About Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative

image003Contact: Bethany Howell, Executive Director


125 Adams Street

PO Box 142

Monte Vista, CO 81144

Phone: 719-480-4864

Mission: We strive to provide dynamic conservation education to the San Luis Valley community through collaboration, connections, and experiences that enhance understanding of our working landscapes and natural resource stewardship.

History: The Rio Grande Watershed Conservation & Education Initiative began as a part time education position within the five conservation districts of the San Luis Valley (Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande, Center, and Mosca-Hooper). The conservation districts recognized the need for K-12 students and community members to learn about watershed health and the natural resources that affect our environment and agriculture. They hoped that students would become passionate, involved community members who care about the many natural resources of the San Luis Valley. Within a few years, the position became full-time, and in 2009, became incorporated as its own non-profit providing conservation education across the San Luis Valley with the help of numerous partners. 

Want to support our mission? We are now part of ColoradoGives! This makes it much easier to donate directly to our organization and become a part of the important work that we love. Click here to see our profile!


About Our Staff

IMG 0521Bethany Howell became the Executive Director in June 2016. She is currently the only full-time staff person administering RGWCEI's programs. Bethany earned her bachelor of arts degree and Master of Arts degree in English from Hardin-Simmons University. She spent several years working in higher education with communications and public relations as well as teaching English to college freshmen. She is a seventh generation Texan who grew up on her family's heritage ranch in Central Texas where they raised turkeys, sheep, cattle, and goats. After moving with her family to the San Luis Valley in 2013, Bethany worked for a local non-profit and came to love the unique character of the Valley. She is especially glad to engage with farmers and ranchers once more, and is proud to work with students in all schools in the Valley, although she calls Del Norte home. Bethany loves hiking, skiing, kayaking, running with her Siberian husky, and spending time with her husband and their two children.
profilepicHannah Thill joined RGWCEI for the year of 2018-19 as a member of Mennonite Voluntary Service. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor's degree in Biology and minor in music from Goshen College. Her love for the outdoors and all its creatures began as a child growing up in the wooded hills of southern Indiana and has enjoyed discovering a whole new landscape, wildlife, and community since moving to the valley. She hopes to share her interests and engage people of all ages with the local land to foster stewardship and a deeper appreciation for nature. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and singing in a choir. 
Anti-discrimination Policy: The Rio Grande Watershed Conservation Education Program prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.

© 2014 Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative (login)