In 1986 a group of concerned citizens joined forces, launching the Alliance to protect their families and neighbors from the impacts of unchecked oil and gas development. Over the years, the organization grew to address a broad array of issues concerning the quality and protection of regional air, land, and water resources. The Alliance has over 800 dues-paying members and thousands of supporters who care passionately about preserving the unique qualities of this region. We are supported by six staff members who add decades of technical and strategic expertise to the cause.
What We Do
The Alliance helps protect clean air, pure water, and healthy lands in the San Juan Basin through our regional energy, public lands, and rivers programs. Learn more about each below.
We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
We are Proud of Our Community
The Alliance succeeds because of its committed and growing membership, dedicated staff, and visionary board. See below to learn more about the people who make this organization thrive.
MEET OUR STAFF:
Emily joined SJCA in the summer of 2015 after a 3-month adventure across the country from Pennsylvania. While in PA she earned an Environmental Science degree from Dickinson College, cofounded the college Idea Fund, apprenticed at an organic farm, and worked in the Pennsylvania Natural Resource Conservation Service's state office. Within each organization Emily specialized in outreach, marketing, and social media - recognizing that every environmental body needs an efficient voice. She adores her new Durango home and enjoys biking, hiking, trail running, and blogging.
Erika joined the Alliance in 2014. She moved to Durango from Salt Lake City where she earned a Masters of Science and Technology degree in Environmental Communication and Policy and worked as the Director of Sustainability for a manufacturing company. Originally from the Boston area, Erika has lived and worked in Colorado and Utah since 2002 and is hooked on mountain life and the incredible community here in Durango. She loves running, biking and hiking the trails, growing vegetables, and learning from her two young children.
Jimbo Buickerood joined SJCA in 2007 with extensive experience managing experiential education programs throughout the West, including 20 years with Colorado Outward Bound as an Instructor, Course Director and Program Director. Jimbo brings vast first-hand knowledge of the landscapes of southwest Colorado as well as a diversity of involvement with regional communities. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Outdoor Education and a Master's Degree in Education, both from Prescott College, and has traveled extensively throughout the planet.
Mike joined SJCA in 2006 following ten years as an environmental consultant in the Four Corners region. Mike works on energy issues including coal, oil/gas, air quality and public lands. He specializes in the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Policy & Management Act, and Endangered Species Act compliance. Mike has a B.A. from Bates College and a M.A. in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver.
Susan joined SJCA in 2015. Originally from Florida, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Florida. She has over 9 years of experience in both public and private accounting within various industries including not-for-profit. Preferring the mountain lifestyle over the beach, Susan moved to Colorado in 2006 and has lived in Durango for the past two years. She loves snowboarding, hiking, travelling, mountain biking, camping, backpacking, and anything else that gives her an excuse to be outdoors. When she’s not in the mountains during her free time, you can find her enjoying college football and cheering on her alma mater.
Marcel joined the Alliance in January of 2017. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Geoscience from the University of Utah and spent five years working as an Editorial Assistant for the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Before joining SJCA, Marcel worked as a geologist for the USGS in South Carolina and as a volunteer organizer for the Grand Canyon Trust. Having studied polluted water systems in South America and in the American Southeast, he’s eager to advocate for water security and sustainable water use on home turf, in the American Southwest. He loves camping, backpacking, and rock climbing with his friends and family, working at his family’s horse ranch near Cokeville, Wyoming, and Basque dancing with the Utah’ko Triskalariak - a travelling dance group based out of Salt Lake City.
Mark Pearson is a long-time advocate for Colorado’s wilderness, rivers and public lands, and recently returned to the role of executive director in 2017. He first got involved with San Juan Citizens Alliance in 1993 as a volunteer working on forest management and wilderness, leading the effort to craft SJCA’s Citizens Plan for the Wild San Juans that was finalized in 1999. Mark’s volunteer involvement with the Alliance led to a decade-long stint as executive director until departing in 2009. Mark’s heart lies in local, home-grown conservation advocacy and he is excited to tackle the challenges facing the San Juan basin. He has a B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Colorado and a M.S. in natural resource management from Colorado State University.
MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Andy was raised in Virginia Beach before moving to Denver in 1975. A 1980 trip on the soon-to-be-damned Dolores River reconnected him with water and introduced him to the Southwest and Fort Lewis College, where he later majored in Business Administration. So began his love affair with all things Durango, including his wife, Janet Wiley - a 5th generation pioneer family. His years on the US Kayak Team led to his ownership of 4Corners Riversports in 1996. While still an owner of the store, Andy's career has led to sales and technology consultation in orthopedics and sports medicine. Andy, Janet, and their teenage son, Wiley, spend their free time paddling on the Animas and other area rivers, skiing in the San Juans, and biking, hiking and running trails in between. Andy feels a deep connection to the community and swears that in all his travels, he has found no better place to call home than Durango and the Southwest.
Rebecca was raised on the east coast and trained in art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, the Pan America Art School in Manhattan, and at the Art Institute of Boston. She then traveled the U.S. in a pick-up truck camper before returning to the east coast to live on Cape Cod, start a family, and begin a career as a Wholistic Health professional. In 1999 she moved with her husband and daughter to Ignacio, Colorado. Unexpectedly tapped again by the art-muse in 2005, Rebecca has been consumed by pastel painting, a new medium for her, ever since. Her extensive travels and hours spent in the high mountain backcountry and redrock canyons of the Four Corners region yield endless inspiration. Documenting through art the fragile and endangered waterways of the American southwest is an accepted challenge. She first served on the SJCA board from 2002 to 2006 before returning again in 2015.
Anna Peterson has worked professionally for more than 15 years with a range of groups on campaigns focused on corporate social responsibility, anti-sweatshop, human rights, immigration, public health, wilderness, 1872 mining law reform, smoke-free communities, food safety, and climate issues. She previously interned with the late Senator Paul Wellstone and Global Exchange, and has worked with Alaska Wilderness League, M+R Strategic Services and Pew Environment Group. Since 2011, Anna has been working as the Director of Operations, Finance and HR with Durango-based Verde Brand Communications, a communications firm that specializes in integrated brand communications for companies in the outdoor markets. Anna has been fortunate to live in many of the West’s best mountain towns and currently lives in Durango, Colorado with her husband Tim and dog Greta. Anna is also on the board of the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado organizing Durango’s monthly Green Drinks events and local sustainability events calendar.
An Outward Bound Course in the Weminuche Wilderness introduced Robin to wilderness and the Four Corners Area in 1987. She immediately felt at home in these mountains and returned to attend Fort Lewis College where she earned degrees in philosophy and chemistry. She studied impacts of grazing on water quality, advocated for the protection of local forests and researched environmental clean-up technologies. She moved to Denver for medical training and in 2003 returned because of her love of the San Juan Mountains and the surrounding lands. She has been providing medical care to adults in the Four Corners since. As a physician here she has come to understand our emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being are inseparable from intact ecosystems and a healthy environment. The Four Corners Area offers us solace, joy, beauty, wonder, nurturing, and sustenance. Her deepest hope is to keep the lands, skies, waters, and inhabitants of the region healthy, so we may all enjoy these gifts for untold generations to come.
Gary Skiba worked for the Colorado Division of Wildlife for 23 years. Throughout his professional career, Gary focused on threatened and endangered species management and spearheaded the agency’s efforts on biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management. He has also worked for Great Old Broads for Wilderness and as an environmental consultant and monitoring conservation easements for La Plata Open Space Conservancy. Gary has a B.S. in wildlife management from the University of New Hampshire and a M.S. in wildlife biology from Colorado State University. He enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities and lives near Aztec, NM with his wife, Kate Pickford, and three dogs.
A California native, Diana grew up spending summers with her extended family hiking and horseback riding in Southwest Colorado. After graduating from Dartmouth College, Diana returned to Pagosa Spings as an Americorps volunteer for an affordable housing non-profit. Diana then attended UCLA School of Law, where she specialized in Public Interest Law and Policy. As an attorney for the California Attorney General, she represented the state’s natural resource agencies in their efforts to protect and manage California’s complex ecosystems, including water resources and air quality. In 2014, Diana and her family returned to Southwest Colorado to be closer to the wild places they love. Diana enjoys climbing, skiing, mountain biking and looking for pinecones with her husband Andrew and their sons Bear and Henry.
Born on the East Coast, Chris escaped to the University of Oregon where he earned a BS in Geography and Environmental Studies. He was involved in efforts to prevent logging in Pacific Northwest old growth forests, starting a commitment to environmental issues that continues today. In the past, he has worked for the US Forest Service and National Park Service, but makes a living these days in the field of software security. Chris has lived in Durango for the last 8 years with his wife Laura, spending as much time as possible exploring the mountains, deserts, and rivers that make this area so special.
Barb grew up moving around the country and overseas with her military family. After graduating from the University of Chicago and earning a masters degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Barb worked in Washington for the National Commission on Water Quality. She then moved to Shiprock, NM to co-found a small environmental group that helped local Navajos fight a proposed coal gasification plant. Returning to Washington, she worked for the Office of Surface Mining and then the National Park Service (NPS). At the NPS she worked for the Air Quality and Water Resources Divisions and at Grand Canyon National Park. During Clinton’s first administration, she served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Then for 10 years she worked as superintendent of Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota before returning to New Mexico where she served 8 years as superintendent of Chaco Culture National Historic Park. After 33 years of federal service, Barb retired to Mancos, Colorado with her husband, Darrell Knuffke and their springer spaniel, Edie.