Board of Directors

Brian Beitner

Boulder, Colorado

Brian Beitner formed the institutional global equity investment firm Chautauqua Capital Management in January 2009, following three decades in the investment industry at leading firms.

Brian also serves on the board of Alliance for Climate Education, an organization that educates young people on the science of climate change and empowers them to act. He has served on the board for the Trust for Public Land, the Dairy Center for the Arts and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers.

Brian earned a B.S. in Public Affairs and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. He holds a certificate for Global Investing from INSEAD and received his C.F.A. charter in 1989.

John D. Belkin

Basalt, Colorado

John Belkin has been a practicing attorney in Colorado and Wyoming 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. in Aspen. He has served as a federal law clerk, a staffer to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as an aide to the United States Trade Representative. 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 two sons Bear and Bruin and German Shepherd Emily.

Seth Cothrun

Tucson, Arizona

Seth Cothrun consults nonprofit and private sector clients on marketing & communication, executive management and strategic planning. He is a 2018 Aspen Institute Fellow; a member of Class IV of the American Express Leadership Academy at ASU Lodestar Center; and, currently serves as Chair of the AMEX global alumni network’s Committee on Innovation & Communications. Seth spent the last half decade as a senior executive at Sonoran Institute, playing a leadership role in refocusing the organization’s mission while rebuilding brand, marketing and development strategies in the U.S. and México. Previously, he managed business development and marketing initiatives throughout the Americas in the institutional asset management space, working with some of the largest public and private funds in the world. The early part of his career was spent as a program manager in the U.S. Forest Service throughout the West, in addition to serving nationally on Type 1 Incident Management and Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation teams tasked with managing high complexity wildland fire incidents and post-fire effects. He has also lived and worked in México as a photographer. He holds an M.A. from University of Chicago in Anthropology & Latin American Studies and a B.A. from University of Arizona in Anthropology & Latin American History. He is a native of the Sonoran Desert and loves the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming where his wife is from.

Jay Dean

Lafayette, California

Jay Dean, a life-long conservationist, is creative strategy director for the John Muir Land Trust (jmlt.org), 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 adviser to several environmental groups, including EarthShare and ecoAmerica. During the corporate phase of his career, he was an executive vice president of Young & Rubicam, and chief marketing officer of SRS Acquiom. In his spare time he is the proud proprietor of gardencraftsman.com, and is often outside covered in either sawdust or trail dust. He lives in Lafayette, California.

Bob Fulkerson

Reno, Nevada

Bob Fulkerson is the development director and co-founder of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. He worked as Executive Director of Citizen Alert, a statewide grassroots environmental justice 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 High Country News and the David J. Drakulich Veterans Art Foundation. He is a 2006-2007 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. The City of Reno recognized him as one of 150 citizens who’ve made a difference since the city’s founding 150 years ago. Bob’s premier loves are his grandson, family, yoga, folk music, the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada.  

Wayne Hare

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 spent 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

Rockville, Maryland

Laura Helmuth is the editor-in-chief of Scientific American and a past president of the National Association of Science Writers. She has been the health, science & environment editor for The Washington Post, digital news director for National Geographic, science and health editor for Slate, science editor for Smithsonian, and a reporter and editor for Science magazine's news department. She  serves on the National Academy of Science, Engineering & Medicine's standing committee on the science of science communication and 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.

Samaria Jaffe

San Rafael, California

Samaria Jaffe is 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.

Marla Painter

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

Farmington, Arkansas

Bryan Pollard is the associate director and former president at the Native American Journalists Association. He recently completed a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University, where he studied the value of an Indigenous free press and strategies for increasing press freedoms in Indian Country. Prior to joining NAJA staff, he was the executive editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the tribal news organization for the Cherokee Nation based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The Phoenix was the first Native American newspaper originally published in 1828. Bryan is also the founding managing editor of Street Roots, a nonprofit newspaper focused on stories centering the homeless and low-income citizens of Portland, Oregon. Bryan taught journalism at Sequoyah High School, an Indian boarding school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He has served as a mentor for numerous journalism workshops including the Oklahoma Institute for Diversity in Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists Working Press, the UNITY News and the NAJA Native American Journalism Fellowship and Project Phoenix. Bryan is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism with an emphasis on documentary filmmaking from the University of Arkansas.

Raynelle Rino

Oakland, California

A long-time environmental education professional, Raynelle began her career in the sciences as an ecology field researcher then moved onto environmental education and social justice at the grassroots organizational level. Her love for nature and youth development brought her to teach in unique settings like alternative high schools, environmental justice neighborhoods, parks, and juvenile justice facilities. In 2016 Raynelle started Rino Consulting Solutions, a nature-based consulting firm that provides coaching services for professionals and build bridges between mainstream environmentalism and people of color. Its mission is “to support and inspire the leaders of today to live in the confidence of their identities as they move through a world in the midst of social, racial, and environmental transformation.” Raynelle is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Biology, a Rising Leaders and 2042 Today fellow, and lives in Oakland with her husband and daughter.

Estee Rivera Murdock

Estes Park, CO

Estee Rivera Murdock, is the executive director at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, which produces educational publications, offers seminars, supports research, and provides philanthropic support to Rocky Mountain National Park and other public lands partners in Colorado and Wyoming. Born and raised in southern Arizona, Estee previously worked for the National Park Service for nearly a decade. She has an MA in geography with a focus on Hispanic community engagement and public lands and geographic information science. She also holds a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish literature, all from the University of Arizona. She currently resides with her husband and daughter in Estes Park, CO.

Luis Torres

Santa Cruz, New Mexico

Luis Torres is a native of northern New Mexico. He was born in Taos county, raised in nearby Colfax county and has lived in several adjacent counties. For the last 30 years he has lived in the community of San Pedro, Rio Arriba county.

Luis has had a 50-year career doing social change/community organizing work. His career started in 1970 when he took his first in a series of job with a Community Action Agency, a War on Poverty Program. In 1974, he opened the first ever American Friends Service Committee in New Mexico. He directed that program for 10 years. In 1984, he went to work for the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) as their northern New Mexico director.
In 1992 he left SRIC and since then has continued his life-long involvement in social change work  mostly as a volunteer and occasional being paid for consulting.

Andy Wiessner

Snowmass, Colorado

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 serves on the board of the Wilderness Workshop based in Carbondale, CO, 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

Washington, DC

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 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).

High Country News Classifieds
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