Jeff Arterburn has been flyfishing since his childhood in Colorado, and has lived and fished throughout the southwest for over thirty years. He’s been a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at New Mexico State University since 1992. He is an active board member of the Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers and is the founder and president of the Gila/Rio Grande Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Since 2010, the chapter has had a strong commitment to our native Gila and Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout.
Philip Connors has written about the outdoors for a wide range of publications. A river runner, Connors knows the Gila River intimately. He spends his summers as a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest, an experience that gives him ample time to reflect on the meaning and promise of public land, the Gila National Forest, and the Gila River. He is the author of Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. His newest book, A Song for the River, about the future of the Gila River and the people who love it, will be published in August 2018.
Allen has been working as a professional archaeologist in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains since the early 1990s. A skilled replicator of ancient artifacts, his replicas are used in classrooms, colleges, and universities, and his work has appeared on the television show Mythbusters.
Doug Dexter has been riding horses since he was in junior high. A member of the Gila Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico, he enjoys recreational trips into the Gila National Forest and also works to maintain trails for the benefi t of riders and hikers.
Sinjin Eberle, based in Durango, Colorado, is the Intermountain West Communications Director for the national nonprofit, American Rivers.
Tony Estrada is a Navajo filmmaker who started in the industry as an assistant director on indie features and shorts. Now he directs and produces original content through his New Mexico-based production company, Wild Horse Films.
Mike Fugagli is an ornithologist and naturalist with extensive experience in documenting and tagging birds in the Gila Valley
Steve Harris is the Executive Director of Rio Grande Restoration, a nonprofit working to return the Rio Grande to health by providing an improved flow regime of high quality water. He gives presentations about Rio Grande issues, current and historic, around the state. Harris also has decades of experience leading river trips, and is intimately familiar with the Rio Grande and Gila River. In 2016, he received a Forest Service award for Wild and Scenic River stewardship.
Alex Mares is a Park Ranger and Interpreter of Diné and Mexican ancestry who has led several rock art field trips for previous Gila River Festivals, each time receiving rave reviews. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition. He is a member of the Accession Committee for the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, and previously served for 15 years as the lead ranger for the world-renowned rock art site known as Hueco Tanks State Historic Site. He still serves there as a Certified Volunteer Guide.
Carol Martin has lived in Silver City full time since 2013. She has worked for California State Parks and the National Park Service with habitat restoration inSan Diego coastal environments. Her interests include native plants, gardening, hiking, and sharing the Continental Divide Trail with friends. Since 2010, Carol has been part of a team monitoring a tracking transect in the Burro Mountains for Sky Island Alliance.
Dave Menzie is a Professional Geologist. For 18 years, he was a Mining/Geological Engineering Specialist with the New Mexico Environment Department Surface Water Quality Bureau Watershed Protection Section in Silver City. In his retirement, Dave is the Quality Assurance Officer for the Silver City Watershed Keepers. He usually carries at least one rock in his pocket.
Linda Moore Lee
Linda retired from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park after 30 years as a biologist working directly with the animals. She volunteered her time banding and rehabilitating raptors while in the East, and currently works as a fi eld biologist during the summer months conducting surveys of Southwestern willow flycatchers, yellow-billed cuckoos, and common blackhawks in the Gila River Valley.
Steve Morgan is a naturalist, educator, and landscape architect focused on retaining and recreating natural habitat. He has called the wilds of the Southwest his home for 44 years.
Patrice Mutchnick, MS, is a botanist, educator, and founder of the organization, Heart of the Gila. Patrice has worked in the forests of New England, Washington, Guatemala and Guayana, South America. Her work in the Gila since 2006 has focused on the conservation of rare and sensitive plant species. Patrice manages a data collection program for Monarch Butterfly migration in the Gila as part of the Butterfly Way Restoration Project and recently worked as biologist with a tamarisk eradication effort in the Gila Wilderness. She resides in the village of Gila Hot Springs, at the headwaters of the Gila River.
.Nathan Newcomer began working with New Mexico Wild (New Mexico Wilderness Alliance) in 2002. He is currently the Gila Grassroots Organizer for NM Wild and has 16 years of experience working on wilderness campaigns in the state. A fifth generation New Mexican, Newcomer is no newcomer.
Adrian Oglesby has worked as a water attorney for many years. He has focused on river and riparian restoration, agricultural preservation, efficient water management, governmental accountability, and fish and wildlife conservation. He has advised irrigation districts, acequias, pueblo and tribal governments, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, farmers, environmental organizations and local water providers. He is currently the Director of the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the UNM School of Law.
Tim Palmer is the award winning author and photographer of 26 books and has been the featured speaker at annual conferences of dozens of national, statewide, and local river conservation groups, plus professional water resource organizations, colleges, and universities. He has canoed or rafted on 400 rivers nationwide and was named one of the ten greatest river conservationists of our time and one of the 100 great paddlers of the century by Paddler magazine. See Tim's work at www.timpalmer.org.
Denielle Perry is an Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University’s School of Earth and Sustainability. She worked for many years as a rafting guide on the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande and Rio Chama in northern New Mexico. She says "It’s no secret that I love water. This passion fuels my research in how environmental institutions and values influence both the development and conservation of water resources, as well as the socio-ecological implications of these often competing agendas.
Outfitter Joe Saenz, owner of Wolfhorse Outfitters, is of Chihe ́ne (Warm Springs Apache) ancestry and is part of the Red Paint Tribal Council. He has extensive guiding experience in horseback and backpacking expeditions throughout the American Rocky Mountains including Canada, Mexico’s Sierra Madre, and Alaska’s Brooks Range.
M.H. Dutch Salmon moved to southwest New Mexico from northwest Minnesota in 1979. For more than 40 years he lived and hunted with a pack of 6 to 10 hounds and he still has too many fishing rods. He has served on both the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission. Dutch founded the Gila Conservation Coalition in 1984 and has authored 10 books.
Dr. Schollmeyer’s archaeological research includes studying long-term human-environment interactions, and food security. She is also interested in how archaeologists’ long-term insights can be applied to contemporary issues in conservation and development.
Todd Schulke is a co-founder, and senior staff for the Center for Biological Diversity. He has been involved in river and forest protection and restoration in the Southwest for over 25 years.
Melissa Sevigny is the author of Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest. She has worked as a science communicator in the fields of water policy, sustainable agriculture, and planetary science, and is currently the Science & Technology Reporter for KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Sonnie Sussillo moved here from metropolitan DC in 2008, and retired from a federal agency in 2013. One reason she chose Silver City was to enjoy and explore the Gila National Forest. She has become involved in a number of activities in the Gila, including wildlife tracking and documentation for Sky Island Alliance and supporting New Mexico Wild in wilderness inventory.
Senator Tom Udall (invited)
Tom Udall 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. Born to Stewart and Lee Udall in Tucson, Arizona, on May 18, 1948, Tom's roots in New Mexico are deep. His grandmother Louise Lee was born in Luna, New Mexico, during territorial days and was part of a ranching family in what is now Catron County.Tom earned his undergraduate degree at Prescott College and obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated from the University of New Mexico Law School in 1977. Tom then served as a Law Clerk to Chief Justice Oliver Seth of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and became a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's criminal division. As Chief Counsel to the New Mexico Department of Health and Environment, he also fought for stronger environmental and health protections.