WSCC Staff



Alex Johnson, Executive Director

Alex first joined the ranks of the Western Slope Conservation Center back in 2011 as the communications coordinator through the VISTA Western Hardrock Watershed Team. Since graduating from Northland College in northern Wisconsin with a degree in environmental writing, Alex has been working to conserve landscapes across much of the western US and Alaska. He has worked for Southwest Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, Alaska Center for the Environment, and the National Park Service. He has written for Orion, Earth Island Journal, and High Country News. He earned his MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, where he was named a Wyss Scholar for Conservation in the Intermountain West and earned a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution. In his spare time, Alex works on rebuilding an old house in the North Fork Valley, writes essays about the messy relationship between humans and the environment, and runs up and down mountains with his dog, Luna, and partner, Pete.

You can email Alex at


Maggie Shishim, Membership Coordinator

Maggie Shishim joined the Conservation Center in 2012 as membership coordinator. Maggie came to us from NFRIA where she was a water quality volunteer and administrative assistant. A long-time environmentalist, Maggie moved to western Colorado in 2001 where she enjoys her wonderful family, 3 dogs, the outdoors – cycling, hiking, camping, and gardening – and being a resident of the North Fork Valley.

You can reach her at


Viva Kellogg, Accountant

Viva Kellogg joined the Conservation Center in 2014 to take care of our financial management and accounting. Viva lives in the North Fork Valley with her partner and their two dogs.

You can reach her at


Julia Bowman, Watershed Coordinator

As Watershed Coordinator, Julia Bowman works with the Conservation Center’s partners to protect and enhance the waters in the Lower Gunnison Watershed. Julia joined the Conservation Center in 2015 as the Paonia River Park Coordinator, during which time she contributed to our organization’s legacy of protecting and enhancing local river corridors and access to them. With a passion for the outdoors, Julia is fascinated by the creative ways humans work to meet their needs and the needs of the environment around them. Julia holds B.A.s in Geography and International Studies from the University of Denver.

Expect a speedy reply when you email her at


Morgan Rubanow, Healthy Forests Initiative OSMRE/VISTA

Morgan joined the Conservation Center as an Americorp VISTA through the Healthy Forests Initiative in February 2016.  Morgan is from Long Island, New York but lived in Massachusetts while studying biology at Stonehill College. After graduating, she used her love for ecology and conservation to work for the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, New York as a zoo keeper intern and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod, Massachusetts as a research assistant. Recently, her passion took her to Australia where she completed her Masters in Conservation Science at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. While in Australia, she volunteered at the Australian Marine Conservation Society to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. Morgan loves being outdoors and enjoys hiking in her spare time.

Say hi at


Alyssa Clarida, River Park Coordinator, OSMRE/VISTA

Alyssa joined the Conservation Center team in April of 2016 as our third Paonia River Park Coordinator and OSMRE Americorps VISTA volunteer. Alyssa Clarida grew up in the Chicagoland area and studied Geography and Environmental Studies at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Living in the Rust Belt taught her the importance of resiliency, diversity, and creativity in post-industrial communities. In college, Alyssa kept busy by working with the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District, Davenport Public Works, and as a lab assistant in the Geography department. Although she loved Rock Island, she spent most of her college years daydreaming about mountains and anxiously awaiting her western migration. Now that she’s here, Alyssa spends her free time traveling around Colorado, learning how to mountain bike, and gaining a deep appreciation for the abundance of public lands in the west.

Say ahoy, ahoy at

Patrick Bio Pic

Patrick Dooling, Reclamation Workshop Coordinator, OSMRE/DOI

Patrick joined the Conservation Center in July 2016 as the Reclamation Workshop Coordinator. A Pennsylvania native and graduate of Penn State University, Patrick was inspired to study Geology while on a trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Driven by his desire to understand how these iconic landscapes were formed and drawn by the allure of the mountain west, he earned his M.S. in Geology from the University of Utah. After studying a wide array of geological sciences including volcanology in Iceland, earthquake geology on major faults in Southern California, and sedimentology in southern Utah, he worked as a petroleum geologist/project manager in Houston, TX. Once again unable to resist the allure of the mountain west, he moved to Paonia where he hopes to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the local environment. In his free time, Patrick enjoys exploring the mountains and rivers of Colorado with his partner, Marla, and their tireless lab Jude.

Send him a line at