David Barfield is in his sixth year with Ted Turner Reserves, formerly Ted Turner Expeditions, and his third year as Activities Manager for Southern New Mexico. David was hired at Vermejo Park Ranch as a fly-fishing guide and later appointed to run the Ecotours on the Armendaris and Ladder Ranches. The Southern Ranches are the standard for conservation and efforts to save endangered species, but also have rich history, incredible wildlife, and diversity.
Some of the current Forest Service initiatives Toby leads are the development of the National Forest Explorer Mobile App; strengthening recreation economies in forest gateway communities; working with Tribes to promote genuine interpretation and responsible visitation to native heritage sites on Forest Service managed lands; promoting healthy people and forests through innovative public lands and public health partnerships; and working with Interpretive Associations to improve visitor experience and appreciation of the National Forests. Before joining the USFS, she worked with local communities to develop ecotourism projects in high biodiversity areas of Latin America and the Caribbean as the Director of Wildlife Ecotourism for Humane Society International, as a technical expert for USAID in Honduras, and in several other consultancies in the region.
Amy Camp, owner of Cycle Forward, is a trails and tourism consultant, a placemaker, and a professional coach. She helped to launch the nationally recognized Trail Town Program® in 2007, and now consults communities on how they can rethink trails and tourism. Her latest effort is advocating for what she calls “Triangle Trails” – a framework that encourages communities to consider the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit when making decisions about trails.
She has consulted and led workshops throughout Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and other locations in the U.S. and Canada. Amy served on the Board of American Trails from 2012-17, acting as Board Secretary and Chair of the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she first grew to love communities and began her work to help improve them.
Guadalupe Cano is a native of Silver City, and comes from a long line of community activists. A love of the outdoors was fostered early in her life, as she was the only woman in the Gila Fly-fishers organization, for which she served as secretary for several years. As the District 4 Silver City Town Councilor in her third term she remains committed to making sure that seniors, the disabled, and those with lower incomes have a voice and access to opportunities for a quality way of life. She is actively involved in working towards a federal designation of Wild & Scenic for portions of the Gila and Mimbres rivers and their tributaries.
Sarah Cottrell Propst was appointed to serve as the Cabinet Secretary of the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department in January 2019. From 2012 to 2018, she served as the Executive Director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a non-profit trade association that represents the nation’s leading companies in the renewable energy industry, bringing them together with non-governmental organizations in the West (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming). Propst was Deputy Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department after serving as Energy and Environmental Policy Advisor to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
David is a trailblazer for outdoor recreation in Las Cruces. His outdoor outfitting business, Southwest Expeditions, offers unique local Heritage and Adventure Tours throughout southern New Mexico. David believes that the scenic wonder that is New Mexico is revealed to the adventurous explorer of our state’s windswept mesas and hidden canyons and its forested mountains with wild rushing streams. The Rio Grande river also flows lazily through the arid desert that stretches out from the horizon to the luminous sunset provided another gem that can be explored in community or alone.
Michael Dax is the New Mexico Representative for Defenders of Wildlife in Santa Fe. Before moving to New Mexico, he worked in the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as a trail groomer and tour guide. Michael earned a master’s degree in environmental history from the University of Montana where he began work on his book, Grizzly West, which focuses on the attempt to reintroduce grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Montana and Idaho. He was instrumental in helping to pass legislation in the New Mexico Legislature to establish and protect wildlife corridors, and has been deeply involved in legislative efforts to modernize wildlife management in the state.
Kevney Dugan has been the CEO of the Bend, Oregon, tourism bureau since July 2016, and oversees all aspects of Visit Bend’s operations. During his tenure at Visit Bend, he has built key relationships with tourism stakeholders, led presentations on economic development and sustainable tourism, and spearheaded efforts to bring 23 national championship athletic events to Bend. Born and raised in Michigan, Kevney holds a degree in psychology and business management from Hope College. He enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and fly fishing, and is grateful to have a career that lets him share those passions with Bend visitors and community members.
Stephanie Garcia Richard is the first woman and educator to be elected to the position of New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands to oversee the State Land Office responsible for raising revenue off state trust lands to pay for New Mexico’s schools and hospitals. Born in Tucumcari and raised in Silver City, Stephanie learned at a young age the importance of serving others. During her tenure as a New Mexico State Representative and Chair of the House Education Committee, Stephanie championed laws to increase access to a quality education, transparency, and investments in renewable energy, job training, and economic development. As Land Commissioner, Stephanie will ensure we maximize the revenue earned from our land, while diversifying our investments, promoting outdoor recreation, and encouraging renewable and commercial development on state trust lands.
James Glover has over 30 years of strategic branding, marketing and planning experience. As project manager and strategist, Glover leads new business development, client relations, project management, strategic planning and branding initiatives for communities, businesses and organizations. Glover was instrumental in supporting the launch of Farmington’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative (ORII). Early in his career, Glover headed Total Entertainment, a media/marketing company that supported branding and marketing projects for major companies such as The Ritz Carlton, Hertz, US Air, The Four Seasons, The Upper Deck Company, Beckman Instruments, Toyota, American Honda, Computer Learning Centers, and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).
Steve Harris received his baptism in the Rio Grande in 1964 at Boquillas, Coahulila and has been an advocate for the great wild river ever since. Steve is an ardent student of the history and natural history of rivers in the US Southwest and Mexico. He is president of a Taos-based river outfitting business, Far-Flung Adventures, and executive director of the basin-wide streamflow advocacy group, Rio Grande Restoration.
Elected in 2012, Martin Heinrich is a United States Senator for New Mexico. Heinrich serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Intelligence Committees. He is the Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee and the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. With a background in engineering, Heinrich brings a unique perspective to the Senate, where he is focused on creating the jobs of the future and protecting the vital missions at New Mexico’s national labs and military installations. He is a strong advocate for working families, a staunch ally of Indian Country, and a champion for New Mexico’s public lands and growing clean energy economy.
Carlos Herrera is a lifelong New Mexican and represents two diverse groups including the Cochiti pueblo and Hispanic heritage. He is a Water Quality Scientist working in various watersheds around the state working to advocate stewardship among the local communities often times working with students. His family is also well known for being drum makers and willow baskets weavers which is important for him to maintain his connection with his culture and to enforce the connections and dependence on the land around us. His upbringing at Cochiti, learning his native culture, has guided his work in natural resources and in other endeavors such a performing cultural demonstrations throughout the country and abroad. He is also an avid outdoorsman and can oftentimes be found fishing or hunting with his family. A life long goal for him is to help to have a positive impact on the environment and to create a brighter future for coming generations.
As the Director of Education and Outreach, Julie is responsible for developing and directing the ATC's broader relevance initiatives to ensure programs, staff and partners reflect, invite and welcome all to the Trail. Julie has been with ATC since 2004. Prior to ATC, Julie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, and also worked with Hurricane Island Outward Bound in Key Largo, an at-risk program for youth. She has a BA in Communications from North Carolina State University, and a Masters of Environmental Management through Duke’s Environmental Leadership program at the Nicholas School of the Environment. *https://www.appalachiantrail.org/a-walk-in-the-woods/share-your-story/julie-judkins
José G. González is the Founder and Former Executive Director for Latino Outdoors. He is an experienced educator as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. His commentary on diversity and environmental outreach has been featured by High Country News, Outside, Earth Island Journal, and Latino USA, and he has been engaged in collaborations with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Department of Interior, and the National Park Service. He has been recognized with several honors, including the National Wildlife Federation, Grist Magazine, and The Murie Center.
The first Latina Democratic governor in the U.S., Michelle Lujan Grisham brings to the office a lifetime of fighting against inequitable treatment and fighting for the rights of the vulnerable, all underlaid with a deep, abiding compassion for those in need of a little more. She campaigned on a message of pragmatic idealism, calling for enhanced investments in public education, aggressive support for a diversified state economy and creative solutions to the entrenched problems within state government. On April 2, 2019 Governor Lujan Grisham signed in law legislation establishing a New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division of the Economic Development Department.
Keegan King is from Acoma Pueblo. Originally getting involved in politics through social justice organizing, Keegan gained valuable experience working to preserve petroglyphs and Native American history in Albuquerque. In 2005, Keegan became the Executive Director of the League of Young Voters New Mexico. Later as the League NM transitioned to New Mexico Youth Organized (NMYO), Keegan continued to build his knowledge in nonprofit management and civic engagement strategies. In 2009, Keegan founded Atsaya Consulting a 100% Native-owned political consulting company. In 2019 Keegan became the Bureau Chief for Policy and Legislation for the New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs.
Ken was elected Mayor of Silver City in March of 2016 after having retired from Western New Mexico University. He hails from a background of academia, holding a PhD in Physical Chemistry and taught at WNMU for over 30 years and has served as Department Chair, Dean of the College of Science and Math, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim University President. He has served as a volunteer in many community organizations and groups including Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce, Silver Schools District School, Silver City Main Street, and Boy Scouts of America.
Norman has been guiding for High Desert Angler since 1997. He started fly fishing when he was 7 years old and has developed a passion and career over the 22 years spent on the water. As a descendant of the indigenous Pueblo Culture, Norman is from Katishtya (San Felipe), Kawaika (Laguna), & Hopi Pueblos. He grew up on the Pecos River, which set the stage for Norman’s fly fishing accomplishments as a competitive angler who has won medals including the individual gold in the 1998 World Youth Fly Fishing Championship in Wales, UK. As a member of Fly Fishing Team USA Norman has helped the team to some very successful finishes over the last decade including a team Silver medal at the 2015 World Championships in Bosnia and a team Bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships in Vail Colorado. Before taking a break from competitive fly fishing, he ended with an individual gold at the 2018 National Fly Fishing Championships in Bend, Oregon.
For much of her 30 year professional career, Teresa has worked throughout our entire National Trails System. From 1987-2007 she worked for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, from 2007 to 2012 she worked for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance and since 2012 she has been the Executive Director (and co-founder) of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. She serves on the board of the Partnership for the National Trails System and currently serves as the Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee to aid the USFS in the development of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. When not working on behalf of one of our National Trails, Teresa may be found exploring trails with her dog by bike, horse, and foot.
Howie Morales was elected Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico in November, 2018, along with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Prior to becoming the state’s 30th Lieutenant Governor, he served in the New Mexico Senate for 11 years on the influential State Legislative Finance Committee. As a Senator and now as Lt. Governor, Howie has been an outspoken fighter for conservation and New Mexico’s environment. He fought successfully year after year to stop the disastrous Gila River federal diversion plans and has mobilized citizens at the grass-roots level and spoken out forcefully to stop the U.S. Air Force from establishing a new, intrusive F-16 training mission over the Gila Wilderness and the Aldo Leopold wilderness.
Axie Navas has a decade of professional storytelling experience in the outdoor industry. Before joining the New Mexico Economic Development Department as the state's founding Outdoor Recreation Director, she led Outside magazine's digital business as the Digital Editorial Director. At Outside, she created a digital strategy built around inclusively and advocacy that grew the website's audience by 25 percent and led to its 2019 National Magazine Award nomination for General Excellence. She has always revered nature, thanks in large part to a childhood spent outside skiing, biking, and exploring the Rockies. Axie spent four years in Illinois to earn her degrees in Journalism and Spanish at Northwestern University, where she also served as president of the school's collegiate road racing team.
Among Matt’s contributions to the Arizona National Scenic Trail over the past 18 years are trail design, archaeological surveys, volunteer trail construction, and explorations of the AZT on foot, mountain bike and horseback. His innovative approach to nonprofit leadership, natural resource management, marketing and developing partnerships helps sustain the Arizona Trail as well as the 30 gateway communities located within the trail corridor. Matthew has worked as an outdoor educator, Grand Canyon backpacking guide, archaeologist, Native American tribal liaison, editor and freelance photojournalist. He has more than 500 published articles to his credit and is the primary author of Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail and the Arizona Trail Junior Explorer Handbook.
Born and raised in southern New Mexico Grecia has developed a wealth of conservation and organizing experience, recently finishing up a two year stint in the Peace Corps in Panama. Grecia has worked on the ground with a diversity of non-profit organizations and land management agencies including Groundwork Doña Ana, the National Park Service, AmeriCorps, and the Student Conservation Association. She led under-represented youth on environmental projects, including an archaeological survey of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks when it was being considered for designation as a National Monument. She has lived and worked in many wild places from Yellowstone National Park to Denali National Park.
Born in Norfolk, England, Martyn developed a love for golf and spent his youth competing across Southern England. In 2002 he traveled to America to play golf while attending college, and completed a Bachelors degree in English at WNMU. During his time at Western he purchased a mountain bike and discovered Boston Hill, Jeff Reese and Jamie Thompson. The rest is history. Martyn's grandfather worked at Raleigh Bikes in Nottingham England, so the opportunity to work closely with Head Mechanic Bill Schum helped unearth a passion for cycling and bicycle repair that only compounded with time.
Taylor Phillips has been in the recreation and tourism industry for 20 years. In 2008 he developed Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures offering natural history and wildlife viewing programs into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. In 2016 EcoTour Adventures was awarded a concession contract to guide cross country ski and snowshoe programs into Grand Teton National Park. Through EcoTour Adventure's dollars for conservation program they contribute 2% of sales back to NGO's that help protect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Annually we connect over 7,000 visitors to the National Parks in Western Wyoming. Starting in 2020 we are starting to lead unique international programs into Southern Chile to view pumas.
Chris was born and raised in Silver City and retired from the Silver City Police Department as the Deputy Chief of Police after 20 years of service. He previously worked for the Grant County Sheriff’s office and Freeport McMoRan. He was elected to the Grant County Commission in November of 2018. His love of the mountains and hunting, fishing, and packing into the wilderness on horseback has rooted his life in Silver City. Recently he introduced and passed a Resolution in the County Commission calling for the protection of portions of the Gila River as a Wild and Scenic River.
Bob oversees a portfolio that includes the new NPS Office of Outdoor Recreation; the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program, National Trails System and National Rivers system among others. Previously, Bob served 24 years for the Bureau of Land Management in a variety of field and national leadership roles including over a dozen years as Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Division Chief for Recreation and Visitor Services. He has spent much of the last four decades exploring public lands and developing new and progressive national policies conserving and restoring special places, enhancing visitor experiences, and partnering with gateway communities, recreation and tourism interests in promoting responsible recreation and encouraging community engagement while balancing protection of resources.
Secretary Jen Paul Schroer was appointed as Secretary of Tourism by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in January 2019. Prior to her appointment to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Cabinet as Tourism Secretary, Jen served as the President & CEO of New Mexico Hospitality Association, where she led the merger of two state level trade associations and went on to pass key legislation to help boost tourism development. Jen helped launch a series of cross-collaborative initiatives that helped bridge business and government to spur economic development, established an endowed scholarship fund for hospitality and tourism students, and enhanced continued learning opportunities for hospitality and tourism professionals by hosting professional development programming at statewide conferences.
Dave Simon has 27 years of experience in the parks and conservation field, including holding senior public service leadership positions in New Mexico. Mr. Simon was Director of New Mexico State Parks (2003-2010), Assistant Commissioner at the New Mexico State Land Office (2002), and worked 16 years with the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association in Washington, D.C. and the Southwest. Dave is a past Chair of the City of Albuquerque Open Space Advisory Board, former Rio Grande Chapter Director for the Sierra Club, a former Board member of the New Mexico Parks and Recreation Association, and President of Eco Think LLC, a nature/outdoors-focused consulting practice.
In over twenty-five years as a creative director, Dave has led strategy and creative teams on some of the most iconic brands on the planet, including AT&T, Coca Cola, Delta, Georgia Pacific, Days Inn, and Bayer. At GSD&M and BBDO, Dave worked on projects as diverse as transitioning AT&T into the wireless age, product launches like the Motorola Razr and iPhone, and a groundbreaking ecotourism campaign for Panama that shifted perceptions of the country and grew tourism revenues significantly. He is the creative director at Talweg Creative, where he oversees creative strategy and design for New Mexico True.
As the Southern New Mexico Director for New Mexico Wild, Jeff helped establish the successful campaign to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. After serving for eight years in the New Mexico House of Representatives Jeff was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 2016. In office Jeff authored legislation to establish the Rio Grande Trail Commission and the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division.
Christy Tafoya, an archaeologist by training, began her career with State Parks when she was selected as the first State Park Archaeologist in 1998. She held several positions in parks and managed the statewide Outdoor Classroom Program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of students with meaningful, hands-on experiences. Tafoya was appointed as Director of New Mexico State Parks in 2015 and was reappointed by Governor Lujan Grisham in 2019. She is the first woman to fill the top leadership role since State Parks began in 1933.
Joseph has served in the capacity as a healer and spiritual leader to the pueblo and non-native communities for over 4 decades now. He has worked with numerous indigenous youth groups, his is an adjunct instructor for the Institute of American Indian Arts, he has worked for as a creative consultant for Robert Mirabal Productions, he has served on the Native American Global Sports Committee, and has been instrumental in various international indigenous projects such as Pueblo Pathways Project and he has traveled to Mexico, Canada and Africa as a First Nations representative for Earth healing and environmental conferences and efforts. Brophy has the distinction of being the first Pueblo Governor to lead Indian Country to become members of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small represents New Mexico’s second congressional district, which covers all or parts of Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, De Baca, Eddy, Guadalupe, Grant, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Roosevelt, Sierra, Socorro, and Valencia counties. Born and raised in New Mexico, Xochitl grew up in Las Cruces. After graduating Cum Laude from Georgetown University in just three years, Xochitl returned home to Las Cruces. A former Field Representative for Senator Tom Udall, she established his constituent services offices in southern New Mexico and worked to increase cell phone service, broadband, and
other communication lines in rural New Mexico. She worked with teachers, college instructors, and business leaders to create better job opportunities for local graduates. She also helped bring farmers, conservationists, and communities together to protect New Mexico’s water.
Tom Udall has earned a reputation as a principled leader who has the integrity to do what is right for New Mexico and our nation. Tom began serving as United States Senator in 2009, after two decades of public service as U.S. Representative and New Mexico's State Attorney General. He was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, and is now New Mexico's senior senator. Tom serves on the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Commerce, Indian Affairs, and Rules and Administration committees.
Francisco Valenzuela’s work brings partnership and community connection into the heart of sustainable recreation. Valenzuela helped guide the development of over $500 million in infrastructure, the largest comprehensively planned investment in recreation infrastructure and services in Forest Service history, at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. His dedication to sustainable recreation development, research and policy have had a tremendous positive impact on the Forest Service facilities that connect visitors to outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities.
Brian D. Vallo has over 25 years of experience working with Native American tribes throughout the Southwest. He is the founding director of the Sky City Cultural Center and Haakú Museum at Acoma, and director of the Acoma Historic Preservation Office. Prior to his recent appointment as Governor, Brian served as director of the Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe where he led a national initiative on proper stewardship of Native American collections. Brian spearheaded the development and publication of protocols known as the Guidelines for Collaboration, a guide for how source communities and collecting institutions can work together to address the multitude of issues including long-term, culturally-relevant collections stewardship.
Garrett was born and raised in Santa Fe New Mexico. He has over thirty years of small business experience in outfitting, outdoor retail, product manufacturing/sales and ecotourism. As a young man he worked as a fly fishing guide in northern New Mexico. He also worked in outdoor retail and then owned and operated an international eco-tourism travel company for over 20 years. He has also the host and co-director of ESPN’s Fly Fishing America. Over the past decade Garrett was the Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and was the Southwest Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project (NM. AZ and CO). He also founded the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Garrett is currently the Chair of the NM State Land Office’s Conservation Advisory Board.
Margaret Wells is an economist and Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC. Dr. Walls’s research focuses on issues related to resilience and adaptation to extreme events, ecosystem services provision and valuation, and public lands and outdoor recreation. In her recent research, she has measured the local economic impacts of national monument designations. Walls currently serves on the board of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Walls has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and is the author of 34 book chapters and published reports. Dr. Walls holds a PhD in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a BS in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky.
Dana Watts has been the Executive Director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics since 1996. Watts began her career working on the hill and for the public affairs firm Ogilvy Adams and Rinehart in Washington, DC. She moved to Boulder in 1993 and has focused largely on public lands and conservation since. She has taken Leave No Trace from a conservation concept to an education, training and research powerhouse that reaches 15M Americans each year and is taught in 80 countries. Watts has served on several national
conservation and outdoor recreation boards including the Outdoor Industry Association and Colorado Fourteener’s Initiative. She has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, on NPR and the Today Show and was a nominee for Sporting Good’s Business Woman of the Year.
David Weinstein rejoined Outdoor Industry Association in 2018 as its state and local policy director. He works to engage the outdoor industry in state- and locally-based advocacy efforts; supports the creation of new funding and access for outdoor recreation through budget appropriations, legislation, and at the ballot box; and collaborates with current, and works to establish new, state offices of outdoor recreation around the country. He serves on the Board of Directors for both the Montana Conservation Corps and Alaska Wilderness League. David lives in Bozeman, MT and is an avid backcountry skier, mountain biker, hunter, angler, backpacker, and packrafter.
Angela has worked for over 35 years in the field of natural and heritage resource management at the local, state, national, and international level. She served as the BLM New Mexico Program Director for Outdoor Recreation, Interpretation and Education, Wilderness Management, and Off-Road Vehicle Management. She currently serves as the Washington DC Office National Travel and Tourism Program Manager for the Bureau of Land Management. Angela’s experience spans the Federal Government, private industry, tribes, international technical assistance, and the non-profit sector. Her work includes an emphasis on building intergovernmental and interagency cooperation and community partnerships; organizational outreach and marketing; strategic planning and training, and includes working with indigenous populations within the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and Indonesia.
Kathy is the visionary and founding Director of Western New Mexico University’s Outdoor Program. Launched in 2012, the Outdoor Program mission is to engage students in experiential adventure-based programming to advance ecological and civic literacy and practice social responsibility for a sustainable future. Since its inception, the program has served more than 2370 students and community members through activities including student leadership trainings, an outdoor gear rental facility, a state-recognized Search and Rescue team, First-Year Student Orientations, team building workshops, certification courses, outdoor trips, and academic coursework leading to a minor in Outdoor Leadership Studies.
Melissa Woods is a New Mexico native; she has traveled and worked abroad and blends many cultural influences into her regional cuisine. Her commitment to local, organic and non-GMO food fuels her creativity to constantly create new dishes to showcase foods natural taste and beauty. She earned her culinary degree at Johnson and Wales University in Providence RI in 1996 and began her cooking career with three seasons on Martha’s Vineyard. She continued her education while serving in the US NAVY and earned her BA in hospitality management while serving active duty. Her education path continued as she earned two masters degrees from WNMU in teaching and English and has completed her 500HR training as a yoga teacher. Melissa is the owner of Wheel House and lives in Silver City with her two delightful children and balances cooking for clients with teaching yoga and cooking at her downtown studio.