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.
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 – VACANT
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 – Judy Garrigues
Judy brings a contagious laugh to the Dolores Conservation District. A Native of Colorado but wanting more than the standard degree in nutrition, Judy moved her family to Olympia, WA in 1986 where she graduated from The Evergreen State College. She spent the next 12 years in WA with the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) in both a local and state capacity. While in Olympia, she and her husband were awarded Farm of the Year for turning five acres of weeds into a sustainable pasture for twenty-one llamas. Llamas became her passion in 1992, so much so, that she brought many of them with her when she returned to Colorado in 2001. Judy and her husband now provide catering and janitorial services to six spoiled llamas on their thirteen acres in Dolores. She has put her Master Gardener knowledge to work in a large flower and vegetable garden and is experimenting with season extension techniques.
Judy started as District Manager of the Conservation District while attending Sustainable Agriculture classes at Fort Lewis College. “I just felt it was where I belonged, bringing people and the land together and nurturing a healthy environment for everyone.”
Travis Custer – Agricultural Consultant
Travis was born on the Eastern Slope in Colorado. He spent part of his childhood growing up in central North Carolina, but returned to Colorado in 1998 and has been here since. Travis went to college in Leadville where he studied outdoor education. After moving to the Southwest, and a short stint at Fort Lewis College studying Environmental Policy, he became actively involved in environmental and social justice based work. Travis has been involved in local agriculture about 8 years growing food, and raising animals. He has a passion for community organizing and developing resilient agricultural systems. Travis has experience practicing permaculture, seed saving, and soil health management here in the Southwest and Central America. He currently lives in Mancos, and is the proud father of a 4 year old boy who loves to get dirty! Travis looks forward to his new position with the Conservation District, and spending his time working closely with farmers to strengthen soil health and water conservation practices, such as cover cropping and reduced tillage, in Montezuma County.
Justin Bonnell – Basin Salinity Technician
Justin spent his childhood growing up in southern New Mexico high in the Sacramento Mountains ranching and farming. After graduating from New Mexico State University in 2006 with a BA in Engineering he moved to Boise, Idaho spending six years before deciding to move to beautiful southern Colorado. The passion for agriculture is sewed into his genetics making for a good fit as a Basin Salinity Technician. Today Justin lives in Durango, CO with his wife and darling little girl enjoying the exquisite nature of the southern United States.