Wyoming Outdoor Council Staff
Gary Wilmot, Executive Director
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 21
Based in Lander since the late 1980’s, Gary was hired as the development director of the Wyoming Outdoor Council in 2008. He became associate director in 2009, and accepted the position of executive director in 2013. Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in geology as well as a teaching certification from James Madison University. Prior to his work at the Outdoor Council, Gary worked at the National Outdoor Leadership School for 20 years. During his tenure he was a senior field instructor, a program coordinator, an associate director, and a major gifts officer. Gary was part of the first single season ascent of the three highest peaks in Alaska. He summited Denali, Mount Foraker, and Mount Hunter. Gary is also an avid marathoner and he serves on the board of the Lander Community Foundation.
Stefani Farris, Development Coordinator
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 12
Aside from brief stints in Alaska and Washington State, Stefani has lived in Wyoming since the mid-1990s, when she transferred to the University of Wyoming to finish her bachelor’s degree in English. Stefani holds an M.F.A. in creative writing, and has been a writing resident at Wyoming’s Ucross Foundation and the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska. She has been awarded two literature fellowships from the Wyoming Arts Council, as well as that organization’s Doubleday Award for women writers and its Blanchan Award for nature writing. Her work appears in a number of literary journals around the country. In addition to working at various Wyoming nonprofits over the years, Stefani has also volunteered in the field with the National Park Service’s Yellowstone Wolf Project, spending two months tracking and studying the park’s wolves. She lives in Lander with her husband and son.
Mary Joyner Greene, Associate Director of Philanthropy
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 15
Originally from North Carolina, Mary was exposed to the Mountain West as a teenager and knew then she would make a life for herself surrounded by mountains. She graduated with honors from Roanoke College with a double degree in international relations and history. Mary taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in Charlotte for two years before beginning an 11-year career with the National Outdoor Leadership School. She worked as a senior field instructor, as a program supervisor at multiple international locations, and as the organization’s faculty recruitment and development coordinator. She settled in Lander in 2011 where she lives with her husband and daughter. As the associate director of philanthropy, Mary works to expand and deepen relationships with the Council’s supporters across Wyoming. Mary serves on a couple of boards and working groups in Lander. She loves to do anything outside and takes advantage of having wonderful Wyoming wilderness areas in her backyard. When she’s not outdoors or volunteering in the community, she loves to cook, bake, and entertain friends and family.
Dan Heilig, Senior Conservation Advocate
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 13
Inspired by stories in Field & Stream and other outdoor journals, Dan fled the East Coast for the Rocky Mountains, arriving in Wyoming in 1978. The following summer, he participated in a 30-day wilderness expedition with the Lander-based National Outdoor Leadership School, an experience that would change his life. He became an instructor for NOLS in 1981, and spent the next 8 years exploring the mountains of Wyoming, Alaska, and South America. After making the first American ascent of Gasherbrum II, an 8,000-meter peak in Pakistan, in 1987, Dan entered law school at the University of Wyoming. Following a stint as a law clerk assigned to Wyoming’s largest toxic tort case, Dan joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council in 1991 as the organization’s associate director and staff attorney. He became executive director in 1998, and served in that capacity until 2004. Upon leaving the Outdoor Council, Dan took a much-needed break, including a month-long motorcycle trip through Argentina and Chile. Dan became an owner and the general manager of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides in 2005, running the business until he sold his interest in late 2013. During that period, he also opened an office for Western Resource Advocates in Wyoming, and served as its Wyoming staff attorney from 2008-2011. Dan rejoined The Outdoor Council in October 2014 as its senior conservation advocate. He lives in Lander with his wife, two cats, and a garage full of motorcycles.
Bonnie Hofbauer, Office Manager
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 17
Bonnie and her husband moved to Wyoming in 1978. Bonnie’s involvement with the Wyoming Outdoor Council began as a volunteer for the organization’s local recycling program, and she started working full time for the Council in 1991. She brought a “can do” attitude to the office and has become the go-to person for technical support for computers, telecommunications systems, and office machinery. Bonnie manages the membership database and tends to the many needs of the organization. Her love of the outdoors takes her on regular horse packing and hunting adventures.
Steff Kessler, director of external relations
Steff’s passion for the West brought her to Wyoming in the 70s when she started working for the Lander-based National Outdoor Leadership School as a back-county wilderness instructor. She later obtained a Masters of Education in Planning and Policy from Harvard University, which led to administrative jobs at NOLS and as executive director of the Alaska Center for the Environment based in Anchorage. She returned to Wyoming to serve as executive director of the Wyoming Outdoor Council from 1990 – 1994, stepping down from full time work as her family grew. Steff kept engaged with Wyoming conservation through part time work, consulting and serving on several boards. In 2004 and 2005 she managed the successful legislative campaign creating the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust. Steff later opened and staffed The Wilderness Society’s Wyoming office for 7 years, working in partnership with the Wyoming Outdoor Council and many others to secure passage of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act and protection of the Upper Hoback. During this time she also served on the State’s Ozone Task Force and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Interior to the Pinedale Anticline Working Group. Aside from state legislative and congressional experience, Steff also understands local government concerns, having served on the Lander School Board and as a Fremont County Commissioner. She resides outside of Lander on the border of the Wind River Indian Reservation with her husband John Gans and three children.
Lisa McGee, Program Director
| phone: 307.733.3845
After graduating from Miami University in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, Lisa worked as a ranger naturalist in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. In 2004, she graduated with honors from the University of Wyoming College of Law, where she focused on public lands and natural resource law. She served as a law clerk for a superior court judge in Anchorage, Alaska before returning to Wyoming in June 2005 to direct the Wyoming Outdoor Council’s national parks and forests program. The majority of Lisa’s work has focused on oil and gas leasing and development proposals on the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Wyoming Range. Lisa became the Outdoor Council’s program director in 2013. She lives in Jackson with her husband and son.
Chris Merrill, Associate Director
| phone: 307.349.7288
Chris joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council staff as communications director in 2009, and became the associate director in 2013. An award-winning journalist, he came to the Wyoming Outdoor Council after holding the post of environment reporter for the Casper Star-Tribune. He also covered politics, health care, and the environment for the Idaho State Journal. Before becoming a journalist he lived and worked in Ecuador, Bolivia, and South Korea, where he taught English. Chris has a master’s degree in English from Colorado State University and an undergraduate degree in political science. He lives in Laramie with his wife and two children.
Amy Rathke, Community Engagement Director
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 16
A Lander resident since 2005, Amy Rathke joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council team in 2014 as community engagement director. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest where she developed her love of wild places, which led to nine fulfilling years both behind a desk and as a backpacking course leader with the National Outdoor Leadership School. She graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and media studies as well as politics. At the Wyoming Outdoor Council, she works to grow the organization’s influence and effectiveness by engaging its members, friends, and network of allies. Amy gets out to explore Wyoming’s public lands as often as possible, and she thoroughly enjoys the indoor pursuits of baking and karaoke.
Linda Sisco, Administrative Coordinator
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 10
Linda joined staff the Wyoming Outdoor Council staff as administrative assistant in April 2008. She accepted the position of administrative coordinator in 2012. She grew up on an 80-acre farm in southwest Iowa and she came to Wyoming for the first time in 1978, after earning her bachelor’s degree in recreation and art from the College of St. Mary’s in Omaha, Nebraska. She moved to Lander in 1993 after owning and operating a successful commercial greenhouse and landscaping company in Marlboro, Vermont. Although she had never previously worked in conservation, she supported wilderness-based education programs through work with the National Outdoor Leadership School, and she has been active in promoting environmental practices in the workplace.
Julia Stuble, Public Lands Advocate
| phone: 307.332.7031 ext. 11
Julia joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council in 2012. She engages in public land-use planning and works on campaigns to protect Wyoming’s special landscapes, key wildlife habitats and corridors, and significant historical and cultural sites. Julia also serves on the board of the Alliance for Historic Wyoming and on the Bureau of Land Management’s resource advisory council for Wyoming. She was born and raised in southwest Wyoming, and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Julia previously worked as an environmental journalist in Pinedale and then as an environmental educator in Jackson and Pinedale. In 2010, she completed a master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Prescott College where her thesis research focused on western Wyoming ranching and the language used to express attachment to place. In 2012, she completed a second master’s degree in American Studies and Environment and Natural Resources at UW; her thesis research there focused on the community of Pinedale and social responses to natural gas development. Based in Lander, Julia and her family get out onto dirt roads and trails as often as possible.
Wyoming Outdoor Council Board of Directors
Dave Hohl, Pinedale
Born in Seattle, raised on Whidby Island, and studying forestry at the University of Washington, Dave has had a close attachment to the outdoors from early on. After college he served in the Peace Corps in Nepal working with villagers creating nurseries to reforest local areas. He served a short stint in the Army before embarking on a career with the U.S. Forest Service managing developed, dispersed, and wilderness resources in Washington, northern California, Montana, and Wyoming. He retired in 1994. Dave has served multiple terms on the Pinedale Town Council, first in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and again until recently. Since retirement he has been working on a cabin in the southern Wind River Range.
Paige Smith, Cheyenne
Paige has lived in Wyoming for 35 years. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland but always felt drawn to the West—too much heat and humidity in her home state! She studied rangeland management at Utah State University in Logan. After working summers for the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service in southern Utah and Salmon, ID, she returned to Logan after graduation to work for the Forest Service’s Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. There she participated in mine land reclamation research, which led to graduate work through the University of Wyoming. She was funded by the Forest Service to inventory 92 abandoned oil and gas drilling sites on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and conduct vegetation and soil sampling on a smaller subset of these sites to determine the progress of revegetation. After graduating from the University of Wyoming with a master’s degree in rangeland management/mine land reclamation, Paige was hired by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality in 1984. She spent her 29-year career in various roles with the agency in the Land Quality, Air Quality, and Solid and Hazardous Waste Divisions. She also had a one-year temporary position as a Natural Resources Policy Analyst in Governor Dave Freudenthal’s administration. Not long after moving to Cheyenne, Paige met her husband, Shane. Paige and Shane regularly hosted Outdoor Council lobbyists and various get-togethers in their home. Both have previously served on the Wyoming Outdoor Council board, Shane as chairman. Paige retired from the DEQ in 2013 and is thrilled to again be a part of the Council’s board as a “free agent,” to help with the organization’s vital work to protect and preserve our beautiful state. Paige and Shane have two sons; one is a recent graduate from the University of Wyoming and the other is currently enrolled as an undergraduate.
Andy Carson, Wilson
Born in southern California, Andy Carson was introduced at a young age to the West’s natural beauty through family trips to Parks and other public lands. He attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut but the draw of the mountains and the high country of the Rockies brought him to Wyoming in 1965. He was a student on the first course run by the Lander-based National Outdoor Leadership School, into the nearby Wind River Mountains. Andy met his wife Nancy on a later NOLS course, and they both instructed for the school during its formative years. They purchased a home in Wilson, Wyoming in the early ’70’s, raising two children. With an abiding passion for the alpine world, Andy pursued his interest in technical climbing and mountaineering. During those years he worked for NOLS, the Outward Bound programs in Colorado, and various other guiding concerns including the Exum Guides, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, High Country Guides, and others. In 1984 he purchased Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and operated that business until 2000, when he sold his interest to friends who had guided for him or with whom he’d been associated through his continued relationship with NOLS. Andy was on the Board of the Access Fund for six years, starting in 2000. The Access Fund is a national nonprofit advocacy group working to maintain and protect climbing sites, and access to them, throughout the country. He has also pursued a variety of business interests centered on residential and commercial real estate in Teton and Sublette Counties, with which he is still actively involved. He continues to spend as much time as possible in Wyoming’s splendid outdoors, climbing and hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, and getting a chance to seek out more of the state’s remarkable landscapes.
Keith Rittle, Laramie
Keith’s love of the Wyoming outdoors traces back to family trips to the West during his childhood in Pennsylvania. After completing a bachelor’s of science in geology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1991, he moved to Laramie to conduct graduate studies in remediation methods for heavy metal contamination downstream from historical mining operations. Keith completed a master’s degree in geology at the University of Wyoming in 1993, and subsequently joined a Laramie-based environmental consulting company. As a registered professional geologist, he has focused his career on the cleanup of active and former petroleum refineries. He currently directs environmental remediation projects at a portfolio of former industrial sites in the Midwest and western United States. Keith joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council board in July 2006 and served two terms. He rejoined the board again in 2014. He works to contribute to collaborative solutions for Wyoming environmental conservation goals.
Judy Antell, Laramie
An enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation, Judy did her undergraduate work at Minnesota State University, Mankato. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology, Judy did graduate work at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she completed a master’s degree in sociology. She then accepted a position at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California where she taught sociology and Native American studies. While living in northern California, Judy and her partner bought eighteen acres of Redwood forest land and built the first minimum code house in Humboldt County. The minimum code concept supported owner builders who wished to live in small structures with minimum impact on the environment. After a decade of living minimally in Redwood Country, Judy began working toward her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, a degree she completed in 1989. She went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship, also at UC Berkeley, and then moved to Laramie to serve as founding director for American Indian Studies at the University of Wyoming, a position she held until her retirement in 2014. She is honored to be able to serve the Wyoming Outdoor Council.
Rich Brame, Lander
Rich came to Lander in 1984 as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School after attending Montana State University in Bozeman. His ongoing career with NOLS includes seven years as the school’s primary Leave No Trace program architect and driver—which has included curriculum creation, private and federal partnership development, and field education. Rich has taught and led courses in wilderness on five continents with students, land managers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and outdoor industry representatives, focusing on leadership and conservation skills. He has also supervised the school’s research and public policy departments and served on the Boy Scouts of America’s National Conservation Committee. Rich headed up the National Outdoor Leadership School’s field programs and business functions in Canada’s Yukon Territory from 1999 to 2006. During that time, he and his home-schooled family split their year between Whitehorse and Lander—perhaps as the only known people to actually snowbird in Wyoming. Since the fall of 2006, Rich has led NOLS’ alumni-relations efforts. His work includes developing and marketing benefits, services and networking for the school’s nearly 200,000 global graduates as well as overseeing relevant print publications, electronic media, and personal contacts. Rich co-authored the revised fourth edition of NOLS’ minimum impact textbook Soft Paths: How to Enjoy the Wilderness Without Harming It.
Michele Irwin, Green River
Michele Irwin has been a member of Wyoming Outdoor Council since 1989, shortly after moving to Wyoming from southeast Idaho. The daughter of stream biologists, she grew up on a small family farm. She is an avid outdoorswoman (hunter, fisher, camper, hiker, etc.), writer and photographer, with a passion for Wyoming’s wide-open spaces and diverse wildlife. She is also a member of Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited Seedskedee Chapter, and Muley Fanatics. Michele received her undergraduate degree in political science from Idaho State University, and a master’s in public administration from the University of Wyoming, with a focus on ecosystem management. Michele was employed for 20 years in various extractive industries, served as community resource specialist at Western Wyoming Community College, and also worked in education and county government. She has experience working with various youth groups, including Upward Bound, Camp Fire, and 4-H. She is involved with local and state politics, and ran for the Wyoming State Legislature in 2014. She currently lives in southwest Wyoming on a family owned working cattle ranch along the Green River with her husband and three Airedales where they raise a small herd of bison, heritage turkeys, and a garden.
Scott Kane, Lander
Scott is the co-founder and co-owner of Creative Energies, a renewable energy system provider based in Lander. Scott has a bachelor’s degree in geology from St. Lawrence University. He spent 10 years leading wilderness expeditions for the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming, Alaska, and Latin America. In 2000, Scott redirected his environmental commitment to the advancement of renewable energy in Wyoming. He and a partner founded Creative Energies to design and install solar and wind power systems for homes, ranches, and businesses throughout Wyoming. Creative Energies is the most active full-service renewable energy business in Wyoming. Scott lives in Lander with his wife and daughter, is an avid runner and skier and a beekeeper.
Beedee Ladd, Wilson
Beedee Ladd lives in Wilson, Wyoming and Dover, Massachusetts. She has previously served on several boards for nonprofit, nongovernmental conservation organizations, including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. She is a Wellesley College graduate of too many years ago to contemplate, and in addition, she has a degree in social work. She currently serves on the Massachusetts Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Lands, the Charles River Watershed Association Advisory Board, the Board of Overseers of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the Jackson Hole Land Trust Open Space Council, and the Board of the Murie Center in Moose, WY. Beedee and her husband, Ted, spend as much time as they can in Jackson Hole. Both of their children live and work there: Anne Ladd and Len Carlman live in Wilson with their two kids; and Ted and Laura live in Wilson as well. Beedee is involved in various community activities in Jackson, including the Music Festival Auxiliary and the Jackson Hole Council of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. She joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council board in 2011 with the desire to work with the Council’s staff and volunteers, and help further the organization’s mission.
Liza Cuthbert-Millett, Newcastle & Laramie
Liza has a bachelor’s of science and a master’s of science in wildlife biology and management from the University of Wyoming. Her master’s degree research with Professor Stan Anderson dealt with bald eagle recovery. She and her former husband purchased the Plum Creek Ranch near Newcastle in the mid 90s, where she has focused on a grass-fed beef operation. She previously served on the boards of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, the Western Organization of Resource Councils, and UW’s Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. In 1995 she replaced her father on the Newell Rubbermaid Board of Directors and continues to serve as an independent member of Newell’s Board.
John Parr, Cheyenne
John was born in Cheyenne and he feels fortunate to have spent his entire life in the beautiful state of Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1975 after completing service in the U.S. Army and a tour in Vietnam. He taught school for a brief time in Cheyenne in 1977 before becoming a locomotive engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad. He chose his vocation so he could enjoy Wyoming’s outdoor recreation and beauty. He retired from the National Guard after doing a tour in Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He retired from the railroad in 2008. His 36-year marriage to Marietta, two grown children, Sara and Zack, and grandchildren make his life busy and happy. John is an avid fly fisherman and big-game and bird hunter. He enjoys drift-dory boating, shooting rifle and pistol, and archery. Horse pack trips and day hikes into the wilds of Wyoming have always been his greatest love. He trains Labrador retrievers as therapy animals and for hunting. He is a past board member of Hidden Pines Hunting Retriever Association and a current member of the Cheyenne Rifle and Pistol Club. He has been a member of Ducks Unlimited, Wyoming Wildlife Federation, and Trout Unlimited. His ancestors have been in Wyoming for hundreds of years and he wants his children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy what he has enjoyed during his life in Wyoming.
Hap Ridgway, Sunlight Valley
Hap was born and raised in Cody. He graduated from Cody High School and went on to Dartmouth College, followed by a two-year tour in the Army before completing a Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University. His parents purchased a homestead in Sunlight Valley and in 1957 started Elk Creek Ranch, a ranch and wilderness program for teenagers. Hap started out as the “kitchen boy” and worked his way up to manage the operation in the 1970’s. He paired his summer ranch work with a career in school, teaching, and serving as the assistant headmaster at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire. He finished his career as the headmaster of Berwick Academy in Maine. During those years he enjoyed time working on nonprofit boards such as the University of New England and the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation. For reasons not yet fully clear to Hap, his spouse Susan was equally passionate about ranch and school life and about working with teenagers. They ran Elk Creek together for two decades. They have four children three of whom now run the daily operations of Elk Creek Ranch while pursuing their own teaching careers, and Hap and Susan support their efforts during the summers and help with the off-season correspondence and caretaking. Hap and Susan retired from Berwick and moved back to Wyoming and Sunlight Valley permanently in 2007. While they had been involved in some local environmental issues during their school years—zoning regulations, the siting of the Chief Joseph Highway, the Noranda Mine—Hap knew that retirement brought both the responsibility and the opportunity to dedicate more time to preserving the natural and wilderness values that were central to Elk Creek Ranch and the Ridgway family. Participation in the Big Horn Basin BLM plan and the Shoshone National Forest plan exposed Hap to the work, philosophy, and effectiveness of the Outdoor Council, and he is happy now to be a part of its vital work.
Anthony Stevens, Wilson
Anthony is a Wyoming native born and raised in Jackson Hole. He joined the Wyoming Outdoor Council Board in March of 2005 and served two terms. He rejoined the board again in 2014. As a young man, Anthony spent a lot of time in the outdoors, which led him to the National Outdoor Leadership School from which he graduated in 1996. Since then he has been a strong supporter of outdoor education and environmental ethics, volunteering with NOLS in order to help with fundraising and alumni events. As a Wyoming Outdoor Council Board member, Anthony hopes to put his passion for environmental conservation to work to ensure that Wyoming has a sustainable future.