Board of Directors

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is governed by a Board of Directors who donate their time, treasure and enthusiasm for birds and conservation to help achieve our mission. Directors serve three-year terms, elect their own leadership annually, serve on various committees and help with events and projects. The Board of Directors guides and supports the Bird Conservancy through strategic planning, financial oversight and fundraising.

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is looking for talented, energetic candidates to join its Board of Directors. We are looking for volunteers with a commitment to conservation. Though Bird Conservancy is headquartered in Brighton, Colorado our reach includes the western United States and Mexico, so candidates within and outside the Front Range of Colorado are eligible.  The Board meets quarterly, typically in the Denver-metro area. Remote participation is possible, although some personal attendance during the year is necessary for engagement and immersion in the mission.  Click here to download a complete Board of Directors role description.

Eric M. Lane, M.S.

Chairman of the Board

Eric is the Director of Boulder County Parks and Open Space where he leads the operations, staff, and budget for Boulder County’s nationally-recognized, award-winning department dedicated to the conservation and use of the county’s agricultural, natural, and cultural resources. As a former ornithologist, including two years working for the Colorado Bird Observatory (the original name of Bird Conservancy), he is particularly interested in bird habitat management/restoration on both public and private lands. Eric received a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College and a M.S. in natural resources policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Larry Modesitt, M.B.A., C.Q.E., C.T.P.

Past Chair of Board, Finance, Development and Executive Committees

Larry is the retired President of Modesitt Associates, Inc., a management consulting and interim management firm that focused on improving business bottom lines through Operational Profit Solutions. Larry is a Certified Quality Engineer from the American Society for Quality and a Certified Turnaround Practitioner from the Turnaround Management Association. He received a BA degree from Williams College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Larry served as a Director and Secretary of Colorado Field Ornithologists and a Director of Western Field Ornithologists.

Peter J. Ampe, Esq., J.D.

Secretary of the Board, Executive Committee

Peter is a senior associate with the law firm Hill & Robbins, P.C., where he concentrates on natural resources law, and specifically water law, for public and private entities. Prior to joining Hill & Robbins, Peter was the First Assistant Attorney General for the Federal and Interstate Water Unit of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Peter received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law. He enjoys numerous and varied outdoor pursuits in the mountains and plains of Colorado.

Jim Strickland


Jim has dedicated his career to growing innovative, science-based organizations. Presently, he is the founder, president and chairman of FAST BioMedical, a life science company that has developed a novel technology for measuring blood volume and kidney function in critically ill patients. Prior to FAST BioMedical, Jim was the founder and CEO of DynoMed, a health information technology company focused on enhancing communication throughout the patient care continuum. His interest in science and managing research-based entities extends beyond medicine to the natural environment where Jim is a passionate advocate for conservation and sustainability. He is a graduate of Indiana University and, in addition to serving on the board of Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, he is a trustee for the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

David M. Charles, M.D.

Development Committee

David received his medical degree from the University of Cape Town. He is a board certified general surgeon and plastic surgeon with a strong conservation ethic and commitment to service. Among other past and current board experience, he is the chairman of the board for Mending Faces, a nonprofit that provides free surgical correction for impoverished children in developing countries inflicted with cleft lip and cleft palates, who would otherwise not have a chance for surgery.

Eileen Dey, B.S.

Development Committee

Eileen is the owner of Dey Consulting, LLC representing oil and gas clients in environmental, regulatory, sustainability, and stakeholder issues and planning.  Previously, Eileen worked for ConocoPhillips as the Lower 48 Manager of Sustainable Development and held various manager positions in Environmental, Regulatory and Stakeholder Engagement in the Rockies and Mid-Continent Business Units.  While at COP, Eileen served on several boards (Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Northern Great Plains Joint Venture, and Colorado Oil & Gas Association). She worked with industry and agencies on the development and implementation of conservation agreements for several candidate species and developed the ESA Protocol Tool for COP to ensure that the Business Units assess and mitigate species and habitat during all phases of development.  She received her BA from University of Colorado, Boulder. Eileen believes that industry can be a vital partner with agencies, NGOs, landowners and various stakeholders to utilize science and best management practices that improve habitat and foster exceptional community relationships.

Jack Ferguson

Development Committee

Jack Ferguson’s family has a long history in Denver that includes Solitaire Food Company, which his Great Grandfather founded. Jack served on the Board of Directors for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for 40 years, which continues today in an emeritus status. A retired realtor by profession, Jack has also demonstrated a strong passion for avian science and conservation, dating to his early days working with the Museum when he took a personal interest in Black Swifts. That fascination would continue to keep him engaged with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory leading up to and beyond the discovery of Black Swift nesting locations in Brazil in the early 2000s. Today, Jack enjoys spending time on his farm near Kersey, Colorado.

Geoff Geupel, B.S.

Geoff is with Point Blue Conservation Science and is located in California. He has extensive experience in bird banding, monitoring, private lands stewardship, fundraising and development. Bird Conservancy has enjoyed previously collaborating with with Geoff and Point Blue on the Avian Knowledge Network and Partners in Flight. His extensive knowledge and experience in bird conservation, partnership programs and more is a tremendous asset to our board.

Grady Grissom, Ph.D.

Chair, Stewardship Committee

Grady has been a manager/partner at Rancho Largo Cattle Co. east of Walsenburg, Colorado, since 1995. Rancho Largo is a 14,000-acre ranch where the fundamental philosophy is: maximum ecosystem health equals maximum ranching profit. Strategic time-controlled grazing allows cattle to fill the ecological niche as the primary large grazing ruminant. Grady received a bachelor’s degree in geology from Princeton University in 1984. Subsequently, he worked on ranches in eastern Colorado until 1987 when he returned to graduate school. He finished a Ph.D. in geology at Stanford University in 1991 and worked as a farrier in the Bay Area until 1995.

David Otis, Ph.D.

David received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University and had a 34 year career as biometrician and wildlife research biologist in federal wildlife research centers and land grant universities.  His research program focused primarily on relationships between avian population dynamics, habitat and mitigation management practices, and anthropogenic environmental stressors.  David remains engaged in the wildlife profession as an Affiliate Faculty member at Colorado State University, an active member of The Wildlife Society and a consultant to the migratory game bird management community.   He is motivated by both the need for reliable and relevant science and the importance of fostering an engaged public citizenship that values wildlife conservation.

Nathan Pieplow, M.Ed.

Nathan has been fascinated by birds since his childhood in South Dakota, and has intensively studied bird sounds since 2003. He is the former editor of the journal Colorado Birds and an author of the Colorado Birding Trail. In 2016, he authored The Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America.  Nathan currently teaches writing and rhetoric at University of Colorado.

John Sanderson, Ph.D

John Sanderson is the Director of Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation. At the Center, John and his staff work to build the capacity of organizations, communities, and future leaders to achieve conservation impact, while applying CSU’s world-class research and education. He has been doing conservation work in the West for over 25 years, including at the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and at The Nature Conservancy, where he led a staff striving to protect land, manage rivers, restore forests, and mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. John earned a B.S. in engineering from Purdue University, an M.S. in botany from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at CSU.

Garth Spellman, Ph.D

As the Curator of Ornithology at Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Garth’s research focuses on how recent and ancient environmental changes have affected bird species. Bird species are products of their environment and therefore are constantly evolving in response to environmental change. The response of a species to environmental change leaves lasting footprints in its DNA. Garth uses genetic tools to examine “bird DNA footprints” and determine just how a species or multiple species that make up a modern community have responded to past environmental change.

D. Jean Tate, Ph.D.

Development Committee

Jean is an ecologist with more than 33 years of applied experience in the consulting world. Her academic work focused on birds including “Morphometric age and sex variation in the Whistling Swan” and “Habitat usage by the Chipping Sparrow in northern Lower Michigan.” Her consulting career has focused on diverse studies responsive to the NEPA and CERCLA/SARA/RCRA for land management, military, transportation and other agencies. Her passions are preserving habitat, ecological health and species diversity for avian and other wildlife populations, and promoting appreciation of the natural world for its intrinsic worth and its value to the human mind, body and spirit.

Ed Warner, M.S., L.H.D.

Development Committee

Ed is a noted philanthropist and conservationist. He had a career as an exploration geologist that culminated in his discovery in 1993 of the Jonah Field and the first commercial exploitation of the Pinedale Field in Sublette County, Wyoming. Ed left the natural gas business at the end of 2000 to pursue his philanthropic interests in the U.S. and Africa. Ed received his Bachelor of Science in 1968 from Colorado State University and his Master of Science in 1971 from UCLA, both in geology. He is a trustee or director of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Sand County Foundation, Explorers Foundation and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, as well as an advisor to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.