Staff

Ben Lenth

Executive Director
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Ben joined SILPT in 2009 as Land Protection Specialist, and has worked on all aspects of land conservation and stewardship projects. In 2012 Ben was promoted to Executive Director, and is involved with all of the land trust’s operations and programs, including managing all new conservation transactions.

Ben, with his wife Buffy and daughters Lucy, Rose and Grace and their dog Chavo, live in Salida.  Previously, they lived for four years as caretakers on Humboldt Peak Ranch south of Westcliffe.

Before moving to Westcliffe, Ben and Buffy served with the Peace Corps in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico. Previous to that, Ben has worked on ecological and natural resource issues in Colorado and Washington states with local, state and federal agencies. Ben received his BA in biology from Wesleyan University and an MS in Ecology from Colorado State University.

Connect with Ben on LinkedIn


 

Kate Spinelli

Stewardship Specialist
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Kate Spinelli reduce

Kate joined San Isabel in 2016 to grow the new stewardship services program and manage the land trust’s portfolio of 133 conservation easements that protect over 40,000 acres.

Kate lives in the Wet Mountain Valley. With this gift comes her urgent wish to help protect this pristine region. She recognizes that this place not only offers solace and rejuvenation to the people who live in and visit it, but most significantly, that it is ground-proof of the ecological health of this corridor which is becoming increasingly rare in our world.

Earning a Masters of Social Work in Community Advocacy & Planning from Washington University in St Louis, Kate has worked with people of diverse backgrounds and experience as a social worker. She joins San Isabel from her previous posts with Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a Naturalist and the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association where she expanded their ecological literacy programs in the Upper Arkansas Valley.

 


 

 

Janet Smith

Development Director
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Janet joined San Isabel in November 2016. As director of development, she is responsible for building and implementing San Isabel’s fundraising and outreach programs, which include Art for the Sangres and the Hardscrabble Mountain Trail Run. She’ll also coordinate all communications.

Protecting our natural and cultural resources has long been a personal and professional cause for Janet. As a newspaper editor and resident in a fast-growing coastal area, she advocated for high quality, sustainable growth management and land conservation.

Before moving to Westcliffe in 2013, Janet was managing editor and later editorial page editor at The Island Packet, a daily newspaper serving the Hilton Head Island, S.C., region. Earlier in her career, she and her husband, Greg, also helped launch and establish an independent business magazine, a city magazine and a weekly newspaper.

Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA, both from the University of Kansas.

 

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  • "My family put 720 acres under conservation easement in 2009. We did it to protect the integrity of the property and to help secure the water rights to the irrigated hay land in perpetuity. In this age of agricultural and economic uncertainty, conservation easements are the thing to do."

    – Larry Vickerman, executive director, Denver Botanic Gardens, Chatfield