Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Vaughn Hadenfeldt, Chair

Vaughn-ProfileFrom Colorado mountaineering store owner and climbing guide, Vaughn took his love of the outdoors – and his wife and daughter – to Utah and turned his passion for the archaeologically rich desert into life as a world renowned guide in southeastern Utah. As owner and guide of Far Out ExpeditionS® he shares his knowledge of the cultural and natural histories of the landscape with visitors from all corners of the globe while emphasizing the ethics and understanding of exploring those sites.

Vaughn’s early work and interest in high altitude archaeology as an anthropology major at Colorado State University, later developed into his total commitment to southwest archaeology – specifically in the Cedar Mesa region. He has worked with leading local archaeologists on documentation and excavation projects throughout the area. Notable projects include the Weatherill Grand Gulch Research Project, Earthwatch/BLM Basketmaker Rock Art Documentation Project and many times as part of the Ababjo Archaeology crew.

It is his fascination and appreciation for this region that has propelled him to his place as President of Friends of Cedars Mesa. Vaughn strives to emphasize the importance of protecting Cedar Mesa and the surrounding area to preserve the prehistory it showcases as well as the scenic wonder it displays. Together with his understanding of the archaeology and his enthusiasm for sharing it, Vaughn incorporates a sense of place into everything he does.

Bruce Hucko, Vice-Chair

Vaughn-Profile

Greetings! I’m a freelance photographer, author, children’s art coach and documentary radio producer whose work celebrates people and places in the American West. My work is featured in over 17 books and I have contributed to many more. I’ve produced two NPS interpretive slide shows (Arches NP and Organ Pipe NM) and the Utah Humanities Council award winning The Canyon’s Edge, a 40-minute, 8-projector, 400-image visual and verbal homage to the Colorado Plateau co-photographed by Tom Till with text and narration by Terry Tempest Williams. I’ve also produced shows for the Utah Wilderness Association, SUWA and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

From 1978 until 1989, I lived in Montezuma Creek, San Juan County, on the Utah Strip of the Navajo Reservation where I served as classroom teacher and artist-in-education. That period began an involvement with Indian people that continues to this day. Premier among that work was the exhibit “Have You Ever Seen a Rainbow at Night? The Art Of Navajo Children.” That work has been released in book form as A Rainbow at Night (44-pages, Chronicle Books, 1997). In 1984, I received a Rockefeller Bros. Fund Award for Excellence in Arts Education.

After a decade among the Navajo, I moved to New Mexico to become Director of Education at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian (2 years) and worked for seven years in northern Pueblo communities. Where There Is No Name For Art: The Art of Tewa Pueblo Children (120 pages, School of American Research Press, 1997) is the result of that relationship. For that book I received a 1998 Southwest Book Award and the 1997 Carey McWilliams Award given by Multicultural Review Magazine as “the best book of the year on the U.S. experience of cultural diversity.”

In 1999, I moved to Moab where I now serve as Art Coach at HMK Elementary School, help coordinate the Moab Artists Studio Tour, own/direct the Moab Photography Symposium (in its 12th year) and pursue fine art photography.

Why am I involved with Friends of Cedar Mesa? While living in Montezuma Creek, Cedar Mesa became my backyard. It was simply the closest place to go to take a decent hike! Since high school the Needles District of Canyonlands NP was my favorite landscape. Cedar Mesa is its sister. While working in Montezuma I met Fred Blackburn. That enduring friendship led me to be lead photographer and team member of the Wetherill-Grand Gulch Research Project which led to the publication of Cowboys and Cave Dwellers: Basketmaker archaeology in Utah’s Grand Gulch, School of American Research Press, 1997.

That project took me deep into the canyons and deep into my personal work photographing archaeological sites. Like the wilderness photos I have always made I felt a resonance with the country, the by-gone cultures and in its protection. Several years ago Mark Meloy contacted me and asked me to consider being on the board. To have him ask was quite a compliment and the need to give back to a land that has given me so much surged forward and I said “yes!” Why am I on this board? I am helping to protect my backyard, a landscape that I cherish, for past, present and future generations.

Learn more about Bruce and his photography at: www.brucehuckophoto.com

Tamara Wiggans Desrosiers, Secretary

 Tamara in blueTamara Wiggans Desrosiers,a long-time advocate for smarter public lands management, lived in Bluff, Utah for almost 27 years enjoying life as a river/backcountry guide, archaeologist, single mom and Jill of all trades.   Working on the five-year Comb Ridge Survey Project for Winston Hurst from 2005-2010 enhanced her familiarity with the landscape and appreciation of the deep history of southern San Juan County.   Sole proprietor of El Camino Catering, she still owns her solar adobe home in Bluff (which is rented out).  She now lives in Cortez, Colorado, as of Jan. 2015, a move made to get her son Tanner into a better high school.  She works at The Journal newspaper in Cortez, running the front desk, but lives for those random weekends in Bluff.  She is in a committed relationship with Friends of Cedar Mesa, and is cautiously optimistic when it comes to conflicting paradigms and management options for the deep future.

Joette Langianese, Treasurer

 Tamara in blue

Joette Langianese moved to Utah in 1976 and received her undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She moved to San Francisco, CA in 1988 where she completed her Master’s degree in Gerontology. She found that she left her heart in Utah especially after she met her husband in Moab. She returned to Utah residing in Moab since 1997.

Once back in Utah Joette quickly became involved with a variety of community issues and was elected to two terms on the Grand County Council beginning in 2001. As a County Council member Joette took the lead in ensuring that 16 million tons of uranium tailings were moved from the banks of the Colorado River. Her collaborative effort with local, state, and federal leaders was proven effective when the Department of Energy issued the record of decision to move the tailings and allocated one billion dollars needed to complete project. During her tenure on the Grand County Council she was appointed by Governor Jon Huntsman to serve on the Utah Radiation Control Board and the Utah State Commission on Aging.

Joette is currently the Executive Director of the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks and works closely with the National Park Service Southeast Utah Group to ensure they are able to effectively achieve their mission to protect and preserve the southeast Utah National Parks. The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks offer a variety of programs including a Volunteer Site Stewardship Program that works in conjunction with the National Park’s Cultural Resource Division. The Site Stewardship Program assists the national park in monitoring sensitive archeology and historic sites within the four parks of southeast Utah.

In her spare time Joette enjoys hiking remote canyons, rafting the many western rivers, and back country skiing in the La Sal and Wasatch mountains.

Greg Child, Director

 Tamara in blue

Greg Child has resided in Castle Valley, Utah, for two decades. His fondness for the canyon country surrounding him, and for Cedar Mesa in particular, developed during the height of his career as a climber and explorer of the world’s most rugged mountain ranges. His many Himalayan climbs and expeditions include successful ascents of Everest and K2, which are the two highest peaks on earth, and he’s written several books about climbing. He values the landscapes of Southeast Utah for being as unique and wild and significant as any place he’s explored in the Arctic or Himalayas.

David Nimkin, Director

 

David Nimkin is the Senior Southwest Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy organization of over one million members and supporters dedicated to the protection of our national parks, monuments and heritage sites. His diverse career has included leadership positions in business, finance, community development, politics as well as conservation. This includes service as Chief of Staff for Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, formation and management of a private company, Confluence Associates, which supported sustainable business development in the western US and Mexico within the forest products, ranching/livestock and tourism industries. David has served as State Director of the Utah Small Business Development Centers, President and CEO for the Corporate Fund for Housing in Los Angeles and as Executive Director of Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services.

His civic duties include founder and longtime board chair for the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, founder and co-chair of Local First Utah. He was a former board chair and board member of High Country News. He has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Salt Lake City Branch and Vice Chair of the FRB of San Francisco Advisory Council on Small Business and Agriculture.

David’s educational background includes an MBA from the Yale School of Management, MSW from the University of Utah and BA from Franklin and Marshall College.

John Ruple, Director

 

John fell in love with Cedar Mesa two decades ago, while backpacking through Grand Gulch. He is dedicated to finding science-based, legally defensible, and collaborative opportunities to enhance public land management; and he joined the Friends Board because of our solution-oriented approach to stewardship. John is an Associate Professor of Law (Research) and Wallace Stegner Center Fellow at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. Before joining the University of Utah in 2008, John worked as policy analyst in Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.’s Public Lands Office, as an environmental attorney in private practice, and as a NEPA contractor specializing in permitting projects on National Forest System lands. When not in the office, John can be found hiking around Cedar Mesa or rafting the San Juan River.

Steve Simpson, Director

 Steve is a life-long resident of San Juan County, with a passion for protecting the public lands surrounding his home in Bluff. Steve has been a business champion for Bluff taking ownership of being the “Gateway to Bears Ears,” and his family run longtime successful businesses ins Bluff, including the Twin Rocks Cafe and Trading Post.

Ed Dobson, Emeritus
Bill Lipe, Emeritus

 

Staff

Josh Ewing, Executive Director

An avid climber, hiker and photographer, Josh moved to Bluff in 2012 with his partner Kirsten. Having visited San Juan County for 12 years, every chance they could, the two decided they may as well live where their hearts were.

Josh was born and raised in rural western Nebraska, where his family maintains an active cattle ranch. After attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Josh began his career as the Communications Director for Salt Lake City, where he worked on the City’s 2002 Olympics planning and was involved with many environmental and conservation projects. After leaving the Mayor’s Office, Josh worked for nine years as an advertising and government affairs executive. During this time, Josh helped run several successful high-level political campaigns and provided pro-bono public relations work for many conservation organizations.

Josh has served on several non-profit boards. In addition to his leadership of Friends of Cedar Mesa, Josh also serves as town techie for Bluff, as well as volunteering on the Fire Department.

Amanda Podmore, Assistant Director

Amanda’s work with Friends of Cedar Mesa has a focus on policy and program management but like most non-profit jobs, Amanda wears “many hats.” She has a Masters in Natural Resource Law from the University of Denver and a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Colorado College. She has worked professionally with different non-profits concerned with watershed conservation & education, mining impacts, and sustainable development. She volunteered as a teacher in Rwanda with the Peace Corps from 2009-2011.

Amanda Podmore grew up in Colorado and spent as many weekends as she could rafting desert canyons, skiing and hiking. She’s since fallen in love with Southeast Utah and Cedar Mesa. Amanda is a jeweler and loves a good read.

Erica Tucker, Visit with Respect Program Manager

Erica brings a background of environmental education and park service interpretation to the Friends of Cedar Mesa. She worked many years in Yosemite National Park as an educator and as a seasonal park ranger before stepping into nonprofit management with NatureBridge in the San Francisco Bay Area. Erica also worked for a nonprofit organization focused on protecting Mono Lake in eastern California, which gave her a good taste of rural life and its tightly knit small community. Originally from Vermont, Erica has a BA in Anthropology from Connecticut College. She is a lifelong adventurer, birder, and naturalist who loves exploring desert canyons by foot, boat and rope. She is excited to engage with visitors in her new backyard national monument, and she hopes to move her hand-built tiny house to Bluff soon!

Britt Hornsby, Field Manager

Britt Hornsby moved to San Juan County in 2007 after receiving his bachelor’s of English from Auburn University. He worked with Four Corners School of Outdoor Education as Program Coordinator and Program Manager of Canyon Country Youth Corps. From 2011 to 2017, Britt worked as a seasonal river ranger for the Bureau of Land Management on the San Juan River. He lives in Bluff, Utah with his wife Sarah.

Wanda Raschkow, Statewide Site Steward Coordinator

Wanda is originally from Montana. While living in Montana, she made yearly visits to Cedar Mesa and fell in love with this area. Watching the sun rise on the bluffs has been surreal- it’s hard for her to believe she now lives in Bluff.

Her first job in archeology was with the Sanpete Ranger District on the Manti-La Sal Forest. She has also worked in Montana, Wyoming, and California with the Forest Service, BLM, and Park Service.

Wanda’s experience with site stewardship includes working with the California and Nevada Site Stewardship programs- training and mentoring stewards for the Palm Springs BLM, Joshua Tree National Park, and Death Valley National Park. She has helped conduct advanced trainings in site recordation techniques and developed educational materials for stewardship trainings. Wanda taught field skills at the Bureau of Land Management’s National Training Center and for several archeology field schools.

Wanda believes public outreach and education are critical to protecting our heritage. Site stewards are an important part of reaching the public: they often interact with visitors at archeological sites and become ambassadors for the resources. This is in addition to their fundamental role of keeping an eye on the sites and documenting damage- whether natural or human-caused.

“Site stewards are great people- enthusiastic and committed, eager to learn more about archeology and to share that knowledge with others. I am looking forward to working with stewards and agency archeologists to develop a site stewardship program for Utah.”