Watershed Management Group Staff
Lisa Shipek is a founding member of Watershed Management Group and has served as the Executive Director since 2006. Lisa directs fundraising, strategic development, financial planning, community engagement, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion activities for WMG. She co-directs the River Run Network program and manages the development of the Living Lab & Learning Center. Her specialized skills include developing experiential education programs; building community coalitions; and adapting technical information for public consumption. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and an M.A. in Latin American Studies. Lisa gives back to the community through serving on advisory boards, which has included: Tucson’s Environmental Services Advisory Committee, Tucson’s Transit Task Force, Tucson Conserve to Enhance, and the Santa Cruz Watershed Collaborative. Lisa was honored to be invited to join Women at the Top in 2020, a Tucson-based business networking group. She fills her free time with playing ultimate frisbee and dancing and enjoys gardening, bike touring, and camping with her husband Catlow.
Charlie graduated from Dickinson College in 2012 with a B.S. in Physics and has worked in environmental education and non-profit communications. He ventured from Pennsylvania to Tucson in early 2016 and has become enchanted by the Sonoran Desert and Tucson community. Charlie is passionate about using community education to help drive sustainable decision-making on an individual basis and in city decision-making. In his role at WMG he designs and installs community green infrasturcture projects and oversees WMG's Phoenix Valley based programs. When he isn't talking about water harvesting Charlie likes playing soccer, cooking, and dancing with his two left feet.
Melanie Cooley arrived in Tucson from the Midwest over 30 years ago and fell immediately in love with the Sonoran Desert. Their passions are desert-friendly gardening, habitat restoration, water harvesting, critters, and dance. When not at WMG, she can most likely be found with hands in dirt, tending plants, tracing the path of water across her yard, dancing, or hanging out with her three dogs, five chickens, and desert tortoise named Mr. T. Melanie has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan and is a certified 5Rhythms (movement/dance meditation) teacher. She is deeply interested in the connections between the body of earth and human bodies. She speaks English, basic French and Spanish--and just enough Arabic to have a conversation with a four-year-old.
Becky fell in love with the landscapes and organisms of the western United States when she studied Natural History and Ecology at Prescott College in Arizona. After attaining her bachelors degree, Becky worked as a wildlife technician on a bear nutritional study in Yellowstone National Park, a trophic cascade study in Waterton Lakes Park, and a bison management study in Montana. She then began teaching wildlife science programs to high school students in the Yellowstone area, which grew into a love of teaching and place-based outdoor education. Becky returned to the southwest and worked for a conservation corps building trail and working on invasive species projects. Becky does her best to balance indoor and outdoor work and to include the use of both her brain and her body. This balance has led her to work as an outdoor educator with Outward Bound, a Wilderness Ranger in the southern Rockies, and in the classroom with the High Mountain Institute and the Alzar School. Having lived in an arid environment for over 15 years, she is inspired by and passionate about water and its use. From the Colorado River to the tops of the San Francisco Peaks, to the Santa Fe Mountains, to the Rio Grande, Becky has adventured, studied, and worked within watersheds of the southwest. She spent time at the United World College in New Mexico with her hands in the dirt at the school farm and her intellect advancing the school’s sustainability goals. Her love for wild places began young, and has continued to grow the more time she spends outdoors near water. She has found no better teacher.
Sky is a southwest native who loves our region's diverse biology, culture, and landscapes. He has worked primarily as a nonprofit administrator, naturalist/biologist, IT specialist, and website developer for organizations including Sky Island Alliance, The University of Arizona, SWCA Biological Consultants, National Park Service, among others. Sky is dedicated to protecting the region’s biodiversity through conservation action and lifestyle choices. In his free time, Sky enjoys exploring remote and wild parts of Arizona, Sonora and the greater Southwest, attempting photography, studying birds and plants, and growing native plants in his yard.
Paul and his wife Michelle have recently moved to the Tucson area from Cleveland, Ohio. Paul just wrapped up a 32-year career with a fortune 500 company where he had worked in Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Human Resources. He spent part of this career living and working in Europe, and in Asia. As part of what he calls his “retirement plan”, Paul started attending The University of Arizona seeking a degree in Sustainable Build Environments. He is passionate about water reclamation and helping to find ways for people living in the Southwest to better utilize this valuable resource. He began in 2022 as a Docent for WMG and then became part of the staff as Operation Manager at the Living Lab and Learning Center. Paul enjoys traveling, hiking and is a certified rescue SCUBA Diver.
Lauren has a B.S. in Watershed Hydrology and Management from the University of Arizona. As a Tucson native, Lauren has a passion for the environment and the community in this area and wants to continue spreading this excitement for nature, water and people through her work with the River Run Network. Lauren enjoys hiking, drinking coffee, and reading in her spare time.
Joaquin specializes in building resilience in diverse communities by enhancing the connections between people, culture, and natural resources. Joaquin brings vast experience on the multicultural border region between the US and Mexico, where he has implemented community-based approaches to watershed management, river restoration, geo-tourism, conservation of native peoples, and best practices for the ranching community. His past work has been with the Sonoran Institute and as a consultant for National Geographic Society and other organizations. Joaquin is a graduate of the University of Arizona with MSc in Natural Resources and Agricultural Economics and a PhD in Renewable Natural Resources Studies with an emphasis on management, policy and economics of natural resources. A native of Sonora, Mexico and resident of Arizona, Joaquin is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Julie has over 30 years of experience teaching in experiential, place-based, embodied education both in the US and in Australia, where she lived for fifteen years. Julie made her way to Tucson in 2023, reconnecting to the Sonoran Desert near where she grew up (in San Bernardino, Ca), and the land of her father's family across the border in Sonora and Chihuahua. Early university studies in the sciences and work in a soils science lab evolved into a performing arts focus and Regalado was active in California in the modern dance world. Often working in non-formal settings, Julie brings a perspective encompassing a social-ecological and relational approach towards building more constructive relationships - human and more-than-human. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies from UC Riverside, a MFA in Dance from Mills College, and a MEd in Social Ecology from Western Sydney University, where she also recently completed a M.Res researching how a place-based embodied awareness practice might foster ecological consciousness. In her free time, she explores her new town of Tucson on foot and scrambles over boulders in the Dragoon Mountains. She loves cooking, eating, reading, gardening and speaks passable French and Spanish.
Andrea Salazar is a native Sonorizonan and long time desert dweller. Her passion for conservation and sustainability is born out of a desire to live hopefully and not dejectedly. She believes in creating a more environmentally conscious and connected future and is excited about sharing that reality with others. She loves native plants, passive rainwater and greywater harvesting, chickens, and composting.
Born and raised in the Colorado River Delta region, Luis always wondered why his native hometown of San Luis Río Colorado was named after a river that seldom flowed through there. As a result, Luis completed a B.S. degree in Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona in 2017. During his time at the university, Luis began to understand the complex relationship between rivers and their users, and decided to pursue a career that emphasizes community-centric, ecological approaches to educating the public about environmental issues of the Southwest and natural resource conservation. Luis is fluent in both Spanish and English, and you can find him reading, writing, cooking, or playing drums at home when he’s not digging through crates at record stores or looking for a good place to set up a hammock on top of a nearby mountain.
Catlow Shipek is a founding member of Watershed Management Group. He received a MSc in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona. Catlow has over 15 years of experience in applied watershed management, planning and policy specializing in urban applications like water harvesting, green infrastructure, stream restoration, and eco-sanitation. Catlow has worked on several successful local policy initiatives including Tucson's Green Streets Active Practice Guidelines, Tucson Water's residential rainwater rebate program, Tucson's residential greywater ordinance revision process, and through the Complete Streets Taskforce the adoption of Tucson's Complete Streets Policy. Catlow has served on the Citizens’ Water Advisory Committee for Tucson Water including Chair of the Conservation & Education subcommittee, Tucson's Complete Streets Coordinating Council, and on the University of Arizona's School of Natural Resource and the Environment's advisory board. Catlow enjoys growing and foraging for food, long mountain trail runs, and finding swimming holes.
Jim currently teaches geography and physics at Pima Community college. He has also studied geology, geophysics and hydrology. Growing up in Colorado, he got his start as a ranch hand chasing cattle, repairing irrigation ditches and building fence. In 2007, he initiated and coordinated a successful 10 year effort to remove Arundo or Giant Cane from the Sabino Creek watershed. He is excited to help manage and lead WMG’s effort to remove Arundo from Tanque Verde Creek, a part of WMG’s River Run Initiative. Jim finds working outdoors extremely satisfying and takes great pleasure in working with others to restore our unique southwestern riparian corridors by removing these invasive and non-native plants. Jim has traveled widely and enjoys swimming, hiking and reading.
Watershed Management Group Interns
Christian Aguilar Murrieta is from Ciudad Constitución, Baja California Sur, Mexico, a small city surrounded by agricultural fields and chirinolas (Stenocereus eruca). She moved to Tucson in 2013, after earning her undergraduate degree in Sustainable Tourism at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur in La Paz, Mexico and worked in Baja California, where extensive travels helped her learn English. She has been a volunteer and docent for WMG. Her interests relate to changing people’s perception of native plants in the Sonoran Desert region by creating beautiful and productive gardens for humans and nature in an urban environment. Her hobbies include growing plants, traveling to new places, photography, and collecting Polly Pockets.
David is currently a senior student at the University of Arizona studying Sustainable Built Environments with an emphasis on sustainable buildings. Raised in Nogales, Sonora, he is a native Spanish speaker who immigrated to Nogales, Arizona, as a fifth grader. Having come to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, his main passion is learning about the possibilities of green architecture and sustainable practices. In the future, David plans to pursue the Masters of Architecture program at UA to continue his path toward becoming a licensed architect. In his free time, David enjoys reading, hiking, taking pictures, and sketching.
Currently a Junior at the University of Arizona pursuing a degree in Agricultural Technology Management with a Pre-Law Thematic Minor. Born and raised in Tucson, AZ. A member of the Tohono O’odham nation. His father is from Fresnal Village. His mother is from San Xavier. Graduated from Sentinel Peak High School & got an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Pima Community College. Volunteered in Southern Arizona Community Food Bank’s Garden Program. Interned at Native Seed S.E.A.R.C.H. At the end of the internship was hired on to work on their Conservation Farm. In 2017, hired on at the San Xavier Cooperative Association as Food Production Assistant. Current position at SXCA is Farm Operations Crew 2 Supervisor which takes care of the food crops.
Mireya is majoring in Landscape Architecture with minors in Environmental Science and Spanish at the University of Arizona. Born in Tucson yet raised in Maricopa County, she has family ties in Tucson dating back to the early 1920’s, specifically in the city of South Tucson. Mireya’s passions include sustainability, environmental justice, and design. In the future she hopes to assist marginalized communities faced with environmental hardships through landscape architectural design, and urban planning. In her free time, Mireya enjoys going to concerts, trying new foods, spending time with loved ones, and exploring the outdoors.
Born and raised in Arizona, Lindsey’s passion for the diverse ecosystems this state has to offer started small with nature walks during a middle school science class and has now developed into studying natural resource science with an emphasis in ecohydrology and watershed management at the University of Arizona. Having come to the Watershed Management Group from working in mushroom, tree-ring, and climate labs and for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Lindsey is passionate about gaining a community-based perspective on the amazing natural environments around the Tucson area in order to better address the water and climate issues we face. In her free time Lindsey enjoys the natural world by hiking, pinning insects, pressing flowers, and propagating plants.
Cassandra is a junior Natural Resources student at the University of Arizona. Being a Tucson local, she decided on a Hydrology and Watershed Management emphasis within her major to focus on local water issues. In the future, Cassandra is interested in working in the desalination field to help combat the global water crisis with the use of technology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking on Mount Lemmon, roller skating, cooking, practicing Spanish, and playing video games. As an intern with Watershed Management Group, she primarily works to mitigate the spread of invasive Arundo and monitor water flow in Tucson’s creeks and rivers. Cassandra is passionate about dedicating her time and efforts to connecting the Tucson community and environment through this internship and in her everyday life.
Hailing from upstate New York, Claire is a queer, non-binary student at UA with interests in urban food sustainability, native food harvesting, geospatial data analytics, and social and environmental activism. They have always been an avid birder and hiker, and joining the UA's geography department cemented their interest in environmental conservation and sustainability, specifically in using GIS as a tool to solve environmental issues. On campus, Claire studies Urban & Regional Planning and Arabic with a minor in GIS. They work with UA Students for Sustainability advocating for a more sustainable university and are involved in research that maps historic racial discrimination in Tucson. In their free time, Claire enjoys biking, birding, talking with plants, and checking out Tucson community events with their friends.
Hannah recently completed a Professional Science Master's in Environmental Assessment at the University of Kansas, where she also got her B.S. in Environmental Studies and minor in Spanish. She is experiencing Tucson and the desert for the first time as a Mennonite Voluntary Service participant. While at KU, Hannah worked in ecology labs, enjoyed a wide variety of classes in everything from GIS to environmental law to marine mammal conservation, and was a graduate teaching assistant for field ecology and environmental ethics classes. During undergrad, she had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Costa Rica. Her master's capstone focused on prairies, and prior to arriving in Tucson she interned at an Episcopal cathedral where she tended a prairie garden and worked on diocesan conservation projects. Hannah loves running, knitting, language learning, and spending time with her cat Lulu.
My name is Matt Webb, and I am a senior majoring in hydrology and watershed management in the school of natural resources at the University of Arizona. I was born and raised in the small town of Clifton, Arizona, and grew up swimming and visiting the local rivers constantly. The community of Clifton shares a very close bond with the surrounding rivers/nature, and I would love to contribute to bringing that same sense of connection to Tucson. In the future, I aspire to work in water supply management and help raise awareness about the water crisis affecting underserved communities, such as the many reservations in Arizona. During my free time, I enjoy distance running, walking dogs, and caring for my plants.