2022 Panelists

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Dan Armentano

Planner with the City of Durango Community Development Department

Dan’s work with Durango has varied throughout his tenure, ranging from housing to floodplain administration. A major focus has been managing Durango’s short-term rental program, which is widely regarded as a model for communities struggling to address the impact of STR’s on community character and housing supply. Dan’s outdoor connections run deep, having worked in wilderness therapy and completed a year of Americorps service through the Nevada Conservation Corps.

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Errol Baade

CEO, Jack’s Plastic Welding

Located in Aztec, New Mexico, Jack's Plastic Welding Inc. manufactures and sells inflatable boats, dry bags, and waterproof self-inflating mattresses. They maintain a customer base of whitewater river outfitters, and specialty paddle sports retail dealers, and sell direct to customers over the Internet. They also have an industrial product line that supports diverse customers including the oil and gas industry, NASA contracts for rescue rafts and for Capsule Stabilization Collars, environmental products including spill containments, culvert plugs, Manatee rescue, Water main replacements in large cities, inflatable parts (like lungs and blood bladders) for patient simulators, and Coral reef restoration.

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Attila Bality

Outdoor Planner with the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program of the National Park Service

Attila is an outdoor recreation planner with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program. He has been involved with parks, trails and open space issues in New Mexico and the southwest for over 30 years. Attila’s work is focused on helping local communities improve and enhance parks, open space, trails and river corridors. Many of his projects engage youth in planning and on-the-ground activities. He has been involved in trail planning, construction and development for 30 years. More recently, Attila’s interests have focused on parks, trails and community health. He was instrumental in creating the Albuquerque Prescription Trails program as a way to get new people to use Albuquerque’s parks and paths. He is co-lead for the National Park Service Healthy Recreation Community of Practice providing resources and training for staff across the country that are integrating community health into parks and trails projects. He also co-authored the Parks, Trails & Health Workbook with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Dustin Berg

Founder and Executive Director for Global Opportunities Unlimited, aka GO Unlimited

At a young age Dustin developed an affinity for backpacking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, skiing, rock climbing, bow hunting and generally anything out ``where the wild things roam``. In 2003 a motorcycle accident causing paraplegia dramatically changed his relationship with his beloved great outdoors. Out of necessity, in 2005 he founded GO Unlimited as a 501c3 not for profit with a mission to help people whose mobility has been compromised enjoy outdoor sports and recreation. Today, the organization manages several adaptive boating, cycling, hunting, fishing and therapeutic recreation programs across New Mexico.

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Brian Birk

Managing Partner & CO-founder of Sun Mountain Capitol

Brian Birk has over 20 years experience as an operating executive and investor. Mr. Birk co-founded Sun Mountain Capital, a boutique private equity firm focused on the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, in 2006. Since that time Sun Mountain has grown to be one of the largest PE firms in the region, and currently manages direct investment funds and fund of funds vehicles. Mr. Birk was a founder or senior executive at several high-profile start-ups, including MetaWeb (acquired by Google), Applied Minds and BiosGroup.

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Kevin Bixby

Founder and Executive Director of Wildlife for All

Based in New Mexico, Wildlife for All is a national campaign to reform state wildlife management to be more ecologically-driven, democratic and just. Before that he served as executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) in Las Cruces since its founding in 1991. At SWEC Kevin was instrumental in the creation of the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park and established the La Mancha Wetland. He received a BS in Biology from Dartmouth College, and a MS in Natural Resources Policy at the University of Michigan. He and his wife live in the desert outside Las Cruces, where they enjoy sunsets, coyotes and hiking in the Organ Mountains.

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Dawn Boulware

Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility for Taos Ski Valley, Inc.

Dawn is a fourth-generation New Mexican and a native Taoseña. She has worked year-round with Taos Ski Valley, Inc. for over 25 years in various capacities including Marketing and Human Resources. Dawn now serves as the Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility for Taos Ski Valley, Inc. She oversees Human Resources, Administration, IT, Property Management, Purchasing as well as the company’s B Corp Certification, Net Zero 2030 efforts, and charitable giving. She was awarded a Sammy Leadership Award in May 2019, recognizing her for her leadership in the ski industry by the Ski Area Management publication.

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Tracy Brown

Executive Director Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority

Tracy Brown of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority has been in the tourism industry since 1987. His first taste of tourism came with the Southeast Ski Areas Association. His work in the industry has allowed him to serve on the Board of Directors for several tourism related entities including the Blowing Rock Village Foundation Board of Directors and the Executive Board of the Blue Ridge Parkway Association. Tracy is a certified Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) and Festival and Event Planner (FEP) through the Southeast Tourism Society.

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Rochelle Bussey

Senior Program Manager, New Mexico Film Office

Rochelle Bussey is the Senior Program Manager at the New Mexico Film Office (NMFO). After graduating from Colorado College, Rochelle worked in Washington, DC at the White House in the West Wing and in Presidential Personnel and worked on the political campaign for Governor Gray Davis in Los Angeles, CA before returning home to Santa Fe, NM. She has been with the New Mexico Film Office since 2004 and currently focuses on NMFO programs such as crew training, veteran training, the giveback program, Native American training programs, and more.

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Linda Calhoun

Mayor of Red River

Linda Calhoun has been the Mayor of Red River New Mexico since 2006, and the first woman elected in that role. She is active in local and state government, and an avid supporter of the outdoor economy.

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Guadalupe Cano

Mayor Pro Tem for the Town of Silver City

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 fourth 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. As a member of the disabled community brings awareness to accessibility needs especially as it relates to public lands.

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Carl Colonius

Outdoor Recreation Planner, New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division

In 1995, Carl co-founded the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Taos, and was the Executive Director for 20 years. He has served on numerous boards, including the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, Taos County Juvenile Justice Reform Board, Taos Mountain Film Festival, and New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community. In 2011, he was honored by President Obama’s White House as a Champion of Change for his work to align marginalized youth with sustainable employment, and In 2014, was recognized as an Unsung Hero of Taos by the Taos News. He served as the Director of the Enchanted Circle Trails Association, until joining the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division.

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Luckie Daniels

Experience Lead / Founder of Enchantment While Black

Luckie Daniels is the owner and operator of ENCHANTMENT WHILE BLACK (EWB), a family-operated Travel and TURO transportation service fueling the wanderlust dreams of Brown and Black adventure travelers to Northern New Mexico and Northern Arizona. She is also the Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility for MEOW WOLF. She is a Senior Program Manager with 22 years of experience providing program and project leadership on software/product development, e-commerce, mobility, marketing, and social media initiatives. EWB is a boutique travel service with a laser focus on details and commitment to providing quality over quantity experiences.

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Dr. Kristin Drexler

Educator and Film Producer

Dr. Kristin Drexler is an educator and film producer working at the intersection of environmental science, conservation and community education. She has a PhD in educational leadership from New Mexico State University, with research in socio-ecological systems and sustainable agroecology. Early in her career, Drexler was a park ranger and wildland firefighter with the National Park Service before serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize. Drexler founded the Belize Field School Program at NMSU (2006-2014). In 2016, she produced the award-winning short film, “Yochi” and coordinated the social impact campaign. Dr. Drexler is a full-time faculty member of Earth Sciences at American Public University teaching geography, environmental science, conservation of natural resources, and Earth and planetary sustainability.

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Lucia Duncan

Internship Director, Future Focused Education

Lucia is collaborating with Communities In Schools of NM to develop transition supports and work-based learning opportunities for youth in Santa Fe. She also serves on the Advisory Council of the Hands-On Heritage summer program in which middle school students learn about the geography, history, and culture of northern New Mexico through field trips and hands-on activities. Prior to this, Lucia was Manager of ZUMIX’s youth and community radio station in East Boston, where she collaborated with schools and community organizations. Lucia is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, has an MFA in film production, and enjoys exploring the outdoors.

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Hilary Dutcher

Destination Experience Manager, Visit Las Cruces, City of Las Cruces

Hilary is the Destination Experience Manager for Visit Las Cruces and focuses on Outdoor Recreation development, cultural tourism and special projects. She has been a resident of New Mexico for 13 years and is interested in the opportunities for environmental and economic sustainability that Outdoor Recreation offers. She holds a bachelor's degree from The University of South Dakota in History and Anthropology and a master's degree from New Mexico State University in Anthropology.

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Darien Fernandez

Conservation Program Director, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps & Town of Taos Councilor

Darien was born and raised in Taos, New Mexico. As Program Director for the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps he leads a team of young adults doing restoration and improvement work on our public lands. Integral to his work is helping participants develop interpersonal skills and commitment to public service. Darien has been a Councilor with the Town of Taos since 2016 championing balanced economic development with preservation and conservation. When not keeping up with current affairs or writing, he can be found outdoors hiking, rafting, cycling, climbing, fly fishing, or backcountry skiing. In addition, he enjoys herding dinosaurs (raising chickens) and will one day finish restoring his vintage camper trailer.

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Paula Garcia

Executive Director, New Mexico Acequia Association

During two decades of her service, acequias in New Mexico have built a movement around the principle that water is life, agua es vida. Through her leadership, acequias have strengthened community self-determination through local water governance, have enacted policy reforms protecting rural, agricultural water rights, and have fought for clean water to flow in our rivers. With the NMAA team, she has also established innovative youth and leadership development projects and farm apprenticeships that seek to strengthen the next generation of farmers and ranchers who are caretakers of water, land, livestock, and native and heirloom seeds. With her family, Paula cares for a small ranch and traditional gardens characteristic of the subsistence agriculture of her ancestors.

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Stephanie Garcia Richard

New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands

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.

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Susan Gautsch

Owner/CEO of Free-to-Roam eBiking

Launched in 2021 in Albuquerque NM, Susan Gautsch is an avid eBike rider and advocate (ebikes and all bikes). Her goal and Free-to-Roam’s core purpose is to enable more enjoyable, sustainable & healthy recreation, mobility and active transportation through ebiking tours, rentals, fleet rentals, lease plans and curated rides for family/friends and business events.

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Sue George

Wild Friends

Sue George is a Senior Attorney at the University of New Mexico School of Law, Institute of Public Law, where she directs the Wild Friends program, a civics education program for youth focused on wildlife conservation. She is also an Endangered Species Advisor for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and an adjunct professor at the School of Law, teaching Wildlife Law. Prior to this, she served as Senior Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, where she co-authored numerous publications on state wildlife law issues, including ``Saving Biodiversity: State Laws, Policies and Programs`` and ``State Endangered Species Acts: Past, Present and Future.`` She also worked for the Western Environmental Law Center, as well as in a private firm where she focused on civil litigation and environmental issues. Sue is a 1988 graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she was a Lead Articles Editor for the Natural Resources Journal and earned a Natural Resources certificate.

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James Glover

Co-Director, Endeavor New Mexico

James Glover is the founder and co-director of endeavOR New Mexico, the state’s outdoor recreation business alliance. Glover is also a partner with Once a Day Marketing. His primary focus of is to guide strategic efforts to build thriving outdoor recreation economies. Glover is an advisor to the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division and a member of the State Outdoor Business Alliance Network (SOBAN). Glover lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is an avid mountain biker. His license plate reads: LUV2MTB

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Steve Harris

Founder of Far Flung Adventures

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 founder of the Taos-based river outfitting business, Far-Flung Adventures, and executive director of the basin-wide streamflow advocacy group, Rio Grande Restoration.

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Martin Heinrich

United States Senator

Elected in 2012, Martin Heinrich is a United States Senator for New Mexico. Heinrich serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Armed Services, Intelligence, and Joint Economic Committees. He is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy 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.

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John Kelly

Vice President of Operations, Taos Ski Valley

As VP of Operations John manages all on-mountain summer and winter operations. He also oversees the resort’s participation in its forest sustainability and fire mitigation work supporting the Rio Grande Water Fund partnership with The Nature Conservancy. John works to ensure all aspects of future mountain improvements and investments are done with the highest standards of environmental stewardship.

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Ilana Lapid

Filmmaker, Director of the Gila Film School, NMSU Professor

Ilana Lapid is a filmmaker and educator interested in telling stories of personal transformation, healing and environmental conservation. She holds a BA from Yale and an MFA from the University of Southern California. She has directed multiple award-winning short films, including “Red Mesa” and “La Catrina.” Her film “Yochi,” shot in Belize and dealing with the illegal wildlife trade, was Oscar qualified and played at over 30 film festivals around the world. Lapid and producer Kristi Drexler partnered with international NGOs to use the film for conservation education; “Yochi” was taken on screening tours across Central America, Brazil and Tunisia. Lapid is an Associate Professor at the Creative Media Institute of New Mexico State University, where she teaches directing, screenwriting and environmental filmmaking, and is building the Southern New Mexico Environmental Media Center.

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Teresa Leger Fernandez

Member of Congress, New Mexico 3rd Congressional District

Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández represents New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. In Washington, she holds a leadership role with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as Freshman Representative. Congresswoman Leger Fernández serves as chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States for the 117th Congress. She has also been appointed to the House Committee on Education and Labor, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the Committee on House Administration.
She is a 17th generation Northern New Mexican. Before coming to Congress, Leger Fernández worked as an attorney and advocate, and won important legal battles to advance voting rights, promote tribal sovereignty, and protect our environment and acequia waters. She has helped secure nearly a billion dollars for, and then helped build, schools, rural health clinics, broadband, businesses, affordable housing and critical infrastructure for New Mexico.

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Pascual Maestas

Mayor of Taos

Pascual Maestas is a graduate of Taos High School and a United States Navy Veteran. He earned a Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and International Studies from the University of South Florida and a graduate degree in Economics with a concentration in Public Utility Regulation from New Mexico State University. Mayor Maestas formerly taught mathematics and economics at Taos High School and worked at several nonprofits in Taos including Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and Dream Tree Project.

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Roman McCabe

San Juan College Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation

Originally from Tuba City, Arizona and a member of the Navajo Tribe, Roman moved to Farmington in 2012 and found his passion for education in the Outdoor Leadership Education & Recreation OLER Program. Before moving to Farmington, he was a wrestling coach and a Professional Rodeo Announcer, which he still does today. Experiential and Adventure Education has changed his life and created the opportunity for a career in the outdoor industry and opportunities of access for others. At San Juan College Roman oversees the High Endeavors Challenge Course, Outdoor Equipment Rental Center, Indoor Climbing Wall, a 27 Basket Disc Golf Course, miles of walking trails around campus, and programming for the college as well as the surrounding communities.

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Laura McCarthy

State Forester of New Mexico

Laura is the 11th State Forester and the first woman to take on the role since joining the New Mexico Forestry Division in 2019. Ms. McCarthy holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment. She started her career as a wildland firefighter for the USDA Forest Service and later transitioned through forestry-related positions with the Forest Trust and Forest Stewards Guild. Ms. McCarthy most recently served as the Nature Conservancy’s Senior Policy Advisor for Forest and Fire Management and as associate state director for the Nature Conservancy’s New Mexico office.

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Jacquelene McHorse

Cofounder of Bison Star Naturals

Bison Star Naturals, located in Taos, New Mexico, is a family run body care company built from the ground up. Jacquelen manages the company's wholesale accounts, social media marketing campaigns, website development & maintenance, and other components of building a brand. Jacquelene has worked to get Bison Star's lotion line into locations including Yellowstone National Park, the Albuquerque International Sun Port and other locations around the Nation. Connect with her on social media and check out the #BisonStarBuild to see how a small, family business from New Mexico is expanding.

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Howie Morales

Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico

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.

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Angelisa Espinoza Murray

CEO of Heritage Inspirations and Inspired Guide

After the culmination of Angelisa’s life’s experience in the field and in this state, she has cultivated Heritage Inspirations LLC, New Mexico’s Premier Travel Company. Composed of a tribe of similar heartfelt folks who have rooted themselves to New Mexico, the H.I. family prides itself on cultural relevance, being relational and localized, honoring the Earth, and trailblazing New Mexico’s spirit. The tours she has developed are about unveiling the other truths that are often not known or seen, like the wild diversity of alpine mountains saturated in aspens, pines, and wildflowers meadows, while only 30 miles to the west the land is painted in oranges, pinks, reds, and whites. Monumental rocks and earth are layered and stacked, eroded, and split open - just awaiting the artist’s canvas.

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Tahlia Natachu

Zuni Pueblo (She/Her) Executive Director, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project

Tahlia Natachu is from Zuni Pueblo and her clans are dakkya:kwe (frog) deyan yadokkya:kwe awan cha'le (child of the sun). After receiving her Masters in Education from Portland State University, she returned to her hometown of Zuni to teach 7th grade language arts. She loved the youth and the classroom but knew there were foundational needs beyond academics. The opportunity to work for Zuni Youth Enrichment Project has allowed Tahlia to foster the growth, resilience, and holistic wellness of Zuni youth through engaging programs that are rooted in the strengths of Zuni culture. Being a ZYEP summer camp counselor when she was in high school, Tahlia feels honored to work for the organization that supported her to strive for her goals as she grew up. She feels a deep sense of responsibility to continue the ZYEP tradition of providing high quality activities and caring mentors to youth. Tahlia would not be able to do this work if it weren't for her son, partner, family, ZYEP team, her mentors, and the Zuni community.

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Johanna Nelson

Strategic Programs Manager, New Mexico Economic Development Department

Johanna is a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and is a past fellow with the Council of Development Finance Authorities. She holds an MBA in Organizational Development and a BS in Industrial Technology and Design. She has owned several small businesses and currently operates an ecommerce business in her spare time. Johanna in an avid outdoor enthusiast, having worked as a river guide and is an avid long-distance runner.

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Axie Navas

Director of the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division

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.

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Candyce O’Donnell

Taos County Commission Chair

In Commissioner O’Donnell’s two terms in office she has built relationships with forest officials, representatives of land grant, Picuris Pueblo, and traditional communities. Many residents of Taos County depend on the forest for heating homes and benefit from tourism dollars generated by the outdoor recreation economy. The Taos County Commission was the first in the nation to approve a Good Neighbor Agreement with the Forest Service.

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Theresa Pasqual

Project Manager for the Chaco Heritage Tribal Association (CHTA)

Theresa Pasqual is the Project Manager for the Chaco Heritage Tribal Association (CHTA) and former Acoma Historic Preservation Director. She led a multi-Tribal nomination of 400,000 square acres of Mt. Taylor as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) to the NM Register of Historic Places. Its listing, upheld by the NM Supreme Court, remains an example of community empowerment, strategic coalition building, and elevating voice that has become a template for other such designations. Theresa continues to work in the areas of preservation policy and law while assisting Tribes with protecting their cultural heritage and traditional resources. Ms. Pasqual is the Board President of Conservation Voters New Mexico, an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a 2014 W. K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellow.

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Christopher Ramirez

Co-Founder & Executive Director of Together for Brothers

Christopher brings an extensive amount of anti-racism, community organizing, consulting, facilitation, fundraising and strategic planning. Building power with YMOC and making space at decision making tables are core values he lifts up at T4B. He serves on the Governor's Advisory Council on Racial Justice Public Safety & Law Enforcement Subcommittee.

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Alyssa Renwick

Deputy Director, New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division

Alyssa came to the Outdoor Recreation Division from the New Mexico Department of Health’s Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity program where she assisted in providing technical assistance to communities across the state to increase opportunities for physical activity through increased outdoor recreation and active transportation. Alyssa holds a bachelor’s degree in biological and evolutionary psychology from Penn State University and a master’s degree in public health with a focus in physical activity and public health from the University of South Carolina.

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Jen Schroer

Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Tourism

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.

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Tallie Segel

Director of Strategy of Environmental Education of New Mexico

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tallie has 20 years of experience as an environmental educator, her work spans youth and adult conservation education programs, community-based science, wilderness expeditions, and more. She’s committed to anti-racist and anti-oppressive education practices that celebrate cultural and community relationships to the land, biological diversity and how those relationships foster possibilities for a more just and sustainable future. In her work as Director of Strategy at EENM, Tallie combines her background in programs, her experience in research, and her value for collaboration to track the impact of our community generated strategy to support every kid in New Mexico accessing daily outdoor and environmental learning opportunities. Tallie has a B.A. in Ecology and French from the University of Denver and M.A. in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University.

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Ilona Spruce

Tourism Director for Taos Pueblo

Ilona Spruce comes from Taos Pueblo in New Mexico and currently serves as Tourism Director. As director, she handles the business side of the only living Native American community, which is also a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark, and oversees policy, planning, and marketing. She ensures tourism at Taos Pueblo remains respectful and culturally sensitive, and in so doing promotes the economic development and sustainability of her people. To learn more see: www.taospueblo.com

speakers-2022-Naoma Staley

Naoma STaley (they/them)

Executive Director, Red River Chamber of Commerce

The Red River Chamber of Commerce, serves the greater Enchanted Circle in Taos County from Questa to Eagle Nest & Angel Fire. Naoma is is a strategic planner, qualitative researcher, artist, and LGBT person who loves the outdoors and deeply values community, partnership, supporting one another, creative solutions to challenges, and careful stewardship of resources. They have worked as a shovelbum doing cultural resource management archaeology; served as a Student Conservation Association volunteer with the National Park Service's Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance program East of the River in Anacostia in Washington DC; worked in transportation planning; and has over a decade’s experience in strategic planning; nonprofit leadership; qualitative research; and business consultancy.

speakers-2022-Melanie Stansbury

Melanie Stansbury

Member of Congress, New Mexico 1st Congressional District

Born and raised in New Mexico, Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury leads with determination and compassion. She has dedicated her career to finding solutions to water issues, poverty, and climate change — representing New Mexico in the Legislature and now in Congress. She is a champion of efforts to address hunger, food, and water insecurity, conservation and climate change, and economic development and recovery. Stansbury worked in communities across the state as a STEM educator, researcher on land and water issues, and served as a former staffer in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the White House Office of Management and Budget. As the Congresswoman from New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, she is working hard to lift up the voices of our communities and tackle our biggest challenges— from economic development, to food and water security, to climate change.

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Lucy Stanus

Clean and Beautiful Program Coordinator with the New Mexico Tourism Department

Lucy’s role is to support communities in implementing successful litter eradication, waste reduction, and community beautification initiatives by managing the Clean and Beautiful grant program, providing technical assistance to community leaders, and developing state-wide campaigns to Keep New Mexico True. Prior to her role at the Tourism Department, Lucy worked both as a First Grade Teacher in Crownpoint, NM and as a collection worker in the special-event industry, diverting waste at over 25 outdoor music festivals across the United States. Her areas of expertise include solid waste management, elementary education, climate change adaptation, and biocultural heritage tourism.

speakers-2022-Jeff Steinborn

Jeff Steinborn

Executive Director of Outdoor New Mexico

As the Executive Director of Outdoor New Mexico, Jeff works with a diverse group of stakeholders to encourage protection and sustainable outdoor recreation within New Mexico’s diverse public lands. He helped lead the successful campaign to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and as a State Legislator, authored legislation creating the Rio Grande Trail and the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division.

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Toby Velasquez

Director, New Mexico State Parks Division

A native of Mora, New Mexico, Toby Velasquez has worked for the State of New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department - State Parks Division for over 23 years. Toby started as a summer Seasonal Laborer in high school and college and was hired as a Park Ranger after college. Toby went on to serve as Park Manager, Northeast Regional Manager, Chief of Law Enforcement and Boating Safety, and Deputy Director. Toby has served on national, regional, and local non-profit executive boards, and was the first New Mexican, first Hispanic, and youngest elected President of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Toby also served as a two-term President of the Western States Boating Administrators Association. In 2015, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson appointed Toby to the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, Toby was reappointed in 2016 and has received three Public Service Commendations for his service.

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Stuart Wilde

Founder and Expedition Guide, Wild Earth Llama Adventures

Naturalist, wilderness guide, and conservation advocate, Stuart Wilde has spent the last 25 years with a trusty crew of eco-friendly pack llamas, leading groups of people from around the world, to explore and enjoy New Mexico’s pristine wilderness landscapes. Stuart is the head expedition guide for Wild Earth Llama Adventures, based out of Taos.

Stuart is a celebrated outdoor educator, offering visitors and adventure travelers a unique experience, that combines hiking in stunning high desert and Rocky Mountain wilderness with hands-on demonstrations and interpretation about local ecology, edible and medicinal plants, wilderness skills, regional/natural history; and gourmet food. His original brand of outdoor adventure earned his company a spot on Trip Advisor’s List of Top Ten Tours in America.
A passionate advocate for the protection of New Mexico’s public wild lands, Stuart is a core member of a local grassroots coalition that works with local community members, conservation organizations, elected officials, and federal agencies, to protect and preserve New Mexico’s natural and cultural heritage, for future generations.