Born in Mexico City, Sergio Avila-Villegas grew up exploring in the Chihuahuan Desert of north- central Mexico, while dreaming of becoming a big-cat scientist. Sergio is a wildlife biologist graduated from the University of Baja California with a Master’s degree in Arid Lands Management (2000), and University of Aguascalientes with a B.S. in Biology (1997). Sergio has lived and worked in Arizona since 2004 and became a U.S. Citizen in 2016. He is a member of City of Tucson’s Committee on Climate, Energy and Sustainability (2018), Board member of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Chapter (2017), a Conservation Science Fellow with the Wilburforce Foundation (2015), and a certified wildlife tracker with CyberTracker

Sergio Avila now works for the national Sierra Club in the Outdoor Activities Team. His focus is to support staff and volunteers in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, with the mission to connect all people with the natural world and with the Sierra Club, by maintaining and enhancing diversified, superior, volunteer-run outdoor activities that support the Sierra Club’s conservation mission.

For over twenty years, Sergio has worked on local and regional conservation efforts along theU.S.-Mexico borderlands, as a conservation scientist, wildlife researcher and facilitator of bi-national conservation projects. He has led collaborative efforts on connectivity for wildlife, habitat restoration, public education and interpretation in the U.S. southwest and northwest Mexico. Sergio has traveled extensively across all Mexican states and western United States.

Sergio Avila’s varied experience includes living with the indigenous Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre, which transformed his vision of environmental stewardship and conservation focus. For over ten years, Avila tracked and studied borderland jaguars and ocelots in Sonora and Arizona.Two live encounters with jaguars in the mountains of Sonora have been life-changing experiences that shaped Sergio’s personal and professional life. More recently he led efforts to protect monarch butterflies promoting pollinator gardens in Arizona, and connecting efforts with a new monarch-monitoring network in northwest Mexico.

Sergio enjoys trail running, gardening, bird and butterfly watching, and looking for wildlife tracks and sign. He lives in Tucson with his wife Jenny, their three cats Lupe, Carlos, and Pancho, and Toby, the desert tortoise.

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