who we are

Board of Directors

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 2004 to protect and preserve Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Meet our board of directors below. Our board is comprised of individuals with decades of experience working in and around the Monument.

You can also visit us at our headquarters in Escalante for more information about the Monument and how to visit with respect.

Team for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

Scott Berry, President

Scott is a 5th generation Utahn, a mostly retired trial attorney, and a lifelong resident of the state. He fell in love with the landscapes of Utah as a child, when his lawyer father took him along to his court appearances throughout the rural counties of Utah. The Escalante Canyons were the focus of his first conservation effort, working to stop the construction of a highway from Escalante to Bullfrog.

As a young attorney, he purchased land near Torrey which is the site of his primary residence today, and his home base for exploring Capitol Reef National Park. In the years that followed he helped establish the Boulder Mountain Lodge in Boulder and continues working to advance conservation in this remarkable area. He is a past board member of the Wild Utah Project and serves on the board of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

Bob King, Vice-President

Dr. Robert King retired after more than 30 years at the World Bank.  In his final position, he was Senior Advisor to and Communications Director for the World Bank Group Chief Information Officer.  Prior to this, Bob was Manager of the World Bank’s Communications Network and Operations Manager of the External Affairs, Communications, and United Nations Affairs Vice-Presidency. He joined the World Bank in 1982 and spent over 20 years leading teams of econometricians and economic forecasters.  Before joining the World Bank, Bob worked for Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, and has also worked for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

Bob provides pro-bono executive management, executive transition, and board development consulting to local nonprofits. Bob is a volunteer with the National Park Service in the Preventative Search and Rescue program at the Grand Canyon and formerly served as coordinator of the Billy Goat Trail Stewards program at the C&O National Historical Park where he was also a member of the bike patrol, a bike mechanic, a sawyer, and provided administrative and communications support.  

In addition to advocacy and volunteer work, Bob’s passions include backpacking and camping in the American Southwest, cycling, kayaking, and golf. He lives with his wife, Deena Barlev in the Sandy Spring, Maryland area and Broomfield, Colorado.  They have four children and one grandchild.

Carolyn Shelton

Originally from California, Carolyn spent her career working in natural resources throughout the West, both in the private sector and for BLM & USFWS.   In 2001, Carolyn and her husband Jim moved to Kanab, Utah where she was tasked with the oversight, design, and fabrication of interpretive exhibits of four new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument visitor centers.  She managed the science and visitor services division for a decade, working fifteen years at the Monument.

After 45 years working to protect Western wildlands, Carolyn retired in summer 2017 from “active duty” to “move away from the desk” and get back to the landscapes she loves.  Carolyn was a founding member of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. Carolyn says, “I’m proud to serve on the board and believe what Margaret Mead said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. And we shall.”

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Davina Smith

Davina Smith is a member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe, originally from Monument Valley, Utah. She belongs to the Ta’chii’ nii (Red Running into the Water) clan and is born to the Ta’ baa ha’ (Edgewater) clan. She recently just accepted a position with the National Parks Conservation Association as the Organizer/Tribal Coordinator. My focus will be on assisting with the Protection of our Cultural Landscape of Southeastern Utah, and my major focus is to support the coalition effort in assisting with the development of a proposals to protect the area between Hovenweep, Canyons of the Ancients, and Bears Ears National Monuments known as the “Lands Between,” and to coordinate protection efforts in the Lands Between in alignment with NPCA’s national 30×30 campaign.

Davina Smith’s personal mission is advocating for Native families, in both her rural and urban communities, in addition to preserving and protecting the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American lands to benefit and bring healing to people and the Earth.” Davina has had a plethora of work experience in Salt Lake City such as, the former Director of Operations for Utah Diné Bikeyah (UDB), American Indian Education Coordinator for Salt Lake School District, Fourth Street Clinic, and Program Director for the American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University. She is currently holding Board Positions with Grand Staircase Escalante Partners and Love is King (Portland, OR) and is the CEO of Haseya Native Initiatives LLC.

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Dave Ljung, Treasurer

Dave is the CEO and Managing Shareholder of Gilbert, a 70-person CPA firm in Sacramento, California, where he has served the needs of hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout California for over 30 years.  Today, his firm is one of the largest CPA firms in California specializing in services to nonprofit organizations, including assurance, tax, Board governance, and strategic planning services. The adventurer in Dave, however, has never ceased.

About 20 years ago, Dave discovered southern Utah on one of his motorcycle trips and found yet another passion. Dave fell in love with its colors, grandeur, pure, and unspoiled terrain, and its unique beauty. The areas in and around the Grand Staircase became a precious place in his life, and one he returns to year after year to hike and explore. For Dave, GSEP represents the perfect opportunity to meld his passions for adventure, the outdoors, the mission-focus of nonprofit organizations, and his love of the Monument. 

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Garett Rose

Garett Rose is an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Alaska Project and works to protect Alaska’s wild lands.  Before joining NRDC, he practiced at Covington & Burling LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, DC. While at Covington he advised and represented GSEP in its lawsuit challenging the reduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. He earned his B.A. (2007) and J.D. with high honors (2013) from the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Frank Easterbrook on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.

During law school, Garett worked with the Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section in Washington, DC and before law school, he spent three years working for Rep. Barney Frank and the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. Southern Utah has been a singular constant throughout these periods. He has continually returned to the unparalleled public lands of Utah and the folks who live there. It is another home to him, and he is deeply committed to advancing the preservation and protection of those public lands. Garett currently lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife Meredith, their daughter Petra, and their cat Deckard.

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Michelle Fein

Michelle Fein is a public interest attorney focused on enforcing our federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, and remedying violations of those laws on behalf of local communities and nonprofit groups in Utah and across the country. Before starting her practice, she was a litigation fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and, while there, she assisted with litigation opposing Trump’s reductions to the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. She has also worked with several environmental justice, civil rights, and human rights-oriented advocacy groups domestically and abroad. She moved to Utah in 2015 to clerk for judges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. Shortly after arriving, Michelle visited and fell in love with the GSENM and has returned nearly every year since, including living and volunteering for a month at the farm at the Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah. She splits her time between Summit Park and the New York City suburbs, and recently welcomed her first baby into the world.
Profile photo for Davina Smith

Allison Stegner

Allison Stegner is a paleoecologist whose research draws on modern, historic, and paleontological records to study how species respond to environmental change. Her work is organized around the idea that long-term data can productively inform our current approach to conservation and land management.

Allison grew up in Northern California and spent her formative years hiking, camping, rafting, and generally exploring the southwestern US with her conservation-minded family. She completed her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and spent several years in remote regions of southeastern Utah conducting field work for her dissertation on the Holocene history of Colorado Plateau mammals. She then worked as a BLM resource intern, first to advance STEM education and outreach in Utah’s Grand and San Juan Counties, and then surveying paleontological resources in Bears Ears National Monument. She continued on to postdoctoral positions in paleoecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford University. She is based at Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve where her current project focuses on defining the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch.

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Rosie Gochnour Serago

Rosie Gochnour Serago has spent her entire career in the public sector, including a five-year tenure as a Content Strategist for the Utah Office of Tourism (2017–2022). During this time she helped launch UOT’s Red Emerald Strategic Plan, which outlined “stewardship” as an Office imperative for the first time. She also led the strategy and creative behind the “Keep Utah Forever Mighty” sustainability brand on VisitUtah.com and the corresponding editorial content. 

During her time with the State, she championed the need for continued dialogue, creativity and public engagement surrounding the role of “destination management” — which asks destination officials to define intentional tourism strategies that balance marketing, development and long-term sustainability for their destinations. In 2021, she co-produced a series of articles and videos on how to travel responsibly in the Grand Staircase Escalante region in collaboration with various members of the community, including search and rescue volunteers, county officials, ranchers and BLM rangers.\


Rosie is a sixth generation Utahn, descending from hand cart pioneers and early Pony Express riders. She currently offers freelance content and marketing consultation services and lives in downtown Salt Lake City. 
Profile photo for Davina Smith

Hillary Angelo

Hillary Angelo is an urban and environmental sociologist and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research on environment and urbanization includes historical and contemporary work on urban greening, sustainability planning, and climate change. She is currently writing a book on public lands and the energy transition, which treats America’s public lands as a key site to ask and answer questions about climate crisis, social crisis, and paths of social change in the 21st century. Before graduate school, she worked for five years with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, primarily on issues of participatory design, immigration, and public space use.

She got to know southern Utah through her research, and on frequent drives across the country between California and New York, and now spends as much time in the desert as possible.

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Danielle Droitsch

Danielle Droitsch is an environmental law and policy expert based in Salt Lake City, Utah with a decades long love for southern Utah.  She is currently a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada advancing law and policy based campaigns as well as an executive and career coach to professionals looking to improve their professional fulfillment and impact.  She has worked in the environmental space as a leader for over 30 years for organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, and American Rivers and acted as an Executive Director for state-wide or provincial organizations. She is an architect and implementer of state, national, international environmental campaigns and initiatives across the U.S. and Canada. 

Danielle has often operated as a collaborative coalition leader who weaves the work of grassroots and affected communities into focused efforts that reform law and policy.  She has experience and is particularly passionate about supporting Indigenous led conservation and co-management, a focus of the GSEP.  Her expertise in the conservation field includes watershed protection, responsible mining, energy and climate, and forest protection. She is a trained lawyer and certified professional coach.  She lives with her husband and daughter on the side of a mountain overlooking the Great Salt Lake and travels to hike, camp, or bike in southern Utah  and particularly Grand Staircase-Escalante whenever possible.

Emeritus Trustees

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Noel Poe

Noel is a retired National Park Service veteran who worked in 8 national park areas including three parks in Southern Utah; Bullfrog Basin, Glen Canyon NRA; Capitol Reef NP; and he served as Superintendent at Arches NP. Nineteen of his 37.5 years with the NPS were as Superintendent of 4 different parks. After retiring in 2007, he and his wife moved to Kanab.

Noel joined the Partners in 2008, and shortly after, in 2009, he was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. He resigned from the Board in December 2018 after serving as President, Vice-President, and Executive Director. In January the Board appointed him to one of two Emeritus Trustee positions. He remains active in volunteering for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners.

Profile photo for Davina Smith

Sage (Craig) Sorenson

Sage was born and raised in Utah.  He lived in a wall tent until he was five, and he learned to identify with and appreciate the outdoors, conservation, and the Intermountain West. Sage graduated from Utah State University Natural Resources Department in Forestry/Recreation, and after finishing a 31-year career with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming and Utah as an Outdoor Recreation Planner, he began working part-time for Earth Tours starting in 2005. 

It was a great pleasure for him to lay the foundation for the management of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument since its establishment in 1996.  

He and his family currently reside in Escalante where he continues to work with the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as a volunteer with Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, science and research studies,  and also with the U.S. Forest Service and Garfield County Search and Rescue. He enjoys an abundance of extracurricular activities such as; traveling, spending time with family, fly fishing, & camping, to name a few.

John Holland, Past Board President

John was raised in Holladay, Utah and took his first backpacking trip down the Escalante River in 1978. Over the next several years his relationship with the plateau country expanded to include many trips into the remote and lightly traveled areas of southern Utah.

In 1986, John married Marsha, and they have two sons. After 13 years outside Utah working as a project manager for wireless network start-ups in nine countries across Europe and Asia, John and his family returned to Utah in 1999 landing in Bryce Valley where they built the KOA in Cannonville. They sold the KOA in 2014 to focus on their guiding business and other opportunities.

In addition to his role as a member of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners board, John has served other area non-profit organizations and is co-founder of the Scenic Byway 12 Foundation, the Bryce Community Foundation, and Bryce Canyon Half-Marathon and 5K. He represented five southern Utah counties on the Utah State Tourism Development Board from June 2008 to June 2019.

John enjoys spending his free time outdoors, in the garden, on his bike, and exploring public lands.

Verified by MonsterInsights