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 the Spring and Fall.

Please complete the application form and send it along with your Resume and/or Cover Letter to our Executive Director.

If you would like to talk before applying, please call us! Nine Seven Zero-259-3123
Thank you for your interest!

Documents for Prospective Board Members:

2018 Board Application
2018 Board Position Description
2017 Annual Report
2018 TGP Workplace Culture Principals

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.

brooke2.jpgBrooke Frazer
Manna Garden & Food Security Program Manager

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.

Leah_Johnson_2.jpgLeah Johnson
School Garden Program Manager

Leah was born in Durango and has lived in Albuquerque, Boston, Hawaii, and Northern California. She earned her degree in Elementary and Special Education while living in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.  While in Hawaii, she worked extensively with Aina in Schools  garden and nutrition program, created by Jack Johnson and his wife (no relation). Leah has lots of experience working on organic farms both in Hawaii and California. Durango called her back home in 2017, and she immediately got involved with The Garden Project and has been the Garden Educator for summer camp for 2017 and 2018. She loves teaching children about growing food, and is so excited to continue helping The Garden Project to grow a healthier community. As an avid surfer, she misses the ocean, but loves water sports of all kinds, as well as hiking and biking.

Matt.pngMatt Bristol
AmeriCorps - School Garden Educator

After studying environmental politics and political ecology at Skidmore College in upstate New York, Matt decided to stop being a bookworm and start his career as an earthworm. After graduating, he went to live on a small organic farm in Connecticut for a season, followed by a couple organic farm jobs in western Norway in the spring. Frustrated with the air-conditioned sterility of a brief stint in the EPA, Matt found planting, harvesting, and yes, even weeding, far more fulfilling. He is a big believer in the power of cultivating local food to build community. Sharing food grown together is one of the most profound and humanizing experiences life offers us. Matt is super excited to join The Garden Project and share his enthusiasm for gardening and local food with the students of La Plata County!

Chloe Field
AmeriCorps - School Garden Educator

Chloe is a recent graduate from Charlotte, North Carolina. During school she lead numerous backpacking trips and leadership classes through an outdoor program at school. Chloe's heart will always be in the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, she spent the past two summers as an Outdoor Educator in Mancos working with High Schoolers. The South West has inspired her to keep exploring this vast landscape. Backpacking is a great tool Chloe uses to teach kids soft/hard skills, but now her focus is on gardening! On her free time Chloe loves to climb, drink coffee, and plan trips.


Board of Directors

Alyssa Murray
Board President

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. 


Dave 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. 


June Russell
Board Treasurer

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.

brittany_cupp_3.jpg Brittany Cupp
Board Member

Brittany moved to Durango in 2003 to attend Fort Lewis College, she fell in love the community and hasn't left. She's a Hoosier at heart and is the daughter of an incredible Master Gardener who taught Brittany the importance of nature and the healing powers of gardening. Because of this, Brittany is also a Master Gardener and has made gardening a big part of her life. Professionally she brings her marketing and design skills to TGP in addition to her passion of connecting people back to the land. She has participated in various volunteer and community projects like the Snowboard Outreach Society and she is also currently an Ambassador for Venture Snowboards.

Patsy_Ford.jpgPatsy Ford
Board Member

Patsy is a retired public health nurse who is dedicated to promoting a healthy community through: equal access to fresh (local when possible) food, equal opportunity for all to experience and learn about the wonders of gardening, and a community that includes participation by a diverse population, so that we can learn from one another. She and her husband, Kevin, a retired public middle school teacher and coach for more than 30 years, raised a daughter who had the experience of pulling peas off the vine and eating them raw, picking and eating raspberries, and digging potatoes from the garden (an adventure full of fun and discovery!) Patsy is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to support our community as a board member of The Garden Project of SW Colorado.

Lauren_Savage_sm.jpgLauren Savage
Board Member

Lauren Savage was born and raised on the dryside outside Durango. It wasn't until she left that rural slice of sagebrush heaven for college in Northern California that she saw how bountiful worked and watered land can be! The Chico area was a dynamic classroom for large-scale agriculture, food waste diversion, organic farms in place of lawns, and multigenerational growers. Lauren knew it was a special place, but always wondered how and when food access like that in Northern California could be possible in areas as rural as her home. Lauren is very happy to join the Garden Project Board and support local food security efforts. She has a bachelor's in Environmental Journalism, a degree with tracts in creative writing, environmental activism, and outdoor education. She specializes in nonprofit brand communications and experiential education. She loves riding bikes with her husband and is always trying to be the best dog mom she can be.

Mike_K.pngMichael Kaiser
Board Member

Mike grew up in the Chicago area and studied Business-Agriculture and Accounting at Fort Lewis College. He has lived in Durango for 7 years and is a full-time real estate broker with Keller Williams. While studying at The Fort, Mike completed a program that required many hours of hands-on experience with small local farmers, many of whom he stays in touch with and coordinate efforts with today. As a teenager, Mike interned for a small urban-agriculture startup in the Chicago area called 312 Aquaponics and gained experience working in community gardens in an urban environment. These experiences advanced his understanding of how our food systems work and the processes involved in providing healthy food to our global community, driving his passion to learn more and make a positive difference in any way that he could. Mike says, "The constant improvement of our food systems is something I hold near and dear to my heart and always will."


Previous Board Members

Jennifer Boyer

Eric Ryba

Amy Arnold

Tara Frazer

Clint Kearns

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