Who We Are

Andy Hubbard
Andy Hubbard

Andy Hubbard, Program Manager

(520) 751-6861 / (520) 429-8147; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Overall manager of the Sonoran Desert Network program. Budget management, workplan establishment, contribution to scientific activities (protocol development, data analysis, interpretation, and writing).

Active Projects: Climate, Terrestrial Wildlife, Vegetation & Soils

Education and Areas of Expertise

PhD, Rangeland Ecology and Management, Texas A&M University
MS, Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona
BS, Watershed Management, University of Arizona

I joined the Sonoran Desert Network in 2001. Prior to that, I was the plant ecologist for the Cape Cod National Seashore prototype I&M program, a prescribed-burn manager for the State of Texas, and a biotech with the U.S. Geological Survey–Water Resource Division, an USDA Agricultural Research Station, and at Saguaro National Park. My research interests include plant–animal interactions, plant ecophysiology with an emphasis on roots, and disturbance ecology. I've been a Wakonse Teaching Fellow since 1999 and was named NPS I&M Program Manager of the Year for 2010.

Evan Gwilliam
Evan Gwilliam

Evan Gwilliam, Ecologist (Aquatic)

(520) 751-6867 / (520) 403-3055; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Protocol development, data collection, and data analysis for aquatic and riparian resources of the Sonoran Desert Network and Southern Plains Network.

Active Projects: Springs, Streams

Education and Areas of Expertise

MS, Natural Resource Science, University of Rhode Island
BS, Biology, University of Massachusetts
BA, English, University of Massachusetts

From 1999 to 2007, I was a technician and aquatic ecologist for the I&M prototype program at Cape Cod National Seashore. My areas of expertise include hydrology and aquatic ecology in arid-land riparian ecosystems, as well as marine, estuarine, and coastal ecology. Areas of interest include restoration ecology, habitat modeling, dreaming about surfing, and (not-so) quiet contemplation of the sublime majesty of Rock & Roll.

Sarah Studd
Sarah Studd

Sarah Studd, Ecologist (Vegetation)

(520) 751-6869 / (520) 343-8845; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Protocol development, implementation, and project management for vegetation monitoring protocols. Project lead for network vegetation mapping and classification inventories.

Active Projects: Vegetation & Soils, Vegetation Mapping, Invasive Exotic Plants

Education and Areas of Expertise

MS, Natural Resource Management and Ecology, University of Arizona
GIS certificate, University of Arizona
BA, Liberal Arts, St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM

Prior to working for SODN, I was a senior research assistant with the Sonoran Institute for three years, conducting invasive plant mapping at NPS units and researching invasive plant ecology and treatment strategies. My interests include plant community ecology, restoration, fire ecology and plant succession, mapping and cartography, invasive species population dynamics, gardening, and watching live music.

Cheryl McIntyre

Cheryl McIntyre, Physical Scientist

(575) 635-3659; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Protocol development, data analysis, and reporting for soil, aquatic, and riparian resources of the Sonoran Desert Network and Chihuahuan Desert Network.

Active Projects: Vegetation & Soils, Streams, Springs, Natural Resource Condition Assessments

Education and Areas of Expertise

MS, Chemistry, University of Oregon
BS, Chemistry, University of Portland

From 2004 to 2011, I was an ecologist with the Sonoran Institute in Tucson. While at the Sonoran Institute, I collaborated with numerous I&M networks and worked extensively with SODN. Prior to that, I was briefly a semiconductor process engineer. My areas of interest include biological soil crusts, erosion modeling, cooking, soccer, sailing, and bicycling.

Blonde woman in sunglasses leans against a low fence in front of a red rock landscape

Helen Thomas, Data Manager

(520) 751-6864; email

Primary Responsibilities: Overseeing the design, development, implementation, and maintenance of the network's data management applications and processes. Project management for the Southwest Network Collaboration data management team.

Education and Experience: PhD, Information Technology, Georgia Tech; MS, Operations Research, University of Texas; BS, Decision & Information Sciences, University of Maryland

Before joining the Sonoran Desert Network, I spent more than a decade as data manager for the Northern Colorado Plateau Network. Prior to that, I worked as a consultant, designing, developing, and implementing enterprise information systems. I also previously taught graduate-level courses in database systems.

Woman wearing backpack smiles at camera
Alice Wondrak Biel

Alice Wondrak Biel, Writer-Editor

(406) 250-1921; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Providing science communications support (writing, editing, graphic design, web design, social media) for the Sonoran Desert Network and Northern Colorado Plateau Network.

Education and Areas of Expertise

PhD, Geography, University of Colorado
MA, American Studies, University of Wyoming
BPhil, Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University of Ohio

I have been a writer-editor for the National Park Service for more than 15 years, first at the Yellowstone Center for Resources and now for the I&M division. Prior to that, I worked seasonally as a planning assistant for Yellowstone National Park. I have authored numerous articles for professional journals as well as a book, Do (Not) Feed the Bears: The Fitful History of Wildlife and Tourists in Yellowstone (Univ. Press of KS, 2006).

Jeff Galvin
Jeff Galvin

Jeff Galvin, Biological Science Technician

(520) 751-6870; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Implement vegetation mapping and uplands vegetation monitoring protocols across the network. Oversee crews collecting field data for these protocols. Analyze vegetation map field data and create final map products.

Active Projects: Vegetation & Soils, Vegetation Mapping

Education and Areas of Expertise

BS, Biology and Environmental Studies, Drew University

Upon moving to the desert southwest in 2005, I held a series of seasonal, vegetation-related positions with the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey, mainly dealing with restoration, post-fire monitoring, and rare plant surveys. From 2008 to 2011, I ran the botany program for the Western Riverside County (California) Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan. I started with the Sonoran Desert Network in 2011, managing crews for various vegetation-related protocols. Currently, I'm focused on helping to produce the final reports for a number of ongoing vegetation mapping projects.

Laura Palacios
Laura Palacios

Laura Palacios, Biological Science Technician

(520) 343-8670 / (520) 751-6868; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Field crew lead for aquatic and riparian resources of the Sonoran Desert Network and Southern Plains Network.

Active Projects: Streams, Springs, Climate

Education and Areas of Expertise

BS, Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona
BS, Animal Sciences, University of Arizona

I started out as a volunteer at SODN in 2011, and worked as a student employee in data management before finding my interest in physical science. Prior to this job, I also worked in wildlife rehabilitation and outdoor children's programs. I greatly appreciate the varied nature of my current position, which allows me to work in many parks with different environmental conditions. I'm particularly interested in the effects of humans and climate change on hydrologic resources. I look forward to continuing to make progress towards understanding these interactions and assisting with management of these resources.

Woman wearing glasses smiles into camera
Ashley Dang

Ashley Dang, Biological Science Technician

(520) 258-7200; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Field crew lead, wildlife camera monitoring

Active Projects: Terrestrial Wildlife

Education and Areas of Expertise

BA, Biology and Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Since completing my undergraduate degree, I've worked with several National Park Service sites across the country, most recently Rocky Mountain and Grand Canyon national parks. During my time with the NPS, I have had the opportunity to participate in vegetation monitoring and exotics management, environmental education, and youth engagement projects. I have also been a field instructor for several public and private residential outdoor and environmental education organizations. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening, visiting new places, and eating tacos and noodles.

A woman wearing a backpack, hat, sunglasses, and hiking clothes stands on a verdant desert hillside.
Sage Ragland

Sage Ragland, Biological Science Technician

(520) 403-1084; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Field crew lead, Terrestrial Vegetation and Soils

Active Projects: Vegetation and Soils, Invasive Exotic Plants

I began working with the National Park Service as a volunteer with the Grand Canyon National Park Native Plant Nursery in 2015. Since then I’ve served two full terms with the Americorps Conservation Corps, working on exotic plant management, habitat restoration, vegetation monitoring, and vegetation mapping projects. I also have experience with botanical-garden plant nurseries. In my spare time I enjoy backpacking, climbing, biking, gardening, and otherwise appreciating the desert southwest.

Elise Dillingham
Elise Dillingham

Elise Dillingham, Program Coordinator, Desert Research Learning Center

(520) 425-6048; email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Program coordination for the Desert Research Learning Center.

Active Projects: Terrestrial Wildlife, public/volunteer programming and outreach

Education and Areas of Expertise

Graduate Certificate, Wildlife Ecology and Management, Northern Arizona University
BS, Environmental Studies, Northern Arizona University

Prior to joining the Sonoran Desert Network, Elise worked as a backcountry field instructor and wildlife biology technician. As a field instructor, she helped design, implement, and facilitate backcountry experiential education programs. She participated in research that determined interactions of rabies host species (e.g., skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bats), investigated behavioral differences between urban and rural mammals, and designed wildlife camera traps for herpetofauna. Her interests include wildlife conservation, human impacts on wildlife, environmental education, hiking with her dogs, traveling, and gardening.

Last updated: February 6, 2020