Community Resources & Solutions for Green Living in Southern New Mexico

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Expo Presenter Bios

Asher Gelbart With creativity, optimism and many years’ experience as engineer and scientist, Asher Gelbart promotes hands-on renewable energy technologies that draw humans into conscious, responsible interactions with their environment. Dedicating much of his attention to developing appropriate small-scale biofuel applications, and passionately creating a self-sustaining homestead, he's resided in Mimbres since 2005.
Alicia Edwards is executive director of the Volunteer Center of Grant County. A native of Colorado, Alicia has lived in Silver City 4.5 years. Although her first love is fine art photography, she's done a little bit of everything from sorting pearl onions on a production line to serving as president and CEO of a multi-million dollar retail business, with lots of other adventures in between.
Brad Lancaster is a dynamic teacher, consultant, and designer of regenerative systems. He is the author of the award-winning, best-selling books Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond and the information-packed website He lives his talk on an oasis-like eighth of an acre in downtown Tucson, Arizona, by harvesting over 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year where just 12 inches per year falls from the sky.

Ben Haggard Ben Haggard has spent 25 years designing ecologically appropriate landscape and reclamation projects. His award winning designs have been featured in a number of magazines and newspapers, including Architectural Digest, Garden Design, National Wildlife Magazine, Sunset, and Organic Gardening. He served for 4 years as chief designer and Land Research and Education Director at the Sol y Sombra Foundation, a private conference center and permaculture demonstration site in Santa Fe. Author of Living Community—A Permaculture Case Study at Sol y Sombra, and Watershed Restoration in Drylands, A founding board member of the Permaculture Drylands Institute, he was a senior instructor there, and has lectured and taught in the field of environmental design in a wide variety of venues including ecological design conferences (green building, solar, etc), universities and colleges (University of New Mexico, University of Arizona, Prescott College, EcoVersity, etc.), and public and private organizations (New York Botanical Garden, Arnold Arboretum, Lama Foundation, government agencies, etc.) Ben studied Permaculture with Bill Mollison and is a founding member of Regenesis

Brendan Miller was hired in September 2008 by the New Mexico Economic Development Department as its first Green Economy Manager. In this role, he promotes the growth of clean energy and clean technology business in New Mexico. He also staffs the Governor’s Green Jobs Cabinet, which is charged with providing related policy recommendations to the Governor by August 2009. Brendan has worked with a range of “green” businesses including a hydrogen fuel cell company and real estate development company focused on energy- and location-efficient projects here in New Mexico. He has experience working for industry, government and the non-profit sector and is interested in business and government collaboration to improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans. Brendan has a Masters in Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is the Treasurer of the Permaculture Credit Union. He and his wife, Tamara Bates, live in Santa Fe in a home with solar heat and hot water

Brian R. Propp Brian is the president & CEO “ICS-RM” (Insulated Component Structures Rocky Mountain, Inc.). He has traveled extensively throughout the world managing rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and the former Soviet Union. His passion to find better building techniques and to conserve energy, especially fossil fuels, led him to begin manufacturing ICS Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) in Loveland, Colorado. As a double-alum of the University of Colorado (CU) and former Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver (DU), he now enjoys speaking throughout the Rocky Mountain region about his “five easy steps to Conservation and Conversion”.

Jeff Granger Jeffrey Granger became interested in architecture, energy conservation/efficiency and solar energy over 35 years ago. He was an energy auditor in the nation’s first state-wide conservation & weatherization program back in 1979. Jeffrey went on to train energy auditors throughout New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine), plus Pennsylvania, and California. The great weather & solar potential brought him to New Mexico in 1990 where he continues to utilize the latest technologies and research to increase comfort and reduce energy consumption in the residential sector.

Catherine Wanek, author, photographer and filmmaker. Catherine promotes practical solutions for sustainable living. Her books include The New Straw Bale Home, The Art of Natural Building, and the upcoming The Hybrid House -- Design Strategies for Sustainable Buildings. A founding member of Builders Without Borders, in 2008 she coordinated the construction of a straw-bale ecohouse on the National Mall in Washington D.C. She produced the Building With Straw and Urban Permaculture videos, and published The Last Straw Journal. Catherine makes her home in Kingston, NM, and hosts the Natural Building Colloquium - SW at her business, the Black Range Lodge.,,

Craig Wentz has operated his electrical contracting business, Wentz Electric Co., in the Silver City area since 1987. He has built the electrical systems on over 60 custom homes and for numerous remodels in this area using the best practices available for energy efficiency. Although Craig has installed solar and other renewable energy electric systems since becoming a journeyman electrician in the mid-1970s, the recent federal and state tax credits and PNM’s renewable energy purchase agreement have allowed him to install over 20 systems (both grid-tied and stand-alone) during the past three years. Craig is a member of both the American Solar Energy Society and the New Mexico Solar Energy Association.

Dara Parker, Field Representative Office of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.
Dave Baker is the director of The Bikeworks, a nonprofit community bicycle workshop in Silver City that teaches bicycle mechanics and encourages the use of the bicycle for transportation, exercise, and fun. He moved to the area in 2002 from Austin, TX where he founded The Yellow Bike Project, a free bicycle sharing transportation program in 1997. He sees the bicycle as a potential solution to many health, social, economic, and environmental problems.
Doug Fine, writer and journalist. After covering journalistic topics from five continents and living in Alaska, New Mexico writer Doug Fine set out to see if it was feasible for a Regular Guy to get petroleum out of his life without giving up his Digital Age comforts. The results of that experiment are documented in his second book, Farewell, My Subaru, now translated into Chinese, among other languages. A blog of Fine's carbon-neutral misadventures is at

Faye Vowell serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty, and Director of the Graduate Program at Western New Mexico University in Silver City. Her research and academic interests include the impact of culture on teaching and learning. Dr. Vowell earned a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Cincinnati.

Herb Greenwall is currently serving as the operational and staff leader for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions' Economic Research and Analysis Bureau. He has been with the Bureau since 1989. During his tenure in state government he has created numerous career guidance products and publications including the "New Mexico Job Hunter's Guide," the career tabloid "Prospects," and "Inside Edition," the Department of Labor's first career planning and guidance publication for ex-offenders. Herb has a BA in Social Science and an MA in business.
Joan Brown is a Franciscan sister working in Ecology Ministry in New Mexico. She works with the two non-profits: New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light ( and Partnership for Earth Spirituality ( Past ministry has included hospitality with women on the streets; directing offices of social justice, peace and non-violence; co-founding the Tierra Madre strawbale community in Sunland Park, New Mexico; educating, organizing and writing about Earth concerns. She holds a Master Degree in Philosophy, Religion and Cosmology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Currently she serves on the board and council of the Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minnesota; the board of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; and the boards of NM Interfaith Power and Light and Partnership for Earth Spirituality.
Joanne McEntire consults with non-profit organizations as a planner and program developer. She directed the Albuquerque Alliance for Active Living and other programs at 1000 Friends of New Mexico from 2004 to 2008. She has facilitated gatherings and developed policies and partnerships with health, community organizing, and education allies. She was once a Planner for the Town of Silver City.

Joanne developed 1000 Friends’ policy recommendations related to climate change and the transportation and land use sectors’ contributions to carbon emissions. She has written and edited many reports on public resource issues, as well as newsletters for organizations and coalitions, including the NM Transportation Initiative, a campaign formed by the Surface Transportation Policy Project of New Mexico. She previously worked in the public and private sectors as a city and program planner in Arizona, Oregon, and New Mexico.

Joanne obtained a Master’s Degree in Regional and Community Planning from the University of Arizona, and participated in the Environmental Leadership Institute of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Joanne has served on the City of Albuquerque’s 21st Century Transportation Task Force, the Mid Region Council of Government’s Public Involvement Committee, and the New Mexico Healthier Weight Council in recent years.

Josh Landess is a partner at WilderHill New Energy Finance and co-manages the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX), an investable global index of new energy equities with 85 constituents on 24 exchanges throughout the world. Josh has helped create two other investable equity indexes in clean and progressive energy. He is a former contributing editor at and continues to research, blog and play an advocacy (some would say trouble-maker's) role in Advanced Transportation, Conservation and Sustainability efforts. He is presently engaged in alternative energy and advanced transportation financial research with New Energy Finance of London, UK. Josh lives near Nogales, Arizona in an energy-conserving partially-solar-powered underground home.
Maggie Seeley consults with clients (solar company, paper manufacturer, machine shop, architecture firm) on incorporating the Triple Bottom Line (people; profit; and planet) in their business decision-making. UNICEF and Motorola convinced her consulting company to assist them in China. At the world level, she is a citizen facilitator. Locally, she is a community activist in New Mexico regarding water issues, micro credit and community building. Maggie teaches Sustainability Studies at the University of New Mexico. Her students have taught her about grey water systems, biodiesel processors and how to put a Farmer's Market on campus. In 2001, she co-founded The Sustain Ability Trust. She is delighted to be one of 21 Transition trainers in the US.
Mark Cantrell is co-owner of Lone Mountain Natives, a local source for native plants and natural systems landscape consultation. He and his wife propagate a wide variety of native species geared towards wildlife, pollinators, and the enhancement of plant communities. An education in natural resource and wildlife management led him to work as a naturalist, field biologist, and eventually to his current work teaching elementary school children how to be human. The last three decades have also given him extensive landscape and gardening experience both to help fund his other low paying habits, and to fund his occasional bouts with sanity. Through his plant nursery, he and his wife hope to share their love for land and instill the idea that human habitation can enhance ecosystem diversity and return us to our rightful place as contributing member of the world's garden.
Martha Egnal began the Guadalupe Montessori School Community Garden in 2002. Through her work with this garden, Martha became involved in the American Community Garden Association, on whose board she served from 2002-2005. The GMS garden started out as a more traditional community garden, and slowly grew to primarily serve the GMS community. In 2007, GMS created a position for Martha as garden supervisor, where she has been in charge of maintaining and improving the garden's infrastrucutre, as well as developing and implementing the garden's enrichment and food produciton programs. Martha's passion and interest in local food systems and production are also demonstrated in her service on the Silver City Food Coop's Board of Directors and her development of a small homestead just outside of Silver City (chickens, goats, fruit and vegetables) with her partner and children.
Martin Gomez began his renewable energy career in 1996 at the National Commission for Energy Savings in Mexico (CONAE). He has been involved with energy efficiency and renewable energy programs mainly in Mexico, Central America, and the U.S. working on a variety of tasks such as, technology research, market development, feasibility studies, design and deployment of renewable energy systems. He has worked closely with various Mexican Government agencies responsible for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency policy and projects, such as rural electrification, water supply, and solar water heating technologies. In 2003, Mr. Gomez joined the Institute for Energy and Environment (IEE) in the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University where he works on solar and wind energy research and development. He has provided instruction for wind energy courses and assists with wind resource monitoring and reporting activities at IEE. Mr. Gomez holds a BS in Electro-mechanical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Energy Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Mattie Eagle is owner of Material Good, a natural building supply store & showroom in Silver City. She is a LEED accredited professional with the US Green Building Council. She studied visual art, history, and natural resource management at Grinnell College, and has synthesized that knowledge as well as an entrepreneurial personality into her business. Mattie has remodeled a home in Silver City, during which she developed some of her theories on remodeling. She continues to learn from her clients and their experiences!
Miguel Santistevan from Taos, New Mexico, is a Ph.D. student at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Biology with the Sustainability Studies program. His research interest is in crop diversity and agriculture ecology of the acequia and dryland agricultural systems in northern New Mexico and the greater Southwest. He is a radio producer of a monthly show called “¡Que Vivan las Acequias!” in collaboration with The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) and Cultural Energy ( and As the initiator and developer of the Sembrando Semillas Acequia Youth in Agriculture Mentorship project of the NMAA, he has mentored youth in the production of short cultural documentary videos available at He has a B.S. in Biology from UNM (cum laude) and a M.S. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. He maintains a small experimental seed-saving and demonstration farm in Taos called Sol Feliz. Miguel is certified in Permaculture and ZERI Design and is actively involved in agricultural implementation and environmental education for schools and land restoration efforts.
Mikey Sklar Mikey lives in Truth or Consequences and has been homesteading there for the last two years. He produces his own power, fuel, food, water and building materials. He left a Wall St. job in New York City in 2006 to live off the land in New Mexico.
Nathan Small Las Cruces City Councilor Nathan Small represents District 4 on the Las Cruces City Council. Las Cruces is New Mexico’s second largest city, and is situated less than 50 miles from the US/Mexico border. He was elected in November of 2007 to a four year term. Nathan is a native of New Mexico, but attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH where he earned dual degrees in Philosophy and English. A lifelong outdoorsman, Nathan also works for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Being a sportsman, he has worked hard to dialogue and work with this diverse constituency. Nathan has shepherded the identification and hiring of a Sustainability Officer position for the City of Las Cruces, and currently serves on the board of directors for the New Mexico Green Collaborative.
Pat Murphy is the Executive Director of the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions (Aka Community Solutions), a non-profit organization in Yellow Springs, Ohio, whose primary focus is achieving sustainability by reducing energy consumption in the household sectors of food, transportation, and housing - sectors that account for about 70% of energy consumption and CO2 generation. Pat is the author of Plan C – Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change (New Society 2008). He was the co-writer and co-producer of the organization's award-winning documentary film, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (2006), and helped organize five annual Community Solutions conferences on Peak Oil and Climate Change. Pat lectures widely across the country on energy, peak oil, geopolitics, and lifestyle solutions.
Rosemary Romero, City Councillor, represents Santa Fe City Council, District 2. She was elected in March 2008 to a four-year term. Councilor Romero is a private consultant with over 20 years experience facilitating numerous public involvement processes on various projects throughout the United States. She is Past President of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR). She has served on the City of Santa Fe Planning Commission, the boards of Santa Fe Conservation Trust and Farm to Table among many others. Ms. Romero has a Master of Arts in Environment and Community from Antioch College.
Sandra Mcardell serves as the Manager of the NM Green Collaborative, a state-wide grass-roots initiative focused on workforce training as a way to foster a “new economy” in New Mexico. The initiative was begun by the Regional Development Corporation, a nonprofit economic development organization based in Santa Fe. Ms. McCardell’s background ranges from nonprofits to business across a range of countries and issues. She particularly enjoys working with communities to assess and increase resources through a systems approach, with teams of people of varied expertise and experience. Some of her favorite projects are: A resource assessment for a small community on the Navajo Nation; a renewable energy assessment for 16 institutions of higher education in Afghanistan; conducting several Town Halls regarding renewable energy needs in New Mexico; an energy audit of a landfill gas facility in New Jersey; and a report for a small bar and restaurant in Wyoming desiring to install energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
Zaida Amaral is a Brazilian environmental architect and community builder, coordinating and facilitating national and international sustainability programs . As the director of Ecovillage Design Southwest in Albuquerque NM, she premiered the UN-certified Gaia Education / Ecovillage Design Education curriculum in the United States in 2007. She has inspired neighbors, friends and family members to design their own sustainability visions and worked for 5 years to co-create an urban ecovillage in Albuquerque/ NM, her hometown. As principal of Resonance Design, she uses environmental Chinese architecture (feng shui) to create sustainable sacred spaces for a variety of individuals, organizations, and community clients, supporting and designing their personal transition. She is now one of 21 Transition trainers in the US.


Viva Verde c/o Gila Resources Information Project
305A North Cooper Street • Silver City, NM 88061 • p/f 575.538.8078