Board of Directors
Crested Butte, Colorado
John Belkin has been a practicing attorney in Colorado since 1998, working in the areas of real estate, land use, conservation easements and government affairs. Since 2006, John has been the Crested Butte Town Attorney. 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 Quinnipiac University School of Law and Hobart College. John's interests include skiing, mountaineering and mountain biking, and spending time with his wife Melissa and German Shepard Emily.
Mr. Benton came to Montana from the Midwest 17 years ago. He and his wife fly-fish the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and various “nameless” places; Sean also hunts. He’s the creative director and an owner of Partners Creative, an advertising and PR firm in Missoula that works with companies of all kinds, including social change and conservation organizations. Sean’s agency has developed communications on many of the West’s lightning-rod issues like clean water protection, dam removal and wolves.
Beth Conover is a senior program officer at the Gates Family Foundation in Denver, where she lives with husband Ken Snyder and two sons. She has worked for over 25 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, 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 currently chief marketing officer of SRS|Acquiom, a company that provides tools 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 and the science editor for Smithsonian magazine, and she is now the science and health editor for Slate magazine. She is the vice president of the National Association of Science Writers and serves on the advisory boards of The Open Notebook and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. 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 resides in Wyoming where he is the Wyo. Project Manager for the Sonoran Institute. Mr. Heyneman has also ranched, managed the North Rim Ranch on behalf of the Grand Canyon Trust, managed a Venezuelan dairy and fruit farm, worked on a Montana governor’s race, and been on the board of the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Yellowstone Art Museum.
Nicole Lampe heads the digital team at Resource Media, a nonprofit consulting firm that focuses on conservation campaigns. She previously managed public affairs for the Trust for Public Land's Western regional office, and is fluent in social media, but old school in her approach to communications. She counsels discipline around goal setting, audience targeting and measurement to help streamline the care and feeding of multiple channels.
Wendy Pabich, Ph.D., is an environmental scientist, educator, adventurer, and artist obsessed with all things water. She is the founder and president of Water Futures, which helps businesses and communities ensure water security. When she isn’t working on water projects, making art, teaching (she has taught at MIT and the Sierra Institute), or exploring the backcountry, Wendy is writing. She is the author of Idaho: An Explorer’s Guide and Taking on Water: How One Water Expert Challenged Her Inner Hypocrite, Reduced Her Water Footprint (Without Sacrificing a Toasty Shower), and Found Nirvana.
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.
Born and raised in the West; Lou Patterson has spent more than 35 years working to develop brands, businesses and leaders. After 25 years working in the sporting goods and outdoors industry, he created Category One, providing consumer insight driven strategies. Other board service includes the American Mountain Guide Association. When not working, Patterson can be found, with great difficulty, in remote corners of the West.
Dan Stonington has served on the board of High Country News since 2005. Mr. Stonington, who is the Executive Director for the Northwest Natural Resource Group, was formerly the program manager for the Cascade Land Conservancy, and also worked as a field organizer for the “NO on Initiative 933” campaign. Prior to that, Mr. Stonington worked for three years as an environmental consultant for Ross & Associates in Seattle.
Rick Tallman is a man of many passions, one of which is renewable energy; he is the founder of Renova Capital Partners, a private equity group that develops renewable power, and of Main Street Power Company, an international solar development firm. Mr. Tallman served as a company commander in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf War, and he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He and his wife, Lisa Flores, are active education reformers and urban farmers.
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, who has served on the board of High Country News since 1986, is the organization’s longest-serving board member. Mr. Wiessner is public lands consultant with Western Land Group, which specializes in federal land exchanges and land use issues. He served 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 serves on the board of the Wilderness Workshop and 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. Ms. Williams 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.