El Paso Group Executive Committee gets three great additions

By Laurence Gibson, El Paso Group chair 04.06.14
The El Paso Group Executive Committee is sporting three new members with outstanding credentials. Top vote-getter, after incumbent and National Board member Liz Walsh, was blogger Jim Tolbert.
Jim had been writing for the Carnation Farmers Market in Washington state for a long time before returning to the El Paso area in 2008, when he created elpasonaturally.blogspot.com. Those were the days when El Paso Sierrans were protesting (even being arrested) at the building of the Border Wall adjacent to UTEP’s Rio Bosque in El Paso’s Lower Valley. Since then Tolbert has made a run for a seat on City Council and been a vocal force on environmental issues, always reminding us that it is still the developers who are running El Paso. He is the city’s environmental watchdog. Jim’s byline is “for environmental and social justice in a sustainable El Paso Southwest.” He has already shown his energy and mettle in organizing our General Meetings programs, chairing several SC issues, and serving as vice chair of the El Paso Group.
Another fireball winning an Excom position was El Paso Zoo’s Education Curator, Rick LoBello. Twelve years ago Rick came to a very different El Paso Zoo from Big Bend National Park. The educational outreach of El Paso Zoo is a testament to LoBello’s vision and program-design skills, something the El Paso Group is already beginning to utilize. His February General Meeting program on the evils of palm oil awakened us all to yet another source of habitat destruction, this time in Indonesia. And we all went home with his Palm Oil app on our iPhones.
UTEP Professor of Geology Dr. John Walton rounds out the newcomers to the El Paso Group Excom. Walton is of course an expert on many areas of earth science, having served as a consultant on Yucca Flats and written on infiltration and water flow for the Geological Society of America. He is, for the El Paso Group, a tremendous outings resource. John regularly sea-kayaks and backpacks Alaska as well as our desert southwest. His typical monthlong Alaskan trip consists of shipping his provisions to various backcountry outposts, being dropped off by float plane, then backpacking and kayaking his way back to a pickup point. His survival is a testament to his successful use of electric fence perimeters around his Alaskan camps! Only thing is, don’t expect John to use a trail. He is a GPS-driven cross-country adventurer! Welcome aboard, John, and Rick and Jim as well.