Growth in the Guild’s Southwest Region
Several authors contributed
We’re excited to welcome Cody, Cora, Mateo and Andrew to the Southwest office. Our growing staff were drawn to work for the Guild by our mission. Each of these individuals add necessary expertise and vigor to our flourishing programs in the Southwest office.
With the onset of two large Collaborative Forestry Landscape Restoration Program projects in the Southwest in 2022, new additions to the Guild expand our capacity to implement these cross-boundary, landscape scale restoration projects aimed at reducing community fire risk and improving ecological conditions.
Furthermore, the Guild’s mission continues to resonate with young adults who are interested in developing careers in forestry and skills as fire practitioners. New Guild staff expand our capacity to deliver the Forest Stewards Youth Corps Program in the summer and the fall to develop the next generation of forest stewards and create a career pathway for rural youth in forestry and fire. The Guild is pleased to introduce our newest staff members, who are already hitting the ground running!
Cody Dems, Southwest Project Coordinator
Cody joined the Guild to work at the confluence of people and forests. With a background in prescribed fire implementation and research, community outreach, and ecological monitoring, Cody supports multiple programs throughout the Southwest. Ever learning, Cody is excited to combine landscape-scale planning with on-the-ground projects to restore, protect, and promote resilient forest communities. He has a B.S. in Resource Conservation from The University of Montana and an M.S. in Forest Resources from Penn State.
Cora Stewart, Southwest Field Coordinator
Cora is passionate about helping young adults develop professionally within the fields of forestry and conservation. She first discovered this interest as a canoe guide for teens in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where she enjoyed developing relationships and seeing youth grow in their confidence and understanding of the world around them. Cora continued to pursue her passion by joining the Peace Corps as an agroforestry volunteer in Senegal, Africa, where she worked with middle school aged girls to promote gender equality and environmental leadership. Upon the end of her service, Cora moved to New Mexico, where she fell in love with the mountain and desert landscape and discovered the Forest Stewards Guild. She now works extensively with the Forest Stewards Youth Corps, visiting and supporting crews across Central New Mexico. When she’s not outside with crews or in the office, Cora enjoys going for bike rides, kayaking, hiking, painting, and eating burritos.
Mateo Pomilia, Southwest Program Manager
Mateo brings diverse international experience to the Guild, having worked for a decade and a half in biodiversity conservation, agroecology and intercultural education throughout South and Central America, southern Africa and the U.S. Mateo’s interests include traditional ecological knowledge, ecological restoration, protected areas governance and intersections between environmental and social justice. Mateo is ecstatic to join the Guild’s efforts to collaboratively manage forest landscapes in northern New Mexico for resilience, biodiversity conservation and the benefit of local communities. Mateo holds a MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Leeds (UK) and a BA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Mateo is an avid outdoorsman, linguist, and songwriter-singer.
Andrew Jones, Rio Chama Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) Manager
Andrew’s work in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado focuses on reducing the risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, restoring natural fire regimes, increasing forest diversity and old growth characteristics, improving fish and wildlife habitat and connectivity, conserving critical habitat to help recover threatened and endangered species, improving water quality and watershed function, mitigating climate change impacts, enhancing economic sustainability, improving quality of life and, building on partnerships and collaboration. He looks forward to seeing how the project evolves and has a positive effect on the Rio Chama landscape over the coming years.
Originally from Maryland, Andrew grew up exploring forests along the East Coast. He attributes his love of forests to his parents, who took him to local, state, and national parks as often as possible. He visited the Southwest frequently with his family, fell in love with the region, and feels lucky to call New Mexico home now.
Andrew holds a M.P.A. degree with concentrations in Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Management, Sustainability, and Sustainable Development from Indiana University, as well as B.S. degrees in Biology from Salisbury University and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
When not working for the Guild, Andrew enjoys traveling, running, hiking, camping, cooking and learning more about the history and culture of his adopted state.