Cristina A. Jones
Board of Directors
Cristina’s lifelong interest in reptiles was cultivated through the numerous hiking and camping trips throughout Arizona where her parents taught her that wildlife is wondrous and worthy of study. Her passion with turtles was ignited when she encountered her first Sonoran desert tortoise on a hike at age four, and began her fascination with natural history and conservation of desert reptiles. Cristina earned her B.S. in wildlife science and M.S. in wildlife ecology at the University of Arizona. For her M.S. thesis research, she evaluated the prevalence of Mycoplasma agassiziiin wild and captive Sonoran desert tortoises in Arizona.
Cristina held the position of Turtles Project Coordinator with the Arizona Game and Fish Department from 2006 – 2021, where she led multiple inter-agency/inter-organizational working groups, and collaborated with turtle biologists and citizen scientists within Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), Desert Tortoise Council, and the Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation to identify, coordinate, and conduct priority research and implement conservation actions for turtles in Arizona and the southwest. In 2021, Cristina accepted a position as a Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service within the Southwest Region. She serves as a Project Manager and leads Species Status Assessment Teams to gather, analyze, and report on the best available scientific information for use in making decisions on whether or not a species warrants listing protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Cristina is a co-chair and a founding member of Southwest PARC, a co-founder and co-chair for the PARC Turtle Networking Team, serves as a Board Member at Large and chair of the Training Committee for the Desert Tortoise Council, a Board Member of the Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation, on TSA’s Field Conservation Committee, and program co-chair for the annual Symposium on Conservation and Biology Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. Her professional goal is to maintain a position in wildlife conservation and management which utilizes her knowledge, leadership, organizational skills, and enthusiasm to encourage and promote innovative ideas to assure the survival of viable populations of native turtle species throughout their range.