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.
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
Dr. Christine Fiorello, DVM
Chairman of the Board
DR. LINDA CONTOS, DVM
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.
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.
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.
Trevor Fetz, Ph.D
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.
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.
GIS Specialist & 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.
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.
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.
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.
Lizzie grew up in Kent, England, travelled the world, and ended up in Albuquerque where she started her family. She has an adventurous spirit, a creative mind, and a love for the outdoors that she incorporates into her teaching. A wonderful educator, with decades of experience homeschooling her children, teaching at Wildlife Rescue Inc., Lizzie has rejoined the staff at Hawks Aloft. Liz began work here as an educator 16 years ago before taking a break to pursue her other passion: pottery. Now an accomplished professional potter, she has found more time to return to Hawks Aloft as a part-time educator. Lizzie currently houses several of our Avian ambassadors who are very lucky to be in such good hands. We are very happy to have her rejoin our team. Be sure to look out for LizRoberts.Art at any New Mexico craft show.
Stephanie joined our team after making the move from Austin, Texas where she worked as a full-time photographer for her alma mater, Texas State University. She spent many years visiting family in the area until finally deciding it was the place she needed to be. Stephanie has always enjoyed the outdoors and loves camping and hiking. She has been an animal lover from a very young age and enjoys looking for wildlife on a trail. In her spare time, you can find Stephanie with her camera, exploring a trail, roller skating, or making macrame crafts.
Jenny grew up in Los Angeles, California and loved working with animals from a young age. Growing up with many pets at home, her favorite place to visit was the zoo, both in LA and Albuquerque where her grandparents lived. Her family moved to Albuquerque in 2015 just before Jenny started pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson. When she started college, she wanted to start a career in wildlife conservation and after doing an internship at the Dallas Zoo in 2017, she made animal care and education her field of choice. Jenny interned at two facilities in Tucson, the Reid Park Zoo and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, where she gained experience doing raptor handling. She also took courses where she learned about marine science and educated elementary and middle school students. She graduated with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in December 2019. Jenny continued in the zoo field, working at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo and again at the Dallas Zoo, before moving back to Albuquerque to join the Hawks Aloft Team.