Suzanne is a Roaring Fork Valley native who has been working in the field of land conservation since the spring of 2001. Before joining AVLT, she spent two years as the Director of Land Conservation at the Roaring Fork Conservancy, and then became interim director for the Western Colorado Agricultural Heritage Fund. She was an environmental educator for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies after graduating from Reed College in Portland, Oregon with B.A. in biology in 1997. Suzanne now lives in Carbondale with her husband and beautiful daughter, Harbour Grace.
Melissa graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where she studied digital imaging and design, and later worked as staff photographer. She moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1999 and has since honed her skills in accounting. She keeps her creative juices flowing by designing all the AVLT marketing materials, event posters and invites. Melissa joined AVLT in January 2006.
Dave was born and raised in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and first moved to Colorado to attend Fort Lewis College in Durango. After completing his undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology, he worked for the Teton Regional Land Trust in Driggs, Idaho where he gained a deep appreciation for the important work land trusts do. He has also worked as a field biologist and natural resource specialist across the U.S. and in the East African country of Tanzania. He completed a masters degree in Wildlife Science at the University of Arizona and eventually found his way to the Roaring Fork Valley, where his wife grew up. Dave joined AVLT in January of 2015 and currently lives in Carbondale.
Erin is a Colorado native and joined the staff of AVLT in May 2016. After completing graduate school at Colorado State University Erin was selected for a Conservation Trust Fellowship, joined Legacy Land Trust in Fort Collins then continuing on to join the Land Trust Alliance team in Washington, DC. Erin negotiates land protection projects while ensuring land owners’ intentions are upheld throughout the entire process and beyond. She enjoys spending time outdoors gardening, hiking and biking. Erin now lives in Carbondale with her husband and kiddos, Wyatt & Ruth.
Philanthropy and Community Engagement
Jeff is a life-long outdoor enthusiast and conservationist raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who moved to Colorado in 2005. Before joining AVLT, Jeff studied natural resources law and agriculture policy while earning his law degree at the University of Denver. He is excited about AVLT’s focus on protecting open spaces and dedication to building community. He lives in Carbondale with his wife and two little kids where they love small town living, getting outside, and the constant entertainment that comes along with parenting.
Education Outreach Coordinator
Brian Hightower coordinates educational programming and management of the Chapin Wright Marble Basecamp property. After teaching in Aspen for twelve years, Brian traded his indoor classroom for an outdoor one. His goal is to facilitate outdoor education opportunities for students and educators in the valley and beyond. Brian is convinced that direct contact with Wilderness can cure many afflictions of modern youth, including, but not limited to: boredom, technology addiction, the inability to build fires, and substandard S’more construction. He lives in Carbondale with his two favorite explorers; wife, Emily and son, Oz.
Melissa is assisted in her duties by Operations Assistant, Olympia. Oly joined the team in August 2015 and mostly provides office levity by trying to curl up in chairs that fit her as a puppy but she has long outgrown.
Dave is assisted in his duties by Stewardship Assistant, Finnley. Finn joined the team in April 2016 and mostly provides puppy breath and razor teeth.
These pups love any opportunity to get out on conserved properties where dogs are allowed and are more than willing to give kisses and/or mouse hunting in trade.