Land Trust Adds to Conservation Department


Alyssa Clarida

David Varner

The Business Times, June 15, 2021–David Varner and Alyssa Clarida have joined the Colorado West Land Trust to help staff and landowners with conversation efforts.

Based in Grand Junction, Varner works as a conservation specialist, helping staff and landowners design resource protection strategies that fit with existing uses while ensuring future viability.

Working out of Paonia, Clarida serves as a land steward, monitoring conserved properties and helping landowners improve natural resources.

“We are excited that Alyssa and David have joined the land trust team,” said Rob Bleiberg, executive director of the Colorado West Land Trust. “They bring with them outstanding skills, strong commitments to conservation and a love of Western Colorado landscapes.”

Varner has worked on conservation projects throughout the Western United States as well as Mexico and South Asia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and worked as a seasonal field biologist before studying coastal stream restoration at Humboldt State University.

Varner said he considers his latest position an opportunity to make a difference in Western Colorado.

“I can think of no better place where I can help protect the special cultural and natural resources of Western Colorado than at Colorado West Land Trust as their new conservation specialist,” he said.

Clarida previously worked for the Colorado Department of Agriculture and conservation districts on the Western Slope. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geographical and environmental studies from Augustana College.

“As CWLT’s new land steward, I get the incredible opportunity to help foster the longevity of working landscapes,” Clarida said. “I look forward to working alongside the passionate conservationists that help keep Western Colorado unique.”

Based in Grand Junction, the Colorado West Land Trust has conserved a total of more than 125,000 acres of agricultural lands, open spaces and wildlife habitat in Mesa County and five other Western Slope counties.

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