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Who We Are

Hermit's Peak Watershed Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of residents in the Gallinas, Sapello, and Tecolote watersheds.  We have recently become a membership organization -- to become a member please visit our Membership page.  Our organization is governed by a Board of Directors.  We also work with numerous other public and private organizations and individuals with an interest in our watersheds.

Board of Directors

President: Ben Gillock 

Treasurer: Deanna Einspahr

Dr. Edward Martinez 

Dr. Brian Miller

Dr. Julie Tsatsaros 

Max Trujillo 

Angela Meron 

Dr. Mark Gillingham 

Shantini Ramakrishnan


Lea Knutson, Founder, Executive Director

As a native of New Mexico (born and raised in the north valley of Albuquerque) and a 20 year resident and owner of property that spans both the Gallinas and Sapello watersheds, Lea has roots in the local area.  With training in Wildlife Science (B.S. University of Washington) and 18 years of professional experience in wildlife ecology and wildlife habitat management, she has a deep love of the land and commitment to providing healthy landscapes for people and wildlife.  Lea also has experience in private business; she is part owner and operator of a 24 year old, family owned construction company.  Working with her husband, she does the bookkeeping and office management. To contact Lea email





Eliza Montoya, Technical Coordinator

Eliza Montoya grew up in the small town of Springer, NM (one hour north of Las Vegas). Knowing she always wanted to work in an outdoor setting, Eliza obtained a B.S. in Biology from New Mexico Highlands University. She then started working with the Denver Zoo at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge in 2014 as the Research and Restoration Intern. In 2015, Eliza decided she wanted to continue her education and went back for her M.S. in Environmental Science and Management. She currently works with Hermit’s Peak Watershed alliance as the Technical Coordinator. Eliza manages all of the data collection for restoration projects with HPWA. When she is not elbow deep in dirt, rocks and water, Eliza enjoys snowboarding, fishing and being a doting mom to her precocious young daughter. To contact Eliza, email

Elizabeth Juarros PhD., Education Coordinator 

Dr. Elizabeth Juarros has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Connecticut and over 14 years teaching experience in a variety of institutions, from Aberdeen University in Scotland to Luna Community College in Las Vegas NM. She has extensive experience developing and implementing active learning strategies in the classroom. She has maintained various collaborations with other physics education researchers around the world in order to advance the variety of active learning based material available to physics instructors. Elizabeth was raised in Las Vegas NM, spent about a decade and a half living in other parts of the USA, as well as overseas, and has now relocated back to her home town with her husband and two young children. She has a deep desire to contribute positively to the community and environment of her home town. To contact Elizabeth, email

Reina Fernandez, Outreach Coordinator 

Reina Fernandez moved to New Mexico from Ontario, Canada over two decades ago and fell in love with this area immediately. After earning bachelor degrees in political science, pre-law and in sociology/anthropology and completing the coursework towards a master’s degree in public affairs, government and processes, a summer as a wildland firefighter sparked an interest in environmental protection and natural resource management. As a result Reina has been working in the environmental non-profit field for almost a decade. Currently, she works with the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance doing outreach and social media and is the administrator the Upper Pecos Watershed Association. Reina enjoys spending her free time with her family and her two dogs - rock climbing, snowboarding, kayaking and hiking in the areas she strives to help protect and maintain.To contact Reina, email