Amazing Earthfest Presenters

Amazing Earthfest

Amazing Earthfest is a 501c3 nonprofit organization based in Kanab, Utah, established in 2007 to produce an annual public festival celebrating National and State Parks, National Forests, Monuments and Public Lands of the Colorado Plateau.

Our educational festival brings enjoyment and learning opportunities to residents and visitors while enhancing community and economic resilience in Kane County, Utah. Thousands attend from across the nation and internationally.

Autumn Gillard

Administrative Support Assistant (OA), Pipe Spring National Monument
Autumn Gillard is part Southern Paiute, descending from the Cedar Band of Paiutes from the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah on her maternal side. She currently works at Pipe Spring National Monument as the administrative assistant, and has spent some of her time at Pipe Spring also working as an interpretive park Ranger. Autumn graduated from Southern Utah University, where she majored in Anthropology, and minored in Psychology. Autumn currently attends New Mexico Highlands University where she is studying the CRM masters program. She has been working at Pipe Spring for the last five years dedicating her work to the interpretive and administrative divisions. Some of her work has concentrated on Native American history, specifically the Ancestral Puebloan and Southern Paiute connection to the Monument. Autumn authored the application submitted by Pipe Spring National Monument to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for designation as a Dark Sky Park in the spring of 2021. 

Backroads West

At BackRoadsWest & Virtual Tours West, we offer virtual tours of stunning places to visit, plus we will create virtual tours to match your specifications.

Blake Spalding

Co-chef-owner of Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm
Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, the chef-owners at Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, were announced as nominees/finalists for best chefs in the Mountain Region by the James Beard Awards for the 2020 season! Jen & Blake were also semi-finalists for Best Chefs in the Southwest in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Approaching their 23rd season, the restaurant enjoys one of the highest Zagat ratings in Utah and was selected as a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant. 

Brenden Rensink

Associate Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies; Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University

Brenden W. Rensink (Ph.D., 2010) is Associate Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and an Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University. For 2020-2023 he is the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Young Scholar for the FHSS College at BYU. His recent monograph, Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands (Connecting the Greater West Series, Texas A&M University Press, 2018), won the 2019 Spur Award for Best Historical Nonfiction Book. His co-edited anthology, Essays on American Indian and Mormon History (University of Utah Press, 2019), won the 2019 Metcalfe Best Anthology Book Award from the John Whitmer Historical Association. Rensink is also co-editor of Documents Vol. 4and Documents Vol. 6 of the award-winning Joseph Smith Papers project (Church Historians Press, 2016, 2017), co-author of the Historical Dictionary of the American Frontier (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and author multiple articles, book chapters, and reviews. Rensink helps manage events, programming, awards, and research at the BYU Redd Center. He created and directs two ongoing public history initiatives for the Redd Center: serving as the Project Manager and General Editor of the Intermountain Histories digital public history project and as the Host and Producer of the Writing Westward PodcastHe is currently editing a collection of essays on 21st-Century West History, working on projects on transnational Indigenous histories, a monograph on cultural and environmental history of Western American wilderness experience, and multiple local environmental and photography projects in the San Rafael Swell, broader Great Basin, and along the Wasatch Front. Prof. Rensink can be found online at or


Bureau of Land Management (BLM)- Paria River District

Paria River District manages 2.3 million acres of Federal land in Southern Utah encompassing both Kane and Garfield Counties, providing multiple-use opportunities for both commercial and personal recreation, livestock grazing and mining in order to support both local and regional economies.

On Oct. 8, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation 10286 modifying the boundaries for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which restored the original Monument boundaries that were established in 1996, and by default, decreased the number of acres managed by the Kanab Field Office (KFO). This proclamation adds detail to 1) identification of Monument objects and values, and 2) procedures for their preservation, restoration, and protection.

The Bureau is providing interim guidance regarding management of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This interim monument management direction will provide direction on the stewardship of these lands during the public planning effort, pending approval of a monument management plan and associated environmental impact statement, in compliance with the Presidential Proclamation. The interim guidance memorandum can be viewed on the BLM website.

BYU Charles Redd Center for Western Studies


Mission Statement: The mission of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies is to promote the study of the Intermountain West by sponsoring research, publication, teaching, and public programs in a variety of academic disciplines including history, geography, soiology, anthropology, politics, economics, religious studies, literature, art, folklore, range science, forestry, popular cultures, and others.

Cassidy Jones

Senior Outreach & Engagement Manager, Southwest Region, National Parks Conservation Association
Cassidy Jones is a former park ranger and current professional park advocate. As Southwest Outreach and Engagement Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), she connects people to the civic process of protecting parks. A lifelong Utahn, the Utah parks hold a special place in Cassidy’s heart, and she works on various issues to keep them protected, including dark sky preservation and visitation management. 
NPCA’s Southwest region includes the Four Corners states. Climate change has an outsized effect in these arid, snowfall-dependent states in the Colorado River Watershed, and the parks of the Southwest are especially threatened. Cassidy and her team work to minimize harm to parks and people from activities based in the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels. Additionally, Cassidy conducts workshops to help people communicate their concerns about climate change to decision makers and the public. 

Clucking It Up Farmstead

Welcome to Clucking It Up Farmstead, a charming family owned farm, nestled in the heart of Southern Utah founded and operated by Tracy and Steven Kvamme. Our farm is a labor of love, and a testament to our passion for sustainable agriculture. At Clucking It Up we believe in the importance of connecting people with the land, and providing them with fresh locally grown food. As a small scale operation, we take pride in our hands on approach to farming from planting and tending to harvesting. Every step of the process is carefully executed by Tracy and Steven. We prioritize the well-being of our crops and animals, ensuring that they are treated with the utmost care and respect. In addition to our commitment to sustainable farming, we also offer educational programs, CSA shares, and farm tours to inspire and educate the community about the importance of sustainable agriculture. We believe in fostering a connection between people and the food they consume, and we invite you to join us on the journey. So whether you're looking for fresh produce, a unique farm experience, or simply a place to unwind and reconnect with nature, Clucking It Up is the perfect destination. We invite you to visit us and experience the beauty and bounty of our farm firsthand.

Colter R. Davis

Department of Geosciences Instructor, Utah State University

Meet Colter R Davis, an enthusiastic Geology instructor with a passion for marine fossils. For nearly a decade, he has been igniting curiosity in the minds of students at Utah State University. Beyond the classroom, Colter finds joy in exploring the great outdoors with loved ones, where he shares his love for rocks and nature. Currently calling Kanab home, he embraces the abundant adventures the area offers.

Dave Lane


Featured in Time Magazine, the self-described unabashed astro-nut David Lane ranks among the top 5 astrophotographers in the world. Eleven of his mesmerizing images are archived on NASA’s informative website, Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Dave got involved with astro-photography by taking deep space images and has operated two automated remote observatories resulting in the unique perspective he brings to the craft which he calls “Milky-Way Fusion”, that is, blending deep space processing techniques with wide field Milky Way landscape images.

Dave serves as a trustee for Kanab's nonprofit Stellar Vista Observatory with other local residents who are working to bring about the creation of an educational astronomical observatory in Kanab, Utah, to foster public enjoyment and comprehension of the nights sky and learning opportunities for students at all levels.

Denise DeCoster & Ron Barclay

Bird enthusiasts and Amazing Earthfest supporters

Denise DeCoster and Ron Barclay are bird enthusiasts who enjoy birding the Western U.S. They live in Hailey Idaho and have participated in The Amazing Earth Festival for 8 years.   

Doug Crispin

Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim Seasonal Interpretive Ranger

Doug Crispin has been a park ranger for more than 50 years. His career began on a family vacation to the South Rim of Grand Canyon when he convinced his parents to leave him there for the summer so he could work as a bus boy at the El Tovar Hotel. After graduating college, Doug became a park ranger and met his wife. They were married at Shoshone Point on the South Rim. They moved to Oregon to raise their son where Doug worked a park ranger for Oregon State Parks. After retirement, Doug returned to the life of a seasonal interpretation ranger. He has worked in 15 national parks, including the last 5 seasons on the North Rim.

Erica Stone

Kanab resident, hike leader, BLM volunteer, and safety patrol for the Wave

Erica has been exploring the southwestern deserts of the US since 1988. She, her husband Jon, and their four-legged family, lived in Joshua Tree, California from 1998-2019. There she volunteered for Joshua Tree National Park in visitor services, and with the Desert Institute. While living there she also assisted her hiking partner, Kevin Powell, with the writing of his book "40 Classic Day Hikes of Joshua Tree National Park". In 2019, Erica and her family moved to Kanab to further explore the red deserts of southern Utah that they love so much. In between her own explorations, she now volunteers with the local Bureau of Land Management Office doing safety patrols at The Wave in northern Arizona.

Evvy Trujillo

Hopi farmer, artist and cultural knowledge-holder

Evvy is from the village of Mungapi near Tuba City, AZ, and has been creating pottery and weaving baskets for 28 years. Evvy was taught that everything she needs to create both pots and baskets is provided by Mother Earth. She says, “I am very grateful for each day and I try to always look for the positive in every situation. I respect Mother Earth and love where I live.”

Father Rick Sherman

Father Rick is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and a resident of Utah for 40 years. He has spent the better part of the last 20 years ministering in the Catholic parishes and missions of southern Utah. He has been an avid hiker, backpacker and "biker" throughout the west over the past 40 years. Currently, Father Rick resides at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Kanab, Utah.

Fredrick Swanson

Frederick H. Swanson is author and editor of five books on western U.S. history, including Dave Rust: A Life in the Canyons, which received the 2008 Utah Book Award. He is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and recipient of the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities.

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science, conservation, and education.

Great Old Broads for Wilderness- Chris Gorzalski

Women-led national grassroots organization

Great Old Broads for Wilderness is a women-led national grassroots organization that engages and inspires activism to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands.

As a women-led* organization, we bring knowledge, leadership, and humor to the conservation movement to protect our last wild places on earth.

* For Broads, the term “women” includes and represents anyone who self-identifies as a woman.

Learn more about the organization here:

Great Old Broads for Wilderness- Jane Stewart

Women-led national grassroots organization

As a women-led* organization, we bring knowledge, leadership, and humor to the conservation movement to protect our last wild places on earth.

* For Broads, the term “women” includes and represents anyone who self-identifies as a woman.

Learn more about the organization here:

Jenny Lowe

Yoga Instructor

Hello Earthfest lovers! I’m excited to share this journey with you as we discover some of Southern Utah’s treasures.  I live in Springville, Utah with my husband.  My own journey with yoga began in 2006 as I discovered its healing powers with my daughter, who had just gone through a very traumatic birth. W e studied with Linda Black in Alpine, Utah.  We fell deeply in love with what yoga brought into our lives and we both became certified instructors.  I have studied with remarkable teachers to learn Ashtanga yoga, Adaptive yoga, Yin Yoga, and some basic Ayurvedic ideas. I have also taught children’s yoga. My teachers were Linda Black, Celia Hemingway, Abigail Atkinson, Sarana Miller and Arun Deva.

I look forward to breathing together. The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste!

Joseph Sertich, PhD

Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Joe Sertich is a board member for the nonprofit organization Grandstaircase Escalante Partners and Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where his research focuses on Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and their ecosystems. His field-based work has taken him to many of the Gondwanan continents of the southern hemisphere, including multiple expeditions to Madagascar and Africa where he has worked on bizarre crocodiles and giant sauropod dinosaurs. Closer to home in the Rocky Mountain West, his research is focused on the ecology and evolution of dinosaurs during the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous. In addition to investigations into the latest-Cretaceous dinosaurs of Colorado, he leads the Laramidia Project, currently working to uncover dinosaur ecosystems in the Cretaceous of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and the Big Bend region of Texas.

Kathy Donnell

Park Ranger/Naturalist, Wasatch Mountain State Park

Kathy Donnell, originally from Denver, Colorado, moved to Utah after college and has worked for Utah State Parks since 1995. Kathy has had a passion for the outdoors all her life. As a little girl tromping through the snow in a full-body snowsuit all day long, she later participated in Outward Bound (OB) courses in Colorado. As a young adult, she led courses for OB in Florida and for the Wilderness Education Association in Saranac Lake, NY. Kathy followed her passion from being outside to teaching outside for Utah State Parks as a Park Ranger/Naturalist. Currently, Kathy works for Wasatch Mountain State Park and oversees park education/interpretive programs and non-motorized trails.

Early in her career, Kathy volunteered for Hawk Watch International handling non-releasable birds of prey and monitoring raptor nests. In 2008 she was able to house an injured Peregrine Falcon. In Oct of 2011 she adopted an injured female Great Horned owl and in Jan 2020 adopted a male Great Horned owl. She loves to share the birds with people while illustrating the importance of raptors in the ecosystem, how they contribute to a healthy planet, and exploring ways people of all ages can protect the future health and prosperity of raptor populations.

Kristen Francis

Assistant District Archaeologist, USDA Forest Service, Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab Ranger District

Kristen has played and worked in the southwest for years before taking a permanent position as assistant archaeologist on the North Kaibab Ranger District and moving to Kanab in 2023. As part of her work, she enjoys protecting and documenting archaeological sites, responding to forest fires as a Resource Advisor, assisting with the Site Steward Program, and seeing the Grand Canyon from as many angles as possible. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing and canyoneering, ceramic and fiber arts, and hanging out with animals.

Laurie Dameron

Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist

Billboard Magazine award recipient, Laurie Dameron, has been playing guitar for over 55 years, and singing even longer. She has performed at hundreds of venues in and out of Colorado over the past 30 years. Ms.Dameron has received many song writing awards including "What Can I Do? (to help this planet)" in the 2010 Tipperary World Peace Contest. In 2013 she passed the first round of “America's Got Talent.” Laurie has released three albums and is versatile with selections from folk, instrumental, pop, country, blues, and jazz. Her first album "Utah Dream" was inspired by over 20 visits to Utah since 1986. "Utah is truly my favorite spot on the planet!" Listen to the song here:

Dameron is also a lifetime environmental activist. Here is part of her story: "I was born south of Cleveland, Ohio, in the small town of Berea, near the Cuyahoga River, which used to catch on fire in the 1960s because it was so polluted. I remember doing art projects in 4th grade on those fires. Between that and growing up in the beautiful Midwest woods, connecting with nature and knowing the names of all the birds and trees, I’ve been deeply inspired to care about our beautiful planet Earth."

A link to Laurie's EPK (Electronic Press Kit):

Lisa Aedo

LDS Earth Stewardship Board Member

For as long as she can remember, Lisa Aedo has felt a deep love for nature and all living things. She grew up in Norway and Switzerland, and has lived in France, Peru, and various places in the United States. These experiences provide references for her work as a landscape designer and land planner for a development company in St. George, Utah, where she moved with her husband after completing a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Utah State University. In addition to design work, Lisa serves on the board of Latter-day Saint Earth Stewardship, a non-profit dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and conservation based on Latter-day Saint gospel principles. 

Maida Withers

Professor of dance at George Washington University, award winning choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker. 

Marc Coles-Ritchie

Ecologist for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Marc Coles-Ritchie, PhD, has been working in conservation for three decades, and currently is the ecologist and science coordinator for the BLM at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Previously Marc worked to monitor, protect and restore our public lands for Grand Canyon Trust, the US Forest Service and consulting firms. Marc is an expert in plant ecology and botany. Marc earned a Bachelor's degree in comparative literature (University of Massachusetts), a Master’s of environmental studies (Bard College in New York) and a PhD in ecology (Utah State University). 

Mark Mesle

Outreach Coordinator, Midwest Region, National Parks Conservation Association
Mark Mesle is the Midwest Outreach Coordinator for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). Through NPCA, he has worked with numerous universities to incorporate advocacy training into their environmental science curriculum. He also works with community partners and advocates to engage in civic action in support of Midwest national parks. Mark is a member of the NPCA climate team which has worked to develop NPCA’s national climate strategy. He took this position after several years of spending his days fighting for a healthy democracy and his nights and weekends volunteering to help people fight for a healthy planet. As the Outreach Director for the Cook County Clerk’s office, Mark worked throughout the Chicagoland area to promote voter registration and civic engagement. As a climate advocate, he organized dozens of presentations, trainings and events in support of climate action. 

Marshall R. Topham

Adjunct Environmental Science Professor at Utah Tech University

Marshall R. Topham was born and raised in Cedar City, Utah. He earned his Bachelors of Science (BS) degree at Southern Utah University with a major in Zoology and minors in Botany and Chemistry. He was recruited by the University of Hawaii in Honolulu HI where he serves as a graduate research assistant. He earned his master’s degree. His love for the desert and teaching brought him back to Nevada, then Arizona and now Utah.

Marshall earned a second Masters degree from Utah State University in Education Administration. An educator by profession, he taught and coached for twenty years and then served in school administration for another twenty years. He taught Advanced Placement (AP) Biology and AP Human Anatomy and Physiology. He has served as assistant principal and principal of Pine View High School, and as associate superintendent over secondary schools in Washington County School District in St. George, Utah. Marshall is currently an adjunct professor at Dixie State University (now Utah Tech) teaching Environmental Science 1010.

In addition to his employment Marshall has also been very active in community affairs. He served as the local biologist on the committee that created the Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan in the early 1990’s. He served as a member of the “Technical Advisory Committee” for the Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan and Red Cliffs Desert Reserve for 20 years. He has also a cofounder and has served on the Board of Directors for both Success Academy and Get Outside Corporation, a 501-C3 corporation that provides opportunity for youth to engage in outdoor activities and learn environmental ethics.

Over the years Marshall has served as a member of a number of “Advisory Boards” to include The SUU Science Department Advisory Board, The Intermountain Health Care Building Board, The Snow Canyon Master Plan Development Board, and The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Game Management Board, among others.

Matt Brown

Kanab business owner and community leader

Matt Brown has always been a builder. As a young boy he was always outdoors creating forts, underground huts or organizing neighborhood kids to build cities in the dirt. In his teens he worked on ranches and even lived by himself at age 17 for half summer fixing fence and tending to the herd. During these years he bought several cars, that are considered classics today, and completely restored them. In his adult life he’s always been his own boss creating several businesses. He has a passion for breathing new life into old buildings and designing and building new homes. For eight years he worked with Kane County helping to build hiking trails and promoting discovery of Kane County by foot. During this time he created the concept that is now the Kanab Center and oversaw its construction. He has also served in significant leadership positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and presently works alongside his wife, Julie, to collaborate with all faiths in the area to create community service projects and provide assistance to those in need.

Michael Terlep

District Archaeologist for the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest

Michael Terlep is the District Archaeologist for the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona. He earned his M.A. from Northern Arizona University in 2012. Michael’s previous positions include the state archaeologist for the Republic of the Marshall Islands Historic Preservation Office, fuels archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management-Salt Lake Field Office, and project manager for a cultural resource management firm. He studies the early agricultural transition and rock imagery in the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase regions of northern Arizona and southern Utah, as well as World War II conflict archaeology in Micronesia. (Credit: Crow Canyon Archeology Center)

National Parks Conservation Association

With more than 1.6 million members and supporters beside us, we are the voice of America’s national parks, working to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. We celebrate the parks — and work tirelessly to defend them — whether on the ground, in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill.  From our national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 27 locations nationwide, we call on our program and policy experts, committed volunteers, staff lobbyists, community organizers and communications specialists to inform and inspire the public and to influence decision makers to ensure that our national parks are well protected.

We’ve earned many hard-won victories together — but our national parks face new threats every day. Learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing our national parks, then use your voice to advocate on their behalf.

Nicole Milavetz

Nicole Milavetz, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Utah Organizer

Throughout her life the desert has been one of the most important landscapes on earth to her. She feels most herself walking though quiet desert washes and scrambling up sandstone faces. Nicole believes in the power of wilderness preservation and activism work when it comes to managing the climate crisis. Her work at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) centers around issue based organizing that engages the public to protect redrock wilderness. Prior to joining SUWA, Nicole worked in the fields of conservation and environmental education in Wyoming. In her free time, Nicole spends as much time as possible hiking and camping across Southern Utah, and skiing throughout the Wasatch. Nicole is based in Salt Lake City.

About SUWA - Since 1983, SUWA has been the only independent organization working full-time to defend America’s redrock wilderness from oil and gas development, unnecessary road construction, rampant off-road vehicle use, and other threats to Utah’s wilderness-quality lands. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is made up of people who share the common goal of preserving Utah’s remaining desert wild lands, known collectively as America’s redrock wilderness.

Nomad Cafe & Retro RV Resort

Your home base for fun and funky vacation rentals, coffee, food, and community.

Paul Ricketts

Director of the South Physics Observatory and Interpretive Specialist in Astronomy for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah
Paul received his bachelors degree in Physics and Astronomy with a minor in astronomy at the University of Utah. He has worked in the Department of Physics since 2005 doing public outreach and research. He also runs the university's observatory (South Physics Observatory), and helped with the building of a new observatory in southern Utah (Stellar Vista Observatory). Paul has a huge interest in photography and astrophotography and helps teach classes for students interested in astronomy and/or physics as well as spread the word about dark skies!

South Physics Observatory offers FREE public star parties on clear-sky Wednesday nights open to all ages, interests and groups as well as lectures, demos, special events, and assistance for those looking to learn to use telescopes for personal use, astrophotography, school science fair projects, and K-12 schools.

Pierre Smith Khanna

Film maker

Raven's Heart Gallery

Art Gallery
Raven's Heart Gallery stands for art with heart; expressing kindness, compassion and respect for all life. Art that inspires us to explore deeper parts of ourselves where we can find peace, beauty and a sense of connection.

Raven's Heart Gallery provides a bridge between art makers and art lovers. We treat our artists and collectors fairly and honestly. We represent and promote our artists with marketing, shows, artist talks and workshops.

Raven's Heart Gallery features the works of Gary Kalpakoff and Cyrus Mejia along with other established and emerging artists from the region and beyond. 

Please view our Facebook page: Raven's Heart Gallery and our Instagram @ravensheartgallery for additional information on past, present and future FIRST FRIDAY events! Lots of great photos and videos from our artists' presentations and demonstrations can be found there. Please feel free to call up to the gallery with any questions too!

Richard Jenkinson

Former president of the Utah Rock Art Research Association (URARA)
Richard Jenkinson is a member and past president of the Utah Rock Art Research Association. From 1980 to 1994 he taught English at Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona. Richard and his wife Lynn have lived in Kanab since 2017.

Sam St. Clair

Professor of Plant & Wildlife Sciences at Brigham Young University

"The summers of my childhood and teenage years were spent in wilderness areas in the western US doing research with my father. We spent the summer of 1983 in the Uintas during an extremely rainy summer finishing up his dissertation project. I slept in a wet sleeping bag and ate freeze dried food for more than six weeks. We finally published the data from that project four years ago. Spending so much time in those beautiful places and being surrounded by biology filled me with curiosity and a love of the natural world. At some point I realized my Dad was getting paid to do what most people do for vacation. So many times I’ve sat under a sugar maple, aspen or Joshua tree forest, eating my lunch unable to believe I get paid to do this.

I completed my undergraduate and MS degrees at Brigham Young University studying lichens as biomonitors of air quality. My Ph.D work focused on the impacts of soil acidification on the physiology and ecology of the eastern deciduous forest. I studied climate change impacts on grasslands of northern California as a postdoctoral researcher. Since coming back to Utah I have started major research projects in aspen-conifer forests and Mojave and Great Basin deserts.

I love reading, especially with my kids and I have a fairly serious passion for mountain biking." Source:

The St.Clair lab of Plant Ecology integrates, physiological, community and ecosystem ecology to understand how plant-environment interactions affect plant community development and ecosystem stability. Major research themes include disturbance and invasion ecology, plant-animal interactions with a focus on herbivory and pollination biology, plant-plant interactions (facilitation and competition), plant-soil feedbacks, and global change biology.

Current projects are located in forest and desert ecosystems of western North America. Learn about the St. Clair. Lab of Plant Ecology and its work:

Curriculum Vitae:

Sharon St. Joan

President of Forest Voices of India
A lifelong advocate for wildlife and wild lands, for many years Sharon was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Now retired, she continues to be an artist, poet, writer, speaker, and is president of the U.S.-based 501c3 organization Forest Voices of India. 

Sharron Evans

Assistant Regional Coordinator, Arizona Site Steward Program, Arizona Strip Region

The "power of place" has been a consuming pursuit throughout Sharron's life and career. She's a nationally recognized painter who also lives on an 1860s homestead ranch. 25 years ago she began volunteering for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program. 10 years ago, while as a symposium presenter for the Denver Art Museum, her focus widened to include geology, history and habitations of the wilderness places that she loves. Becoming a cultural site steward melds these passions, and Sharron feels honored to participate in the program.

Stellar Vista Observatory

Non-profit 501c3; Kanab, Utah

The Stellar Vista Observatory Working Group was formed in 2018 by Kanab area residents to create a public, educational astronomical observatory to serve visitors to southwest Utah and residents of Kanab and surrounding communities. The organization encourages community participation in SVO events and is open to all.

Stephen Most

Author, playwright, and filmmaker.
Stephen Most is an author, playwright, and filmmaker. He has writing credits on four Academy Award-nominated and five Emmy-winning documentaries. His works include a book, a film, and three plays about the Klamath Basin. In Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary he shows how subjects in the world can be depicted as stories for the screen.

Stephen Most & Kevin White

Filmmakers for the film "Wilder Than Wild"

Stephen Trimble

Steve has been writing about southern Utah redrock country for more than forty years. He has taught writing at the University of Utah, and his most recent book (his 25th) is The Capitol Reef Reader. He serves on the board of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. For more, see

Steve Leavitt

Associate Director for the Bean Museum; Professor of Biology at Brigham Young University

You can usually find Steve Leavitt—a new biology faculty member—in the basement of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, where he runs what is colloquially known as the “Lichen Lab.” With both a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences and a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from BYU, Leavitt joined BYU’s faculty after five years of postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago’s Field Museum. An expert in lichenology, Leavitt—who is originally from Alpine, Utah—spent his childhood catching lizards and collecting plants. And when he isn’t teaching or researching on campus, he’s with his family doing “all the good, normal things” which, for the Leavitts, includes plenty of time outdoors, enjoying the diversity of God’s creation. Through teaching, researching and working with students individually, Leavitt hopes to fulfill BYU’s responsibility in helping “us all appreciate our roles as stewards of the earth.” Source:

Curriculum Vitae:

The Peregrine Fund

The Peregrine Fund was founded in 1970 to restore the Peregrine Falcon, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999. That success encouraged the organization to expand its focus and apply its experience and understanding to raptor conservation efforts on behalf of more than 100 species in 65 countries worldwide, including the California Condor and Aplomado Falcon in the United States. The organization is non-political, solution-oriented and hands-on.

Drawing on past lessons and successes, our vision for the coming decades applies our expertise to emerging and accelerating conservation problems faced by raptors and communities around the globe. It is ambitious, specific, unifying, inspirational, measurable, and—most importantly—empowering to the people and communities who bring it to life.

Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts

Bingham Gallery and Maynard Dixon Home and Studio

Tim Hauck

Program Director for The Peregrine Fund’s Condor Recovery Program in northern Arizona and southern Utah

Tim Hauck is the Program Director for The Peregrine Fund’s Condor Recovery Program in northern Arizona and southern Utah. Tim is responsible for successful releases of captive raised condors into the scenic wilds of the Vermilion Cliffs and surrounding areas as well as the day to day management of the wild population. 

Tim is originally from Rochester, NY and received his education at Ithaca College, where his love of birds and conservation grew into a life-long passion and profession. He has spent the greater part of the last 20 years working in the field with a variety of threatened and endangered bird species. However, it was in 2005 that he found his true calling when he arrived in Marble Canyon, Arizona to work with the highly endangered California condor. After working as a condor field technician for many years, Tim now directs the Condor Recovery Program and splits time between Marble Canyon and Flagstaff, where he resides with his wife Kim and daughter Isabelle.

USDA Forest Service, Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab Ranger District

The Kaibab National Forest is divided into three ranger districts, each located in distinct areas and offering diverse opportunities and experiences. The North Kaibab Ranger District, along with the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, encompasses the beautiful high country of the Kaibab Plateau.

This sky island affords visitors the chance to take a scenic drive on the Kaibab Plateau-North Rim National Scenic Byway, drive to scenic views of Marble and Grand canyons, hike through aspen-ringed meadows, mountain bike along the rim of Grand Canyon, and observe unique wildlife such as the Kaibab squirrel. The district provides camping at DeMotte and Jacob Lake campgrounds, and educational displays at the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center.

USU- Kane County Extension; Victoria Yedan Xiong, Ph.D

Extension Assistant Professor | Horticulture + Small Farm Ag. | Kane County

Victoria is the current Kane County USU Extension agent for agricultural and horticultural matters. Born and raised in China, Victoria first graduated from Arkansas State University with an agriculture major and horticulture minor. She went on to earn her masters and doctoral degree from Texas Tech University in Agronomy and Crop Science. After working as a research assistant at Texas Tech University and researcher at University of Tennessee, she relocated to southern Utah for her current employment as University of Utah assistant professor for the Kane County extension, teaching horticulture and small farm agriculture.

Utah State Parks

Wildlands Network (Hunter Warren & Lindsay Martindale)

Community Engagement Coordinator Salt Lake City, Utah -- Colorado Plateau Project Manager Escalante, Utah

Hunter Warren: Community Engagement Coordinator Salt Lake City, Utah

As Community Engagement Coordinator for Wildlands Network, Hunter builds community and partnerships throughout our project areas.

Hunter is an environmentalist and outdoorsman passionate about maintaining the well-being of the wild spaces he loves and creating a healthier planet for us all. He also strives for environmental justice, because although environmental issues affect everyone, the impacts of these problems are particularly harmful to already vulnerable communities.

Hunter has previous experience in nonprofit marketing and development and graduated from Indiana University with degrees in marketing, sales, and sustainable business. When he’s not working, Hunter’s likely enjoying Utah’s natural beauty by hiking, climbing, or failing to land a big jump on his snowboard. His other interests include boxing, photography, and Star Wars.

Lindsday Martingale: Colorado Plateau Project Manager Escalante, Utah

Lindsay grew up hiking, paddling, climbing, and fishing in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas which inspired her to earn her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Central Arkansas. After college she moved to the Colorado Plateau where she fell in love with the stark beauty, deep canyons, and precious rivers and lakes of canyon country. Through her experience fighting wildfires, working for a non-profit conservation organization, being a part of an environmental consulting team, and her time as a park ranger, she brings a passion for people and place to the Wildlands team. 

After experiencing the healing power of wild spaces, she returned to school to better understand and advocate for wildlands. She earned a graduate certificate in Wilderness Management from the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center at the University of Montana and was a part of a team that received the Wes Henry Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship award. 

Lindsay currently lives in Escalante, UT where she enjoys hiking, fly fishing, guitar picking, reading, cooking, and floating the Escalante River when the water’s high. 

Willow Canyon Outdoor Gear & Books

We nurture the healthy relationship between people and the wild.

Willow Canyon Outdoor Company provides unique goods and services that encourage people to discover, explore, understand, and appreciate the cultures and natural wonders of the Colorado Plateau.

We specialize in quality outdoor gear and apparel appropriate to our local canyon terrain, and in regional books. We also serve excellent espresso!

Willow Wind Poets

Chapter of the Utah State Poetry Society

Willow Wind Poets began in January, 2017 as one of the newest chapters of the Utah State Poetry Society. Willow is a nod to the Southern Paiute place name for Kanab meaning “place of willows” and Wind signifies our breath on paper. The Kanab Chapter meets twice a month depending on availability of the current venue at the Kanab City Library, 374 North Main Street, Kanab, UT 84741.