Spring 2017 Board Member Spotlight: Kent Salazar
Kent Salazar is a lifelong resident of New Mexico, a single parent, an avid hiker, angler, hunter and birder. His family roots are in northern New Mexico. He currently lives in Albuquerque where he formerly operated an environmental consulting business and has farms in Lucero and Peralta, New Mexico.
Kent was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Valles Caldera National Preserve Board of Trustees in 2011 and served as chairman from 2012 to 2015. Kent has served on the New Mexico State Game and Fish Commission and New Mexico Governors Climate Change committee under former NM Governor Richardson. He serves as a board member of several organizations including western vice chair of the National Wildlife Federation Board and advisory board member of Hispanic Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO). Kent has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of New Mexico, and is retired from the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department where he served as a division manager for over twenty years. His conservation endeavors for the past 20 years have
entailed the conservation and preservation of wildlife and habitat on a local, state, and national level.
In your opinion, why is CVNM’s work important?
I believe that CVNM’s work is important because as a conservationist I learned long ago that we must get involved in the political process in order to protect our world. CVNM’s political work at the state level as advocates for conservation champions and conservation legislation is key to success on the ground. If we are to succeed at our goals, we must be involved in elevating and educating our citizens to make the right choices that will help them and their communities become better places to live and work. CVNM’s legislative Scorecard is a great resource that points out how NM’s legislators voted on conservation related legislation. I am proud to serve on the CVNM board and assist in CVNM’s efforts.
Why are you a CVNM board member?
I became a CVNM Board member after having been a supporter for many years because I saw that my conservation work at the federal level was being eroded by changes in federal law such as the Citizens United case which allow large industries to use their monies to influence elections and federals laws. The fight for our conservation values must begin at a local community level. We must represent our communities and help them stand up for their quality of life, for their children, their environment and their rights as citizens of New Mexico. My work on the CVNM board is aimed at supporting these values.
What initially drew you to becoming involved with CVNM?
I was initially drawn to be involved with CVNM when I began to work on environmental and wildlife conservation issues at the State legislature. I witnessed how CVNM was effective in advocacy of good legislation and highly effective in killing bad legislation.
What’s your favorite outdoor place or activity?
Nature is my passion whether it be hiking, exploring, camping, hunting, kayaking, fishing or wildlife watching. Nature has always served as a health tonic for me just as it has served this nation in troubling times such as the Great Depression. As we have developed into an urban society, we need nature more than ever. My family roots are in rural northern New Mexico so I grew up outside. But as part of a military family and now living in the city, I have seen great changes in the world and not always good ones. I hope to give back to nature and my communities what it has given me in some small part. I feel that CVNM is the organization that will help me do this.