About Palmer Land Trust

© Greg Frozley


Rebecca Jewett

Executive Director
Rebecca Jewett has led Palmer Land Trust as Executive Director since 2014. She leads a dedicated and passionate staff in the conservation of southern Colorado’s working farms and ranches, outdoor recreation, and iconic scenic landscapes. With over a decade of experience in the outdoor and conservation fields, she has overseen the planning, management, and implementation of countless environmental restoration, stewardship, and conservation projects working with government agencies, stakeholders, and the public. Her project experience includes permanent and largescale land conservation, recreation management, post-fire burn restoration, watershed health, habitat recovery, environmental education, and public engagement. Prior to joining Palmer Land Trust, Rebecca served as the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, a land stewardship organization based in Colorado Springs. Rebecca received her Master of Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy (MRLS) from the University of Denver and a BA in Political Science from Colorado College. Rebecca serves on the boards of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, as well as the Land Trust Alliance's National Land Trust Leadership Council. She was recognized by the Colorado Springs Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in 2016 and a a Girl Scouts of Colorado Woman of Distinction in 2017. As a 5th generation Coloradan, Rebecca is deeply passionate about protecting Colorado’s magnificent landscape and natural heritage. Her soul lives in the alpine and she is working on summiting Colorado’s 100 highest summits.

Anais Spitzer

Director of Operations
Anais was raised in the rural Texas Hill Country. She has a deep-seated appreciation of the formative role land plays in communities and of the critical importance of its conservation. Prior to joining Palmer Land Trust, Anais worked at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, growing their TrueSport initiative to change the culture of youth sport into a community-based organization reaching over 1.5 million people. In addition to her experience in developing operational and strategic plans, programming, assessments, budgets and partnerships, Anais’s background as a former college professor drives her passion for bringing to life the core narratives that shape our communities. When not at work, she can be found riding the local trails on her mountain bike, upside down in yoga, gardening, or playing with her three children.

Mary Bowers

Director of Philanthropy
Mary is a fifth-generation Coloradan on her maternal side originating in northern Colorado’s farmlands. Raised in Colorado Springs, she left to attend the University of Colorado, Boulder, earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and holds a Master’s degree from Colorado College. Mary has over a decade of experience in nonprofit development focusing on corporate relations and partnerships, major donors, economic development, community outreach and communications. Mary recently returned home and is enthusiastic to share Palmer’s narrative of a strong, vibrant and united community with our members and business community. She enjoys spending time with her dog, friends and family, appreciating the arts, practicing Bikram yoga and is a member of the Audubon Society.

Candice Hall

Director of Land Stewardship
Candice merges her love for the open spaces of southern Colorado with her professional experience as a legal editor in the position of Director of Land Stewardship. She grew up transient—New York City, Sumatra, California and Belgium—but fell in love with Colorado during an internship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. She earned her JD at the University of California, in the bicycle-centric community of Davis, before moving to Colorado Springs. A community volunteer with a camera, a legal license, and dirt under her fingernails, Candice advocated for open space preservation, served on the original Hillside Ordinance Advisory Committee, and volunteers with the Pikes Peak Marathon, fire mitigation projects, and creek side cleanup efforts. She and her husband, a runner, raised their children in Colorado Springs, where music, theatre, and visual arts were richly complimented by farm to table initiatives, regional parks, abundant wildlife, skiing, rafting, fly fishing, backpacking, and daily awe across the vistas of southern Colorado. Candice joins Palmer dedicated to preserving this land-centric identity and quality of life for future generations.

Matthew Heimerich

Lower Arkansas Valley Conservation Director
After moving to Crowley County in 1987, Matt and his wife Karen purchased their first irrigated farm. The operation today has 320 acres of deeded and leased ground. Matt served three terms from 1999-2011 as one of Crowley County’s Commissioners. Upon leaving office, he accepted the position of land use administrator for the county. As a farmer, an elected official, and land use administrator, Matt has confronted the effects of large-scale dry-ups of irrigated lands firsthand. The present landscape is plagued with blowing dirt problems, weed proliferation, wildland fire concerns and small acreage management challenges. It is Matt’s hope that his association with Palmer Land Trust will facilitate creative and financially rewarding options for landowners who wish to keep their water rights on the farm forever. Matt and Karen enjoy spending time with friends and family at a family home in Vail Valley skiing and hiking.

Ed Roberson

Conservation Director
Ed’s background combines over 16 years of finance and real estate experience with a life-long love of open space and wild places. A North Carolina native, Ed moved West in 2005 to work in western ranch brokerage, representing a diverse set of clients including multigenerational ranching families, conservation groups, Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds, and ski resorts. Prior to joining Palmer, Ed served as an advisor, consultant, and board member for numerous Colorado land trusts, which solidified his passion for protecting western landscapes and communities. He holds both a BA in Economics and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Wake Forest University, giving him a quantitative, data-driven approach to conservation transactions. Away from the office, Ed can usually be found high in the mountains, trail running, camping, climbing, fishing, and hiking with his wife and two young daughters—or voraciously reading history and hosting the Mountain & Prairie Podcast.

Amber Shanklin

Pikes Peak Region Conservation Director
Amber brings many years of experience in the natural resource and conservation fields to Palmer Land Trust. Her experience includes restoration ecology, botany, and GIS systems. Born and raised in the Midwest, Amber found an early love for the outdoors; hiking, camping, and visiting the area’s many lakes sparked her initial ecological passion. After receiving a BS from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in Wildlife and Biology, she moved to Nevada to work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and eventually transitioned to The Nature Conservancy. In 2009, Amber moved to Colorado to pursue a Master’s degree in Ecology from Colorado State University. She held a temporary position with the Bureau of Land Management in Meeker, Colorado, followed by an offer from the Rocky Mountain Field Institute to become their new Program Director. This position revealed to her the unique beauty of the Pikes Peak region. Amber now joins Palmer with a strong dedication to helping conserve our unparalleled natural resources.

Darcie Hannigan

Communications and Community Outreach
Darcie is a fourth-generation Coloradan, born and raised in Colorado Springs. Her family ties run deep in the state starting with her great-grandfather who raised Herefords and owned a ranch in the Greenhorn Valley. Her love for the outdoors started as a child exploring the wild and camping with her family. She left Colorado after high school to travel and study. While away she developed a passion for connecting people with the causes and actions that truly make a difference. After university, running her own media company, and traveling extensively, she returned home to the shadow of Pikes Peak where she is dedicated to the success of the city and the region. She believes Colorado's intrinsic value lies in the untouched beauty, the thoughtfully stewarded and protected public space, and the long-term vitality of local farmland. Wearing many hats in the community, Darcie also leads the local Brewshed Alliance® with her husband Ryan, volunteers with Colorado Springs Bike Month, and co-hosts the local podcast, The Little London Show.

Deanna Koches

Office Coordinator
Deanna is a native to the central New Jersey beachfront. After a stroke of luck in 2015 with a military relocation, she was introduced to Colorado Springs and never looked back. After working with the American Heart Association for almost two years as the Administrative Associate, she has brought her administrative and event planning expertise to support her passion for conserving Colorado's natural open spaces. Her goal within Palmer Land Trust is bringing together her love of the Colorado Springs community with the education and awareness of the importance of protecting the reason we all live here. Deanna is also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor at Pranava Yoga Center. In her free time, Deanna enjoys gardening, hiking, and exploring Colorado's beautiful landscapes with her husband, Rob.

Interns and Fellows

Ian Heckman, Pikes Peak Geospatial Analyst Intern

Ian is a Colorado Native, born in the eastern plains of Lamar, Colorado. He grew up in Colorado Springs, working at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and developing a passion for the outdoors and recreational activities. Ian enjoys anything outside involving fishing at the Catamount Reservoirs, rock climbing in Red Rock Canyon Open Space, trail running, mountain biking or hiking the fourteeners of Colorado's Rockies. He will have graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, in May 2018 with a bachelor's of science in Environmental Science and Geosciences. While at Taylor, he has explored various disciplines such as hydrogeology, conservation ecology, and Geographic Information Systems.

Ian also worked with The City of Colorado Springs as an intern with the Bike Department in the Public Works department, analyzing data from surveys and Bike to Work Day. He aspires to attend graduate school and obtain a masters of science in Geographic Information Systems Technology working specifically with land use management, data mapping, and display. He has an underestimated passion for animals, specifically chinchillas, and is excited to move back to Colorado Springs after he completes his undergraduate program.  




Heather Campbell Chaney Fellow, Hannah Pardee

Hannah Pardee grew up in rural northern California, in a town called Mt. Shasta.  Growing up in such a beautiful place surrounded by undeveloped land gave her a deep appreciation for open space.  She came to Colorado to attend Colorado College, where she is a part of the class of 2020 and is studying anthropology and art.  The similarity between her section of California and Colorado gave her an immediate connection to the place. She is excited to spend the summer protecting the land of Colorado so others can connect with it in the same way she has.