Board of Directors
John Belkin has been a practicing attorney in Colorado since 1998, working in the areas of real estate development, land use and planning, land conservation, environmental law, mining and government relations. John is with the law firm Garfield & Hecht, P.C. and has been the Crested Butte Town Attorney since 2006. He has served as a Federal law clerk, U.S. House of Representatives’ staffer and as an aide in the Executive Office of the President. Originally from New Britain, Connecticut, John is a graduate of Hobart College and Quinnipiac University School of Law. John’s interests include skiing, ice climbing and mountain biking, and spending time with his German Shepherd Emily.
Chad joined the U.S. Navy in 1991, a decorated Navy veteran who received multiple honors. After serving, he received a BFA in communication design at the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, Georgia, received his MSc in communication design at Pratt Institute, and went on to receive the American Association of Advertising Award through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program. Chad went on to design for companies such as Presher, Phatfarm and Epic. Alongside the fly-fishing apparel company Soul River Runs Deep, Chad created the nonprofit Soul River Inc. to work in tandem with his retail business, with 15 percent of profits from sales going to the outdoor, water-based organization that brings youth and veterans together to the river as inspired ambassadors of nature. He has worked with the National Wildlife Refuge system, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and key city leaders and organizations about diversity, conservation, the business of branding, and building collaborative relationships between nonprofit and for-profit businesses. Organizations he has worked with include Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation. Chad also sits on the boards of Healing Hurt People and the Boy Scouts of America.
Beth Conover is a senior program officer vice president at the Gates Family Foundation in Denver, where she lives with husband Ken Snyder and two sons. She has worked for over 30 years on natural resource conservation and economic development issues, and was special advisor to former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the founding director of the city’s Office of Sustainable Development, and a consultant on strategic planning and policy development. Beth is editor and co-author of How the West Was Warmed: Responding to Climate Change in the Rockies. She has a B.A. from Brown University and master's degrees in environmental studies and public/private management from Yale University.
Jay Dean, a life-long conservationist, currently handles marketing for the John Muir Land Trust, and was chief marketing officer of The Trust for Public Land for 10 years and publisher of its award-winning Land&People magazine. Jay has served on the board and as an advisor to several environmental groups, including EarthShare and ecoAmerica. He is a consultant to SRS|Acquiom, a company that provides a suite of services for mergers and acquisitions. In his spare time he is the proud proprietor of gardencraftsman.com, and says he’s usually found outside covered in sawdust. He lives in Lafayette, California.
Bob Fulkerson is the State Director and co-founder of PLAN. He worked as Executive Director of Citizen Alert, a statewide grassroots watchdog organization, from 1984 to 1994. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the UNR School of Social Work, teaching classes on oppression and privilege. A fifth-generation Nevadan, Bob was on the staff of Senator Paul Laxalt while attending George Washington University. Bob serves on the boards of ProgressNowNevada, High Country News and The Note Ables, a performing arts group for the disabled. He is a 2006-7 fellow in the Rockwood Leadership Program’s yearlong National Fellowship for Transformative Leadership in the nonprofit sector, and a recipient of the “Leadership for A Changing World” Award from the Ford Foundation. Bob received the Arcus Social Justice Leadership Fellowship at Kalamazoo College in 2011. In addition to his work, Bob’s premier loves are his life partner and family, teaching yoga, and all aspects of nature in the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada.
Grand Junction, Colorado
A long-ago transplant from the East, Wayne Hare became a "native Westerner" while working as a ranger with the Bureau of Land Management in western Colorado and, prior to that, rangering for the National Park Service at Canyonlands and Rocky Mountain national parks. Since then he has retired and is enjoying exploring the West. Before changing to public land management, Wayne spend many years in the business world of information technology. He then served as a team-building instructor for Outward Bound in Boston and as assistant director of Outdoor Programs at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and worked on several projects with the National Park Service to increase the cultural diversity of the agency's staff and visitors. He has written and spoken about the lack of diversity on public lands and its causes and effects.
Laura Helmuth is an editor specializing in science, health, and the environment. She has been a writer and editor for Science magazine’s news department, the science editor for Smithsonian magazine, the science and health editor for Slate magazine, and the news director for National Geographic. She is now the health, science, and environment editor for the Washington Post. She is the president of the National Association of Science Writers and serves on the advisory board of Spectrum, an autism news magazine. She has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley. A hiker and birdwatcher, she comes West whenever she can.
John Heyneman is the immediate past president of the board of directors and has served on the board of High Country News since 2004. He is the executive director of the Plank Stewardship Initiative, a project to find common ground between production agriculture and conservation. John has also worked on or managed ranches in Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Brazil, and Venezuela. He has served on the boards of the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Yellowstone Art Museum.
Baja California, Mexico
Osvel Hinojosa is the director of the water and wetlands program for Pronatura Noroeste, a conservation organization based in northwestern Mexico. He obtained his M.Sc. in wildlife ecology and Ph.D. in wildlife and fisheries science from the University of Arizona and his B.Sc. in biochemical engineering and marine sciences from the Monterrey Institute of Technology. Osvel has been working in multiple conservation and research projects in northwestern Mexico since 1997, in particular in riparian and wetland areas of the Sonoran Desert. Some of his recent activities include the evaluation and recovery of endangered species, the implementation of community-based restoration projects and the creation of partnerships with governments and communities for the conservation of nature. He has been leading the efforts to restore the Colorado River delta during the past 17 years, including the implementation of strategies to restore river flows and activities to recover native riparian vegetation. He is an Emerging Explorer of the National Geographic Society, and has served on the board of Western Field Ornithologists, the Waterbird Conservation Council of the Americas, the Colorado River Delta Water Trust and the Sonoran Joint Venture.
San Rafael, California
Samaria Jaffe is the Executive Director at the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. She has more than 15 years of community organizing, fundraising and conservation experience. Before joining PRNSA, she was at The Trust for Public Land, developing conservation and fundraising programs for communities across northern California, primarily in the Sierra Nevada. She played a lead role in some of the Sierra Nevada’s most visible open space campaigns in recent years, Martis Valley and Royal Gorge at Donner Summit. She is inspired by community driven conservation and stewardship. Samaria is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM and spent much of her youth exploring the trails and beaches of Point Reyes.
Nicole Lampe is Vice President at Resource Media, a nonprofit communications firm that specializes in conservation campaigns. Nicole heads the organization's water program, and has worked to safeguard coastal access and clean water for nearly a decade. She helps groups like UNESCO, the Blue Business Council and Azul Project connect resource policy to people's plates and pocketbooks. Her work extends from the Sacramento Delta to the Chesapeake Bay, and the Great Barrier Reef to the Galapagos. Nicole previously managed public affairs for the Trust for Public Land’s western regional office, and is an avid hiker and camper. She grew up raising sheep in central California, but currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Born and raised in California, Marla now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her education focused on interdisciplinary environmental studies. She has worked in the Intermountain West since the mid 1970s, including a stint at Nevada’s Foresta Institute for Ocean and Mountain. She’s also done community organizing around issues including nuclear waste disposal and the impact of military training activities, and has worked to build an environmental movement inclusive of all the West’s cultures. Marla has also worked as staff, volunteer and fundraiser for political candidates committed to the environment and human rights.
Bryan Pollard is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the director of tribal relations for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He is formerly the executive editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper, originally published in 1828. Bryan is the founding editor of Street Roots, a nonprofit focused on issues that affect the homeless and low-income community on the local, regional and national levels. Bryan is the president of the Native American Journalists Association and a member of NAJA’s Free Press Committee. He has taught journalism at Sequoyah High School and an Indian boarding school in Tahlequah, and has served as a mentor for numerous journalism workshops including the Oklahoma Institute for Diversity in Journalism, the UNITY News and the NAJA Student Projects and Project Phoenix. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Raynelle Rino-Southon is a Bay Area environmental educator, ecologist and first generation Filipina-American. She began her career in the sciences as an ecology field researcher and now focuses her work on environmental education, social and racial justice at the grassroots organizational level. She found her passion for educating young students of under-resourced communities while managing the Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership (REAL) program, a project of Stanford University. She then moved to manage outdoor environmental education and stewardship programs at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco. As the current Deputy Director of Urban Sprouts, Raynelle works with the most under-resourced communities in San Francisco including incarcerated teens. She is an alumna of the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS program, a fellow of Youth Outside’s inaugural Rising Leaders Program as well as a 2042 Today Fellow. She is the author of the blog The D Word, Creating a Niche for Diversity that showcases the diversity of people of color working in the environmental field while having a deeper discussion about diversity. Raynelle lives in beautiful Oakland, California, with her husband and daughter.
Estee Rivera Murdock
Silver Spring, MD
Estee Rivera Murdock, born and raised in Arizona, has worked for federal land management agencies and as a consulting archeologist for cultural resource management firms throughout the West. She's worked for the National Park Service for over 7 years, primarily on community engagement programs and partnership development. She has an MA in Geography with a focus on Hispanic Community Engagement and Public Lands and Geographic Information science, and a BA in Anthropology and Spanish Literature, all from the University of Arizona. In the spring of 2015 she took a temporary assignment with the Park Service, moving to the Washington DC area with her husband Erik Murdock and their daughter, while their adopted Sonoran desert tortoises continue to happily live at their Tucson home. She has previously served on the Advisory Board for Friends of Saguaro, and was the inaugural recipient of the 2014 Murie Center's Rising Leader Award.
Dan Stonington has served on the board of High Country News since 2005. Dan is policy director for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. His prior positions have included executive director for the Northwest Natural Resource Group, conservation policy director for the Cascade Land Conservancy, field organizer for the “NO on Initiative 933” campaign and research associate for Ross Strategic. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Dan is a native of the Northwest and lives in Olympia, WA.
Rick is a veteran entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder of Renova Capital Partners, a Denver-based private investment partnership focused on sustainable infrastructure. Rick was the Founder and Chairman of Main Street Power Company - recently sold to AES and now branded AES Distributed Energy. Rick established his reputation as a successful entrepreneur by founding and leading a variety of early-stage companies through initial public offering or acquisition. Among these, Water Quality Management Corporation was a pioneer of municipal water utility privatization. Mr. Tallman served as a Company Commander in the US Army during the Persian Gulf War, serves on a variety of corporate and non-profit boards and frequently lectures on the subjects of social entrepreneurship and sustainability. He holds Bachelors and Master's Degrees in Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.
Santa Cruz, New Mexico
Luis Torres, who has served on the board of High Country News since 1996, has been a community organizer since the 1960s. His work in community forestry began in the late 1980s, when he was employed by the Southwest Research and Information Center. Mr. Torres helped organize the Madera Forest Products Association, which worked on developing a new forestry economy based on cutting small trees, and he co-founded the National Network of Forest Practitioners.
Andy Wiessner, has been on the board of High Country News since 1986, and is the organization’s longest-serving board member. Andy is a public land consultant with Western Land Group, which specializes in federal land exchanges and land use issues. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969-70, and worked as staff assistant and counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittees on Mines and Mining (1975-1976) and the Subcommittee on Public Lands in Washington, D.C. (1977-1985). Andy also is the current Board President of the Wilderness Workshop based in Carbondale, CO, and serves on the board of the Wilderness Land Trust, a nonprofit specializing in the acquisition of wilderness inholdings. Other past board service has included organizations such as: Eagle Valley Land Trust, American Wilderness Alliance, Clear Creek Land Conservancy and Eagle County Citizens for Open Space.
Florence Williams has served on the board of High Country News board since 2005. Florence is a former High Country News intern and staff writer who has gone on to write for many publications, including High Country News, The New York Times, The New Republic and Outside Magazine, where she is a contributing editor. She has earned awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and other organizations, and she is the author, most recently, of The Nature Fix: How Being in Nature Makes You Happier, Healthier and More Creative (2017).