Featured Speaker Jayne Belnap
Dr. Jayne Belnap has been a scientist with the Dept. of the Interior since 1987, and is currently with the US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division in Moab, UT. Dr. Belnap's commitment to the outdoors and the environment is tied deeply to Alta, where she started skiing on the bunny hill in 1965 at the age of four.Dr. Belnap progressed to the big hill soon thereafter, and eventually started ski racing at Alta at the age of 10. After an initial stint at college, Dr. Belnap migrated back to Alta in 1970, where she worked until the mid-1970's, initially at the Shallow Shaft and later, at the Alta Lodge.
After her time in Alta, Dr. Belnap received two undergraduate degrees (Biology & Natural History) from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1980 (highest honors), a Master's of Science (Ecology) from Stanford University in 1983; and a PhD (Botany and Range, class valedictorian) from Brigham Young University in 1991. Since then, Dr. Belnap has focused on how different types of land use affect the stability and fertility of ecosystems in dryland regions, and on finding ways to use these lands in a sustainable fashion.
She has also been researching the linkage between soil organisms, soil nutrients, and the composition of desert vegetative communities, including which factors make some desert communities susceptible to invasion by exotic plants, which others remain univaded. She travels extensively throughout the US, training federal, state, and private land managers on best management practices for dryland ecosystems. The results of Dr. Belnap's research have led to major changes in the management of large tracts of these lands.
Dr. Belnap's experience has been accumulated through work in diverse locations around the world, including Central & South America, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mongolia, China, Siberia, Australia, & Iceland, where she trains & advises scientists & land managers on how to maintain soil fertility & stability in conjunction with land use. These efforts are critical to American interests, as non-sustainable use in foreign lands leads to increased dust deposition in the US, harming ecosystems and human health, as well as increased famine and political instability in the affected countries.
Dr. Belnap is the past Chair for the Soil Ecology section of the Ecological Society of America, President of the international Soil Ecology Society, & Governing Board of the Ecological Society of America. She is also an editor for the journals Ecological Applications & Ecohydrology, & participates in many other professional capacities as well.
Albion Financial Group was founded in 1982 by Toby Levitt and John Bird and has grown from its modest beginnings in the basement of the Alta Lodge. Nearly 30 years later, Albion’s heart is still in Alta but its offices are now in Sugarhouse. It has been gratifying to see one of our own recognized by some of the most respected financial publications in the country; including being ranked as one of the “Nation’s Top 100 Wealth Advisers in America” by Barron’s Magazine and Worth Magazine.
Toby Levitt, son of late Mayor Bill Levitt, conceived of Albion Financial Group as a different sort of investment firm, one that clearly and consistently put clients’ interests above those of his company. John Bird, Toby’s longtime partner at Albion, shared an interesting observation about the Mayor’s influence on what Albion has become. “In the early days of Albion, it was not unusual for Toby to disappear up the back stairs behind the Sitzmark Club to the Mayor’s rooms for advice. These were never short sessions. Sometime later Toby would emerge with a thoughtful solution to whatever the issue may have been. Bill’s ability to take complex problems, seek out and listen to disparate viewpoints and distill a straightforward, respectful and ethical resolution was one of his hallmarks. Turns out the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I see the Mayor’s legacy, through his sons’ actions, on a daily basis. It is an attitude that we work to cultivate in everyone here at Albion and clearly influences everything we do.”
Toby, John and the entire Albion team are honored to have been associated with Friends of Alta for the past thirty years and look forward to seeing Friends of Alta continue to succeed in the next thirty.
Featured Speaker Ted Wilson
Ted Wilson, a lifelong environmentalist, is currently serving as Utah Governor Gary Herbert's senior adviser on environmental issues. Professionally, Ted was elected to 3 terms as the Mayor of Salt Lake City, and from 1986 to 2003 was the Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. He currently sreves on the Board of FOA & has served as vice-chairman of the board of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
Ted was born in 1939 & enjoyed a Huck Finn sort of childhood; he could often be found skiing, hiking, & fishing in the Wasatch. In the late 1950's, he took up mountain climbing, and for the next several years, he and his Salt Lake area friends put up many climbing routes in northern Utah - including first ascents in the Little Cottonwood Canyon, which many critics argued was un-climable. In 1967, Ted & 5 fellow Jenny Lake rangers performed a daring rescue of a severaly injured climber off the north face of the Grand Teton. The men received the Medal of Valor from the US Dept. of Interior for their efforts. Ted's daughter, Jenny Wilson, is currently co-producing a documentary film based on the historic rescue, titled "North Face 1967."
Ted is married to Holly Mullen. He is the father of 7 & grandfather of 12. He enjoys road bicicling with Holly & still skis regularly at Alta and in pockets of the Wasatch Range's backcountry.