Our Board of Directors are dedicated earthkeepers who have woven their lives and work around making a difference.
Barbara Blake, Religious Sisters of Mercy, has has worked as a high school teacher and administrator, and was the Director of a retreat center in the Chicago area. For the past 22 years, Barbara has worked as a therapist, spiritual companion and teacher at Centered Life, Education, Counselling and Spiritual Care in Colorado. She also leads creativity groups based on the book The Artist’s Way. Barbara has a B.A from St. Xavier University in Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
Cyndi Hart fell in love with nature as a child growing up surrounded by Kansas wheat fields and currently resides in Pueblo, Colorado. Cyndi and her husband, Dale, met while they were both single foster parents. They married in 1996. They operated an assisted living home (2000-2014) that provided residential care focused on adults with a mental illness or disability. Cyndi and Dale are real estate investors specializing in affordable housing for people who are economically disadvantaged, including veterans, single parents, the elderly and disabled adults. Cyndi has a heart for single moms and has provided mentorship along with housing, financial and practical support with the goal of improving outcomes for children living in poverty. Cyndi is also known by locals as the founder of a group named “W.O.W.”, Wild Outdoor Women (with kayaks). W.O.W. was formed to provide women a supportive and non-threatening environment to kayak with other women, to create opportunities to learn about nature and arrange opportunities for socialization in the great outdoors.
Michelle Lankford Salazar is a retired teacher and self-employed farmer. She is a Colorado native, educated in the Denver area, but has resided in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado for forty years. She has served on the board of the SLV Immigrant Resource Center since 2005 and became an Associate with the Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest, in 2015. Michelle has a BS in agronomy from Colorado State University, and MA and PhD degrees in Hispanic linguistics from the University of New Mexico. She has taught many subjects at the high school level, but her great joy has been teaching Spanish to adults at UNM, Adams State University, and as a volunteer through SLV-IRC. She also volunteers at Hospice del Valle and the Narrow Gauge Book Coop.
Mindy Meiering has called Durango, CO, home for the last 17 years. Mindy’s background and professional training include a Masters degree in Social Work and a 16-year history of working in hospitals supporting patients and families in both behavioral health and medical settings. She also taught and supervised graduate students for five years through Denver University’s Four Corners Graduate School of Social Work in Durango. Her work now, as a professional life coach, is primarily focused on supporting individuals to achieve their goals and dreams and live their most inspired, joyful lives. She is also a Certified Mindfulness Teacher through the Mindful Life Program and a Master Certified Retreat Coach. For the last five years she and her husband have been involved in building a yoga and meditation retreat center.
Elaine Pacheco, Religious Sisters of Mercy, is a Pueblo, Colorado native, now living in Aurora, Colorado. As a Licensed Clinical Masters Social Worker, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Spiritual Director, and Certified in Trauma Response care, , Elaine brings an integrated perspective to micro, mezzo and macro systems. Elaine is currently a member of South Denver’s 350.org environmental justice group and a recent Red Cross Mental Health Disaster first responder for the Colorado and Wyoming chapters. Elaine taught undergraduate and graduate Social Work at Colorado State University – Pueblo. She focused her classes through the lens of leadership/service through the new sciences: deep ecology, systems theory, chaos theory and the strengths perspective. Elaine has been a co-creator for two not for profit organizations (Project STEP in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Mountain Park Environment Center in Beulah, Colorado). These organizations have focused providing services for poor and marginalized women and children and for promoting environment literacy and justice, serving as a board member, senior consultant and clinical supervisor. “I’m very invested in Healthy Women, Healthy Earth as a movement poised to begin.”
Mitzi Pasternak is the Lead Aquatic Therapist at SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado. She has a BA in Education, BFA in Dance, is a Certified Watsu Practitioner (1996), Waterdance Practitioner (1999), and a Watsu Therapist (2000). She was the owner of Manitou Watsu for a decade and now practices exclusively at SunWater Spa. A mother, friend, dancer, gardener, hiker, and lifelong learner, Mitzi is currently in Thai Yoga Therapy training and ongoing Watsu trainings. She continues to grow the ways in which she brings her unique talents to the healing arts.