owl and Northern Goshawk surveys and conducted riparian songbird surveys. He finished his Forest Service career in 2018 after 6 years as the Southwestern Region’s Wildlife Program Leader. In that position, he was fortunate to serve as the region’s avian coordinator and a steering committee member of the New Mexico Avian Conservation Partners Committee.

Click here to contact Bryan.

Trevor Fetz, Ph.D

Research Director

Trevor grew up in northeastern Oregon and received a B.A. in English from Whitman College. Upon realizing that his baseball career was not going to advance beyond college, and that he didn’t exactly want to teach English, he decided to pursue an interest in nature. He received an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Southern Oregon University, and it was during that time he discovered an obsession with birds. After completing his M.S., he spent several years working for the Oregon Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit studying Spotted Owls in southwestern Oregon and two years as the project coordinator of a MAPS station for the Medford, Oregon, district of the Bureau of Land Management. He completed his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at New Mexico State University in 2010.

Click here to contact Trevor.

Trevor Fetz 2021

Susan Harrelson

Project Coordinator

Sue has been doing natural-resource work in the Southwest since 1984. She earned a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. After a few years with Arizona Game and Fish Dept., she spent 31 years with the Forest Service, in the Prescott, Cibola, and Santa Fe National Forests. During this time, she was fortunate to work on a wide variety of projects, including native fish surveys, riparian surveys, fire effects monitoring, spotted owl and goshawk surveys, pronghorn habitat improvement, vegetation classification, rare-plant surveys, forest and meadow restoration, and riparian restoration. She has been a wildlife biologist, range conservationist, fisheries technician, ecologist, forester, and silviculturist. She loves working in the varied habitat types of the Southwest, and wants to continue to study, conserve, and protect the natural environment.

Click here to contact Sue.

Sue Harrelson
Mike Hill

Mike Hill

GIS Specialist and Biologist

Mike grew up in central New Mexico and spent the majority of his childhood outside catching toads, snakes, and lizards. Upon graduation from high school he pursued his love of nature in a formal setting. He graduated from Western New Mexico University in 2003 with a B.S. in Forestry/Wildlife. His summers were spent working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service throughout the Southwest. He attended graduate school at New Mexico State University and eventually transferred to Texas A&M University to immerse himself in their herpetology program. He radio-tracked Dunes Sagebrush Lizards (Sceloporus arenicolus) in southeastern New Mexico and operated trapping grids for a Dunes Sagebrush Lizard mark-recapture study in Chaves County, NM. He has remained active in Dunes Sagebrush Lizard conservation, management, and research since 2004. When he’s not in southeastern New Mexico performing lizard surveys, he’s at home with his wife and daughter or assisting Hawks Aloft with GIS needs. While he could be classified as a herpetologist, he prefers to think of himself as a naturalist with an affinity for amphibians and reptiles.

Click here to contact Mike.

Jerry Hobart

Project Manager

Born in Ohio, Jerry grew up in New Mexico, where he received a B.S. in mathematics from New Mexico State University. During a 20-year Air Force career he also found the time to study meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. The most exciting part of his weather service was as an Aerial Reconnaissance Weather Officer. This included doing the reconnaissance for the Apollo 15 recovery and also participating in seventeen typhoon penetrations in the western Pacific. Later he earned an M.S. in Systems Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Upon returning to New Mexico, he became interested in birds, especially raptors. That led him to a raptor identification seminar led by Gail Garber; his love of raptors began then. He served as one of the founding board members of Hawks Aloft and has been instrumental in raptor surveys along the levee and back roads of the Rio Grande and Estancia valleys that began in 1995 and continue today. Outside of birding, his interests include woodcarving and benchrest shooting.

Click here to contact Jerry.

Jerry Hobart

Evelyn McGarry

Membership Coordinator & East Mountain Raptor Rescue Coordinator

Evelyn has long looked to Jane Goodall as her hero. While growing up, she watched every wildlife television show she could and collected newspaper articles about the plight of the world’s wildlife. Her employment history includes working as an admissions supervisor with California's Great America theme park, a store manager at Crown Books and Lechter’s Housewares, a bookkeeper with a printing company, a file clerk with Levi Strauss, and in the last 25 years before retirement, as an eligibility worker with the County of Santa Clara. She began volunteering with Santa Clara County 4-H while working full-time and raising a daughter. She continued to volunteer after retirement with her neighborhood homeowners association, retirement association, local senior center community garden, and with Hawks Aloft. Her current role at Hawks Aloft involves being the membership coordinator, doing educational outreach, mews cleaning, raptor handling, and raptor rescue.

Click here to contact Evelyn.

Evelyn 2021
Melody

Melody Mock

Associate Administrator

Melody Mock brings a background of working in nonprofits and the arts in Albuquerque for the past 25 years. Before coming to Hawks Aloft, she coordinated educational programs at an organization providing classes and other opportunities for older adults. Over the years, Melody has designed websites, curated art exhibits, edited and written for publications, played violin and guitar in musical groups, photographed rescue dogs, and worked with many community folks and organizations. She grew up in the Big Bend area of West Texas and enjoys the outdoors much more than being indoors. Always on the lookout for interesting birds, she’s thrilled to join the team.

Click here to contact Melody.

Lisa Morgan

Raptor Rescue Coordinator

Lisa’s love for wildlife began when she was a young child. It seemed that every time she went outside to walk around the family farm with her dog, she would find an injured animal in need of care. Soon her mother talked a local veterinarian into coming to their home to guide the treatment of the animals Lisa found. Since then, she has worked in rehabilitating wildlife and training permanently injured birds of prey for educational purposes. Although she has worked with everything from bears to hummingbirds, she learned early on that she had an affinity for raptors. She fell in love with New Mexico in 2006 when she accepted a rehabilitation position with the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Espanola, and has been here ever since. In her free time, you can usually find her playing in the dirt with her flowers, or trying to talk her Moluccan Cockatoo, Luca, off of the roof of their home in Rio Rancho.

Click here to contact Lisa.

Lisa Morgan 2021
Maggie Stein 2021

Maggie Stein

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Maggie’s love for wildlife caught hold very early in life as she was growing up in northeast Georgia. A lifelong equestrian, it was through horses and her time as a working student that she discovered her passion for teaching. She attended Texas State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in geography with emphasis in resource and environmental management. After graduating, she worked a number of educational and environmental conservation positions, including fundraising for Texas Campaign for the Environment and as a lead educator at the Austin’s Children's Museum. In 2017, she moved to coastal North Carolina and worked at a residential environmental education program. It was here that she worked with raptors for the first time and fell in love with birds of prey. Since starting at Hawks Aloft, Maggie has taken on a role as a Project Leader for one of the raptor monitoring studies.

Click here to contact Maggie Stein.

Amelia Thompson

Educator

Amelia grew up in Northern California and moved to New Mexico a year after earning a B.S. in zoology. She quickly connected with Hawks Aloft and spent two years as staff educator. She eventually left that position to pursue her love of reptiles, working at the ABQ Biopark and the Rattlesnake Museum, and then earning a M.S. from New Mexico Highlands University, studying Northern Leopard Frogs and Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes. As much as she enjoyed research in herpetology, she realized that her true passion is education, so she was excited to return to Hawks Aloft in this capacity. Along with taking care of the Hawks Aloft education birds, she and her husband have 12 pets, including 5 lizards, 3 birds, 2 axolotls, 1 dog, and 1 snake—all rescues.

Click here to contact Amelia.

 

Amelia Thompson 2021