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Dr. Elizabeth Kinney

Board President

Beth Kinney is a family physician who has worked both in family practice and emergency medicine in the San Luis Valley for the last 21 years. She is an avid outdoor person enjoying both hiking and mountain biking. Beth is interested in increasing public awareness of the beneficial activities that SLVEC offers to the San Luis Valley community and environment. She believes that encouraging and enabling citizen stewardship of our land and resources is crucially important to maintaining our environment and for curbing/preventing the devastating effects of man-made global warming. " While my training is in improving health on an individual basis, environmental and community health are vital to our future survival."


Don Thompson

Board Member

Don and his partner Jan One retired to Alamosa in 2003 after approximately 30 

years in Denver. Don was active in the environmental community in Denver working on issues related to clean air and water, as well as wilderness designations. He served for six years as the environmental representative to the Denver Water Citizens Advisory Committee. Don has climbed the Fourteeners, hiked the Colorado Trail, and was an Ultra Marathoner in his younger years. He is currently treasurer for seven nonprofit organizations. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, he graduated from Miami University and moved to Denver in 1969. 


Dr. Joel Kaufman

Board Member

Joel was raised and educated in New Jersey. He landed in the San Luis Valley 33 years ago and began practicing medicine. He had an obligation to serve in a poor area with a shortage of physicians, due to his government-sponsored medical education.


The San Luis Valley was a great fit because he wanted to be far from a city, in the mountains near great snow (Wolf Creek) and close to his brother. Most amazingly, he found a practice in which he fit. This was Valley Wide Health Services (now Systems.)

He took a world tour from 1988-89, going to 4 European countries, 12 African and 6 Asian nations. All told, he has been to 35 countries, 47 states and 7 Canadian provinces.


Dawn Anderson

Board Member

Bachelor of Science


Central Michigan University

Dawn’s geology education emphasized environmental geology and hydrogeology.  She worked in the private sector doing environmental consulting work, including field work, sampling soil and groundwater, and writing reports.  She worked with multiple state agencies including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Division of Oil and Public Safety (OPS) and the Division of Water Resources.  She also worked with the federal EPA office.  She began working for OPS in 2004 as an Environmental Protection Specialist (EPS) and worked for them for ten years.  As an EPS, she managed environmental clean-up projects in which regulated underground and above-ground petroleum tank systems had released petroleum to the environment, impacting soil and/or groundwater.


Dawn has lived in Colorado since 1998.  She grew up in Michigan and lived in southern Illinois for a short time before moving to the foothills west of Denver.  She and her husband bought land in the SLV in 2006 and moved onto it full time in 2014.  She and her husband operate a small homestead on 40 acres. They have some chickens, geese, rabbits, and quail and are interested in growing food and living a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle.


Jose Villa

Board Member

Jose Villa retired from research with honey bees with the Agriculture Research Service (USDA) in Louisiana and moved to the San Luis Valley in 2016.  His fascination with honey bees started as a teenager growing up in the Andes mountains of Colombia. This interest has taken him to schools in Ontario, Kansas and Louisiana, and research assignments in Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico as well as many US states.  Jose also has broader interests in ecology, botany, sustainable agriculture and conservation.  He and his wife enjoy gardening, beekeeping, hiking and the unique beauty of the valley and surrounding mountains. 


May Engquist

Board Secretary

Acknowledgement of Maison (May) Engquist, who passed away on Friday, October 8th, 2021. 


May was a wonderful SLVEC supporter and board member for well over a decade. She participated with so many critical issues through the years, the Baca National Wildlife Refuge exploratory drilling proposal and our challenge in court (2008), going up to many hearings in Denver; participating with our Solid Waste Audit at the SLV Landfill, attending all of our Task Force meetings regarding the development of a recycling infrastructure for the SLV, participating in meetings for years regarding the Rio Grande Forest Plan revision and recently, informing Saguache County Commissioners about Wildlife Corridors and writing an email in support of wildlife connectivity for their just recently passed resolution.


There’s been so much activity and genuine support for public lands legacy that May embraced, enjoyed actually, and she stepped up many times. I know May stayed involved because she understood the importance of healthy ecosystems, watersheds and wildlife for future generations. Many blessings your way May, peace and love be with you. You will be missed by all who knew you.

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