Rio Grande Chapter
Derrick Toledo, from the Pueblo of Jemez, is a congressional staffer for Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández currently based out of Santa Fe. He previously served as a tribal official in Jemez and now works closely alongside the tribes in natural resource protection, language immersion, and energy policy. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he studied Multimedia Journalism and Marketing Management and is currently in a masters program at Arizona State University studying Political Psychology.
Tricia Snyder is the Senior Water Policy Analyst for New Mexico Wild. Growing up on the banks of the (often dry) Rio Grande in El Paso, TX sparked Tricia’s life-long interest in finding solutions for water conflicts in the arid and semi-arid American West. She started her career in Las Cruces NM, working to protect and restore the southwest borderlands and find ways to create habitat refugia along the Rio Grande. In 2015, Tricia moved to Washington state to pursue a graduate degree, receiving an M.S. in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management from Central Washington University. She worked for nearly four years on salmon recovery in the Yakima Basin in central Washington, bringing together a diverse group of interests and perspectives. She returned to New Mexico in 2021, fulfilling a career goal of working on issues related to her home river: the Rio Grande. She joined the NM Wild team in 2022. Tricia coordinates the NM Environmental Flows Working Group.
Diane has lived in New Mexico since 2007 – when she received orders to Kirtland AFB. She served 25 years as a medical service corps officer, beginning in the Navy and finishing in the Air Force. When she retired in 2010, Diane turned her attention to outdoor activities and to volunteering. She enjoys hiking, camping, skiing and long walks with her husband and dogs in the Bosque. She had her first taste of rafting with a 24 day trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon this year, has summited 6 fourteeners and hopes to add to that in the coming years.
Diane has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1996 and a life member since 2017. In 2019, she joined the Executive Committee of the Central Group, was elected Chair and also serves as the Vice Chair of the Chapter. Diane loves being an Outings Leader and staffing the Sierra Club table at public events. She lives in the South Valley of Albuquerque and is an avid campaigner for environmental champions who are seeking public office.
(The Pajarito Group will merge into the Northern New Mexico Group pending an Executive Committee vote in January 2023 but must hold elections in the meantime to comply with bylaws).
Jody Benson was recruited to join the Pajarito Group back in 1998 when she was working to save the 2.1 acres of Kinnikinnick Community Park from becoming a parking lot. Her heart-connection is with open space, wilderness, and wildlife, and with those amazing activists who have mentored and worked with her. She has served on the ExCom as Open Space committee chair, recording secretary, Sierran contributor, and group chair.
Tom Ribe is a longtime New Mexican whose main focus is on the Valles Caldera National Preserve and forest health more broadly. A longtime part-time firefighter, Tom advocates for prescribed burning and for the protection of our National Park Service lands.
Northern New Mexico Group
Chris has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1983 and has been involved in environmental issues since his activist days at UC Berkeley in the '70s. He has a BS in Conservation of Natural Resources and a Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. He was a 2-term city councilor in Santa Fe from 2006 to 2014. He currently serves on the Northern Group ExCom and the Chapter PolCom. Besides his interests in all things environmental, he is particularly focused on electing candidates with strong environmental records/positions.
Joe Wells serves as a member of the Northern New Mexico Group ExCom and on the Rio Grande Chapter Political Committee. Joe lives in Taos and is Vice Chair of the Taos Land Trust board. He is a Lifetime Member of the Sierra Club.
Hughes has been involved in the Northern Group’s activities for many years, including his current service on the Executive Committee. He seeks re-election to continue and expand on the Group’s reach in and beyond Santa Fe, with an emphasis on land use and transportation related issues.
Norman Norvelle is a retired environmental scientist that has lived in Farmington, NM since 1957. He attended Eastern New Mexico University and in 1970 earned a BS in Microbiology and Chemistry and in 1974 a Master of Natural Science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics & Geology). Norman is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (Registered Sanitarian), NM Certified Level IV Water and Level IV Wastewater Operator. He is a lifetime member of the American Water Works Association (40+ years) and a lifetime member of the NM Water & Wastewater Association (40+ years). Also, he is a member of the National Environmental Health Association, past professional member of the American Association of Safety Engineers, American Chemical Society, and a past section Trustee and section President of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. In 1994, he was the founder of the Four Corners Oil & Gas Conference & Exposition and chairman for the first 3 conventions. Norman was a Boy Scout leader and assistant scoutmaster for over 10 years and a National Jamboree Asst. Scoutmaster.
Mr. Norvelle started his career with the New Mexico Department of Public Health and worked four years as a laboratory scientist and public health advisor. He was a senior chemist with Public Service Company of NM (San Juan Generating Station (12 years) and El Paso Natural Gas Company (7 years). Norman worked five years for the State of New Mexico as a safety consultant and four years as the NMED Environmental Health Scientist Staff Manager for San Juan County. He worked over 5 years as an environmental consultant and trainer specializing in industrial water and wastewater treatment. Norman retired from NMED in 2012. He serves as a volunteer for the San Juan Watershed Group, NMED Gold King Mine Citizens Advisory Council, and was appointed by the Secretary of Interior as a member of the U.S. BLM Resource Advisory Council for the Farmington District Office.
One of my earliest memories as a child in Chimayó was running through the cornfields playing and picking chile with cousins, on our grandfather’s farm, on property that had been farmed by generations of ancestors. I learned how to irrigate before I was in elementary school. The acequia water was essential to our ancestors’ way of life. As I grew up, my father and uncles would take me on horseback rides to the San Pedro Wilderness or the Valle Vidal Wilderness. My father to this day reminds me, “you must always leave the land and water in better condition than you received it.”
After my freshman year at UNM, I managed my first campaign and since then have managed or consulted on more than 45 campaigns across the country. I was one of three college interns who oversaw the Jardines Del Bosques YCC Program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
In 2003 I became New Mexico field director for Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. I then worked for Gov. Bill Richardson’s Political Office in a variety of positions, Including Florida state director of his Moving America Forward political organization registering 45,000 new voters in the Latino and African American community, primarily in South Florida.I also served as regional political and field director for the New Mexico Democratic Party before moving to Gov. Richardson’s 2006 re-election campaign and then as Western States Political Director for Gov. Richardson’s presidential campaign.
I managed Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Ray Lujan’s victorious 2008 campaign for the 3rd Congressional seat. I have worked on numerous other local and state campaigns since then.
This year I served as a senior advisor to Leo Jaramillo’s campaign for state Senate District 5, and Roger Montoya’s primary campaign for New Mexico House District 40 and managed Montoya’s historic general-election campaign as the first gay man elected to the New Mexico House.
I look forward to working on advancing the Sierra Club issues that are so important to all New Mexicans as a Northern New Mexico Executive Committee member.
Central New Mexico Group
Jessica is a native New Mexican that grew up in the North Valley and Corrales areas who continues to live in and love the North Valley. She graduated from UNM in 2006 and worked as a paralegal for 13 years. She also worked in the food and beverage industry for most of her adult life. Now a Qualifying Broker in real estate for 8 years, she loves helping people find their forever home in our beautiful state.
During her off time, she enjoys walking her dog Sophie in the Los Poblanos Open Space, reading, doing Pilates, art projects, puzzles, games, thrifting, and volunteering for local animal rescue organizations. A longtime environmentalist, Jessica has been a member of Sierra Club for 10+ years and has been a part of the Rio Grande Chapter Central Group Executive Committee since 2021 serving as Secretary.
Terry Owen has been a member of the Sierra Club for over seven years. He has served as the Rio Grande Chapter Outings Chairman for over two years and currently serves on the Central Group Executive Committee. Additionally, he is chairman of the chapter Military Outdoors Program which he started over five years ago after attending training in Leadville, Colorado with 30 other military veterans.
He recently retired from Sandia National Laboratories following a rewarding 18-year career and now has his own consulting business. Prior to that he served for 20-years in both the enlisted and officer ranks in the United States Navy. During his tenure with the Navy he earned the Enlisted Submarine Warfare device, the Surface Warfare Officer device and qualified as a pilot of manned untethered submersibles to 20,000 feet. His time spent in the military service was predominantly around the Pacific rim including Japan, Guam and Hawaii. He subsequently attended New Mexico State University on the GI Bill where he was award Bachelors and Masters degrees in Accounting.
As chapter outings chairman, he’s provided outings leader training to students, both, in New Mexico and across the U.S. He gains the most enjoyment in leading outings, particularly when they include participants who’ve never experienced the wilderness in the Land of Enchantment. He leads numerous outings each year including hikes, bike rides, backpacking trips and snowshoe hikes in New Mexico and Colorado. Giving outings participants the opportunity to connect with nature and experience awe in a safe environment are his highest priority.
Terry currently resides in the Northeast heights of Albuquerque with his wife of over 30 years, Kathe, and their rescue dog, Ursa. You’ll often see them together on one of the many trails in the Sandia mountains experiencing nature on their own.
I joined the Rio Grande Sierra Club in 2008 and started volunteering for the Central Group after I retired in 2016. I started with the Wednesday afternoon data entry/phone calling group but soon added tabling at various events. While tabling at a legislative session I also learned how to lobby legislators on bills in person, by signing office tally sheets or by email. I have been active in canvassing and calling for political candidates for several years.
I grew up in a northern suburb of Buffalo, NY a couple miles from the Niagara River. For the first Earth Day I researched, photographed and helped in a presentation on pollution in the Niagara River to my high school with fellow students. I have been very interested in recycling, fighting pollution and reducing waste ever since then. So when I heard of the Central Group’s Zero Waste Team, I joined and soon after was organizing and leading their Zero Waste Tours of various facilities and businesses in Albuquerque. Recently I took over as team chair when Carol Chamberland decided to step down. Outside of the Sierra Club but with much support from them, I am involved in the Plastic Action Team, a group working to promote legislation to reduce the use of plastic statewide.
I was invited to join in on the Central Group’s Executive Committee meetings several months ago. I agreed to become an interim member when Carol stepped down from the committee at the same time she stepped down from chairing the Zero Waste Team and hope to continue serving on this committee.
Southern New Mexico Group
David Baake was born and raised in El Paso, TX. After graduating summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a degree in biological sciences, he obtained his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School. After law school, he spent a year working on climate and clean energy law at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., before completing two federal clerkships in Phoenix and Los Angeles. In 2017, David moved back to the borderlands, where he started his own law practice. He routinely represents the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in regional and national litigation. For example, David represented the Club in a rulemaking proceeding before the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission that resulted in a ban on the wasteful practice of routine flaring from oil wells.
In his free time, David enjoys backpacking in New Mexico's Gila Wilderness and traveling across Mexico with his wife, Yami. David is fluent in Spanish and an accomplished birder, who has over 500 bird species on his life list.
Howie Dash was originally from the Hudson Valley of New York, where he was conservation chair of the Catskill 3500 Club. He was active in conservation issues related to the Catskill and Adirdondack Parks. He was also a long time hike leader for the Catskill 3500 Club, Adirondack Mountain Club and Appalachian Mountain Club.
In 2008 he retired after a 36 year career in Metro-North Railroad in the operating department, finishing as Assistant Director of Operation Planning and Fleet Management. Upon retirement, Howie moved to New Mexico, where he joined the Sierra Club. He became active in 2013 upon the formation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Action team as an outing leader. He was a member of the Dona Ana Coalition as the Sierra Club representative, fighting for the OMDP to become a National Monument. In 2014 the Sierra Club and others were successful in getting President Obama to declare the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks a National Monument. Shortly thereafter, Howie joined the Southern Group Ex-Com as the outings chair. He is currently the Southern Group Chair.
I’m Gayle Eads asking for your vote to be a member of the Southern Group ExComm. My first environmental wake-up call was housing development creeping up the Franklin Mountains in El Paso in the mid-70s. I joined the Sierra Club and left to attend grad school at UC Berkeley; I earned my master’s in City and Regional Planning including public lands management policy. In my working career, I taught secondary math for 29 years and was a staffer for two CA Assembly members for 8 years in Sacramento. After retiring, I volunteered at 3 National Parks and highly recommend that experience for folks who like to be outdoors. I returned to Las Cruces in 2019 to be nearer my family.
I have been San Francisco Bay Chapter Chair, Political Chair for California and the Mother Lode Chapter; I served on the national Political Team for six years.
I organized the 500-postcard campaign to support Gabe and increase his name recognition with our members in this last election. We also sent postcards to Club members in Nathan Small’s district and Tara Jaramillo’s district (60 members in each district ).
I want to use my Sierra Club political experience to invigorate the Southern Group to support our electeds and advance our agenda in this time of serious Environmental Distress. Thank you for your vote.
Mary Katherine Ray
Mary Katherine Ray has been the Wildlife Chair for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club since 2005. A long time Sierra Club member, she was inspired to become more involved after some terrible encounters with traps hidden on the public lands near her home revealed that wildlife policy making in our state is often unjust, inconsiderate of the integrity of ecosystems, and contrary to conservation. This indifference is especially glaring when it comes to carnivores. Mary Katherine received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from NMSU, taught high school Chemistry in her home town of El Paso, TX and then retired with her husband to a remote part of Socorro county at the edge of the Gila bioregion.
She delights in photographing and observing wildlife and, closer to home, has also served on the Rio Grande Chapter Southern Group excom as secretary for many years.