Board of Directors
Ray Trejo is a lifelong educator, sportsman, and conservationist. From Deming, N.M., Ray serves as the southern New Mexico outreach coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and is a former assistant superintendent at Deming Public Schools. He also currently serves as the Deming Refugee Shelter Director. Ray attended Western New Mexico University in Silver City where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in teaching and a second master’s in educational leadership. Ray has dedicated much of his life to serving youth through K-12 education and by providing countless mentoring opportunities to Hispanic youth in the outdoors. He was instrumental in helping to create the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.
Angelica Rubio was born and raised in southeastern New Mexico in the rural colonia of Lake Arthur. The youngest of six, Angelica grew up with a deep working knowledge of the power found in numbers, as well as a flair for making her case. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Government from New Mexico State University and has worked in Washington, D.C, on and off The Hill, and in East Los Angeles. Angelica is known as a fierce community organizer and In 2016, won a seat in the NM State Legislature, where she now serves. Angelica is an avid bike rider and bike packer, having recently rode 300+ miles from Las Cruces to Santa Fe before spearheading the effort to create the Outdoor Equity Fund. You can frequently find her on Twitter at @anrubio and @RubioNM35 discussing local and state politics, sharing her own personal writing, and/or discussing pop culture randomness.
Brenda Gallegos was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, along with her older sister. She worked closely with high school juniors and seniors through the GenerationTX program, assisting in preparation for their future attending a college of their choice. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences in May of 2013. She moved to Alpine, Texas to attend Sul Ross State University to attain a Master’s Degree in Range and Wildlife Management with a concentration in scaled quail in west Texas. After finishing up her studies Brenda joined New Mexico Specialized Wildlife Services located in Sunland Park working as a Wildlife Biologist before joining the Friends of the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks in July 2017 as an AmeriCorps Vista and is now the Associate Director of Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.
Gabe Vasquez was born in El Paso, TX, and raised in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, and is the founder of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project. Gabe grew up fishing the Rio Grande in Chihuahua and New Mexico with his father and learned early on about hunting and conservation traditions from his grandfather Javier. Gabe is a Las Cruces City Councilor and serves on the boards of the Outdoor Alliance and Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks. He has previously served on the Federal Advisory Committee for the Implementation of the 2012 Forest Planning Rule for the U.S. Forest Service/USDA, has served on numerous local and national boards, and has nearly a decade of experience working on public policy. He has served as the southern New Mexico coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, a staff member for U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, as the director for the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as a volunteer and ambassador for Latino Outdoors. Gabe’s passion is outdoor equity, fishing, hunting, and conservation.
Norma Chairez Hartell
Born in Durango, Mexico, Norma and her family moved to the United States when she was only 7 years old. Being raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico and growing up in a multi-cultural area Norma became fascinated with learning about all the different ways in which history and culture could be expressed. Her interests grew through her studies. In 2010, Norma graduated from NMSU with Bachelors of Fine Arts and graduated with an MA in Anthropology in 2016 where she focused on highlighting the visual arts and artists of Southern NM. In 2014, she began working on the Chope’s Town Café and Bar historic preservation nomination. On May 26, 2015, the property was successfully listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Norma is the co-founder of the Murals of Las Cruces project and is Hispanic Access Foundation Historic Preservation Fellow. Norma also serves as a City of Las Cruces Museum Curator.
Ángel Peña was born and raised in the Río Bravo valley, he is a first generation American and father of three. Ángel’s education in anthropology and archaeology allows him to emphasize and advocate for our nation’s historic, prehistoric and cultural assets, bringing cultural resources to the forefront of conservation. As a Cultural Resources Specialist for New Mexico Wild (2012), Wyss Fellow (2014), & as the Río Bravo Director at the Conservation Lands Foundation (2016) Àngel has had the opportunity to support and lead amazing teams that ultimately secured protections totaling millions of acres across the American Southwest. Currently a Co-Chair of the Next 100 Coalition (2018), he actively works to identify new ways in which we can increase the diversity and inclusion of the histories, cultures, knowledge and people represented in our public lands and wide open spaces. “As the President of the Neustria Tierra Conservation Project it’s about empowering the people that have true, authentic and deep-rooted ties to the land. It’s about supporting and empowering those agents of change. That’s how we win.”