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.

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.

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.

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.

Erica Oakley-Courage

Development Director
Erica has been the Development Director at Palmer Land Trust since April of 2015. Prior to that, she worked as the Corporate Market Director at the American Heart Association. She was named the 2016 Southern Colorado Association of Fundraising Professional’s Outstanding Emerging Fundraising Professional and is a member of the Institute for Leaders in Development’s Class of 2017. Erica is a member of the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable and serves on the Board of Peak Vista Community Health Centers. In her free time, she loves to be outside with her husband hiking, running and fly fishing, or hosting dinner and game night for friends. Erica has been passionate about land conservation for as long as she can remember and considers it a privilege to help protect Colorado's legacy.

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 - all the way back to her great grandfather who raised Herefords and owned a 5,000 acre 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 longterm vitality of local farmland.

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.