STAFF


Joelle_-_headshot.jpgJoelle Marier (she/her)
Executive Director

Born and raised in Minnesota, Joelle found her first connections with wilderness in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness along Minnesota’s Canadian border and has been dedicated to the wild ever since. She joined NWSA as executive director in 2023 after many years spent filling a variety of roles in land conservation, with a primary focus on wilderness and public lands.

Most recently, Joelle served as associate director of the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust in southern Colorado where she led the finance and operations side of the organization, managed an array of grant funding, completed private land conservation projects and worked alongside the executive director in nearly all other aspects of the organization. Prior to this role, she worked as a grassroots organizer for New Mexico Wild where she promoted advocacy campaigns to protect wilderness-quality BLM lands across the state. Here, she also managed a budding wilderness ranger partnership with the USFS Southwestern Region. Prior to this, she served as an interagency wilderness fellow for the National Park Service where she completed wilderness character baseline assessments for parks in western Colorado and Hawai’i through the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. Several seasons spent on trail crews and as a wilderness ranger for the Forest Service in Montana and New Mexico, and as a naturalist and backcountry guide in Alaska have helped to foster much of her wilderness ethic, along with countless personal wilderness adventures.

Joelle holds a Graduate Certificate in Geographical Information Systems, a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies, and A.S. degrees in Wilderness Management and Parks & Recreation. She currently resides in Del Norte, Colorado where she enjoys skiing in the San Juan Mountains, hiking and backpacking the many nearby wilderness areas and watching the wildlife that share the lands surrounding her home. She is excited to apply her experience and vision to lead NWSA toward new levels of success, connect and grow our stewardship community, and increase our impact across the nation.

Contact Joelle at [email protected]

 


BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Ian_DC_crop.jpgIan Nelson
Chair

Ian works with the Pacific Crest Trail Association as the Southern Oregon Regional Representative.

Contact Ian at [email protected]

 

 


Ann Baker-Easley
Vice-Chair

Ann Baker Easley is a Colorado native who grew up in Boulder.  There, she first discovered her love of the outdoors through family camping trips, backpacking and hiking.  Over the past 25 years, Baker Easley has led state and national environmental, volunteer, and youth-development oriented nonprofit organizations, with a focus on strengthening their programs and helping them grow to new levels. Most recently she served for 14 years as the CEO for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), a statewide stewardship organization. Prior to Ann served as the founding director of the Colorado Youth Corps Association where she was its Executive Director for 11 years. She is a graduate of Colorado State University where she earned a BS in Psychology and the University of Michigan where she earned a MSW in policy and program development. She and her husband recently moved to Corvallis, Oregon where she is entering her new rewiring” phase! In addition to serving on the NWSA Board of Directors, Baker Easley serves as a governing member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Stewardship Council and The University of Michigan School of Social Work Alumni Board of Directors. Effective December 2021, Ann will begin a remote position as full-time Director of Institutional Giving with the national non-profit, Playworks, Inc. out of Oakland, CA.

Contact Ann at [email protected]


Mike SplainMichael Splain
Treasurer

A native of Maryland, Mike relocated to the west coast in 1991 to pursue wilderness advocacy and stewardship with organizations like Forests Forever, Sierra Club, and Ventana Wilderness Alliance. He currently resides in northern California and manages the Conservation Funding Project at Resources Legacy Fund. Mike holds a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz and spends his free time seeking flora, fauna, and solitude in the Klamath Mountains bioregion.

Contact Mike at [email protected]


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Kaitlin de Varona
Secretary

Kaitlin de Varona is a Nevada native living near Asheville, North Carolina where she currently serves as the executive director for Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS). Kaitlin has more than a decade of experience in the conservation world. Throughout her career, she has worked passionately to steward and protect our county’s wildest public lands. In addition to SAWS, Kaitlin worked for California State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Montana Conservation Corps, and Great Basin Institute. Kaitlin is committed to working towards equity in the outdoors and in conservation and continues to foster inclusivity in outdoor spaces and work to address past injustices to equitable access.

Throughout her time working to safeguard America’s wildest places, Kaitlin has seen the role volunteerism and non-profits are playing in wilderness stewardship as well as the value of partnerships working toward stewarding America’s enduring wilderness resource and preserving wilderness character. As such, Kaitlin joined the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance board in 2021 and proudly serves as a board member.

Kaitlin is absolutely enamored with her family, currently raising two young boys, and enjoys spending time with them outdoors hiking, camping, rock scrambling, gardening, and adventuring down the creek in their backyard. She earned a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a M.S. from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Kaitlin is certified in crosscut saw, holds a red card in wildland firefighting, and earned a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Sciences from North Carolina State University.

Contact Kaitlin at [email protected]


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Bob Ratcliffe

Bob is recently retired from the National Park Service where he served as Division Chief, Conservation and Outdoor Recreation. In his most recent capacity, Bob oversaw a portfolio that included the NPS Office of Outdoor Recreation; the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program, National Trails System and National Rivers system among others. Previously, Bob served 24 years for the Bureau of Land Management in a variety of field and national leadership roles including over a dozen years as Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Division Chief for Recreation and Visitor Services. He has spent much of the last four decades exploring public lands and developing new and progressive national policies conserving and restoring special places, enhancing visitor experiences, and partnering with gateway communities, recreation, and tourism interests in promoting responsible recreation and encouraging community engagement while balancing protection of resources. For over 40 years, Bob has run rivers in the West including time spent as a river guide and eventually a backcountry ranger on the Green and Colorado Rivers. Bob and his wife hope to spend more time at their home Bend, OR following their retirement.

Contact Bob at [email protected]


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Bill Hodge

Bill currently serves as Montana State Director for The Wilderness Society. Bill previously served for over four years as the Executive Director of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation and prior to that over 12 years as the Founding and Executive Director of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. He comes to NWSA having deep connections and passion for wilderness and for the work of NWSA. He served as NWSA Board chair during the early years of the organization and was instrumental in helping to shape the organization as it transitioned to hiring its first contracted staff member, Randy Welsh.

Contact Bill at [email protected]


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Jeff Randa

Jeff has a significant passion for the outdoors, including public land stewardship and participating in numerous outdoor activities. His background includes forty years in developing and executing global business and marketing plans in the engineered plastics industry, leading to revenue growth and expanding brand awareness. Before retiring, he worked for leading global companies, including Dow and Avient. The last seven years were spent building a business which focused on working with leading name brand outdoor gear manufacturers, assisting in innovating new products for outdoor enthusiasts.

Jeff was a Board member for a business-to-business nonprofit for four years, gaining an appreciation for the nonprofit drivers versus those for a profit entity. He is currently a patrolling member with the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers and serves on the organization’s Board of Directors as well as on several committees.

Contact Jeff at [email protected]


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Simon Heinberg

Simon is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment and previously served as Philanthropy Manager at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, managing the organization’s portfolio of grants. At Duke, Simon is pursuing a Master of Environmental Management specializing in ecology and conservation.

Simon is passionate about conservation and outdoor recreation. At the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, he oversaw the organization’s institutional fundraising and fundraised on behalf of the Conservancy’s work in landscape conservation, natural resource stewardship, trail maintenance, and outdoor volunteerism and education. Simon is also an avid outdoor enthusiast, and grew up canoeing, backpacking, and hiking in Vermont and New England. Simon has a B.A. in philosophy with a minor in economics from Pomona College. In his free time, he can be found hiking, skiing, or in the kitchen attempting recipes above his skill level.

Contact Simon at [email protected]

 


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AGENCY LIAISONS


Peter Mali - USDA Forest Service

Dusty Vaughn - USDA Forest Service

Brenda Yankoviak - USDA Forest Service

Peter Keller - Bureau of Land Management

 


BOARD ALUMNI


Randy Rasmussen, past NWSA Chair, Backcountry Horsemen of America, 2017 - 2023

Dave Cantrell, past NWSA Chair, Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, 2012 - 2014 & 2016 - 2023

Anne Sentz, past NWSA Secretary, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2016 - 2023

Sandy Compton, Friends of Scotchman Peaks, 2017-2023

Katie Currier, past NWSA Chair and Vice-Chair, 2016-2023

Chelsea Phillippe, 2020-2022

Andrew Downs, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2015-2021

David Kallenbach, former Executive Director, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, 2019-2021

Zach Bumgarner, New Mexico Wild, 2019-2020

Stuart Dodd, Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance, 2016-2019

Andrew Schurr, 2012-2019

Darcy Shepard, past NWSA Treasurer, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, 2012-2018

Jennifer Tripp, Pacific Crest Trail Association, 2016-2018

Eric Melson, Montana Land Trust, 2016-2018

Doug Scott, NWSA Board Member, past NWSA Chair, 2013-2017

Bill Hodge, past NWSA Chair, 2011-2016

Bob Hazelton, San Gorgonio Volunteers, 2012-2016

Hawk Metheny, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2010-2016

Shaaron Netherton, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, 2010-2016

Celina Montorfano, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, 2010-2016

Adam Andis, Sitka Conservation Society, 2010-2016

Daven Hafey, 2014

Margaret Shaklee, 2011-2013

Elaine Dermody, Friends of Wilderness, past NWSA Vice-Chair  2010-2012

Jerome Wilson, 2010-2012

Heather Day,  2010-2011