Our Board of Trustees

 Current members of the RMBL Board of Trustees


Susan Avery

Board Chair
Susan has a BA in Physics from Michigan State University, an MS in Physics and PhD in atmospheric science from the Univ. of Illinois. With faculty positions at the Univ. of Illinois and the Univ. of Colorado, her research focused on atmospheric circulation and precipitation, climate variability and water resources, and the development of new radar techniques and instruments for remote sensing. She went on to hold numerous scientific leadership positions, including but not limited to serving as Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UC-Boulder, President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, President of the American Meteorological Society, and currently chairs the University Consortium for Atmospheric Research. She brings substantial experience with board governance in scientific institutions, along with experience in both strategic planning and governance.


Dan Blumstein

Board President and Vice Chair
Dan graduated with honors in Environmental Biology and Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado Boulder and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Animal Behavior at the University of California Davis. He had postdoctoral fellowships in Germany, Kansas and Australia before joining UCLA as a faculty member in 2001 where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (he was Department Chair for seven years) and in the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He worked at RMBL as a postdoc and took over day-to-day management of the long-term marmot project in 2001. His research incorporates many students and he has co-authored papers with nearly 200 undergraduates. He has received major teaching and research awards both from UCLA and the Animal Behavior Society, and he is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society. He has been an editor or on the editorial boards of a variety of scholarly journals and is currently a member of the Faculty of 1000. Dan served on the RMBL board between 2004 and 2008 and was the Secretary in 2007 and 2008.


Jennifer Darnell

Jen has a B.A. in Chemistry from Bowdoin College and a Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in New York City. She recently retired from her position as a Research Associate Professor at Rockefeller where she worked for 33 years. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh. Jen is a leading authority on Fragile X Syndrome, the most common monogenic cause of intellectual disability and autism. She is one of four Board members of the Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain at the Univ. of Edinburgh. Jen has been coming annually to the Crested Butte area for 45 years and is now a full-time resident. When one of her sons, Peter, was in high school, he assisted a RMBL scientist as a research assistant. It was a transformative experience for both Jen and Peter. Jen brings to the Board the perspective of a lab scientist who has been working at an independent research institution, a Crested Butte resident and former second homeowner, and who has been involved in private science philanthropy.


Amy Iler, PhD

Amy received a BS from Muskingum College in 2005 and a PhD in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology from The Ohio State University in 2010. She was a Postdoc at the Univ. of Maryland conducting phenology research at RMBL and then a Marie Curie-Cofund Research Fellow at Aarhus University (Denmark). She is currently a Conservation Scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden and manages a research lab with undergraduate and graduate students through a joint program with Northwestern University. Her research addresses basic ecological questions through the lens of anthropogenic environmental change, focusing on how plant-pollinator interactions, plant population dynamics, and the timing of biological events respond to various types of changes. She combines long-term data sets with population modeling and observational and experimental field studies to address her research questions. Amy has conducted fieldwork at RMBL since 2010. She is an editorial board member of Journal of Ecology. Amy currently serves on RMBL’s Finance Committee and brings the perspective of an early career scientist to the Board.


Carol M. Johnson

Carol Johnson served on the RMBL Board from 2006-2015. Carol is trained as a lawyer and worked for over 30 years for Massachusetts Mutual, a large financial services organization. With that company she served as an investment lawyer and also led several non-legal departments. After retirement from that firm, she worked for 13 years as the founding executive director of a nonprofit arts organization. While growing up, Carol and her brothers spent many summers in Gothic with their parents and their grandfather, RMBL’s founder, John C. Johnson. The siblings all worked on the RMBL work crew (Carol in the dining hall). Carol met her husband at Gothic during the time he was conducting research for his dissertation, often serving as his field assistant. The couple now lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and has a second home in Gunnison.


Elvia Melendez-Ackerman

Elvia has a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico- Tres Piedras and a Ph.D. from the University of California- Irvine. She did her doctoral dissertation research on floral evolution at RMBL under the direction of Dr. Diane Campbell. She is a Full Professor in Biology at the Univ. of Puerto Rico- Tres Piedras where her research focuses on urban biodiversity and ecosystem services. She is on the Board of Directors for Amigos del Yunque and served on the Board of Directors for the Organization of Tropical Studies. She was Director of the El Verde Field Station for 5 years and has served as the Principal Investigator for a Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Elvia brings to the Board substantial experience working internationally at field stations combined with her previous time at RMBL. She also adds her success in working with students of diverse backgrounds.


Lara Souza

Lara has a BA in Communications and an MS in Biology from Appalachian State University and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee. After postdoctoral positions at the Univ. of Tenn. and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory she has been a faculty member at the Univ. of OK since 2012 where she is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Oklahoma Biological Survey. She is a plant ecologist that focuses on global change impacts on plant community dynamics and the functioning of ecosystems. Lara has served as Associate Editor for Plant Ecology, the Journal for Applied Ecology, Ecology and Ecological Monographs. She has been an active scientist at RMBL since 2012, serving on several committees, including Diversity and Douglass Distinguished Lecturer committees. She brings to the Board her perspective as a scientist who lives in Gothic during the summer, as well as her experiences with leadership and administration in the sciences and overall broadening participation in STEM.


Brian Wildes

Brian earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Southern Methodist University in 1972, an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado in 1974, and an M.B.A. degree in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1976. Brian earned his C.P.A. in 1977 and his C.F.P. in 1986. Brian is currently the Managing Member of a handful of firms that focus on equity investment, oil and gas exploration, and the use of biological techniques for managing waste. Over the past ten years Brian has consulted for three public oil and gas exploration firms and has been the managing general partner of private equity oil and gas exploration, development and mineral acquisition funds. One of his firms is developing biological techniques for the separation and refinement of rare earth elements and the purification of water. Previously Brian served as an Oil and Gas Tax Specialist with Haskins & Sells, and spent 14 years as the C.F.O. of a metal alloy distributor that designed and manufactured downhole drilling and logging tools for the oil and gas industry that are used in today's offshore and horizontal drilling operations. Brian and his wife Marcella live in Dallas, and spend time in Crested Butte. Brian began serving on RMBL's Finance Committee in 2016 and he brings financial expertise to the Board.


Ken Williams

With a B.S. in Geology, an M.S. in Geophysics, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from the University of California, Berkeley, Ken is a staff geological scientist in the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, California.  He serves as the Program Lead for Environmental Remediation and Water Resources at Berkeley Lab.  He serves as the Deputy Lead of Berkeley Lab's Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area project, which works through RMBL and is focused on understanding how mountainous systems retain and release water, nutrients, carbon, and metals in response to climate perturbations, such as drought and early snowmelt.  He has been a pioneer in the field of biogeophysics, with a particular emphasis on the development of electrochemically-based techniques for characterizing subsurface microbial activity.  He brings a unique perspective as a biogeochemist working at RMBL, with interests spanning the fields of geology, geochemistry, hydrology, and microbiology.


Hamish Greig

With a PhD in Ecology from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, Hamish is a Professor of Stream Ecology and the Associate Director of the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine in Orono. He served as the graduate coordinator for the interdisciplinary Ecology and Environmental Science program (UMaine’s largest research-focused graduate program), and is on the editorial board of the leading aquatic journal, Freshwater Science. Hamish began his research at RMBL during graduate school in 2004, and has continued his work on community and ecosystem processes in high elevation wetlands at the Mexican Cut Nature Preserve ever since. Hamish has served on RMBL’s research committee since 2021, and as a PI, has mentored 14 undergraduate students, 3 graduate students and two postdocs at RMBL. Along with his expertise in freshwater science research and education, Hamish brings the first-hand experience of a PI living at RMBL with a young family, and has also navigated the opportunities and challenges brought by cross-generational transitions in long-term research programs at the lab. His interest in serving on the RMBL board is driven by the desire to advance scientific excellence at RMBL while promoting a constructive, nurturing, and family-supportive environment.


James (Jim) Brogan

After earning his BA in Biology from Indiana University, Jim served four years active duty in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He then earned his JD from the Villanova University School of Law in 1981 and entered private practice with a trial firm. He joined Piper & Marbury in 1994, which evolved into today’s DLA Piper, a firm regularly ranked among the largest in the world. Jim’s trial practice focuses on issues related to engineering, biology and ceramics, among others. Most recently, Jim chaired the firm’s U.S. and then global litigation practice group for 8 years and served on its executive committee and/or policy committee for 16 years. He has served for and chaired numerous legal and community boards near his primary home in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Jim and his wife, Doris, enjoy a second home in Crested Butte, actively support many of its community organizations and have witnessed the value of RMBL through the experience of their youngest, Mairead, who has engaged a variety of the opportunities offered at RMBL over the last six years.