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, and outreach activities for WMG. She manages several of WMG’s programs including the Living Lab & Learning Center and the 50 Year Program to restore flow to Tucson’s rivers. Her specialized skills include developing experiential education programs; building community coalitions; teaching natural resource management for desert cities; and creating new financial models for community conservation. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and an M.A. in Latin American Studies. Lisa gives back to the community through serving as Treasurer of the Community Water Coalition, sitting on Tucson’s Transit Task Force, and directing Tucson’s adult Ultimate Frisbee league. She fills her free time with playing ultimate Frisbee and dancing and enjoys gardening, bike touring, and camping with her husband Catlow.
Aaron has a BA in philosophy from Whitman College and a JD from the University of Arizona, where he focused on environmental law. Aaron grew up in Phoenix but relocated to Tucson for its community and proximity to the mountains. He has a lifelong love for the outdoors and a commitment to helping others realize the value of conservation. Prior to joining WMG, Aaron ran for a seat representing Pima and Santa Cruz Counties in the State House of Representatives. In his free time Aaron enjoys books, soccer, and the zen art of rock climbing.
Sarah holds a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon. Shortly after graduating, Sarah relocated to Tucson for sunnier skies and has fallen in love with the Sonoran Desert. She splits her time between coordinating the Co-op Program, assisting with outreach, and helping with Living Lab and Learning Center maintenance. With a background in community garden coordination, Sarah is passionate about working towards a vibrant and collaborative food system. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys running, exploring Tucson’s mountains, and homesteading.
A native Tucsonan and graduate of the University of Arizona, Nathan is acutely aware of the pressing need to reverse desertification culture. When not out in the field installing beautiful and functional systems, he can be found urban fruit harvesting and practicing permaculture-based agroforestry at his Menlo Park abode. Nathan also enjoys dirt biking, speaking Spanish and making sourdough pancakes. He feels fortunate to be part of a team of dedicated individuals making real change.
Jen is a native New Yorker who has found her true home-away-from-home in the Southwest. She comes to WMG with a background in education, writing, and editing, and she currently also works as an instructor and tutor at U of A and at the Pima County Public Library. Jen holds a B.A. in German Studies and an M.A. in Linguistics. She enjoys travel, learning languages, hiking, cycling, and Zumba. She is thrilled to be part of a team that is passionate about conserving precious resources, fostering sustainability, and improving the quality of life for all living things.
Trevor graduated from the University of Arizona in 1991 with a degree in Ecology. For ten years he studied the impacts of suburban development on rattlesnakes and Gila monsters. Trevor worked as the Sky Island Alliance Restoration Program manager for the last 11 years and developed a robust methodology for the assessment, planning and design of riparian and upland restoration projects, which resulted in over $800,000 of restoration work. Trevor serves as the Science Advisor for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and sits on the Pima County Conservation Acquisition Commission, and as a board member of the Ciénega Watershed Partnership.
Sky is a southwest native who loves our region's diverse biology, culture, and landscapes. He has worked primarily as a naturalist/biologist, nonprofit administrator, 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 and Sonora, attempting photography, studying birds and plants, brewing beer, and playing with regionally native vegetation in his yard.
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.
Iylea is a Tucson native with a BS in Plant Sciences and a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona. She believes strongly in the interconnection between environmental and human health. Through a holistic and collaborative design approach, she strives to help people create livable landscapes that offer opportunities for enriching social and environmental interactions. When she’s not in the office, you might find Iylea kicking it on the soccer field, digging in the garden, practicing Chinese medicine and martial arts, strolling down a trail with a camera in her hands, or volunteering in her neighborhood.
Deborah hails from the Northeast US, but considers herself an Arizonan after 11 years of living under desert skies. She has worked in the field of outdoor education since 2003 and has a BA degree in adventure education. She comes to Watershed Management Group with a passion for spreading the word about water conservation, particularly as part of the bigger message of what it means to be a steward of this planet. Deborah loves to fill her time drinking tea, staring longingly into her dog’s eyes, and connecting with the nature.
Lincoln got his start in rainwater harvesting in 2007 while attending the University of Arizona where he earned a BS in Environmental Sciences. He has been installing and teaching about rainwater harvesting systems since his first introduction to the practice. In addition to WMG, Lincoln also teaches water harvesting through the U of A Cooperative Extension and Tucson Clean and Beautiful. He dreams of seeing Tucson become a more verdant community while embracing the wonderful diversity of the Sonoran Desert.
With an eye for design and nearly 8 years of construction and landscape experience, Rudy enjoys helping others to create vibrant, regenerative outdoor areas. Having graduated with his Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona, Rudy is passionate about design and how to use it to nurture a sense of place, community and lifestyle that can be enjoyed in harmony with the environment. Professionally, Rudy's focus areas are food forests, irrigation management, permaculture design, and outdoor living. When he's not in the mountains climbing or trail running, you can find Rudy caring for his chickens, playing with his dogs or welding custom furniture.
Eric has lived in Tucson since the age of eight and has a great appreciation for our diverse environment. Before joining Watershed Management Group he worked to implement rainwater harvesting projects with Ethos Rainwater Harvesting. He enjoys hands-on work in the field and finds it very rewarding. Eric is an outdoor-oriented person and when not in the field can be found riding quads, hiking, and working on home projects.
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 residential greywater ordinance revision process, Tucson's Green Streets Active Practice Guidelines, and Tucson Water's residential rainwater rebate program. Catlow also serves on the Citizens’ Water Advisory Committee for Tucson Water including the Finance and Conservation & Education subcommittees. Catlow's passion is to link people to their local environment for improved stewardship and prosperity.
Kieran is passionate about creating prosperous communities by celebrating water in our abundant desert landscape. Kieran combines his experience as a Civil Engineer (MS), Certified Floodplain Manager, and Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner with over 10 years of experience in cost benefit analysis, green infrastructure/low impact development design, watershed restoration, and permaculture design. Kieran's goal is to implement water harvesting practices on a broad scale as critical flood mitigation and stormwater infrastructure to shade and beautify our communities while repairing our urban watersheds. Kieran serves as the Tucson Mayor’s representative for the Pima County Flood Control District Advisory Committee. He also serves as WMG's alternative transportation champion to promote healthy lifestyles through bike and public transportation use. When not biking around town showing off his diverse custom tutu collection, Kieran can be found exploring Tucson's creeks and streams, enjoying yoga and playing in the rain.
Emma's passion for creating healthy urban ecosystems and love for the Sonoran Desert inspire her work at WMG. She splits her time between managing projects in the Green Living Co-op, coordinating Monsoon Squad Volunteers, tending to public demonstration rain gardens as well as WMG's food forest, and organizing property projects around the Living Lab and Learning Center. Emma holds a BA in Environmental Sustainability from Eastern Mennonite University and came to Tucson shortly after graduating for a 2-year term with Mennonite Voluntary Service. She is also an ISA Certified Arborist (WE-11400A), specializing in training, remedial, and structural pruning. Prior to WMG, Emma worked as a Garden Program Coordinator with the Primavera Foundation, assisting families and individuals in need.
Anna is a native of the southwest, an ecologist, and outdoor enthusiast. After a stint as a custom woodworker, she decided to go to graduate school in ecology. She has been a research ecologist in all three of the SW warm deserts. Research for her MS, and towards her PhD, focused on measuring plant, soil, and ecosystem function in both riparian and desert systems, across the seasons. She is happy to be actively applying her inner eco-nerd while converting conventional urban yards into ecologically vibrant, water harvesting, biologically diverse landscapes, and assisting with WMG's ecological restoration work.
Ryan is a Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner, Permaculture Designer, and a Master Watershed Steward. With an Associates of Applied Technology degree from ITT, Ryan has a background in architecture and landscape design and also works as a graphic/web designer. He co-teaches water harvesting during permaculture design courses and has served as a Project Manager for Arizona Homegrown Solutions. Ryan enjoys gardening, composting, herding chickens, and sharing the surplus.
Watershed Management Group Interns
Jordan is a senior at the University of Arizona studying Global Change Ecology. Originally from Texas, she was ready for something new for school and fell in love with the desert southwest. She is passionate about conservation and sustainability, and she is very excited to work with WMG in promoting their mission in Tucson. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking and camping whenever she gets the chance.
Kat is a second-year law student at the University of Arizona. She also holds a B.A. in English Lit and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Since relocating to the Southwest, Kat has spent time volunteering on an eco-tourism ranch, traveling in Latin America, and working for social justice, sustainability, and community resiliency through AmeriCorps programs at Southwest Conservation Corps and Big Brothers Big Sisters. As a WMG intern, Kat is helping coordinate the Community Water Coalition, developing and advocating for policies that support CWC's goal of building a community that bases sustainable water resource use on an understanding that long-term human health and prosperity depend on a healthy environment. In her free time, Kat loves rock climbing, cycling, and finding beauty in small things.
John is a senior in chemical engineering at the University of Arizona. He grew up in rural Tennessee but has spent the past decade in Tucson. Water was somewhat taken for granted when living in the lush Southeast, but experiencing the Sonoran Desert has brought about a greater appreciation. His studies have involved environmental remediation, particularly with water quality. As an intern he assists Kieran Sikdar with hydrological and sediment analysis and modeling. It has been a great opportunity to actively apply scientific principles. John enjoys pick-up soccer at local parks, historical and scientific reading, and casual racquet sports. He feels honored to work with such a motivated, diverse, and qualified group.
Madeline received a B.S. in Natural Resources and B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Arizona in 2010. Currently, she is pursuing a Master's in Water, Society and Policy from her alma mater and hopes to continue working towards long-term restoration of the Santa Cruz River watershed after graduating next Spring. When not in school, at work or interning for WMG, you can find Madeline practicing yoga in a local studio, cooking something delicious at home, or bounding off into the wilderness with her husky/collie mix, Shanti.
From Vancouver, Canada, Jessica Lynum moved to Tucson to study Environmental Hydrology & Water Resources at the University of Arizona. Jessica is majoring in Hydrology because she is passionate about water sustainability, conservation and restoration. Her goal is to spread awareness about past, present and future water conditions and ways to create sustainable solutions for a lasting preservation of the natural resource.