Amazing Earthfest Presenters

Autumn Gillard

Administrative Support Assistant (OA), Pipe Spring National Monument
Autumn Gillard is part Southern Paiute, descending from the Cedar Band of Paiutes from the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah on her maternal side. She currently works at Pipe Spring National Monument as the administrative assistant, and has spent some of her time at Pipe Spring also working as an interpretive park Ranger. Autumn graduated from Southern Utah University, where she majored in Anthropology, and minored in Psychology. Autumn currently attends New Mexico Highlands University where she is studying the CRM masters program. She has been working at Pipe Spring for the last five years dedicating her work to the interpretive and administrative divisions. Some of her work has concentrated on Native American history, specifically the Ancestral Puebloan and Southern Paiute connection to the Monument. Autumn authored the application submitted by Pipe Spring National Monument to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for designation as a Dark Sky Park in the spring of 2021. 

Backroads West

At BackRoadsWest & Virtual Tours West, we offer virtual tours of stunning places to visit, plus we will create virtual tours to match your specifications.

Blake Spalding

Co-chef-owner of Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm
Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, the chef-owners at Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, were announced as nominees/finalists for best chefs in the Mountain Region by the James Beard Awards for the 2020 season! Jen & Blake were also semi-finalists for Best Chefs in the Southwest in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Approaching their 23rd season, the restaurant enjoys one of the highest Zagat ratings in Utah and was selected as a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant. 

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)- Paria River District

Paria River District manages 2.3 million acres of Federal land in Southern Utah encompassing both Kane and Garfield Counties, providing multiple-use opportunities for both commercial and personal recreation, livestock grazing and mining in order to support both local and regional economies.

On Oct. 8, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation 10286 modifying the boundaries for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which restored the original Monument boundaries that were established in 1996, and by default, decreased the number of acres managed by the Kanab Field Office (KFO). This proclamation adds detail to 1) identification of Monument objects and values, and 2) procedures for their preservation, restoration, and protection.

The Bureau is providing interim guidance regarding management of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This interim monument management direction will provide direction on the stewardship of these lands during the public planning effort, pending approval of a monument management plan and associated environmental impact statement, in compliance with the Presidential Proclamation. The interim guidance memorandum can be viewed on the BLM website.

Cassidy Jones

Senior Outreach & Engagement Manager, Southwest Region, National Parks Conservation Association
Cassidy Jones is a former park ranger and current professional park advocate. As Southwest Outreach and Engagement Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), she connects people to the civic process of protecting parks. A lifelong Utahn, the Utah parks hold a special place in Cassidy’s heart, and she works on various issues to keep them protected, including dark sky preservation and visitation management. 
NPCA’s Southwest region includes the Four Corners states. Climate change has an outsized effect in these arid, snowfall-dependent states in the Colorado River Watershed, and the parks of the Southwest are especially threatened. Cassidy and her team work to minimize harm to parks and people from activities based in the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels. Additionally, Cassidy conducts workshops to help people communicate their concerns about climate change to decision makers and the public. 

Dave Lane


Featured in Time Magazine, the self-described unabashed astro-nut David Lane ranks among the top 5 astrophotographers in the world. Eleven of his mesmerizing images are archived on NASA’s informative website, Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Dave got involved with astro-photography by taking deep space images and has operated two automated remote observatories resulting in the unique perspective he brings to the craft which he calls “Milky-Way Fusion”, that is, blending deep space processing techniques with wide field Milky Way landscape images.

Dave serves as a trustee for Kanab's nonprofit Stellar Vista Observatory with other local residents who are working to bring about the creation of an educational astronomical observatory in Kanab, Utah, to foster public enjoyment and comprehension of the nights sky and learning opportunities for students at all levels.

Fredrick Swanson

Frederick H. Swanson is author and editor of five books on western U.S. history, including Dave Rust: A Life in the Canyons, which received the 2008 Utah Book Award. He is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and recipient of the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities.

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science, conservation, and education.

Great Old Broads for Wilderness- Chris Gorzalski

Women-led national grassroots organization

Great Old Broads for Wilderness is a women-led national grassroots organization that engages and inspires activism to preserve and protect wilderness and wild lands.

As a women-led* organization, we bring knowledge, leadership, and humor to the conservation movement to protect our last wild places on earth.

* For Broads, the term “women” includes and represents anyone who self-identifies as a woman.

Learn more about the organization here:

Great Old Broads for Wilderness- Jane Stewart

Women-led national grassroots organization

As a women-led* organization, we bring knowledge, leadership, and humor to the conservation movement to protect our last wild places on earth.

* For Broads, the term “women” includes and represents anyone who self-identifies as a woman.

Learn more about the organization here:

Joseph Sertich, PhD

Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Joe Sertich is a board member for the nonprofit organization Grandstaircase Escalante Partners and Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where his research focuses on Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and their ecosystems. His field-based work has taken him to many of the Gondwanan continents of the southern hemisphere, including multiple expeditions to Madagascar and Africa where he has worked on bizarre crocodiles and giant sauropod dinosaurs. Closer to home in the Rocky Mountain West, his research is focused on the ecology and evolution of dinosaurs during the last 20 million years of the Cretaceous. In addition to investigations into the latest-Cretaceous dinosaurs of Colorado, he leads the Laramidia Project, currently working to uncover dinosaur ecosystems in the Cretaceous of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and the Big Bend region of Texas.

Kathy Donnell

Park Ranger/Naturalist, Wasatch Mountain State Park
Kathy Donnell, originally from Denver, Colorado, moved to Utah after college and has worked for Utah State Parks since 1995. Kathy has had a passion for the outdoors all her life. As a little girl tromping through the snow in a full body snow suit all day long, she later participated in Outward Bound (OB) courses in Colorado.  As a teenager, she lead courses for OB in Florida and as a young adult, for the Wilderness Education Association in Saranac Lake, NY. Kathy followed her passion from being outside to teaching outside for Utah State Parks as a Park Ranger/Naturalist. Currently Kathy works for Wasatch Mountain State Park and oversees park education/interpretive programs and non-motorized trails.

Early in her career, Kathy volunteered for Hawk Watch International handling non-releasable birds of prey and monitoring raptor nests. In 2008 she was able to house an injured Peregrine Falcon. In Oct of 2011 she adopted an injured female Great Horned owl and in Jan 2020 adopted a male Great Horned owl. She loves to share the birds with people while illustrating the importance of owls in the ecosystem, how owls contribute to a healthy planet and exploring ways people of all ages can protect the future health and prosperity of owl populations. 

Maida Withers

Professor of dance at George Washington University, award winning choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker. 

Mark Mesle

Outreach Coordinator, Midwest Region, National Parks Conservation Association
Mark Mesle is the Midwest Outreach Coordinator for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). Through NPCA, he has worked with numerous universities to incorporate advocacy training into their environmental science curriculum. He also works with community partners and advocates to engage in civic action in support of Midwest national parks. Mark is a member of the NPCA climate team which has worked to develop NPCA’s national climate strategy. He took this position after several years of spending his days fighting for a healthy democracy and his nights and weekends volunteering to help people fight for a healthy planet. As the Outreach Director for the Cook County Clerk’s office, Mark worked throughout the Chicagoland area to promote voter registration and civic engagement. As a climate advocate, he organized dozens of presentations, trainings and events in support of climate action. 

National Parks Conservation Association

With more than 1.6 million members and supporters beside us, we are the voice of America’s national parks, working to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. We celebrate the parks — and work tirelessly to defend them — whether on the ground, in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill.  From our national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 27 locations nationwide, we call on our program and policy experts, committed volunteers, staff lobbyists, community organizers and communications specialists to inform and inspire the public and to influence decision makers to ensure that our national parks are well protected.

We’ve earned many hard-won victories together — but our national parks face new threats every day. Learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing our national parks, then use your voice to advocate on their behalf.

Nomad Cafe & Retro RV Resort

Your home base for fun and funky vacation rentals, coffee, food, and community.

Paul Ricketts

Director of the South Physics Observatory and Interpretive Specialist in Astronomy for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah
Paul received his bachelors degree in Physics and Astronomy with a minor in astronomy at the University of Utah. He has worked in the Department of Physics since 2005 doing public outreach and research. He also runs the university's observatory (South Physics Observatory), and helped with the building of a new observatory in southern Utah (Stellar Vista Observatory). Paul has a huge interest in photography and astrophotography and helps teach classes for students interested in astronomy and/or physics as well as spread the word about dark skies!

South Physics Observatory offers FREE public star parties on clear-sky Wednesday nights open to all ages, interests and groups as well as lectures, demos, special events, and assistance for those looking to learn to use telescopes for personal use, astrophotography, school science fair projects, and K-12 schools.

Pierre Smith Khanna

Film maker

Raven's Heart Gallery

Art Gallery
Raven's Heart Gallery stands for art with heart; expressing kindness, compassion and respect for all life. Art that inspires us to explore deeper parts of ourselves where we can find peace, beauty and a sense of connection.

Raven's Heart Gallery provides a bridge between art makers and art lovers. We treat our artists and collectors fairly and honestly. We represent and promote our artists with marketing, shows, artist talks and workshops.

Raven's Heart Gallery features the works of Gary Kalpakoff and Cyrus Mejia along with other established and emerging artists from the region and beyond. 

Please view our Facebook page: Raven's Heart Gallery and our Instagram @ravensheartgallery for additional information on past, present and future FIRST FRIDAY events! Lots of great photos and videos from our artists' presentations and demonstrations can be found there. Please feel free to call up to the gallery with any questions too!

Richard Jenkinson

Former president of the Utah Rock Art Research Association (URARA)
Richard Jenkinson is a member and past president of the Utah Rock Art Research Association. From 1980 to 1994 he taught English at Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona. Richard and his wife Lynn have lived in Kanab since 2017.

Sharon St. Joan

President of Forest Voices of India
A lifelong advocate for wildlife and wild lands, for many years Sharon was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Now retired, she continues to be an artist, poet, writer, speaker, and is president of the U.S.-based 501c3 organization Forest Voices of India. 

Stellar Vista Observatory

Non-profit 501c3; Kanab, Utah

The Stellar Vista Observatory Working Group was formed in 2018 by Kanab area residents to create a public, educational astronomical observatory to serve visitors to southwest Utah and residents of Kanab and surrounding communities. The organization encourages community participation in SVO events and is open to all.

Stephen Most

Author, playwright, and filmmaker.
Stephen Most is an author, playwright, and filmmaker. He has writing credits on four Academy Award-nominated and five Emmy-winning documentaries. His works include a book, a film, and three plays about the Klamath Basin. In Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary he shows how subjects in the world can be depicted as stories for the screen.

Stephen Most & Kevin White

Filmmakers for the film "Wilder Than Wild"

Stephen Trimble

Steve has been writing about southern Utah redrock country for more than forty years. He has taught writing at the University of Utah, and his most recent book (his 25th) is The Capitol Reef Reader. He serves on the board of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. For more, see

Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts

Bingham Gallery and Maynard Dixon Home and Studio

USDA Forest Service, Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab Ranger District

The Kaibab National Forest is divided into three ranger districts, each located in distinct areas and offering diverse opportunities and experiences. The North Kaibab Ranger District, along with the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, encompasses the beautiful high country of the Kaibab Plateau.

This sky island affords visitors the chance to take a scenic drive on the Kaibab Plateau-North Rim National Scenic Byway, drive to scenic views of Marble and Grand canyons, hike through aspen-ringed meadows, mountain bike along the rim of Grand Canyon, and observe unique wildlife such as the Kaibab squirrel. The district provides camping at DeMotte and Jacob Lake campgrounds, and educational displays at the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center.

USU- Kane County Extension; Victoria Yedan Xiong, Ph.D

Extension Assistant Professor | Horticulture + Small Farm Ag. | Kane County

Utah State Parks

Willow Canyon Outdoor Gear & Books

We nurture the healthy relationship between people and the wild.
Willow Canyon Outdoor Company provides unique goods and services that encourage people to discover, explore, understand, and appreciate the cultures and natural wonders of the Colorado Plateau.
We specialize in quality outdoor gear and apparel appropriate to our local canyon terrain, and in regional books. We also serve excellent espresso!

Willow Wind Poets

Chapter of the Utah State Poetry Society
Willow Wind Poets began in January, 2017 as one of the newest chapters of the Utah State Poetry Society. Willow is a nod to the Southern Paiute place name for Kanab meaning “place of willows” and Wind signifies our breath on paper. The Kanab Chapter meets twice a month depending on availability of the current venue at the Kanab City Library, 374 North Main Street, Kanab, UT 84741.

Notice: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal meeting schedule for this chapter may be changed. Please contact the Chapter president if you would like to know when and how chapter members will meet (perhaps face-to-face but socially distanced or via online sessions).