HDCD – Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Supervisors

Conservation district supervisors have important roles as local conservation leaders to effectively nurture conservation in communities across the State. Supervisors are unpaid ELECTED officials. Supervisors have legal responsibilities and duties. The Dolores Conservation District is governed by board of 7 supervisors. Meet them below.

L to R: Joanne, David, Lon, Suzanne, Steve

President – Joanne Teetzel

Joanne Teetzel has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology in 1976. In 1980, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors Degree in Nursing. In 2000 she graduated from Westbrook University with a degree in Naturopathy with an emphasis in Herbology. Joanne has worked as an R.N. at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock New Mexico for the past 6 ½ years.
Joanne, with her husband Bill Teetzel, moved to onto 135 acres in Montezuma County in 2000. Joanne’s goal is to develop this land into a highly productive, profitable, beautiful farm, growing clean, highly nutritional food.
Joanne joined the Dolores Conservation District Board of Supervisors last August, 2010. As a landowner herself, she faces many conservational challenges on her property such as irrigation management, erosion, noxious weeds and pasture management. She hopes to provide strong leadership to landowners who face the same challenges. It is her strong desire to be active in the community by providing research and education in conserving our Natural Resources.

Vice-President – Suzanne Aikin

Suzanne has spent the majority of her life in Montezuma County. She moved to Virginia in 1995 and earned a Masters degree in Counseling, then worked for 10 years with at risk children and their families. She became an active Master Gardener there and enjoyed the fertile soil and lush growing conditions in the Southeast. Missing the beauty of the Southwest and wanting to be closer to family and friends, Suzanne and her husband Kent moved back to Colorado in January 2013 to develop the 55 acres on Summit Ridge which they had acquired prior to moving to Virginia. They quickly realized they weren’t in Virginia anymore and have been busy reaclimating to this beautiful but more challenging growing environment. They have been working closely with the NRCS and DCD which have been instrumental in providing educational programs and funding to promote more efficient irrigation, soil health, pasture management and weed control. The Aikins participated in the Master Steward Program and are looking forward to extending the growing season next year with their new high tunnel. As the newest board member, Suzanne is looking forward to helping initiate and develop new programs based on landowner needs and supporting the vital ongoing conservation efforts in Montezuma County.

Secretary/Treasurer – Steve Miles

Steve was raised in the “burbs” of Denver. After graduating from Colorado College with a degree in anthropology, Steve signed up for 3 years in the Peace Corps. After returning to the “states” in 1977, the rural lifestyle of Cortez called. Several quirks of fate led to starting what developed into a landscape irrigation business, Rainmaker Sprinkler, which he still operates.
Steve began serving on the Dolores Conservation District board in 2001. His passion for water and land conservation fits well with the intent and design of the conservation districts. He was awarded Conservationist of the Year in 2008 by the Colorado Department of Agriculture for his activities in weed management and conservation. The Colorado Weed Management Association similarly awarded Steve and the Dolores Conservation District with Weed Manager of the Year for efforts made in tamarisk control in the district.

At Large – Lon Varnis

Lon was born in Illinois, lived in Michigan, Massachusetts, and rural New York and finally landed in Montezuma County in 2000. Although he has had a successful professional career in engineering and personal finance, his passion has been with the land and he has been farming since 1975.
Lon lives on one-hundred and twenty-seven acres and manages thirty-four of those as dryland cropland. He also leases and produces grain from fifty-six additional dryland acres and twelve irrigated acres. Lon worked with NRCS to establish terraces on hilly farmland that helped conserve water and he uses the no-till planting method to encourage healthy soils. Other areas are farmed on- contour to keep water from leaving his fields and enhances the availability of water to his crops, crucial to dryland farming success.
Lon has firsthand experience in working with the gifts and challenges the land in Montezuma County supplies. His goal is to restore good soil health, control weeds and erosion, and continue field cropping. He is also thinning and reducing fuel load in his woodlot. As a new Board member, Lon is dedicated to helping the landowners’ voice be heard and actions taken to meet the needs of the land and landowners in the Dolores Conservation District.

At Large – David Temple

At Large – VACANT

At Large – VACANT

Other District Staff

Other District Staff include a part-time District Manager and two full-time Resource Technicians.

District Manager

District Conservation Technician

Basin Salinity Technician