People

Marcie Bidwell serves as Executive Director and landscape ecologist for Mountain Studies Institute. She has a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from University of Washington with a specialty in learning landscapes and community restoration. Marcie considers herself a hybrid designer-scientist working to infuse community collaborations with design thinking. She has eighteen years of leadership experience in natural resource management, climate adaptation, environmental science, and program development to achieve watershed health and environmental justice. Throughout her diverse professional experience, Marcie has worked with scientists and citizens to manage, design, and facilitate community-based projects for the restoration and management of public and private lands. Marcie is adept at integrating scientific findings into educational programs, natural resource management and decision making.

Katrina Blair began studying wild plants in her teens when she camped out alone for a summer to embrace a wild foods diet. She later wrote “The Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants of the San Juan Mountains” for her senior project at Colorado College. She completed a MA at John F Kennedy University in Orinda, CA in Holistic Health Education. She founded Turtle Lake Refuge in 1998, a non-profit whose mission is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands. Turtle Lake Refuge includes a wild local living foods café, sustainable education center and community farm. Katrina teaches permaculture and wild edible and medicinal classes locally and globally. She is author of several books including: Local Wild Life – Turtle Lake Refuge Recipes for Living Deep and The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival.

Kevin Bone was a professor of architecture at the Cooper Union from 1985 through 2018, teaching design, building technology and sustainability. During his time at Cooper he worked to integrate issues of environment into the curriculum and was the founding director of the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. Bone has published on architecture, infrastructure, energy and landscape. Those publications include; Lessons From Modernism, Environmental Design Considerations in Architecture, 1925-1970; The New York Waterfront, Evolution of the Port and Harbor; and Water-Works, the Architecture and Engineering of the New York City Water Supply. Bone is also a principal at Bone/Levine Architects. The practice works in architectural design, technical consulting and historic preservation. Bone is now working with the Wright-Ingraham Institute to develop small scale, experimental, educational initiatives.

Rebecca Clausen is a professor of Sociology and Human Services at Fort Lewis College. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program. She joined the college in 2008 from the University of Oregon, where she was a graduate teaching fellow in sociology and environmental studies. Clausen is an environmental sociologist whose research interests include the social drivers of environmental change, the political economy of global food systems, and marine fishery degradation. Her current research focuses on the social and emotional impacts of the 2015 Gold King Mine Spill to farming communities on the Navajo Nation. Dr. Clausen actively publishes her research in journals such as Sustainability and Society and Natural Resources. In 2015, Clausen co-authored and published The Tragedy of the Commodity: Oceans, Fisheries, and Aquaculture which contributed to defining a new field of Marine Sociology. She is a reviewer for several journals, including the American Sociological Review, Conservation Biology, and Sociology of Development.

Michael Ben-Eli is the founder of The Sustainability Laboratory, established in order to advance the concept of sustainability, expanding prospects and producing positive, life affirming impacts on people and ecosystems in all parts of the world. Prior to launching The Lab, Michael pioneered applications of systems thinking and cybernetics in management and organization, and has worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings. Michael is the author of the widely-acclaimed five core sustainability principles, and he is leading development of The Lab as a worldwide network of ecozone-based activity centers. In 2016, Michael was inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and recognized with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Frida Foberg is a Swedish community-oriented artist, architect and educator based in New York. She holds an MA in Architecture from Aarhus School of Architecture. Her work unfolds the space that flows between individuals and their contexts. By working with spatial elements encouraging interaction and reflection, she poses questions that explore the notion of self and others. Frida has served as the associate director of the non profit arts and education organization Arts Letters & Numbers where she worked with UNICEF, China Academy of Fine Art, Cooper Union, Big Picture Learning, Art Council Korea, Education Reimagined, Iowa State University, National Coalition Building Institute, and Youth fx, to develop interdisciplinary programs, creating a platform to rethink and expand the field of architecture, education and social awareness. Frida works actively with communities and organizations, holding space for the multitude of voices and their interactions.

Kirk Gordon is a landscape architect and graphic designer with a background in plant biology and zoology. His work focuses on the relationships between ecological wisdom and new technologies in imagining resilient futures. Kirk received his Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Virginia and currently works as a landscape designer at SCAPE Landscape Architecture in New York City. Kirk is an alumnus of the 2019 Field Stations workshop in Colombia.

Dr. Tim Haarmann is the ranch manager at the Banded Peak Ranch near Chromo, Colorado. Tim has over 20 years experience in natural resources management. He has a PhD from the University of New Mexico in Biology with an emphasis in Ecosystem Ecology. Before coming to the Banded Peak Ranch, Tim worked as Ranch Manager on the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico. He also worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and surrounding property as a resource manager responsible for projects in natural resources management and planning, wildlife management, and forest/fire management.

Ken Kassenbrock
C. Kenneth Kassenbrock, MD, PhD, is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Biology at Colorado State University, where he taught classes in Mycology, Cell Biology, and Human Genetics. Trained as a physician-scientist, Dr. Kassenbrock did post-doctoral work in molecular genetics with the brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and worked in cellular signal transduction and cancer biology at the University of Colorado Medical Center before moving to CSU. At CSU, mycology moved from a long-held passion to a central career focus, and Dr. Kassenbrock continues to give invited presentations on a range of mycological topics to both university and public audiences.

Jake Kurzweil, PhD is an ecohydrologist and the Associate Director of Water Programs at Mountain Studies Institute. His research focuses on creating climate resilient ecosystems and water supplies. Jake received his B.S. from the University of Oregon in both Environmental Science and Sociology and shortly after began a career in environmental stewardship. Jake worked as a science educator, ornithologist, and natural resource program manager before returning for his master’s and PhD in Hydrologic Science and Engineering at Colorado School of Mines (Mines). Jake’s research has included creating and implementing monitoring protocols for freshwater springs, understanding the observed hydrologic response to wildfire mitigation, and modeling possible impacts of climate and forest change on hydrologic systems. Jake has expertise in watershed and snow science, statistical analysis, computer modeling, geospatial and remote sensing analysis, and wetland ecology. Jake is also incredibly passionate about community outreach and STEM education. Jake is currently an adjunct professor at Fort Lewis College teaching Environmental Studies.

Dr. Melinda Laituri is a professor emeritus of geography in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University. She is the Founding Director of the Geospatial Centroid at CSU that provides support for geospatial research and teaching across the university. She is a Fulbright Scholar having taught GIS at the University of Botswana and conducted research in the Center for Scientific Research, Indigenous Knowledge, and Innovation on participatory mapping and conservation planning. Professor Laituri is a Rachel Carson Fellow for Environment and Society at the Ludwig Maximillian University, Munich. Laituri is a founding member of the Center for Environmental Justice. She is a visiting scientist at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. Professor Laituri taught at CSU’s Mountain Campus – an in-residence, four-week, field-based, experiential learning course providing instruction on watershed science and field-data collection tools. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona in Geography and held a three-year tenure track position at University of Auckland, New Zealand before joining Colorado State University.

David W. Orr is Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus and senior advisor to the president of Oberlin College. He is a founding editor of the journal Solutions, and founder of the Oberlin Project, a collaborative effort of the city of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of Oberlin. While at Oberlin, he spearheaded the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past 30 years,” and as “one of 30 milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy and was instrumental in funding the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center. Orr is the author of eight books, including Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward (Yale, 2016) and Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009) and coeditor of three others. He has authored over 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. In the past 25 years, he has served as a board member or advisor to eight foundations and on the boards of many organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Currently he is a trustee of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and the Children and Nature Network.

Emma Podietz recently graduated with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Maryland. Her research and professional interests include the integration of ecological science and landscape architecture. Her masters thesis focused on the application of ecological succession theory to the long-term design and management of urban parks and forests. Before earning her MLA, she studied art, environmental studies, Latin American studies, and Geographic Information Systems and worked in the bicycle industry for several years.

Chip Thomas, aka jetsonorama, is a photographer, public artist and physician who has been working in a small clinic on the Navajo Nation since 1987. There he coordinates the Painted Desert Project which he describes as a community building dialog which manifests as a constellation of murals painted by artists from the Navajo Nation as well as from around the world. Thomas’ own public artwork consists of enlarged black and white photographs pasted onto structures along the roadside primarily on the Navajo Nation. His motivation is to reflect back to the community the love they’ve shared with him over the years. Thomas was a 2018 Kindle Project gift recipient and in 2020 he was one of a handful of artists chosen by the UN to recognize the 75th anniversary of the UN’s founding. Selected artists are to generate work that contributes to the envisioning and shaping of a more resilient and sustainable future. The UN writes “…Right now we are facing the greatest health challenge to the human race in a century. COVID-19 has revealed that a virus can affect not only our physical health but also our ability to cope with the psychological impact in its wake.” Thomas spent 2021 working collaboratively to create art that is a community based in response to the pandemic.

Cliff Villa
On the faculty of the University of New Mexico School of Law, Prof. Cliff Villa teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional rights, environmental law, and environmental justice. He also serves as a supervising attorney in the UNM clinical law program. Before joining UNM, Cliff spent more than 20 years as an EPA attorney, through offices in Washington, D.C., Denver, Colorado, and Seattle, Washington. Cliff is the author of a number of professional journal articles and the co-author of two textbooks: Environmental Justice: Law, Policy and Regulation (3rd ed. 2020); and A Practical Introduction to Environmental Law (2017). Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cliff graduated summa cum laude from UNM with a B.A. in English and economics and he received his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Margaux Wheelock-Shew is an educator and designer based out of Massachusetts. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, focusing on the rethinking of typology through a sociohistorical context. Before that, she spent several years working at Diller Scofidio and Renfro in New York City. Her undergraduate thesis at the Cooper Union focused on rethinking the social landscapes of labor. There, she pursued a research fellowship to examine the link between the anthropocenic desire for oil, water, and land in the former alluvial flood plains in Kern Country, California. She has taught courses in architecture at the Cooper Union and as an ACE mentor to NYC public high school students.

Chili Yazzie
Chili is Diné from Shiprock, Navajo Nation. He served his community and the Navajo Nation for 45 years in various administrative and elective offices from the local level to the Navajo Nation central government level. He states his credentials as Grandpa, Farmer and Earth Defender. His life has been one of activism advocating for Indigenous civil and human rights. He works as Director with the TOOHNII BINANEESTˀĄˀ AŁTAASˀÉÍ ALLIANCE, Inc. (ToohBAA). Chili is greatly concerned with the health of our Earth Mother and the condition of the planet we leave our grandchildren into the future.