Who We Are

Staff of the Southern Plains Land Trust

Nicole Rosmarino, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Nicole helped found the Southern Plains Land Trust and resides in Bent County, CO.  Nicole received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May 2002.  Her Ph.D. is in policy science/political science, and her academic focus was on biodiversity preservation.  She has been actively involved in efforts to protect prairie wildlife since 1994 and treasures all native prairie species, both plant and animal.

Contact Nicole by phone: (720) 841-1757 or email: nicole@southernplains.org.

Jay Tutchton, Esq.
Preserve Manger 

Jay spends his days managing the bison herds and improving our network of protected lands for the benefit of all native wildlife species. For 27 years, Jay worked tirelessly as an attorney representing environmental organizations and individuals seeking to protect the environment.  Jay also helped to start the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and has taught a variety of courses on Wildlife, Animal, and Environmental Law. 

Contact Jay by phone: (720) 301-3843 or email: jay@southernplains.org.

Susan Crick
Development & Communications Director 

Susan has over 20 years of experience in environmental non-profits and environmental education. Susan is passionate about protecting the short-grass prairie. One of her goals is to help others discover the prairie’s beauty and diversity and to inspire a sense of stewardship. She has a B.S. in environmental education from Colorado State University and a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems from University of Denver.

Contact Susan by phone: (720) 692-8936 or email: susan@southernplains.org.

Julee McGinnes
Conservation Staff

Julee grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. In her 20’s she volunteered with Montana Conservation Corp which instilled in her a love for hard work and the outdoors. She went on to study criminal justice but it wasn’t long before she was outside, working with her hands again. Julee loves construction work and helped build residential homes for many years. She says that working for the land trust was a natural fit because she loves nature, animals, and conservation. In her free time, Julee can be found hiking, camping, and traveling.

SPLT is governed by an all-volunteer, hard-working board of directors.

SPLT Board & Staff at our Strategic Planning Workshop, August 2021
Front Row (left to right): Susan Crick, Taylor Jones, Misty Morehead, Lexi Schaefer, Donna Driscoll
Back Row (left to right): Ramona Gaylord, Nicole Rosmarino, Tracy Kessner, Sheree Seabury, Shannon Ryon

Tracy Kessner, SPLT’s President, has an MS in Environmental Policy from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a BS in Equine Science from Colorado State University. She developed her process and business organizational skills working for IBM and Sun Microsystems, where she spent 8+ years as a globe trotting IT project manager. She puts all of this knowledge to use making the world a better place, one acre at a time. When she’s not protecting the environment by treating contaminated water at Avivid Water Technology in her role as the VP of Business Operations, she can be found working on her xeric and vegetable gardens in Louisville, CO, surrounded by hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and her family. 

Taylor Jones, SPLT’s Vice President, has been fascinated by animals great and small her whole life, from a childhood spent watching ants to a Master’s thesis on the Andean bear. She received an M. Sc. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, where she was a member of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab. Taylor led WildEarth Guardians’ “Protecting the Prairie Dog Empire” priority campaign for a decade. She is currently a Master’s student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, focusing on sustainable food systems. She is committed to social, racial, and environmental justice as inextricably interconnected movements.

Lexi Schaefer, SPLT’s Secretary, is a second-generation Colorado Native who grew up in Longmont, hiking the mountains, and developing a deep affinity for all Colorado wildlife. She graduated from University of Colorado in Boulder a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and promptly developed a sales career in the wine industry where she focused on sustainable and organic wines for 17 years. Lexi discovered SPLT while working for Fetzer Vineyards where she was immediately drawn to SPLT’s mission and ambitious goals. She supports SPLT fundraisers with her enthusiasm and passion for the cause.

Ramona Gaylord is a SPLT Board Member who is a science educator based in Telluride, CO. Ramona has been a biology/science teacher consultant with Telluride Public School/Telluride Mountain School since 2007. She has also been a biologist consultant with Bridal Veil Living Classroom at the Telluride Institute from 2006-2015. While she was at the Pinhead Institute from 2002-2007, she created “Biodiversity through Art,” depicting the indigenous residents of the Telluride valley; the Gunnison’s prairie dogs and the Ute Indians, and culminating with a display in Elks Park with a painted tipi, bronze sculptures, acrylic range maps and life-size clay prairie dog replicas. Ramona grew up in the Denver area and witnessed the relentless destruction of prairie habitat and wildlife during her youth and believes that buying prairie habitat is the best way to forever protect it. She strongly believes in the mission statement of Southern Plains Land Trust and is thrilled to be on the board. She and her husband, Kent, are raising two daughters, Soleil and Chambri. Soleil, Kent and Ramona have worked at SPLT’s Raven’s Nest Preserve. Soleil created 2 revegetation plots seeding them with indigenous grasses in hopes that some of the buffalo and rice grass will spread from these plots. She hopes that her daughters will be able to enjoy visits to SPLT’s reserves and spot prairie dogs when they are her age!

Misty Morehead, is a SPLT Board member and a lawyer based in Denver, CO. Misty was most recently a partner at Ellis, Wright, & Ewegen, LLP, a small downtown Denver law firm she started with two of her study partners from law school. The trio decided to “firm up” because they had similar interests in law and a shared desire to work towards protecting the environment. Misty spent much of her childhood meandering through the Rocky Mountains and the Eastern plains. Misty’s grandfather owned a farm out in Eastern Colorado where Misty and her brother would play hide and seek among cornfields and race under an endless sky. Misty learned to respect natural resources early on. Misty graduated pre-law from the Metropolitan State College of Denver, where she interned with the Colorado State Senate. She then attended the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2003, where she represented abused and neglected children, managed a student team writing a Domestic Violence manual for the State of California, provided legal research for voting rights organizations, sat on the board of several public interest groups, and assisted a number of environmental groups with legal research and analysis.

Donna Driscoll is SPLT’s Treasurer. Donna has tremendous experience in non-profit accounting. She served as the Chief Financial Officer and Controller of a major cultural institution, the Denver Zoological Foundation, for more than 20 years. She has worked as the Chief Financial Officer for Engineers Without Borders since 2015. Donna has a BA in Economics from Colorado College and an MS in Management from the University of Colorado at Denver. Donna has volunteered for and previously been a board member of SPLT for much of our history over the past 20 years.

Shannon Ryon is a SPLT Board Member. Shannon has 15 years of experience in real estate and title closings and has a strong background in organizing philanthropic events.  She is a Colorado native and grew up on an organic farm and apple orchard in Golden, CO. Shannon enjoys traveling, history, skiing, and antique collecting.  Shannon was first introduced to The Southern Plains Land Trust through fellow board member Ramona Gaylord and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Souther Plains Land Trust for several years.

Sheree Seabury is a SPLT Board Member.  She moved to Colorado in 1983 and lives with her husband on an Airpark in Erie, CO.  She graduated with a BSBA from Columbia College in 1985 and has spent the last 37 years in the high-tech industry.  Sheree joined Luscombe Engineering in 1991 as an Outside Sales Representative and became a partner in 2002 until she retired at the end of 2016.  She has served on several other Board of Directors in the area. As a supporter of SPLT for many years, she believes that purchasing land to keep as a prairie wildlife reserve is the best way to help preserve the prairie grasslands and animals.  Sheree loves to ski, fly, scuba dive and ride on her husband’s Harley through Colorado and other places around the world.  She is an advocate for saving the endangered black-tailed prairie dog due to explosive development happening in Colorado and loves going on marine research and conservation scuba diving trips whenever possible.

Soleil Gaylord is a SPLT Jr. Board Member. She was raised in Telluride, Colorado, and is currently a junior at Dartmouth College. She is studying Government and Environmental Studies. On campus, she is a staff news reporter for The Dartmouth, the oldest college newspaper in the country, she works at the Life Sciences Center Greenhouse, and she performs research on avian bioacoustics. In her community, she hosts a radio show that highlights the biological intrigues of southwestern Colorado. She also designed and maintains a native revegetation plot on her hometown’s open space. Soleil’s interests range widely, but she particularly loves politics, mountain running, wildflowers, birds, biological illustration, and reading. She was a member of several U.S. Mountain Running Teams.  When not nose-deep in a book, Soleil is listening to her favorite podcasts and running, rafting, backpacking, or hiking. 

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CONTACT US

Southern Plains Land Trust
P.O. Box 1016
Lamar, CO 81052

720-841-1757

splt@southernplains.org

A special thanks to the SPLT photographers!

Check the Photographers out here.