Chuck McDaniel


Chuck is a retired oil and gas lawyer.  He spent over 30 years in corporate law departments of oil and gas companies.  He moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, from Houston, Texas, in 2007 when his employer acquired properties in the Piceance Basin.  Soon thereafter, Chuck met and worked with the staff and board members of Mesa Land Trust on matters concerning conservation easements on properties owned by the company.  Chuck previously served on the Board of Directors of Mesa Land Trust (2009-2012) and has helped with oil and gas matters that affect conservation easements.  He is a member of the Board of the Grand Junction Housing Authority.  He graduated from Rice University and The University of Texas at Austin Law School.  Chuck and his wife, Kendra, enjoy all outdoor activities and are still exploring new places in Western Colorado.


Janine Rider

Vice President

Janine spent 33 years at what is now Colorado Mesa University as a Professor of English and then Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.  She and her husband Kirk have lived in Grand Junction since 1972.  During that time, she has served on the Grand Junction Planning Commission and the the Walker Field Airport Authority, as well as on the boards of Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Humanities, and the University Press of Colorado.  Along with the Mesa Land Trust, she has been a part of the Mesa County Libraries annual One Book event since its inception.  Janine and Kirk have three grown children and four grandchildren living in western Colorado, all of whom enjoy the hunting, fishing, skiing, gardening, hiking and biking that our beautiful area offers.


Sandie Cooper


A Colorado native, Sandie grew up in the Grand Valley. She has a B.A. in Computer Information Systems from Mesa State College. After many years working in the non-profit sector, Sandie recently retired from her job with the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE). Over the years, Sandie has served on a number of boards and committees including the Palisade Chamber of Commerce (president), Palisade Tourism Advisory Board, Experience Colorado Agriculture—a start-up non-profit agritourism organization, and was a founding committee member for the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway project. She and her husband, Dave Hull, live in Palisade and own a small peach orchard. They have two sons and two grandsons. Sandie loves to hike, ski, snowshoe and embraces outdoor adventures.



R. B. “Mike” Sewell


Mike graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics.  After graduation he served 5 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy in nuclear submarines followed by 12 years in the nuclear industry.  To avoid leaving the Grand Junction area he switched to financial services where he worked almost 30 years.  He was employed by Boettcher & Co for 7 years and then opened an office for A.G. Edwards & Sons.  During this time, he became a Certified Financial Planner, completed a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning (emphasis on investments) and became a corporate Vice President of A. G. Edwards. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Grand Junction Symphony Foundation, the Board of the Mesa Land Trust and enjoys the time retirement affords with his family and outdoor activities.


Mercedes Cameron

Merce arrived in Western Colorado (Telluride, to be exact) in 1973 for a 2-week ski vacation and never left, except for a “short” stint in Denver for medical school. Having grown up running wild in a small town in northern California, population 100 during her childhood and now 74,000, she is passionate about the outdoors and the importance of preserving it. Merce and her partner own land on Glade Park which is preserved with a conservation easement through Mesa Land Trust. The focus is enhancing their property for wildlife, improving the habitat particularly for the winter with a little help from grazing cattle working as “little tractors” briefly in the late winter and early spring. The rest of the work, unfortunately, they have to do.

Merce graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and attended medical school (after a 4-year term as a ski bum, miner, baker and ski instructor in Telluride) and did her family practice residency at the University of Colorado. She practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for over 20 years, after which she worked as a travelling physician in several towns throughout Colorado while working with Heart to Heart International, a disaster medicine organization. Now retired, she finally has time for some long dreamed of ranch projects and volunteering with Mesa Land Trust


Pamela Childers

Pam moved to East Orchard Mesa in 2010 after living most of her life near the Atlantic Ocean. She holds a B.A. in English and Biology, M.S. in English, M.A. in Writing and Ed.D. in Writing in the Disciplines. Pam has taught high school, undergraduate and graduate school, and volunteered with national and international organizations.  A prolific author, she serves as Executive Editor of The Clearing House and Editor of the Excellence in K-12 WAC Series. A workshop facilitator, presenter and consultant, she and husband Malcolm love living on what used to be the bottom of the ocean! They enjoy traveling, hiking, giving workshops on writing and the visual arts, and spending time with family and friends.


Stephanie Durno

Stephanie is a wildlife biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. She works primarily with fur and feathers: moose, bighorn sheep, grouse, bobcat, deer, elk, lions, and bears.  Steph grew up in Oregon and came to Colorado to study biology at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.  Shortly after graduating, she was hired as wildlife officer for then-Division of Wildlife and was assigned to the Eastern plains.  She escaped to the Western Slope as quickly as possible and has held her current post in Grand Junction since 2005.   She lived in the Unaweep Canyon for 10 years and now makes her home in Grand Junction.  She loves to explore wild places with her three horses and plays polocrosse every chance she gets.  When she can’t be on a horse, Steph enjoys laughing, cooking (and eating!) good food, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing, and all the other outdoor activities that make the Grand Valley such a wonderful place to live.  She believes in the mission of the Mesa Land Trust and is thrilled to be a part of the board.

Zach Eyler

Zach Eyler

Zach is the Vice President for Ruby Canyon Engineering, Inc., specializing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. He has worked with projects all across North America including capturing methane gas at coal mines, landfills and livestock operations as well as projects that destroy ozone depleting substance gases. He has a Master’s of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School at Duke University and a Bachelor’s from NC State University. Zach moved to Grand Junction in 2012 and fell in love with all that the Western Slope offers, including his now wife, Laken. They enjoy all of the outdoor activities that Colorado provides – hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rafting.


Margery Fillinger

Margery has lived in Grand Junction since 2009. Following a career in education, Margery and her husband Norm sold their home in Morrison, Colorado to “live the dream” traveling all of the lower forty-eight states and parts of Canada. After hiking, biking, touring historical sights, and meeting wonderful people from around the country and beyond, they picked Grand Junction as their home. Margery feels that one of her greatest accomplishments is raising two children who are happy, successful adults that also love the outdoors.


bill findlay_crop

Bill Findlay

Bill was born in Montreal, Canada and moved to NC when was 12. He attended college at UNC-Chapel Hill, graduate school at MIT, medical school at Duke, pediatric residency at U of A, Tucson, and has practiced pediatrics in Grand Junction since 1977 with Western Colorado Pediatrics, a division of Primary Care Partners (and plans to retire 1/7/16!). Bill has 4 children and three grandchildren. His wife, Jane, is a retired Kindergarten teacher. They love western Colorado, and especially the Ouray area where they have a cabin.  Bill enjoys most outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, occasional golf and also gardening, reading and carpentry. He has previously been involved in the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation board, the Urban Trails Commission, the Traffic Safety Council and is currently serving on the Riverfront Commission,  Riverfront Foundation and the Pathways to Nature project to get more kids outdoors and active.  Bill sees MLT as playing an increasingly important role in this arena and looks forward to helping.

Mark Hermundstad

Mark grew up in Stoughton, Wisconsin, a small community of Norwegian heritage located near Madison. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Mark decided to venture out west. He applied to the University of Colorado for law school, and when he found out CU would admit him, he readily accepted. While in law school, he met his future wife, Sara, also a law student. Upon graduation from law school in 1980, Mark and Sara thought the Front Range of Colorado was too crowded, and so they settled on Grand Junction as a place to live, practice law and raise a family.   Mark practiced with the law firm of Williams, Turner & Holmes, P.C. for over 36 years before retiring from the firm at the end of 2016.  He now is working for Ute Water Conservancy District as its general counsel.  Mark and Sara have two daughters, both of whom are currently living in Virginia.  Mark and Sara enjoy traveling and doing anything outdoors in beautiful Western Colorado.

Steve McCall

Steve McCall

Steve grew up in Missouri and graduated from the Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University.  Following graduation and stints with the army and Humane Society, he began work as an environmental specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation in Grand Junction in 1972.  His interests have centered on fish and wildlife restoration projects along western Colorado Rivers; and he enjoys fishing and hiking in western Colorado.  He serves on the board of Grand Valley Anglers and works with other conservation groups in the area.  Steve and wife Ruby have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.



Guy Parker

Guy is a third generation Colorado native.  After years of involvement in the ski industry, construction, and property management, Guy, his wife Lori, and their two daughters moved from Eagle County to the Grand Valley.  Today, he farms nearly 50 acres of peaches and 5 acres of wine grapes on East Orchard Mesa, near Palisade.  He is past president of The Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE), and has served on several other boards in Mesa and Eagle counties.

Jane Quimby

Jane Quimby

Jane is a retired FBI Special Agent, currently working for Colorado Mesa University as a criminal justice instructor and public safety program director.  She and her husband Gerry also have a private investigation and consulting business.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Utah, and a law degree from Denver University.  She has been an avid supporter of the Mesa Land Trust through the Quimby Family Foundation, with a particular passion for the Three Sisters and Monument Road areas.  She also serves on the board for the Western Colorado Community Foundation.  She enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, biking (road and mountain), playing golf, and boating on Lake Powell.

Steve Smith

Steve has been a traveler most of his life, but now is settled in the North Fork Valley where he lives about half time. He spends about a quarter of his time on a 105-acres that he conserved on Black Mesa in a yurt/cabin he built with his kids and friends over 8 years. For the other quarter he’s somewhere else; often visiting his 2 kids and 5 grand-kids.  He’s spent time in over 75 countries; living 5 years in Bangladesh and a couple in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe working in social development.  For 30+ years he’s been the President of Media for Development International, a company that makes social message films, radio, and TV soaps.  He also started a computer company and ran it for 15 years.  He and his partner, Terry, love the outdoors especially skiing and river trips.  He’s served on boards supporting social entrepreneurs in South America and Central Europe; a Maasai college in Kenya; meditation in Hawaii. Steve currently serves on the board of Black Canyon Regional Land Trust.


Larry Traubel

A successful entrepreneur and businessman, Larry has over 30 years of formal education, continuing study, and experience in agricultural business. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from University of Arizona in Agriculture Business and Agronomy in 1979, Larry began his career in the northwest selling Ag chemicals. Then in 1981, Larry had the distinct honor and pleasure to work for and learn from an icon in the Ag world, Grady Auvil. Working at Auvil Fruit Company, Larry developed a deep love of horticulture and the management of orchard crops. In 1983, Larry moved to Wilcox, AZ where he was responsible for planting and managing a 550 acre orchard of Granny Smith and Gala apples. Larry was there for 10 years and can recall annual harvests of over 25,000 bins. In 1993, Larry moved to Cedaredge, Colorado and was exposed to the packing side of the business, where he earned the nickname of TBDFMIC! (You’ll have to ask Larry about this nickname!). As a horticulturist, Larry discovered a love of helping growers be successful by sharing his knowledge and experience. Along with the move to Colorado in 1993, came the purchase of a 10 acre orchard producing multiple varieties of peaches and apples. In 2000, Larry joined Grand Mesa Discount selling agricultural chemicals on the Western slope of Colorado. In 2006 Larry purchased Grand Mesa Discount, bringing with him a focus of continued growth through customer service and education. Larry strives to keep himself and his team on the leading edge of current agricultural methodologies, processes and technologies.

Laurian U

Laurian Unnevehr

Laurian has been a resident of the Grand Valley since 2012, when she and her husband realized a lifelong dream to retire in the west.   Laurian is a retired agricultural economist and Professor Emerita of the University of Illinois.  A native of California, she has lived and worked in southeast Asia, the Midwest, and Washington DC.  Her research has focused on food policy, including promotion of value-added agriculture.  She has been a consultant to both the private and non-profit sectors on food policy issues, including food safety management and the role of local foods in nutrition.  She enjoys hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, wine tasting, and peach pie baking opportunities in this unique region.  Since moving to the Grand Valley, she has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Mesa Land Trust and their vision for a vibrant agricultural community.


Russ Walker

Russ and his wife Laura arrived in the Grand Valley in 1990 to work on uranium mill tailings cleanup and other projects for the Department of Energy.  Russ has been a professor of Environmental Science at Colorado Mesa University since 1993, and head of the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences since 2005.  Russ has a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.  He served on the Riverfront Commission and the Advisory Board for McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.  When school isn’t in session, you’ll find Russ and his 14-year old daughter riding their horses.


Emeritus Board Members:

Lee Ambrose
Victor Bernhard
Doris Butler
John Butler
Blaine Derrick    (1919-2012)
Elvis Guin        (1928-2007)
Mike Mechau
Claude “Skip” Mottram (1940-2011)
Ivan Wood