Office and Contract Manager
Ara Winter Ph.D.
Ara Winter, Ph.D. is the Data Manager for BEMP. Ara’s spent the past ten years mixing data analysis across different spatial and time scales with extensive fieldwork in New Mexico. In his off time he is a Zen Buddhist priest, enjoys cooking, hiking, climbing, gardening and generally being outside. His current kids are a herd of rescued cats and dogs.
Ben Sinclair has a degree in Conservation Biology and Chemistry. He grew up in the Monzano Mountains south of Albuquerque and spent much of his childhood romping around in the canyons and hills behind his home. Ben is ecstatic to be a part of the BEMP team and is looking forward to a lifetime of learning about ecosystems here or elsewhere and how to manage them responsibly. He has too many hobbies to count, but skating, snowboarding, and surfing are his favorites.
Juan grew up in Maryland and first came out to New Mexico in 2017 for a summer internship at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. He instantly fell in love with the area and returned in 2020 to pursue a MSc in Biology at UNM. His project used camera traps to study behavioral flexibility in mammals when they visit water sources. By joining BEMP Juan is officially entrapped in New Mexico and is excited to work in the Rio Grande ecosystem. When he’s not working Juan enjoys taking his sweet dog Marlo for hikes, competing in local tennis tournaments, playing board games, and watching horror movies.
Growing up in the southern Argentinian Andes, Keila always had a deep sense of wonder for the plants, animals, and other creatures of the temperate rainforest and steppe around her hometown. After immigrating to New Mexico when she was eight, she came to fall just as in love with the diverse ecosystems around her second home. Keila has a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Sustainability Studies (as well as a B.A. in Dance, but that’s a story for another time). She is passionate about ecology, and hopes to contribute to conservation efforts that meaningfully involve community science, as well as the wisdom of local and indigenous peoples. She enjoys backpacking, climbing, swimming in cold lakes, painting, and hanging out with her cat and goodest boy, Melvin.
Kim Eichhorst PhD
Science and Research Director
Dr. Kim Eichhorst is BEMP’s Science and Research Director and serves as a Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Kim started research in the bosque in 1995, working with Dr. Cliff Crawford (BEMP’s co-founder), on the interaction between herbivores, cottonwoods, and pollution in urban and rural areas. She has worked for BEMP since the beginning and loves studying the intricacies of bosque ecology. She spends her time hanging out with her kids & critters, being outdoors, doing art, reading, and learning about how everything is connected.
Laura Pagès Barceló
Educator and Biologist
Laura Pagès Barceló is originally from a tiny town in Catalonia, Spain. She left her country five years ago to study sea turtles in Costa Rica, after which she traveled to Albuquerque to visit a friend for a few weeks, but fell in love with the landscape and never left. She recently graduated with a MSc from the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico where she used stable isotopes to study sea turtle diet and movement in the Baja California Coast. Joining BEMP has allowed Laura to combine her interest in education and science. When Laura is not studying sea turtles or working with students she enjoys spending time with the people she loves through rock climbing, hiking, and dancing.
7th Grade Educator
Louisa grew up in Albuquerque, the bosque, and the surrounding mountains of central New Mexico was their backdrop of wonder, learning, and connection to the land. They developed a passion for arts education after spending five years in Colorado Springs while working at a community arts organization. After many different jobs (frame maker, baker, art handler), they are excited to call BEMP their new home. They are looking forward to finding creative ways to teach ecology and history of the Middle Rio Grande bosque and learn from western and local Indigenous knowledge traditions. As a transgender educator, they are excited to create a space for all to foster a relationship to the bosque. In Louisa’s free time, they love to find water in the desert to dip their head into and take beautiful photos.
Science Manager & Entomologist
Matthew is a native New Mexican, he has had a passion for the outdoors, arthropods and all things nature since he was old enough to walk and talk. With his first word being “bug” it’s not surprising he has pursued a career exploring and attempting to understand the unique world of arthropods. This passion has taken Matthew all over the world collecting scientific specimens for museums and describing species new to science. His work with BEMP has not only allowed him to explore these amazing animals locally but given him the opportunity to share this passion with interested people of all ages and walks of life. When he is not BEMPin’ it up, Matthew enjoys spending time fishing, hiking with his family and dogs, drawing and painting but odds are if he’s outdoors you’ll find him hunched over an upturned log exploring the critters scurrying beneath.
Michael grew up in Virginia, and spent a good chunk of his childhood covered in mud exploring the nearby creeks and rivers. He moved to New Mexico to attend UNM, and during his undergrad he took a class with BEMP and fell in love with the work. After finishing his degree in Biology, Michael was able to join the BEMP team and is looking forward to using his ecology experience and inquisitive nature to learn more and more about the bosque and how to help protect it. When he isn’t working, Michael enjoys being outside in nature, rock climbing, being a nerd, writing poetry, listening to music, and spending time with his two cats Oak and Juniper.
Porcupine Whisperer/Bus Driver
Patrick Ryan has been transporting kids from all over for BEMP research in the bosque for over 8 years after moving to New Mexico from the DC area and the Big Island of Hawaii. He has seen the great effects these trips have on so many different people, not just kids! When not hiking the bosque he likes hiking (just about anywhere), painting, playing guitar, learning about astronomy, and studying history.
Rafael Martínez de León
Rafa was borned and raised in the northeastern state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He came to the United States in 2006 and arrived in Albuquerque in 2019. Rafa fell in love with the fantastic and majestic landscape of New Mexico, which reminds him of his home town of Monterrey (translated from Spanish to English as “king mountain”, referring to the city’s topography and the large mountains that surround it). Collaborating as a translator for BEMP’s social media, creating connections with our hispanic community, and getting them involved in our challenging mission has been a joy for him. In his free time, Rafa enjoys traveling and spending time with his three dogs: Diego, Denver and Molly.
Rich grew up exploring nature from California to Virginia but has called New Mexico and its amazing wild places home for decades. A passion for protecting these places led him back to college, and he became an avid BEMPer while earning his degree in Conservation Biology from the University of New Mexico. Rich is thrilled to be part of a team working to protect the bosque through community science and education of the next generation of environmental stewards. He believes that building a personal connection with nature is the best way to protect it and spends his free time hiking, biking, running and camping. He also loves cooking and the community that sharing food creates.
Shelby Bazan is a born and raised Burqueña and has a great passion for the city, land, and culture. Shelby has a bachelors degree in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2018. After her first encounter with BEMP in high school, she is happy to be back working as an educator. In her spare time, she loves crafting, hiking, birding, herping (looking for reptiles/amphibians), and listening to music.
Excited to explore the desert, Zoe joins BEMP having spent her youth immersed in the tidepools and forests of the Pacific Northwest. After witnessing the profundity that is fostered through an appreciation for the natural world, Zoe sought a path that fuses natural curiosity with lifelong learning and children’s laughter. After earning an M.Ed. in Environmental Education, Non-Profit Management and Northwest Natural History, Zoe joins BEMP hoping to blend her love for ecology, phenology, and naturalist illustration. When she’s not working as BEMP’s Education Manager, Zoe is likely deep in thought about bioluminescence, carving spoons, or howling at the moon with her love and their four-legged fur babies.