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.
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.
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. He works with the Green Living Co-op and Valley based programs. When he isn't talking about water harvesting Charlie likes playing soccer, cooking, and dancing with his two left feet.
Cindy is a first generation Mexican American from a small agricultural city in California. She is passionate about teaching environmental science lessons while surrounded by nature. Cindy received a BS in Environmental Studies at San Jose State University. She has over 10 years experience as a K-12 outdoor and science instructor and providing STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities. She completed two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, Africa. After Peace Corps, she received a Master's in Education at the UA and earned her AZ Teaching Certification. She is trilingual, a native Spanish speaker with proficiency in conversational Swahili. In her free time, Cindy enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her newborn son.
Jonah is a native Sonoran and has felt connected to its soil, water, and lifeforce since childhood. He aspires to foster community using these building blocks, and in a way that addresses the complexities of oppression and prejudice, climate change, and mental health. Previously Jonah worked with marginalized community members in South Phoenix to create community gardens, and at ASU he helped found multiple student organizations focused on food system change. These commitments were rooted in the belief that water and food can serve as multidisciplinary mediums in addressing our interconnected complex issues; “they are as inclusive as basic necessities and as diverse as the cultures of our world.” Jonah is our first point of contact for WMG's Green living Co-op and Build Your Own Basin (BYOB) program.
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.
Sam Jones is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a Masters in Landscape Architecture. They studied Sustainability and Landscape Architecture while an undergrad at Arizona State University. Having been born and raised in the Sonoran Desert, Sam recognizes the unique challenges designers must face when working in an arid environment. Their passion is to create water-conscious landscapes that utilize green infrastructure techniques to promote healthy ecological functions in the urban environment.
Born in Eindhoven, Netherlands, James traveled around a lot in his youth. Eventually settling in Oregon, where he studied fluvial geomorphology and environmental restoration. Working in conservation, restoration and monitoring throughout the western US, James eventually made his way to Tucson. He is excited to take his expertise and passion for botany and for hydrology, and create real world change in the southwest.
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.
A transplant from the north-central valley of California, Laura is an economist and conservationist with 20+ years of experience working with civil society, ranchers, private and public entities on planning, policy, incentives and conservation practice to protect and restore landscapes, waterways and wildlife in the southwest border region and Latin America. She has held diverse roles with The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlands Network, Borderlands Linkages, and Northern Jaguar Project. Laura is excited to contribute her experience, skills and knowledge to protect and restore flow to our life-giving desert rivers and engage with both urban and rural stakeholders. In her free time, she enjoys refurbishing furniture, running (especially trails), hiking, horseback riding, traveling to new places and enjoying local food with friends. Laura is fluent in English and Spanish.
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 ten 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 and on the University of Arizona's School of Natural Resource and the Environment's advisory board. Catlow currently serves on the Complete Streets Coordinating Council following the 2019 adoption of the Complete Streets policy. Catlow's passion is to link people to their local environment for improved stewardship and prosperity.
Eliza is a lifelong advocate with a passion for making environmental concepts and spaces accessible to the general public. Eliza most recently worked at an environmental organization in North Carolina, where she managed communications, led the renewable energy program, and coordinated advocacy campaigns regarding river protection, better public transit, safeguarding regional forests and more. She previously worked as a freelance writer and editor and as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Warren Wilson College, and also graduated from Warren Wilson with a double major in Latin American Studies and Creative Writing. Eliza is elated to join the Watershed Management Group and to get to work restoring her local watershed. In her free time, Eliza can be found exploring the Sonoran Desert, rock climbing, and hanging out with her mellow Great Pyrenees named Maggie.
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
Having traveled widely, Connal has had the opportunity to observe the way communities utilize their water resources, first-hand, around the world. As a result, Connal has become passionate about water rights and believes access to green spaces is a fundamental need for urban populations. She has a B.S in Geosciences from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Hydrology from The University of Arizona. Before moving to Tucson, Connal spent two years serving with AmeriCorps in Knoxville, TN, assisting urban and rural communities with water quality and conservation issues. She hopes to enlarge her understanding of water stewardship in the Sonoran Desert during her time with WMG. In her spare time, she likes to read, bike, cook, and tend to the plants that share her home. She is excited to be working with WMG this year and is looking forward to serving the larger Tucson community!
Marissa is a senior at the University of Arizona, studying Communication, Environmental Studies, and Information Science. Born and raised in Northern California, Marissa spent much of her childhood outside, from hiking to camping to trail running in the forest. Her passion for environmental advocacy, specifically using digital media, started when she moved to Tucson in 2018 to attend college. Since then, she's spent her time in various youth organizations using social media as a tool to advocate for intersectional, community-based solutions to local environmental issues. In her spare time, Marissa enjoys rock climbing, getting coffee with friends, boxing, and reading.
Born and raised in Sonora, Mexico, Angelica grew up in a family of educators - from her maternal grandfather to her mother - she experienced firsthand how education can empower individuals to build strong communities. She developed a passion for teaching in low-income urban schools by seeing the positive impact her family had made in the lives of young children. For the last 10 years, she has served the community of Tucson in the areas of education, youth leadership, social justice, and community outreach programs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Environmental Hydrology from the University of Arizona where she became interested in the field of water justice. She is currently working towards her master’s degree in Water, Society, and Policy from the University of Arizona and working in partnership with the Watershed Management Group under the leadership of Cultural Ecologist Joaquin Murrieta as the Environmental Education and Spanish Communications Intern.
A native Tucsonan, Cassidy is a 4th year undergraduate student attending the University of Arizona pursuing a bachelor's of science degree in Environmental Science with an Emphasis in Soil, Air, and Water. In her spare time, she loves to hang out with friends, attend live music concerts, gardening, gaming, and watching movies. Her passions lie within the environmental sustainability and social justice efforts. She wants to expand her hobbies in roller skating and reading more! She is currently holding the position of the Green Living Co-op Community Engagement Intern at WMG, which can entail community outreach in event planning and keeping communication between other facilities. She loves working for WMG because many of her interests and ambitions are aligned with theirs, and feels like she is right where she is supposed to be!
Sally is an Arizona native- she grew up in Phoenix and moved to Tucson to study at the University of Arizona. Currently, she is a senior at the university, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Geography. Throughout her four years in Tucson, she developed a deep connection with the community as well as the environment here and thus grew her passion for environmental education and community outreach. She enjoys working with families and educating young students about the importance of environmental sciences. She is excited to work with Watershed Management Group this year while gaining more experience working with students and diverse communities across Tucson.
Tyler is currently studying Natural Resources with an emphasis on Watershed Management and Hydrology at the University of Arizona. He was born and raised in Phoenix where he spent many weekends exploring the various sights the region has to offer. After several years of travel, the Sonoran Desert was calling him back, so he settled in Tucson to begin his studies. Tyler recognizes the beauty and uniqueness of the region and strives to see it preserved for future generations. He is excited to use his knowledge and experience to assist community-based restoration efforts in southern Arizona. In his free time, Tyler enjoys gardening, baking, and spending time with his two dogs, Duke and Charlie.
Katerina is the Urban Sustainable Living intern this year! She is currently a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary biology and double minoring in Environmental Science and Natural resources. She has spent a lot of time in research labs collecting and analyzing data and look forward to apply these skills in a more hands on setting at the lab. Katerina has also spent quite a bit of time working with students in underrepresented groups teaching them about desert ecology. This year she will be helping with living lab maintenance, the Build Your Own Basin Program, and data analysis to assist in lab visitor connections.