Staff and Board of Directors

Currently Seeking Board Members

Are you interested in giving back to the community by serving on the Board of Directors for The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado? We encourage you to apply!

The Garden Project's Board of Directors sets healthy term limits for membership cycles of 2-3 years. As a result, we are often searching for new members. Start dates are typically in April and September of each year, with applications due a month or two in advance.

We are looking for individuals who:

  • Represent the community of Southwest Colorado – and may have experience with fundraising, grant writing, gardening, agriculture, nutrition, business, policy, and/or community development

  • Can commit to one monthly board meeting a month plus additional time to help with The Garden Project’s events, fundraisers and committees. Time commitment varies throughout the year, but expect 4-10 hrs/month.

  • Have a passion for our mission: “to grow a healthier community through the support and development of school and community garden programs that promote health & wellness, environmental stewardship and a sustainable local food system."

  • Are interested in helping The Garden Project grow into a larger, more diverse, and even more successful organization!

Please complete the application form and send it along with your Resume and/or Cover Letter to Sandhya Tillotson.
If you would like to talk to a board member before applying, please call us! Nine Seven Zero-259-3123
Thank you for your interest!

Board Responsibilities

 

Current Staff

sandhya.jpgSandhya Tillotson
Executive Director

Originally from Santa Barbara, CA, Sandhya attended Colorado College and majored in Environmental Science. After moving to Durango in 2010, Sandhya has worked and volunteered for local non-profits, including Durango Nature Studies and 4CORE. Following her passions for gardening, local food, and environmental nonprofit work, she became the Executive Director of The Garden Project in 2013. Since then, Sandhya has given new vitality to the organization, increasing its visibility in the community, impact on participants and fundraising capabilities in a short time. In 2015 Sandhya graduated from the Community Resource Center’s Nonprofit Leadership Training Program. She is a big thinker who appreciates action, follow through and change. While not in the gardens or grant writing, Sandhya can be found on outdoor adventures with her husband.

mia1.jpgMia Carrasco-Songer
Organization Coordinator & Ohana Kuleana Garden Manager

Mia graduated from Warren Wilson College in her home state of North Carolina in 2011 with a degree in Sociology. She followed her passion for social and environmental justice here to Durango's community gardens. Mia also works for Homegrown Farm in Bayfield and spends her free time exploring this beautiful place on her mountain bike or paddling a raft. Mia has been with The Garden Project since January 2013.

brooke2.jpgBrooke Frazer
Manna Garden Coordinator

Brooke Frazer is excited to join her fellow gardeners and farmers at the Garden Project. Originally from Virginia and North Carolina, Brooke holds a masters degree in appropriate technology from Appalachian State University. She has a varied background in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and farming. Brooke started a successful SPIN inspired urban farm in Durango and is excited to be growing food downtown at Manna Soup Kitchen. Brooke enjoys playing roller derby, mountain biking, snowboarding, and remodeling her house when she isn't in the garden. Brooke volunteered for The Garden Project for several years before being hired on as staff in June 2014.

Emily_Haefner.jpgEmily Haefner
Volunteer Coordinator - Volunteer position

Emily is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. She has earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Environmental Biology and is also a Colorado Master Gardener. Settling in Durango, Colorado she has combined her love of land and food on the farm working at the Old Fort Lewis in Hesperus, Colorado. She thinks it’s very important for people of all ages to make a connection between enjoying healthy food and caring for the place it comes from. When not digging in the dirt or cooking up some delicious treats she can be found enjoying the four corners area in the usual outdoorsy way: on a trail, a river, or a mountain.

AmeriCorps Members (August 2017 - July 2018)

FullSizeRender.jpg

Marissa Hunt
School Garden Educator

A Texas native, Marissa grew up in San Antonio before moving to Denton to attend the University of North Texas. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in public relations. Over the past four years she has gained environmental and horticultural experience with the Army Corps of Engineers, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, an urban farm, and a wholesale nursery. Her passion for environmentalism, education, and growing brought her to Durango, Colorado to serve with Americorps from 2017 - 2018. She is excited to explore and discover all her new home has to offer! Marissa's other hobbies and interests include playing and writing music for her band, embroidery, hiking, running, and anything that involves her German shepherd - dachshund mix, Rigby.

Will Turnipseed
School Garden Educator

Will grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He got his degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Central Florida in 2017 before coming out to Durango. Will enjoys a good book to read, a fun trail to hike, or a quality song to listen to. He is extremely excited to be spreading his love of the natural world to the children of La Plata County!

 

Board of Directors

eric.jpgEric Ryba
Board President

Eric grew up in Seattle, WA and attended college in Southern California earning a degree in engineering.  Since a young age Eric has been actively gardening, first as a child laborer pulling weeds and rocks from his parent’s garden followed by pulling weeds and rocks from his own gardens as an adult.  Eric moved to Durango in 2010 with his wife and has been busily converting large areas of his yard into berry patches, vegetable gardens and fruit trees.  As a Colorado Master Gardener, he now grows in excess of 40 different types of apples, cherries, peaches, plums and continues to increase the variety through yearly grafting.  In the rare occasion Eric isn’t in his gardens you may find him and his wife skiing or hiking with their two Labradors.

TaraFrazer.jpgTara Frazer
Board Vice President

Originally from the Midwest, Tara Frazer has called Durango home for a decade.  During this time, she ran a licensed preschool out of her home while raising three kids. She has taught for close to 20 years in diverse settings. Tara’s background includes a Masters in Education, a certificate in Non-Profit Management, and teacher licensure. Tara now runs a business called Four Trees Life Coaching and Ceremonies. She has enjoyed maintaining a backyard garden and used it as a teaching tool in her preschool. Tara appreciates the opportunities the school gardens at Needham and Miller provide her kids.  By volunteering with the Garden Project, she hopes to gain more experience with nonprofits and leadership while giving back to her community and promoting sustainability.

Amy_Arnold.jpgAmy Arnold
Board Treasurer

Amy grew up in western PA and went to culinary school after graduating from high school. She was a chef for approximately ten years before deciding to go back to school to obtain a BS in Accounting. She moved to Durango in 2010 and currently works for the City of Durango in the finance department. She is passionate about connecting people with healthy food and sharing knowledge and love of cooking.  When she isn't working she enjoys being outdoors running, hiking, or camping. 

Dave_Harris_sm.jpgDave Harris
Board Secretary

Dave comes from a family of gardeners growing up in a small town in Central Illinois. He and his wife Michele moved to Durango from Boulder in 2012. Their 3 daughters are in the Front Range and NYC. Dave is a 30+ year veteran of the legal profession. He is a CO Master Gardener committed to the environment and sustainable practices. Their house near Purgatory is a net zero home meaning it produces more energy than it consumes. Dave was the horticulturist at Glacier Club but has transitioned to assisting with legal and human resources matters. 

Clint_crop.jpgClint Kearns
Board Member

Clint realized a 35-year dream when he moved to Durango two years ago. It was not chance, but choice that brought him here and he thinks of it as returning home to Colorado, since his family ran a boarding house in Denver in the 1880’s. Clint “grew” an interest in gardening as a child working in the garden with his grandmother, “My Grandma had not so much a green thumb as an entire green arm,—she could grow anything.” Clint  honed his skills through gardening classes at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in southern California and upon relocating here, became a Colorado Master Gardener. He has served on a variety of non-profit boards and has been a business owner working in electronic security for over 25 years. Clint came to the Garden Project because he feels strongly about educating our youth about living in sustainable and renewable ways and as gardening as a tool for learning science. He and his wife enjoy hiking, backpacking, camping, and of course, gardening.

Jennifer_crop.jpgJennifer Boyer
Board Member

Jennifer was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and holds a degree in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  With a background in renewable energy and elementary education, she currently works for La Plata County.  She believes that every person deserves access to fresh, healthy food and is thrilled to be a part of the Garden Project.  In her free time, she enjoys exploring, hiking, kayaking, cooking, quilting, nordic skiing, volunteering, reading, camping, canning and knitting (in no particular order). 

IMG_6528.jpegJune Russell
Board Member

 

June Russell is a certified public accountant, specializing in individual and business tax consulting.  She and her husband moved to Durango 6 years ago, after living on the island of Oahu, Hawaii for 32 years, where they raised two daughters.  June served on the board of directors of The Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado for four years and is thrilled to now be serving on The Garden Project’s board of directors.  When not working or taking advantage of Durango numerous social activities, June is outside hiking, biking, or skiing.

 

Alyssa MurrayIMG_0594.jpg
Board Member

 

I'm a gardener, a rider, a mom, a dog mom, and a cook.  I love warm days and cool nights, hasn't this October weather been perfect?  The garlic is planted, the compost pile is full, and high country hikes are coming to an end.  Soon the mountains will be white, and snowballs will be thrown, the oven will be blazing and hot chocolate will be delicious.  I am always up for an adventure, I can leave in 15 minutes is my motto.  I am happy to be a part of the Garden Project Board.  I look forward to spending time and energy on growing a healthier community with the other board members. 

 Past Board Members

Nora Stafford

Amber Johnson

Darrin Parmenter

Eileen Dawson

Charlie Love

Krista Garand

Becky Turner

Kelle Bruno

Chelsea Farley

Janet Fogel

Shari Fitzgerald (Co-Founder)

Kate Lauth

Beth Saren