HISTORY AND MISSION
In 1998, Phelps Dodge needed to get permits for its three Grant County copper mines under the new state Mining Act. At that time, public involvement in community environmental issues was challenging, often unwelcome, and sometimes threatening.
Some of us were concerned that without a strong community voice, the powerful Phelps Dodge would be able to walk away from its responsibility to clean up its Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines, leaving our community with contaminated water, a degraded environment and no financial resources to clean up the mess.
A small group of citizens – Sally Smith, Harry Browne, CarolBeth Elliott and Michael Berman – stepped up to organize our community as a counter to Phelps Dodge in the permitting process. GRIP was ultimately successful in pushing the state to require $500 million in protective reclamation at the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines than the $100 million plan proposed by Phelps Dodge.
In addition to its Responsible Mining Program, GRIP advocates for sustainable management of our water resources, healthy rivers, protection of the Gila region from military training, community resilience and action on climate change.
Recognizing that human and environmental systems are inseparable and interdependent, GRIP pursues two goals: 1. To protect and nurture human communities by safeguarding the natural resources that sustain us all; 2. To safeguard natural resources by facilitating informed public participation in resource use decisions.
We work in communities, in the courts, and in the state legislature to protect community health, our environment and natural resources.
GRIP COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
As an organization dedicated to promoting community health through protection of our environment and natural resources, GRIP is committed to achieving our mission in a just, equitable, fair and transparent manner. We strive to make our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion evident in our board, staff, programs and coalition work. We pledge to continue to increase access to all underserved communities in our organization and work. We commit to continuous improvement in the implementation of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in our organization and work in order to protect our environment, address the climate crisis, and create healthy communities for everyone.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Co-founder and board president, Sally has devoted her adult life to building community with those whom she lives with and protecting watersheds she lives within.
Now retired, Sally is appreciating restoring her gardens and rock terraces after years of parenting and activism.
Harry Browne – Co-founder and first executive director of GRIP, Harry is the Business Manager and one of the founders of Aldo Leopold Charter School. Harry serves as GRIP’s treasurer and secretary.
Landscape photographer Michael Berman was born in New York City, studied biology at Colorado College where he began his love and wanderings through the desert southwest. A long-time resident of Grant County, Michael is a co-founder and board member of GRIP.
David retired from the National Park Service and is a life-long supporter of conservation and progressive causes. Because every ecosystem needs a watch dog, David joined the GRIP board to ensure that southwest New Mexico’s environment is protected.
I’m retired from Chino Mine, and I joined GRIP to help the organization in their quest to keep and preserve the integrity of our environment and our essential ground water. Grant County is a special place to live and our mining communities’ residents deserve clean water and environment. Many of these residents have for many years worked hard in helping the mining companies realize vast profits. In the late 1990s, I helped organize the Save the Kneeling Nun campaign to protect this sacred site from imminent destruction due to expansion of the Chino Mine.
, Executive Director
Since 2003, Allyson has served as the executive director of the Gila Resources Information Project. She is also the director of the Gila Conservation Coalition that works to protect the free flow of the Gila River. Allyson graduated with a BA in biology from Colby College and a Master of Environmental Management in Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University School of the Environment. She has nearly 30 years of experience in environmental protection, conservation, and advocacy, including 12 years with the US Environmental Protection Agency in North Carolina and El Paso, TX. She has worked extensively with local communities in the borderlands to resolve environmental problems, including binational air quality management, mining environmental impacts, water quality and water supply concerns, and community-wide initiatives on climate change and sustainability. She has served on several local, state and federal boards including, the Good Neighbor Environmental Board that advises the President and Congress on U.S.-Mexico Border environmental and infrastructure issues.
, Project Coordinator
As the GRIP Projects Coordinator, Candice directs the Pick It Up – Toss No Mas anti-litter campaign. She also manages volun-teers for several GRIP and Gila Conser-vation Coalition programs. Candice was born and raised in Silver City and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Western New Mexico University. Candice developed professional skills in the area of law, marketing, and local gov-ernment while completing her degree. Her pursuit of creating a positive impact for her community stems from her 9 years’ experience in healthcare as an occupa-tional therapy assistant. Candice is committed to the lifelong belief that supporting policy to maintain and cultivate a healthy environment is one of the most critical issues of our time.
, Development and Communications Associate
As a Development and Communications Associate, Corina manages donor relations for GRIP and the Gila Conservation Coalition and spearheads social media and promotions for the Gila River Festival. Born and raised in the Mining District, Corina has a special connection to the Gila and the surrounding area. She went to school in Arizona and graduated with a degree in Health Sciences from Arizona State University. She hopes the work she does with GRIP will encourage local representation from Hispanics and those from the Mining District in matters of conservation.
, GIS Specialist
A professional botanist and plant ecologist for over twenty-five years, Scott has surveyed vegetation across large, wild landscapes and has constructed ecological maps using a combination of techniques including GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software, remote sensing (air photo interpretation), and field investigation. As a GIS specialist for GRIP, Scott is providing GIS mapping and conducting biological surveys for GRIP’s Silver City Watershed restoration work. He is also creating interactive, online maps where local citizens can monitor sensitive environmental sites and record their observations in real time. Such mapping applications can potentially coordinate the activities of several volunteer, citizen-scientists, in efforts to protect our environment.
, Silver City Watershed Keepers Project Coordinator
As the Silver City Watershed Keepers Project Coordinator, Beth aims to connect the community of Silver City with its watershed through working with volunteers on water quality sampling and educational programs in classrooms and out in the field, while conserving and preserving our precious natural resource – water. Beth has a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State University and an MS in Teaching and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming. She has completed environmental assessment studies, including breeding birds, raptors, and rare plants for Western Ecosystems Technology, Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and Point Reyes Bird Observatory. She has also designed, developed, and implemented natural science curricula for elementary, middle, and high school students, both outdoors and through outreach programs. She has created water teaching toolboxes, organized the Wyoming State Science Fair, and taught life science to elementary education pre-service teachers. She also teaches yoga and has dabbled in organic farming and home health care. She moved to Silver City in 2021 and enjoys trail running, hiking, and the great outdoors.