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. 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 CWLT as playing an increasingly important role in this arena and looks forward to helping.

Laurian Unnevehr

Vice President

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 Colorado West Land Trust and their vision for a vibrant agricultural community.

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.

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.

Brad Banulis

Brad grew up in Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and attended the University of Wyoming for graduate school. An opportunity opened up in Montrose, Colorado for Brad to work as a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Colorado Watershed Network and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) in 2003, and he has resided in the Uncompahgre Valley ever since. As a Private Lands Biologist, Brad worked with landowners to enhance wildlife habitat through Farm Bill programs and provided technical assistance. Since 2004, Brad has been a Wildlife Biologist for CDOW (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife) working to monitor, study and manage a diversity of game and non-game wildlife populations across parts of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. Brad, his wife Tanya (also a wildlife biologist), and their two young children spend their spare time outdoors at youth sporting activities or fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, and traveling whenever possible.

CJ Brafford

CJ Brafford was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in Southwestern South Dakota, and is an enrolled tribal member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. She move to Montrose, CO, over 25 years ago to work with History Colorado at the Ute Indian Museum. Prior to her move to Colorado, CJ worked for the National Park Service at the Grand Teton Park, overseeing 8000 of the parks collections, including artifacts at the David T. Vernon Indian Arts museum. CJ has studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, obtaining degrees in Cultural Anthropology and in Museum Studies. Over the years, CJ has served as a board member for various organizations, including: the American Association for State and Local History, the American Indian Museum Association, the Native Voices Foundation, and Friends of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In her current role as director of the Ute Indian Museum, CJ works to provide a better understanding of the history of the Ute tribe of Native Americans.

Gwen Cameron

A second generation fruit grower, Gwen Cameron farms 38 acres of organic peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and melons at Rancho Durazno, just east of Palisade. She believes the best fruit is grown from well-tended soil and is harvested by workers with a deep connection to the land. Gwen is a graduate of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s Fellows Program and serves as president of the Mesa County chapter. She was named Young Grower of the Year by the Western Colorado Horticultural Society in 2018. Gwen also works with Hunger Free Colorado as a Regional Food Coordinator, connecting food pantries with local farms and ranches to build more resilient local food systems and to provide high quality, fresh food to communities who need it. When she’s not driving a tractor, she can be found mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing or rafting around the West.

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 Colorado West 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 traveling 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 Colorado West 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.

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.

Michael Hoffman

Since his arrival in Colorado in the mid-1970s, Mike’s passions have been mountains, valleys, wide-open vistas and wild places. Mike has practiced land use and real property law in the Roaring Fork Valley since the mid-1990s and, more recently, in the Uncompahgre River Valley. He and his wife, Sharon, moved to the “far” Western Slope in 2016 to practice regenerative agriculture on a small farm west of Montrose. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Colorado State University, an MBA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his JD from the University of Denver. Mike has served on a number of nonprofit boards during his career, including several years as chair of the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission. Mike and Sharon love to spend time with their offspring (and new grandson) in the mountains and canyons of Colorado, Utah and Idaho. Hiking, biking, canyoneering and tennis are their favorite occupations.

Helen Love

Helen grew up in Davenport, Iowa, went to Massachusetts for college (Smith), then traded in trees and humidity for blue sky and red rocks in 1978, when she moved to Grand Junction. While raising two sons, she began her now 30-year career as a financial advisor. She takes joy in the outdoors and in being of useful service in the community. Once a friend told her, “You should support the Land Trust.” It made sense! Still does. Helen and her husband Arvid like to cook, dance and have parties.

Garrett Portra

Originally from northeastern Montana, Garrett spent most of his childhood on his family’s farm in central Missouri. After meeting his wife Cailin at Westminster College, the couple moved to Grand Junction. What started out as a six-month adventure quickly turned into the place where Cailin and Garrett would choose put down roots and raise their two daughters. Garrett began work in Colorado by putting his BA in Environmental Science to good use in the natural gas industry in the Piceance Basin. Soon after, Cailin went to work as an occupational therapist and then Garrett transitioned to a job at Carlson Vineyards in Palisade. The couple went on to buy the winery and vineyard in 2015, and later purchased a peach orchard in Palisade to establish their permanent residence.

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 Colorado West 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.

Janine Rider

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 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 Colorado West 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.

Lindsey Rider

Lindsey was born and raised in Grand Junction, CO. In 2004, she obtained her Geology Degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. During college, she worked for the Institute of Alpine Research at the Niwot Ridge Mountain Research Station in the Kiowa bio-geo-chemistry lab, analyzing air, water, and soil samples. She next worked for Colorado Groundwater Resource Services (CGRS) as a staff geologist, remediating water and soil. In 2007, she returned to the Western Slope to work for a natural gas producer. She has worked in the Piceance Basin for the last 16 years and currently works for Caerus Operating, LLC, as the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Manager. She and her family own a small peach orchard in Palisade and enjoy skiing, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and biking.

Gary Roberts

Gary and his wife, Barb, connected with staff at the Land Trust to conserve their ranch in Ridgway, CO. He grew up on ranches around Cripple Creek, CO before entering a career in engineering and geology with federal land management agencies, and in various aspects of the oil and gas industry.

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.

Emeritus Board Members:

Lee Ambrose

Victor Bernhard

Doris Butler

John Butler

Barb Chamberlin

Blaine Derrick (1919 – 2012)

Elvis Guin (1928 – 2007)

Mike Mechau

Claude “Skip” Mottram (1940 – 2011)

Bill Prakken

Max Stites

Bonnie Talbott

Harry Talbott (1934 – 2021)

Ivan Wood