Our Staff

anna schrenkAnna Schrenk: Program Director


(951) 236-6652

Anna started as the Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition (VWRC) Program Coordinator in February 2012. She comes to us with over fifteen years of experience working in the vegetation management field for the National Park Service and implementing Burned Area Emergency Response plans for several agencies within the Department of the Interior. In 1997 Anna received a degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Plant Ecology from Prescott College.  Anna is happy to be working with such a talented team of dedicated individuals.

Laura Jones: Director, Community Outreach & Development


(928) 451-6860

Laura Jones joined us with 20+ years of experience in the fields of non-profit, human resources and volunteer management. She has lived in Clarkdale for the since 2005 where she has become an active member of the community through volunteer work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Verde Valley Land Preservation (VVLP) and Friends of  Verde River Greenway (FVRG). Laura has a Masters of Education (MSEd) in Counseling and a Non-Profit Management Certificate from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. Laura loves living the small town life in her historic Clarkdale bungalow and floating the Verde River and Oak Creek.

Ben photo
Ben Kowalewski: VWRC Field Supervisor


Ben is a recent graduate of Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA and earned a degree in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies. During his time in college, he spent a summer in Colorado with the Southwest Conservation Corps.  After school, he joined Arizona Conservation Corps in Flagstaff, working with the trail crew in Sedona.  After that, he joined AZCC’s Mentor Development Program and became a Youth Conservation Corps crew leader on the North Kaibab National Forest. After the summer, he became a crew leader on one of the restoration crews in the Verde Valley.

melissaMelissa Robinson: One for the Verde Coordinator



(928) 242-7463

Melissa Robinson is our new Program Coordinator for One for the Verde. She is  an Arizona native, who was raised in the Prescott area, and the White Mountains (Show Low), as well as has spent the past  four years in Flagstaff. Melissa and her family have been drawn to the Verde Valley area for several years, before moving to Cottonwood in April 2016. Melissa and her family enjoy the abundant recreation the Verde Valley has to offer, and appreciate all that the water and the climate  here has to offer. She is passionate about our environment and preserving the Verde River Watershed and also brings sales and marketing experience to this position. Melissa has spent the past 2 years as the Leasing Manager of Flagstaff Mall, where her focus was bringing the community back into the Shopping Center, and was very successful in building key relationships with tenants for the improvement of business. Melissa is an Ambassador of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce and loves to be involved in the community she lives in. She is a personable addition to One for the Verde and will tirelessly continue to move the program forward.

Emilyemily Garding:  GIS Specialist


Over the last decade, Emily has been involved in various conservation GIS projects across the western US. Her experience ranges from tracking wildlife and identifying potential wildlife corridors to assisting with recreation, land use, and conservation planning, in addition to mapping invasive plant infestations. Emily is a proponent of using GIS to make the world a better place for all beings, and uses social media to connect with like-minded people. Founder of #gistribe, an online community of geo-professionals, her other interests include blogging, tweeting, and organizing online events for geo-enthusiasts. Emily is putting her skills to use helping Friends of the Verde River Greenway manage data and map invasive plant treatments to help preserve and restore the Verde’s unique riparian ecosystem.