Board Members

Rich Csenge

A professional furniture craftsman and owner of Joy in Wood Furniture Makers since 1979, Rich has a passion for selfless service and a deep appreciation for the natural world. He is President and Founding Director of Amazing Earthfest, a nonprofit organization founded in 2009, producing an annual educational, arts and outdoor adventure festival celebrating National and State Parks, Forests, Monuments and Public Lands of the American West. To help conserve the matchless cultural, scientific, wildlife and recreational resources on federal lands in southern Utah, he served on the Board of Trustees for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, friends group for the National Monument, from 2008 through 2017. He and his wife Debra relocated to Kanab, Utah, from Maine in 2007 to live an active outdoor lifestyle, discover and enjoy America’s public lands, and contribute to the culture and emerging identity of their chosen community. Rich is founder and President of the Stellar Vista Observatory, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of a public educational astronomical observatory in Kanab. To preserve the exceptional natural darkness in his chosen community and beyond, Rich led a successful community effort to write and enact a comprehensive night sky friendly outdoor lighting ordinance, adopted by the City of Kanab in 2017, to become the 3rd city in the state of Utah to codify preservation for its starry sky resources.

Debra Csenge

Debra Csenge writes, paints, and gardens in Kanab, Utah. She left her former home in Maine over 10 years ago, and now hikes the trails of southern Utah. She holds a bachelor’s degree in studio art which she received as a “non-conventional” student in 2004 at the University of Maine in Portland/Gorham. She has worked as a self-employed furnituremaker and upholsterer, for the outdoor company LL Bean in Freeport, Maine, and as a library assistant at Kanab City Library. She now thoroughly enjoys her retirement. She is the owner-director of the Adobe Studio and Gallery in Kanab, and is a member of Willow Wind Poets, a branch of the Utah State Poetry Society.

Steve Hogseth

Steve graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1967, with a degree in mechanical engineering.  His career encompassed roles in mechanical design, project/systems management, and departmental management. The core of his business experiences were within the transport refrigeration, plastics processing machinery, and supercomputer industries. From his youth, Steve has always had a love for exploring, respecting, and caring for the wonders of nature.  His passion for protecting Mother Nature accelerated the more he witnessed the abuse bestowed upon her, and he became more active in speaking out and taking action.  Soon after moving to Kanab in 2011, Steve’s hiking and hands-on educational experiences within the high country desert of America’s southwest further broadened his understanding and appreciation of our planet’s delicate ecological web. With that he  quickly became involved as a volunteer for Amazing Earthfest, eventually serving on the Board as Treasurer. Steve and his wife Jeanne returned to their Wisconsin roots in 2018, where he has become involved in assisting and promoting environmental causes within west central Wisconsin. Steve continues to serve on the board of directors for Amazing Earthfest.

Maida Rust Withers

Born in Kanab, Utah (1936), the youngest of 8 children, descendants from American settlers in what became Boston, 1620, and immigrant pioneers to Utah, 1850.  Her father, Woodruff Rust, and grandfather, Will Rust, built the Kaibab Lodge (V-T Ranch), 10 miles, from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, in their endeavor to mix tourism and nature – a love of the Earth that would influence Maida’s dedication to dance and the environment in years to come. Maida has been a member of the AE Board since the early founding.  She earned her BA in dance and theatre at Brigham Young University and her MA in dance at the University of Utah.  As Founding Artistic Director, Maida has created a significant body of work for the internationally recognized Maida Withers Dance Construction Company (1974) – over 100 dances of breadth and vision Maida and the Company have collaborated on projects and toured to over 20 countries.  Maida began creating dances about the environment in 1980.  She added the United Nation’s Earth Summit, Eco ’92, with 100 artists for ecology.  Her dances, interactive works driven by social and political consciousness, have featured loudspeakers, laser beams, wireless cameras, cyber worlds, video installations, video feedback, always with original music created and performed live. Maida is a distinguished professor at The George Washington University in Washington, DC where she has created and directed BA, MFA and MA programs in dance.  She is the mother of four adult children and two Russian grandchildren.

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Southern Utah’s 13th Amazing Earthfest teams up with Parry Lodge in 2019 to offer it’s week-long series of award-winning documentary films in the Old Barn Playhouse with a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet supper prepared by Chef Mike Cooper at Parry Lodge…

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