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Jeff Arterburn

 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.


Phil Connors

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.

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Allen Denoyer

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

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.

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Sinjin Eberle

Sinjin Eberle, based in Durango, Colorado, is the Intermountain West Communications Director for the national nonprofit, American Rivers.

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Tony Estrada

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

Mike Fugagli is an ornithologist and naturalist with extensive experience in documenting and tagging birds in the Gila Valley

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Steve Harris

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. 

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Alex Mares

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. 

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Carol Martin

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.     

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Dave Menzie

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

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

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

.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

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.

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Tim Palmer

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  


Denielle Perry

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. 


Joe Saenz

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. 


Dutch Salmon

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.

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Karen Schollmeyer

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

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. 

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Photo: Alexis Knapp

Melissa Sevigny

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

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 Jeff Steinborn

Jeff Steinborn was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 2016 after serving in the House of Representatives District 35 from 2012-2016, and District 37 from 2006-2010.  He serves as the Vice Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, a member of the Public Affairs Committee, and is the Chair of the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Interim Committee. During his time in office, Jeff has passed a diverse range of legislation including protection of our water resources, allowing 17 year olds to vote in primary elections, and establishment of the statewide Rio Grande Trail.  He has been a champion of the environment fighting to reform wildlife laws in New Mexico, outlaw coyote killing competitions, and expand the use of solar power on state buildings.

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Zoe Wolfe & Steven Shelendich

Zoe Wolfe, Artist, and Steven Shelendich, Architect, met in graduate school at the University of Hawaii and have made Silver City their home. They have collaborated on numerous projects including TIME: temporary installations made for the environment. Works have been commissioned by NM state foundation for the arts in Taos, and Carlsbad, and last year’s River festival highlighted “Sunburst, an Organic Mandala.”