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

Lexie Stetson-Lee headshotLexie Stetson-Lee
Executive Director

Lexie Stetson-Lee has worked with STEM programs and in nonprofits for 12 years. She is passionate about servant leadership, people, and plants, and sees gardens as a great analogy for organizational management and growth. She has a MS in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BA in Religious Studies with an Environmental Studies Concentration from Kenyon College. When not working for The Garden Project, Lexie enjoys backcountry skiing adventures with her family and dogs.

BROOKE.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 has been a part of The Garden Project since 2014 and is always excited to develop more collaborations, partnerships, and programming to better serve our underserved populations. She believes that everyone deserves access to fresh healthy foods. Brooke enjoys mountain biking, hiking, playing with her dog Mrs. Pickles, and making weird craft projects 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!


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. 



Nora Stafford
Vice President

Nora was an elementary school teacher for 34 years. She has lived in the Durango area since 1981. Nora has been involved with the Needham Garden since its inception. Noraʼs goal is to inspire and motivate students to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful students who are stewards of the Earth. She believes that the Needham garden is the perfect place to incorporate science, language arts, math, health and social studies standards. Nora is an avid bicycle commuter and Durango community ambassador.




June Russell

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.



Lauren Savage

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.


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
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.


Michael 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."



Ellen Smith
Board Member

Ellen is a Colorado kid, raised in the Boulder/Estes Park areas, who has been living in Durango since 2013. After spending most of her adult life in Santa Barbara and Hawaii as a marine biologist and coral reef oceanographer, she relocated to the lovely small community of Durango to root her family and raise her children. A proponent of locally grown organic foods and healthy home-style cooking, she maintains her own garden and keeps bees to provide sustenance and knowledge for her family. Ellen joined The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado Board of Directors to utilize her skills and resources to promote its mission “to grow a healthier community through garden programs, education, and access to local produce”. Like many here in Durango, she can be found spending time outside in nature, quietly connecting through yoga and meditation, and enjoying time spent with friends and family.


John Floyd
Board Member

Having grown up in Atlanta, GA, John moved to Steamboat Springs in 2008 to ski bum for a couple years before finishing his education at CSU in Fort Collins. With undergraduate degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Human Development/Family Studies, and a master's in Social Work, John is passionate about the intersection of quality food, culture, and local community. After working as a mental health therapist on the Front Range, John is excited to serve on The Garden Project's Board to address social issues from a more macro approach. John firmly believes that local gardens bring out the very best in both individuals and communities, and he loves seeing friendships develop over working soil and sharing healthy meals. In his free time, John can be found skiing, riding bikes, and fly fishing.

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