TEDxPaonia Speakers


Flower pushing through pavement with West Elks

David Alderdice



David Alderdice is a father, percussionist, educator, recording artist, performer, enthusiastic rhythmist, and founder of the Embodying Rhythm School of Percussive Arts as well as co‐founder of the North Fork Valley Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project.

His expertise includes drum set, frame drums, tambourines, marimba ensembles, and auxiliary hand held percussion instruments with a focus in jazz studies, dance accompaniment, grooveability, and ethnomusicology.

One of his main goals as a musician and educator is to help make music accessible to everyone. David offers lessons, classes, workshops, and playshops focusing mainly on the musical, creative, experimental, improvisatory, healing, universal, and interdisciplinary concepts of rhythm and the percussive arts.

Rebecca Clarren



Rebecca Clarren, a former editor of High Country News, writes about the environment and public health for magazines such as Mother Jones, Salon.com, Ms., Orion and The Nation. Her work has won the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism, an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship, and eight grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Aside from being a reporter, she has worked as a maid in Alaska, waited tables in Colorado, written a novel, and used to DJ at KVNF. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two young sons.

Zach Krapfl



Zach is a mechanical and civil engineer based in Paonia, Colorado. He is dedicated to global energy conservation, reduction in fossil fuel consumption, increased energy efficiency and chooses to combine bicycles, light electric vehicles, and appropriate renewable energy technologies as a catalyst for earth lovin’ and a little personal happiness too.

Zach began work with electric bikes in 2006 and was unimpressed with the quality and integration of these systems into bicycles, which led him to team up with Bosch in Germany starting in 2009 to create the lightest, most efficient, highest torque electric propulsion system while optimizing integration into a bicycle frame.

Already, over 3 billion road miles have been directly substituted from cars to these ebikes and the electric systems are incorporated in over 100 bicycle brand globally. Zach and GSD Global work on bicycle design and engineering for companies in need.

Doug Beall



Douglas Beall, AIA, LEED AP is a licensed architect, artist, builder, developer and inventor. Doug has been involved in the construction industry for over forty years and a licensed architect for the past 29 years. He is the owner of ECOShelter Design + Build, an architectural service provider and general contractor. Doug is also the owner of Simple Shelter, Ltd., a tiny house development company. Both of his companies support and promote safe, affordable, compassionate, responsible, ecological and durable shelter.

He studied range ecology at Colorado State University and went on to earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Idaho and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Doug is a LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the American Institute of Architects, the US Green Building Council, the Colorado Straw Bale Association, and Bioneers. He is also a certified Biomimicry Practitioner.

Christie Aschwanden



Christie Aschwanden is the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight. Her work also appears in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, Discover, Popular Science, and O, the Oprah Magazine.

Aschwanden blogs about science at The Last Word On Nothing and was a 2015 Journalism Fellow in Complex Systems Science at the Santa Fe Institute. She’s the author of “Beautiful Chickens” and a forthcoming book about sport science. She lives on a small farm where she raises heritage poultry and chases off goshawks.

Gabrielle Louise



Gabrielle Louise is a nationally touring troubadour noted for her poignant lyrics and lush voice. The daughter of two vagabond musicians, Gabrielle inherited the genetic predisposition to wanderlust and song.

Gabrielle Louise’s music is anchored deeply in folk, but undeniably drawn to rich harmonies and melodic adventurism. Her sound has the earthy feel of early Joni Mitchell while also veering into the spirited delivery of fellow genre­-hopping artist Eva Cassidy. Unafraid to take a random musical escapade in the name of inspiration, Gabrielle is at one moment folkie and ethereal, the next moment a smoky jazz chanteuse.

Gabrielle’s music has been best appreciated in listening atmospheres with introspective, attentive crowds. She is striving to communicate more soul than special effect and gently entice her listener to release their grip on the status quo. Known for her authenticity and candor on stage, her performances are notably present and sincere, a professional presentation of her private creative world.

Gabrielle has been entrusted to open for or shared the stage with greats such as Richie Havens, Patty Larkin, Eliza Gilkyson, and Guy Clark.

In the original songwriting realm, she has independently released a handful of records, the most recent of which were titled Cigarettes for Sentiments (2008), Mirror the Branches (2010), and The Bird in My Chest (2014).

Her most recent collection of songs was released in tandem with a book of poetry and short stories. It comes in an original, handmade case that holds a the book as well as the record itself, which features the beautiful black and white photography of Kristen Hatgi­-Sink and Mark Sink.

The Bird in My Chest” is an intimate, self-­exposing love record. The prose that accompanies it was written at the same time as the music, and provides deeper insight into the songs, as well as Gabrielle’s personality and her life on the road as a traveling troubadour. It can be heard online at her band camp page, and physical copies are available for purchase there or directly from Gabrielle via Paypal.

Dev Carey

Education Innovator


I like moments. I like rooms full of people who don’t agree. I like standing on the shoulder of a highway with my thumb in the air. I like falling in love and waking up with raindrops on my face. I like feeling full on an empty stomach. I like listening to hermit thrushes and cutting firewood.

I’ve had many “careers” from scientist to river guide, street kid counselor to Conservation District Manager, Camp Director to School Principal, father, husband, neighbor. I’ve earned a Ph.D. in ecology and have started numerous educational programs.

Currently I run The High Desert Center Gap Year Program out of Paonia, Colorado. Students and I live at our off-the-grid house. We venture onto farms and mountain slopes. We dance. We explore canyons, small Mexican streets, our thoughts and dumpsters. Our curriculum is built around meaning, adventure, risks, and “mistakes.” We ask who we are and how we want to lead our lives, and it all leads inevitably to the moment and our desire to make it meaningful.

See highdesertcenter.org for more.

John VanDenBerg



Dr. John VanDenBerg is internationally recognized as a leading authority on innovative services for children with complex needs and their families. He is the Board Chair person for Citizens for a Healthy Community, is a consultant to Families Plus, a children agency in Delta, and is the national mentor for a major anti-poverty program, The Open Table. As a caution, Dr. VanDenBerg’s talk will reference child sexual abuse.

Hal Brill

Investment Advisor


Hal Brill has been pioneering sustainable, regenerative investing for over 25 years. He co-­founded Natural Investments LLC, which provides portfolio management for clients nationwide. He has co-authored two books, including The Resilient Investor: A Plan for your Life, Not Just your Money (Berrett Kohler 2015). He lives in a sustainable neighborhood that he developed on the edge of Paonia, Colorado. He is on the board of Solar Energy International, which provides technical training in renewable energy, and is business manager of an organic hops farm.

Alex Johnson

Executive Director


Alex Carr Johnson is a writer and conservationist who lives in Paonia, CO. He has written for Earth Island Journal, High Country News, and Orion Magazine among others. His essay, “How to Queer Ecology: One Goose at a Time,” has been reprinted in multiple textbooks after originally appearing in Orion. He is a Fishtrap Fellow and Wyss Scholar for Conservation of the Intermountain West. He is honored to serve as the Executive Director of the Western Slope Conservation Center.

Marcie Telander

Community Therapist


Marcie Telander, MA, REAT, is an Internationally Registered Expressive Arts Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor in New Mexico, Certified Group Psychotherapist and an Elder of the Eco­-therapy, Positive Psychology and eco-­justice movements. Marcie lives in Crested Butte, CO where she has served her community for 38 years as a psychotherapist, cultural animator and celebration artist. Marcie is the founder of Earth Wisdom Institute and Mystery School Educational Programs.

Marcie is also a nationally­-known storyteller, cultural animator and interdisciplinary artist. She has created celebrations and events for neighborhoods and communities across the country based on the stories, myths and legends of the places and people of all ages who live there. In 1985, Marcie created Vinotok – Crested Butte’s annual heritage festival and storytelling celebration – as a way to bring the disparate local mining and ranching communities together with the more recent arrivals. U.S.A. Today named Vinotok, “One of the best small-­town festivals in America“.

Marcie is the co-author of ACTING UP!: Personal Storytelling & Theater (Dramatic Publishing) and numerous articles, poetry and essays, including “Finding Home, Creating Sacred Space” in the award winning RITUAL AND HEALING: Stories of Ordinary and Extraordinary Transformation (Motivational Press). For the past 40 years Marcie has traveled throughout the US and Europe, guiding communities, institutions and groups in developing shared mission and interconnection with the environment. Through these cultural animation programs, she assists communities in developing multi­-generational celebrations and rites­-of­-passage. She is currently a Relationship Expert for yourtango.com, one of the internet’s most visited relationship-­advice site.

Rosemerry Trommer



Western Slope Poet Laureate Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poetry has appeared in O Magazine, in back alleys, on A Prairie Home Companion and in her children’s lunch boxes. Her most recent collection is The Less I Hold.

Clients include Think 360, Craig Hospital, Hospice and Camp Coca Cola. She served as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate, directed the Telluride Writers Guild for 10 years, and co-hosts the Talking Gourds Poetry club.

She’s won the Fischer Prize, Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, the Dwell Press Solstice Prize, the Writer’s Studio Literary Contest, was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize.

She curates “Heard of Poets,” an interactive poetry map of Western Colorado. Since 1999, she’s performed with Telluride’s seven-woman acappella group, Heartbeat, and since 2006, she’s written a poem a day. Her MA is in English Language and Linguistics.

Favorite one-word mantra: Adjust.

Nicolas Taylor



Dr. Taylor is a licensed clinical psychologist and a level three certified addictions counselor. He currently is the director of Solutions Wellness Center in Montrose, Colorado. He is the developer of the community based substance use treatment method commonly referred to as “The Delta Model,” and in 2008 with coauthor, Dr. Herb Covey, he published the book Helping People Addicted to Methamphetamine: A Creative New Approach for Families and Communities.

For the past 17 years he has worked extensively on evaluating and treating substance use disorder issues and he has been involved with communities and organizations across the nation helping to increase their awareness of substance use issues and to plan for effective outpatient community based treatment.

Teya Cranson



Teya Cranson works with Wing It Films, a group of quirky filmmakers, who happen to mostly be siblings, who just figured, “What the heck, let’s Wing It, lets make a short film!” And they have been doing just that ever since. They love making films.

Craig Childs



Craig Childs writes about the relationship between humans, animals, landscape, and time. His stories come from visceral, personal experience, whether in the company of illicit artifact dealers or in deep wilderness.

Childs has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including his most recent book, Apocalyptic Planet, which won the Orion Book Award and the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, and Outside.

An occasional commentator for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Childs lives in Western Colorado and teaches writing for both University of Alaska in Anchorage and Southern New Hampshire University.

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