Cindy L. Williams – Board President
(Chaffee County) Cindy is a western Colorado native, an avid outdoors-woman, a geologist and a former mining executive. She has a desire to give back to her community, tapping her experience and broad perspective to help Chaffee County maintain its identity, rural landscapes and natural resources as the county and the state grow.
Cindy grew up in Basalt, Colorado. She went on to earn BSc and MSc degrees in Economic Geology from Colorado State University. Cindy has worked in the international mining industry for the past 30 years, including executive roles leading global exploration, innovation and technical services for Newmont Mining Company. She and her husband, Brad, now own and operate GeoInsights Inc. a Salida-based mining consulting firm. In their spare time Cindy, Brad and their doggie Maddie are working on a goal to catch fish in 100 Colorado mountain lakes.
Jeanne Herrick-Stare – Vice President II
(Chaffee County) Jeanne Herrick-Stare is an attorney who practiced commercial real property law in Denver, and then worked for the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals as an attorney on staff, and as Counsel to the Clerk. She and her husband raised their family in Denver, exploring the Colorado Rockies from their home base in the heart of town. In 2003, she and her husband moved to Washington, D.C. for ten years, where she participated in human rights advocacy on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies. In D.C., she worked for non-profit organizations, and in that capacity, worked in coalition with numerous groups from the left and the right, local groups from across the country and national organizations, and with groups and individuals operating from academic, religious, and policy analysis groups. She brings a wealth of non-profit experience to inform her work with the Conservancy, from her work as a board member, board chair, developer of organizational structural documents, staffing and policy development.
Jeanne comes from generations of Minnesotans who were active birders, canoeists, campers, and hikers. Jeanne’s husband has been into the Colorado mountains all their married life, climbing all the “14ers”, hiking a good portion of the Colorado trail, skiing and camping – so their family focus has been mountain-oriented for 48+ years. Their daughter moved to Salida several years ago, and when the time was right to come back to Colorado from D.C., Jeanne and her husband followed, feeling as though they had truly returned home.
The first summer of their marriage, Jeanne and her husband worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Teton National Wilderness Area, horse-packing into a cabin in the back country 13 miles from the nearest road. It was a powerful beginning to a lifetime of rich outdoor experiences, profiting from the wisdom and work of those who had gone before us. Jeanne is thankful for the opportunity, through working with Central Colorado Conservancy and its remarkable group of staff, members, and volunteers, to pass along that legacy of appropriate land use, conservation, and restoration to her children and grandchildren, as well as the children and grandchildren of others for generations to come.
Richard M. Kenshalo
(Chaffee County) Richard grew up in Denver, and after graduating from high school, enlisted in the United States Navy where he served for four years aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga in the 6th Fleet. After obtaining an honorable discharge, he attended the University of Colorado at Denver where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Minor in Economics. He also completed Executive Development programs at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.
For over thirty years, he has held technical, management and company officer positions in telecommunications, oil and gas field operations, and medical electronic companies. As a company officer, he helped set the business development plan, financial targets and market strategies to achieve company objectives. His experience specializes in strategic planning, business and technology development, capital spending planning and implementation, project execution, operational strategy, and contract negotiations.
After spending 32 years in Alaska, Richard and his partner Deborah moved to California, and then on to Salida, Colorado where the love of wild places drew them to live. They enjoy volunteering, mountain biking, fishing and hiking in Colorado. Richard and Deborah’s extended family includes many children and grandchildren located all over the United States, including Colorado, where spending time with them is a priority.
Hallie Mahowald – Secretary
(Chaffee County) Hallie moved with her husband and daughter to Salida from Santa Fe, N.M., in 2015. One of the main reasons for their move to this area was the immense open space and recreational opportunities – big mountains for hiking, a roaring river for paddling, and well-maintained trails for mountain biking, to name a few. Now that she is settled in Salida, she is excited to be involved with an organization that works to protect important values in the community and environment she calls home.
Hallie’s undergraduate degree is in environmental science from the University of Denver, and her graduate degree is in international environmental policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She has worked on numerous sustainable development projects in the American West and Central and South America. Until 2014, she worked as an environmental professional at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she handled compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act, collaborated on the site-wide sustainability plan, and banded birds for biological resources monitoring. She currently works as the stewardship services director for the Western Landowners Alliance (WLA), a non-profit organization led by private landowners and managers of working lands West-wide who share a commitment to conservation-based stewardship of land and natural resources.
Hallie is enthusiastic about environmental conservation, land stewardship, and planning development so as to protect threatened flora and fauna. She is very interested in supporting land conservation in her new backyard, the Arkansas River Valley and sees Central Colorado Conservancy as an organization working on the issues about which she is passionate and as a place where her background and experience can be a valuable addition.
Hayden Mellsop – Past President
(Chaffee County) Hayden has been a resident of Chaffee County for over twelve years. He first came to the Arkansas Valley from his native New Zealand in 1990, and spent many years working as a whitewater and fly fishing guide on rivers and streams throughout the West. In 1996, he married Kym after they met in Salida in 1994, Kym grew up in San Francisco.
Hayden currently works as a realtor with Pinon Real Estate Group (see home-waters.com). He is a keen fly fisherman, father of two young daughters and joined the Conservancy board in late 2006. Hayden regards the upper Arkansas Valley as a very special community, and is committed to help preserve its character and charm for the benefit of future generations.
(Chaffee County) A native son of Wyoming, Michael Fischer has loved the Rockies and being in wilderness his entire life. He and his wife, Marsha Brown, moved to the Arkansas Valley in the fall of 2014 after spending 23 years living and practicing medicine in Alaska.
Michael completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and spent the next 10 years working in a variety of mental health positions. He returned to school to complete his degree of Doctor of Medicine at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and his residency in Family Practice at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He then began his Alaska adventures working first in Kotzebue for a year, an Eskimo village above the Arctic Circle, then lived in Fairbanks for 2 years working at a multispecialty clinic and finally landed in Anchorage where he and his wife built and ran a prevention and wellness oriented family practice for 18 years.
Michael brings to the Conservancy his desire to explore opportunities to provide service to others combined with his love of the outdoors and commitment to supporting and maintaining the lifestyle and values that make the Upper Arkansas such a wonderful place to live.
(Chaffee County) has served as Park Manager of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, jointly managed by Colorado State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management, since 2000. His career in State Parks includes over 15 years experience as a ranger, naturalist, and manager throughout Colorado. Rob received his BS in Park & Recreation Administration/Biology with a Secondary Teaching Certificate from Central Michigan University, and his MS in Park Administration/Fisheries & Wildlife Management from Michigan State University. Rob brings his resource management experience to the Conservancy, along with a deep knowledge of public process and an ability to facilitate communication between multiple parties. He enjoys exploring the beauty of the Arkansas River Valley and other special places in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
(Lake County) Donna moved to Leadville from Virginia in 2016 after vacationing in Colorado for years and spending many happy hours in the mountains surrounding the Arkansas River Valley.
She is drawn to the area’s peaks, natural beauty, mining and agricultural history, and wide open spaces. She is intrigued with the Arkansas River’s story and restoration and hopes to help preserve the valley’s wild spaces.
Donna founded Childress Communications LLC in 2001 to spark change for people and planet. As a consultant, she provides strategic advice, shapes messages, and writes websites and other communications to help nonprofits, governments, and agencies reach audiences nationwide. Her work has advanced healthy aging and technology in aging, volunteerism among older adults, energy conservation, sustainable land stewardship, civil rights, and other social justice causes. Currently, she handles marketing for the Lake County Tourism Panel.
Donna graduated from James Madison University with a degree in English. In her spare time, she runs, hikes, climbs 14ers, and explores and photographs the great outdoors. She is also a lover of mountains and rivers.
(Chaffee County) Cammeron Larson is a 5th generation resident of Salida and works as the Salida branch President of Collegiate Peaks Bank. After learning more about the Conservancy, Cam and his wife Stacey were immediately drawn to its mission. They believe in conserving everything that makes this area great for future generations.
Cam received his undergraduate degree in business administration from Western State Colorado University. He worked as ski patroller at Monarch Mountain after college and began his banking career in 2009 with Collegiate Peaks Bank.
Cam brings experience from other non-profits in the area as well as experience in private sector finance to the group. He is eager to learn more about the unique opportunities and challenges of an organization like the Central Colorado Conservancy and help it succeed even more than it already has.
Cam is an avid skier and fly fisherman, and enjoys this beautiful valley with his wife and two spoiled dogs whenever he can.
Aaron is lifelong Westerner, originally from Wyoming, who has lived across the West. He has worked in conservation for more than 15 years. Aaron currently works for the National Wildlife Federation as the Senior Manager of Western Sporting Campaigns focusing on a wide variety conservation efforts both on the national and state level, working mostly with the hunting and angling conservation communities.
Aaron went to college in Gunnison at Western Colorado University and received his M.S. from the University of Montana. He is an avid hunter, angler, boater, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. He lives with his wife and two children in Salida.
Marcus has been hiking, skiing, and paddling in the Arkansas River Valley for nearly 20 years. When he met his wife, Windy, and learned that Salida had been her childhood home, he knew they would someday raise their own family here. They finally moved to the area in 2013 when Marcus was hired as the National Forest Foundation’s Colorado Director. Shortly after their arrival, they gave birth to their family’s first Colorado native – Avie.
Marcus is now the Vice President, Field Programs of the National Forest Foundation. He has two decades of experience working with government agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organizations on forestry and environmental issues. Prior to joining NFF, Marcus managed Arizona forest programs for the Grand Canyon Trust, where he helped lead the Stakeholder Group of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative – a 2.4 million acre forest restoration project on northern Arizona’s National Forest – and helped develop various funding mechanisms to support forest restoration activities. Marcus also spent several years practicing environmental law in Washington, DC, where he primarily focused on climate change-related issues and the use of financial incentives for developing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Before attending law school, Marcus was a research scientist at Purdue University, where he studied natural forest regeneration, forest plantation establishment, and the effects of forest management on carbon sequestration. Marcus earned a Master’s Degree in Forest Biology and Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Resources Management from Virginia Tech, and a Juris Doctor from Indiana University School of Law.
Marcus joined the Conservancy Board to help ensure that the characteristics that drew him to the area – its public lands, clean rivers, open spaces, and strong, welcoming community – remain for future generations.