Our board

Five board members direct the Sweetwater Center.

Francesca Claverie leads Borderlands Restoration Network‘s Native Plant Nursery and co-manages their Native Plant Materials Program. She hails from an alfalfa farm in Calexico, CA, where her family has strong roots on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Francesca worked with native plants at the UC Davis Arboretum while in college. After graduating with degrees in Native American Studies and International Agricultural Development, Francesca moved up to staff at the Arboretum. In 2013, she relocated to Patagonia, AZ as an intern with Native Seeds/SEARCH. Before long, she was managing the nursery for Borderlands Restoration. Francesca works to increase accessibility and enthusiasm for native plants and to promote partnerships between nurseries and plant programs on both sides of the border. In addition to serving on our board, she serves on boards of the Patagonia Regional Times and the Arizona Native Plant Society.

Bob Evans worked as a design engineer for Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation, the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and the University of California at Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado and has done graduate studies in Electrical Engineering and in Philosophy. Bob has been retired since 1999. He is an avid bird watcher who travels extensively in pursuit of birds and is active in several bird conservation activities. Bob serves on the boards of many groups that improve life and protect the environment in Cascabel.

Nancy Ferguson is a biologist who retired from the University of Arizona in 2000 after 26 years. She worked on a wide variety of projects including West African planning, viticulture, mammalogy, bacterial population genetics and wildlife biology.  She has a master’s degree in Zoology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  Each project provided opportunities to learn more about the ecology of the Sonoran Desert and man’s interaction with it.  Since retirement, she and her husband have focused on a conservation ranch in Cascabel, AZ and an annual saguaro census.  She and Tom Orum were married in 1980

Elaine Nakash is a data coordinator for the Bird Banding Laboratory at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, US Geological Survey, Laurel, Maryland.

Tom Orum worked as a Research Specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture at the University of Arizona from 1977 through 2000, when he retired. Working in the College of Agriculture gave him a broad introduction to agriculture in Arizona.  Since retirement, he has volunteered extensively on grassfed beef projects with the Saguaro Juniper Corporation and, with Nancy Ferguson, leads the annual saguaro census at Saguaro National Park.  He and Nancy Ferguson were married in 1980.

Cindy Salo is a plant ecologist who writes from rural areas about agriculture, science, and natural resources. Her writing has appeared in Hakai Magazine, Edible Idaho, and Intermountain Farm and Ranch. In her 25 years as a researcher, she has investigated plant interactions and invasions in the Sonoran and Great Basin Deserts of North America, Mexico, and Senegal, West Africa. She is currently studying army cutworm outbreaks and cheatgrass die-offs in the Intermountain West.