San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


SMGA 2022 Board Candidates Announced

The slate of candidates who have agreed to serve as members of the SMGA Board are Melani Howard, Aspen Navarro, Olivia Palomares, and Ben Peck. Members will have an opportunity to vote on this slate at SMGA’s annual meeting on Feb. 26 (RSVP here!). Information about each nominee follows.


2022 Board Candidates

Melani Howard recently retired as the Habitat Conservation Plan Manager for the City of San Marcos and Texas State University.  She began working for the City and University in 1996 after completing her Master’s Degree in Aquatic Ecology at Texas State University in 1998. During her career, she implemented multiple federal, state, and local programs throughout the watershed to protect endangered species habitat in the San Marcos River. The programs ranged from removing aquatic and terrestrial invasive species to community litter cleanups and restoration of degraded watersheds.

She has lived in San Marcos for over 30 years and has two children, one grandchild, two dogs, and several cats. Melani thoroughly enjoys the natural areas that were acquired by the city through various partnerships and started volunteering for trail crew duties as soon as she retired.

Born and raised in Central Texas, Aspen Navarro was pulled to the outdoors through sports at a young age and never looked back. Starting in 2012, San Marcos became her home away from home when she began her college career at Texas State University. Aspen has earned a B.S. in Geography Resource and Environmental Studies, an M.S. in Sustainability Studies, and certifications in Geographic Information Science, Water Resources Policy, and Environmental Interpretation, all from Texas State University.  In her current position at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, she serves as the Watershed Services Program Coordinator, where she oversees the Upper San Marcos River Watershed Protection Plan, the Trash Free Texas program, and the Texas Stream Team Community Science program. In her spare time, Aspen enjoys spoiling her pup, hiking, food, and traveling.

Olivia Palomares was born and raised in Paris, Texas. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the School of Healthcare Administration at Texas State University. She began her career in the nonprofit sector working with vulnerable groups, which helped her understand that effective marketing is an invaluable tool. Knowing how to get the resources you need thanks to effective communication makes a difference. Since working at nonprofits, Olivia has taken on various marketing roles at startups and enjoy the value that the role provides to emerging brands. In her free time, Olivia enjoys spending time on the trails in San Marcos or swimming in the river.
Ben Peck has been instrumental in SMGA’s fundraising efforts over the past year, helping the Board coordinate events and partnerships that raise funds to further our mission. He used to build custom bikes, is an expert welder, and is an enthusiastic member of the trail crew. He works with the SMGA trail crew as much as he can and loves the opportunity to share his excitement and respect for the outdoors.


Proposed Bylaw Changes

The Board of Directors requests approval at the annual meeting to amend the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance Bylaws as follows:

  • Section IV and Article X, Section 10.4. Change the requirement for member “address, email and/or telephone numbers” to “contact information as requested.” This will provide flexibility for the Secretary or membership manager to make changes to the membership database without requesting additional Bylaws amendments.
  • Section VI, Sections 6.4 and 6.5. Add language to clarify effective dates of Directors’ terms to the “first day of the month after election at the annual meeting” and for election by the Board to fill an unexpired term until the next annual meeting to “effective immediately.”

Other non-substantive changes to the Bylaws are clerical corrections.


Outgoing Board Members




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