About Our Staff
Cecilia has served as executive director of the Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust since 2007. Prior to that she volunteered her time for the organization since RGALT’s beginnings in 1997. RGALT was founded at Cecilia’s kitchen table by fellow farmers, ecologists, and conservationists all interested in protecting the Rio Grande and its floodplain – the farms and riparian lands.
She brings a passionate lifetime commitment to growing and protecting NM’s agricultural lands and water. She is a multi-generation native, Hispanic New Mexican raised on a farm between Santa Fe and Espanola, where her family grew their own food and sold the extras to the communities of Santa Fe and Espanola – selling on street corners and often going door-to- door (farmer’s markets didn’t exist in those days). It was then the first seeds were planted for Cecilia’s passion to protect the farmland and communities, she so loved.
She has been a leader in the middle Rio Grande landscape conservation initiative to protect agricultural land, wildlife habitat and water. This leadership role required developing partnerships and implementing collaborative efforts to access federal and state funding for conservation easements and habitat/restoration projects. RGALT serves a culturally diverse and primarily low income demographic, where access to funding for on the ground conservation to occur is often critical.
She has also been a leader in creating agricultural markets for farmers. She started the Socorro Farmer’s Market, and for 10 years she served on NM Farmer’s Market board, helping to start markets all over the state. She also served on NM Food & Agricultural Council for five years, working to create agriculture markets and a healthier New Mexico.
In addition, Cecilia owns and operates a 30 acre certified organic farm in Polvadera, NM (north of Socorro) established in 1997. Cecilia’s Organics provides vegetables, flowers and beef to a number of Albuquerque’s fine restaurants, grocery stores in Albuquerque, as well as Grower’s Markets in Albuquerque.
As a landowner and a farmer, she is able to bring the landowners’ perspective to her work in protecting private lands.
Gina Dello Russo
Working on the Rio Grande, Gina has experienced this river’s stengths and worked to address issues surrounding water and ecosystem health. She has been building local and regional interest in and capacity for addressing river ecosystem restoration and long term health over the last twenty years. Born and raised along the river, she is from a farming family in the Socorro valley, central New Mexico. She worked with the federal government for 27 years and, after retiring from Bosque del Apache NWR, now runs a small consulting business with more time for gardening and tromping around the desert and mountains near home. She is on the board of the non-profit organization, the Save Our Bosque Task Force, works with the Rio Grande Trail Commission as Resources Workgroup chair, and is involved in the Regional Water Plan update for the Socorro/Sierra County area. Her roots and home are in the Escondida, New Mexico.
President, Rio Grande Return | Wetlands Coordinator, Ducks Unlimited
Alan traces his fervor for conservation back to a childhood of hunting and fishing with his father. That connection continues today because hunting and fishing continues to lead to meaningful interactions with New Mexico’s unique rivers, mountains, and wetlands. Alan also works as a private practice psychologist and a brand consultant to major corporations. This training helps inform his work in conservation because “there is an undeniable relationship between environmental health and strong partnerships.” He is the former executive director of BackTalk, a community-based therapy program for adolescents; former conservation director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation; and he is a board member of the Water-Culture Institute, Rio Grande Restoration, and the S.B. Foundation. As President of Rio Grande Return and Wetlands Coordinator for Ducks Unlimited, Alan works to identify and help implement the protection and enhancement of important public, tribal and private wetlands throughout New Mexico.
Attorney, Graeser & McQueen LLC – Attorneys at Law
Originally from Southern California, Matthew received his BA from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he majored in political science and environmental studies, an MS in Natural Resources Policy from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and an MBA from the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management. Before becoming a sole-practitioner, he gained experience by working for large and small law firms, the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission, and nonprofit organizations. In 2014, Matthew was elected to serve District 50 in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Matthew has lived in New Mexico for nineteen years and resides with his wife and son in the traditional village of Galisteo, New Mexico.
About Our Board
Sarah Wentzel-Fisher is the editor of edible Santa Fe. She also works at Quivira Coalition coordinating the New Agrarian Program. In her free time she visits farms (she highly recommends this activity), experiments in her kitchen, and keeps chickens in her backyard.
John Leeper is a Civil Engineer who is currently a Senior Project Manager at AMEC Environment and Infrastructure in Socorro New Mexico. Prior to that Mr. Leeper spent more than fifteen years working for the Navajo Nation’s Department of Water Resources. In that capacity he worked on a variety of Navajo Nation and regional water management and development issues.
William C. (Bill) Hume, retired in 2009 after seven years as Director of Policy and Issues on the staff of Governor Bill Richardson. His specialty areas of responsibility included water policy, government-to-government relations with New Mexico’s 19 sovereign Native American tribes and pueblos, Mexican affairs, and foreign government contacts. Prior to his government service, Hume was on the staff of The Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico’s leading newspaper, for 36 years – the last 16 as Editor of the Editorial Page.
Michael earned his B.A. with a major in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley (January, 1963) and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at West Virginia University Medical School (August, 1980). He taught at Berkeley and held faculty appointments at WVU, Southern Utah University (professor and chair, Biology Department) and Lake Superior State University (professor of biology, dean of natural and health sciences, associate provost). He served as president of the Society for College Science Teachers, as faculty advisor to several student organizations, and as volunteer coach for students preparing for entrance exams for graduate and professional schools (MCAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.). His research included projects in range management (cattle and sheep), life history and ecology of amphibians, and methods for teaching critical thinking with undergraduates. He became known as “the resident old guy” for productions by the Department of Theater and Dance at Southern Utah University.Cecilia Rosacker
John Utton practices law with Sheehan and Sheehan, P.A. primarily in the areas of water rights, administrative law and water planning; federal and state water rights litigation, including stream system adjudications; land use planning and zoning; and real estate and development. Utton has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico Law School, teaching classes in natural resources and water law. He is a member of the American Bar Association Committees on Water Resources and Land Use Law.
Willy Carleton is writing a dissertation on the agricultural history of New Mexico in the twentieth century in the History Department at the University of New Mexico. In addition to maintaining a small vegetable farm, he is editor of edible Santa Fe and associate editor at the New Mexico Historical Review.
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Contact our staff or board about learning more about our work, conservation easements, and ways we might work together.