New HCN board members, Part II

Welcome three new members, and farewell to naturalist Ann Zwinger.

  • John Belkin, Beth Conover, Laura Helmuth and Jay Dean at the HCN fundraising party in Denver in late September.

    Brian Calvert

Last issue, we profiled two of HCN’s five new board members. Now we’d like to introduce you to three more.

Beth Conover is a senior program officer at the Gates Family Foundation in Denver, where she lives with her 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, who edited and co-authored How the West Was Warmed: Responding to Climate Change in the Rockies, has a B.A. from Brown University and master’s degrees in environmental studies and public/private management from Yale University.

Jay Dean 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 boards and advised several environmental groups, including EarthShare and ecoAmerica. He is currently chief marketing officer of SRS|Acquiom, which provides tools for mergers and acquisitions. Jay lives in Lafayette, California, where he also runs and can usually be found outside covered in sawdust.

Marla Painter, who was born and raised in California and now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was educated in interdisciplinary environmental studies. She’s worked in the Intermountain West since the mid-1970s, including a stint at Nevada’s Foresta Institute for Ocean and Mountain, and done community organizing around issues such as nuclear waste disposal and the impact of military training activities. Marla, who wants to build a more inclusive environmental movement, has worked for political candidates committed to the environment and human rights.



On Aug. 30, the West lost the much-loved writer and naturalist Ann Haymond Zwinger, who died in Portland, Oregon, at 89. She published her first book, Beyond the Aspen Grove, in 1970. Drawn from years spent in the southern Colorado mountains, the book is full of precise, lyrical observations of plants and wildlife, illustrated with charming pencil sketches. Later books included Land Above the Trees: A Guide to American Alpine Tundra; Run, River, Run: A Naturalist’s Journey Down One of the Great Rivers of the West; and Shaped by Wind and Water: Reflections of a Naturalist.  Author Gary Paul Nabhan wrote in Orion:

She (had) a commanding knowledge not only of plants, insects, and birds, but of geology, hydrology, and culture as well. … Ann identified plants and insects faster than I could, getting them down to genus or species, all without having been in (that particular) landscape before. When I commented how flabbergasted I was … she simply replied that she had an artist’s training to look in detail at shapes of wings, antennae, corollas, and fruits, and etch them into her memory. ... Ann excited millions with her books, art exhibits, and readings that paid homage to what we loved to call “humankind’s real oldest profession — the birds and the bees.

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