Dawnafe Whitesinger (White Mountain Apache) grew up on the Fort Apache Reservation, and is now a resident of Pinetop-Lakeside. She serves on the Navajo County Board of Supervisors representing Navajo County District 5 and also serves on the White Mountain Youth Corps Board of Directors. Dawnafe has a strong love of her community, and has spent the majority of her life working in the education system to better the lives of children and their families. She started as the Curriculum Specialist for the Dishchii’bikoh (Cibecue) Community School, and now serves as the Director of Instruction Programs for that organization. She serves as the Chairperson of the school’s Leadership Team, on the First Things First White Mountain Apache Regional Partnership Council as the Vice-Chairperson, and as the treasurer for the Sunrise Park Resort Board of Directors.
Andrew O. Moore is a Senior Fellow with the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education and Families. He provides technical assistance to cities seeking to re-engage disconnected youth in employment, education, and civic life. Moore also provides support and coaching to numerous cities developing multi-sector partnerships focused on postsecondary success, and to additional cities on youth violence reduction. Moore spent 15 years building the nationwide network of service and conservation corps, and consulted on strategy development with numerous U.S. and U.K. organizations.
Arthur "Butch" Blazer served as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment from 2011-2016. In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Butch as State Forester of New Mexico, the first Native American to hold that position. During his tenure as State Forester, Butch was also named as Chair of the Council of Western State Foresters and Co-Chair for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Butch has been intimately involved in Tribal issues throughout his life. Prior to his service as State Forester, he served 27 years in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was also a co-founder of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, and has served on their Board of Directors and as the organization's National President. In 1998 Butch was elected, and served two consecutive terms, to the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council. An avid outdoors man, Blazer enjoys hunting, skiing and just "hiding-out" in the vast wilderness of his beautiful Mescalero Apache Reservation.
Enrique Figueroa serves as the chief executive and administrative officer of the Roberto Hernández Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as well as the Assistant to the Provost for Latino Affairs. He works extensively with the Latino community of greater Milwaukee in areas of program development, research, outreach and community empowerment through education. Enrique holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from UC-Davis and worked as a professor at Cornell University. He was appointed as Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the US Department of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration where he was responsible for a two billion dollar budget and a workforce of nearly 15,000. He was one of the first staff members at the California Conservation Corps in the 1970s and is a recognized national scholar, administrator, and Latino community leader.
Loretta retired from 33 years of service to the State of Colorado,Department of Natural Resources in 2014. She is an experienced professional with demonstrated success in strategic planning, natural resource management and environmental restoration. Loretta is recognized as an excellent communicator, results-oriented self-starter and problem-solver. She has a strong background in local, state and federal governmental affairs. Loretta has a BA from Colorado State University.
Loretta is currently working for Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), a Denver non-profit. ELK is dedicated to education opportunity fostered by science and natural resources within the urban environment. She is overseeing the development of ELK’S open space restoration and environmental education center project in the Montbello neighborhood.
Over the past 22 years, Baker Easley has led numerous environmental, volunteer, and youth-development oriented nonprofit organizations, with a focus on strengthening their programs and helping them grow to new levels. During that time, she founded or helped start 7 different youth and civilian service corps programs, both in Colorado and nationally. Prior to joining Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in 2007, she founded the Colorado Youth Corps Association where she served as its Executive Director for 11 years.
Robert Burkhardt recently retired after 21 years as Head of School of the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, CO. Previously he served as the first Executive Director of the San Francisco Conservation Corps and before that as the Chief Deputy Director of the California Conservation Corps. Robert was instrumental in the founding of the CCC Backcountry Program and was one of the first Board Presidents of the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, now The Corps Network. He has also worked as a teacher and circus performer and currently is a newspaper columnist for the Estes Park News. Robert has won numerous awards including the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service and the Class of 1962 Service Award from Princeton University.
Nelson serves as Director, Agriculture and Rural Economy, at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Washington DC. He has eighteen years' experience in the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and management of non-governmental and governmental programs aimed at poverty alleviation through agriculture and natural resources management in Niger, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Liberia, Ethiopia, Togo, Mauritania, and the United States. Nelson has a Ph.D in Arid Lands Resource Sciences from the University of Arizona. Nelson previously served as Country Director for the Peace Corps and as Vice-President of SCC.
Larry grew up on a working farm in an Irish farming community in Iowa, graduated from the University of South Dakota, traveled to Europe and then moved to California where he became one of the first staff members of the newly created California Conservation Corps (CCC). Larry ended up working with conservation corps for over 30 years from 1976 to 2006, the majority of that time with the CCC where he served as a Crew Supervisor, Regional Deputy, Operations Officer and Center Director. From 1993-1995 Larry served as the first Executive Director of the original state-operated Arizona Conservation Corps. During his career Larry developed the CCC's Salmon Restoration Program, managed disaster relief programs, developed multiple AmeriCorps programs and designed many of the CCC's orientation, case management and training programs. Larry is currently retired in northern California and enjoys sharing his knowledge with todays next generation of conservation corps enthusiasts.
Karen currently manages all aspects of the fine craft initiative, primarily focused on blacksmithing, fiber arts, and fine woodworking, on the campus of Warren Wilson College in Western North Carolina. Prior to this position she administered grants for the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She joined the Foundation in the fall of 2007 after returning from the Peace Corps where she was assigned to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines. Karen has a diverse background having spent time as the resident blacksmith at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, built hiking trails throughout the Southwest, and has hung out in tree canopies during her time as an arborist.
Cornell Torivio, a member of the Acoma Tribe, previously served as Southwest Conservation Corps Board member (2006-2008) and is the founder and first Director of SCC’s Ancestral Lands program. Cornell was born and raised in San Bernardino California. He enjoys the outdoors and has a new passion in getting fit and healthy. He states, “My experience and knowledge I have gained through many years of life and education have giving me the ability to teach others, in the fields of culinary arts, preservation, conservation and restoration of pre historic and historic structures, log cabins and viga restoration and treatment. Most important is the knowledge I have gained in the field of conservation, program development and youth outreach. And, most important to me is having a buffalo dance group that performs across the United States.” Cornell was awarded the Heritage Preservation Award of New Mexico for his knowledge and expertise in restoring the San Estevan Mission at Acoma Pueblo. In addition to founding the SCC Ancestral Lands office, he also started and led SCC’s first historic preservation crews. Cornell wanted to conclude his bio with the following:
We the willing, led by the Unknowing,
Are doing the impossible for the
We have done so much with so little,
That we are now qualified, to do Anything with Nothing.....
Philan is Towering House clan and born for Edgewater Clan. She is originally from Tolani Lake Arizona located on the Navajo Reservation. Currently she is employed as a Tribal & Program Liaison to the Coconino County District 4 Supervisor and tasked with relations and communications between tribal communities. Philan is an alum of the Coconino Rural Environment Corps, which is now a program of Arizona Conservation Corps and Conservation Legacy. She served two terms as an AmeriCorps Mentor and was selected as one of The Corps Network's 2012 National Corpsmembers of the Year. She currently serves on the Opportunity Youth Network's National Council of Young Leaders and is the Chair of the Native American Parent Advisory Committee for Flagstaff Unified School District.
Dawnafe Whitesinger (White Mountain Apache) grew up on the Fort Apache Reservation, and is now a resident of Pinetop-Lakeside. She serves on the Navajo County Board of Supervisors representing Navajo County District 5 and also serves on the White Mountain Youth Corps Board of Directors. Dawnafe has a strong love of her community, and has spent the majority of her life working in the education system to better the lives of children and their families. She started as the Curriculum Specialist for the Dishchii'bikoh (Cibecue) Community School, and now serves as the Director of Instruction Programs for that organization. She serves as the Chairperson of the school's Leadership Team, on the First Things First White Mountain Apache Regional Partnership Council as the Vice-Chairperson, and as the treasurer for the Sunrise Park Resort Board of Directors.
Stephanie Wu is the Senior VP & Chief Program Design and Evaluation Officer for City Year, one of the nation’s largest and most well-known national service programs. City Year addresses education issues by partnering with public schools in 27 urban, high-poverty communities. Stephanie leads the design, execution, and evaluation of City Year’s Whole School Whole Child services. She oversaw the program research and development initiative that fueled the organization's strategic shift toward addressing the nation's urban education challenge. Stephanie is also the founder of City Year’s Summer Academy, the organization’s intensive training program for staff and senior corps. Before taking on her current role, Stephanie served as Co-Chief Operating Officer, Senior VP of U.S. Site Operations, and Senior VP for Human Resources. Stephanie is a graduate of Boston University and came to the organization from the private sector in 1988, serving as a founding team leader in City Year’s original summer pilot.
S. Elwood York, Jr served from 2012-2016 as the Wilderness Program Leader for the US Forest Service and currently serves as Acting Deputy Director for Employee/Labor Relations for US Agency for International Development. Elwood is a 30+ year veteran civil and criminal trial attorney. He served as the Director of Pretrial Services for Monroe County, FL, Interim Director of the D.C. Dept. of Corrections, Municipal Judge in Houston, and Principal Attorney General and Acting Director of the Bureau of Corrections for the Dept. of Justice in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Elwood has been a part of several national award-winning teams that address the needs of underserved youth by fostering civic engagement, research, and wilderness stewardship. He is a staunch advocate for wilderness, education, and environmental conservation.
Mike retired after 30 years of Federal service in U.S. Forest Service and BLM, with assignments in California, Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado. He served as District Ranger and BLM Field Office Manager for Dolores Ranger District, San Juan National Forest and Dolores Field Office, San Juan Resource Area, BLM from 1991-2004. After retiring, Mike lived in Tucson, AZ and Puerto Penasco, Mexico and worked as a real estate agent. He currently lives in Dolores, CO with his wife. He has five grown children and one granddaughter.
"SCC allowed me to relearn the process of caring - for myself and for others. It is a rare thing to communally share the responsibilities of meeting the personal needs and comforts of daily life, and it is far rarer to feel the continual and unconditional support of everyone around you. This has been SCC's greatest gift, as I've continued to strive to create supportive and caring personal and professional environments since."