YCC Commission and Public Meetings

The YCC is governed by a nine member commission. Five commissioners are appointed by the Governor and four are state agency designees. The Commission meets quarterly or as needed. All meetings conform to the Open Meetings Act.

Commissioners, 2020

Public Members appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

Dr. LoucksDr. Melissa Loucks, Chair is an Associate Professor of English at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. In addition to chairing the Youth Conservation Corps Commission, Dr. Loucks serves on the Board of Trustees for Roswell Public Library, and volunteers with a number of community-based organizations in Chaves County. Dr. Loucks is deeply invested in youth development programming that promotes a well-educated, highly-skilled, and socially- and environmentally-conscious populace for New Mexico’s future.

Alicia LittlebearAlicia Littlebear is from Tamaya (Santa Ana Pueblo), Mvskoke Creek, Absentee Shawnee, and Euchee Nations. She has resided in New Mexico her whole life. She is currently employed with Wings of America (Wings) as the Program Coordinator. Wings uses running as a catalyst to empower Native American youth to become the next leaders, thinkers and teachers. Alicia believes we can connect back to the land by running, and is an avid runner herself. She is thankful for the work that she gets to do everyday.

Anthony MarquezAnthony Marquez is a native New Mexican who grew up surrounded by the mountains of Chama, NM. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a recent retiree from the New Mexico State Parks Division. As the Superintendent of Heron and El Vado State Parks, he oversaw Boating & Law Enforcement, Operations & Maintenance, Volunteers, and Educational Interpretative Programs. In addition, he oversaw the multi-phase expansion of the recreational trail system at Heron Lake. 

Anthony is an advocate for the youth in his community and throughout New Mexico. He believes it is important that we recognize that today's youth in the very near future will be assuming many of our communities' leadership roles. We must support them with their contributions today, and most importantly in their potential for tomorrow.

Getchell-StevensonAmanda Getchell Stevenson is a New Mexico native, who graduated from the New Mexico State University Journalism and Communications Department. She has worked as a Communications Specialist for a Seattle-based communications firm, Strategies 360, in Albuquerque, NM; as a Marketing Assistant with one of the largest tech companies in New Mexico, Lavu Inc.; and most recently as a Marketing Manager with the Canadian-based company, iAnthus Capital Management. Amanda owns and runs her own marketing consulting group, Middle Manda. She is an expert on social media strategy, compliance, and community management for various industries.

Marlene YanezMarlene Yanez is a Fronteriza, a woman from the border, and good food advocate who lives in Sunland Park, NM. She has worked in the non-profit sector for over a decade and currently works at La Semilla Food Center as a Program Director for the Community Education Program. Her work endeavors to create innovative and culturally inclusive food justice programs for youth and adults in the Paso del Region in Dona Ana County and El Paso, TX.


State Agency Members

Children, Youth and Families Department
Brian Blalock, Cabinet Secretary

Cassie RuizCassie Ruiz, Designee, has worked with Children, Youth and Families Department for seven years, both with Protective Services and Juvenile Justice. She is currently a Transition Services Coordinator with Juvenile Justice and is based in Carlsbad. She has worked with youth in various capacities the majority of her adulthood. She practices and teaches yoga and runs, hikes, and paddle boards all over New Mexico.

Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department
Sarah Cottrell Propst, Cabinet Secretary

Andrew FredericAndrew Frederick, Designee, is the Resource Management Bureau Chief for New Mexico State Forestry where he is responsible for the Cooperative Forestry programs and Hazardous Fuels Reduction programs. These programs provide technical assistance to private forest landowners and allows State Forestry to participate with cooperators and collaboratives interested in natural resource management and watershed protection. He has previously held positions as the State Timber Management Officer in Santa Fe and Staff Forester and Timber Program Manager for the Chama and Capitan Districts of NM Forestry Division, respectively. He is the YCC’s Vice-Chair and expert on forest practices for the Commission. Andrew is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry and currently lives in Rio Rancho, NM with his family.

Public Education Department
Ryan Stewart, Cabinet Secretary

Zach ChavezMartin "Zach" Chavez, Designee, is New Mexico Public Education Department's Civic and Community Engagement Coordinator. A native of New Mexico, Zach grew up in Cuba, New Mexico. After graduating from Cuba High School in 2006, he attended the University of New Mexico, graduating in 2011 with a B.S. in Education and a B.A. in Spanish. He then taught science at the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Leadership charter high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he excelled as the Dean of Student Support. In 2015, Zach moved to northern New Mexico where he taught first grade at Chama Elementary, and later mid- and high school Science at Escalante High School. In 2017, he moved to Santa Fe with his wife and daughter and began work at the Public Education Department in 2018 following the birth of his son.

State Land Office
Stephanie Garcia Richard, State Land Commissioner

Dana Vackar-StrangDana Vackar-Strang, Designee, is the Director of the Surface Resources Division at the New Mexico State Land Office. Dana has a B.A. in Political Science from Colorado College and an M.A. from the University of New Mexico in Parks, Recreation and Environmental Education. Dana oversees the Surface Resources Division which manages watershed health, site remediation, illegal dumping, biological and cultural resources, investigations and compliance across 9 million acres of state trust land. The Division also manages over 3,500 active agricultural leases.

Dana was Director of Education for Audubon New Mexico and the Randall Davey Audubon Center for six years. She is a former President and board member of the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico, a former Chair of the Youth Conservation Corps Commission, and is the statewide coordinator and teacher trainer for the national Leopold Education Project (LEP). Dana is a mother and wife, and enjoys horses, birding, hiking, and mountain biking.


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