Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center

Integrating the Arts and Natural Sciences


Willowtail alumni

Desiree Henderson

Theatre Director, Actor, Writer, and Photographer
2021 Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation Scholarship

Desiree Henderson began performing as a dancer at age 3.  She studied ballet and lyric dance for 12 years and then shifted focus to directing and writing and performing for the theatre. She has focused on creating work in many different processes, whether it be script-based or starting from a movement or choreography idea, or a visual image.  She often incorporates photography, illustration, or video in her performances.  She has written and directed productions, as well as designed set and video projections for numerous projects, primarily in Santa Fe and southwest Colorado.  

She is currently creating a musical performance with jazz musician and composer Delbert Anderson and continuing studies in filmmaking and directing.

From the photographic series “Window Story”

Barbara Grist

Barbara Grist
Self Funded Residencies

“The experience of being at Willowtail  is not easy to put into words, it is something you need to feel. My month-long artist residency at Willowtail is just what I needed to feed my artistic soul. Time to be awakened each morning by the light coming into my bedroom window and then have the time to watch it’s rays fall on objects in it’s path until dark. My senses had time to open up and soak in all the variety of things that create an experience. Willowtail Springs is a perfect place to let the muse back into an artist’s life in a peaceful, beautiful and comfortable setting.”

Barbara Grist Contact Info


Margy Dudley

Margy Dudley
2012, 2016 Self Funded Residencies

“This is a place that is timeless. The only voice you hear is the stillness and quiet, the present. Inspired by the wilderness and the creatures that inhabit it, the sounds of the breeze and the view of the setting sun. In nature we gain deeper understanding of ourselves and our place on this earth. This knowing comes from the land, is apparent to almost anyone who arrives. It’s immediate and almost magical. Only poetry can best describe what is felt in this place. To some it may feel sacred, to others it’s a connection lost. There is a growing list of retreats and residencies available in this graceful setting”

During her time at Willowtail Margy wrote, photographed and later produced a hard copy book, “A Willowtail Year” with her gorgeous photos of Willowtail and some of Peggy’s poems which reflect the land and place of Willowtail.

Margy Dudley Contact Info


Eirene Hamilton

Eirene Hamilton

2021 Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation Scholarship

Eirene Hamilton from Bluff, Utah had a one-week long residency at Willowtail.  She is a writer, ethnobotanist, environmental activist and language educator. During her stay, she read several poems for the staff and visiting guests. Her performance was very moving, thought provoking and beautiful. Some of the gathering felt it a powerful call to action coming from a very deep and legitimate place of anguish for her people.

Maureen May

Visual and Performance Artist Maureen May

Durango visual and performance artist Maureen May completed her extremely productive one-week residency.  Her printing focused on 2020 issues from “2020 Vision” to “Murder Hornet a.k.a. Super Spreader”, animations, and more.

My Willowtail experience was exceptional. I was in charge of how I use my time in any way, whether it was actually creating, ruminating on ideas or hanging out in nature.
Willowtail allowed me to focus on my work with very little distraction or restriction.

It was wonderful to concentrate on one aspect of my work, which is political. Although I do not solely create political pieces, it is currently a very important part of my internal and external life and place in these most odd and challenging times.

Willowtail holds the space for its residents with its peacefulness and inspiration. It also offers the immense gift of time to devote to creative work more fully.
I would love to have another longer residency of at least two weeks to develop and advance another exploration at Willowtail.

Maureen May Contact Info


Sonja Horoshko & Renee Podunovich

Visual Artist Sonja Horoshko & Poet Renee Podunovich Collaborative Residencies

“Unlike other residencies, Willowtail is not about a place-name recognition, or personal Cloy résumé. It is about sharing the aesthetically abundant and rich life of Peggy and Lee.They generously hold the deep, vast, warm and wide open space and time for those most fortunate to work within their land and life-setting. Thank you so very much for this gift.

My own work needed a private boost of professionalism in a trusted space where I didn’t have to explain and justify, over and over again, the worth of my work.

Willowtail Springs, the place, was patient with us. Its beauty and strength lingered beside us, just beyond our peripheral vision, just beyond our tasks-at-hand.  The studio environment swelled the impact of the generosity we received.  We were struck by the gentility of the internal heart-value which was organized around our work for us. Thank you for that, as well.”

Visual Artist Sonja Horoshko

Poet Renee Podunovich

Lisa C Taylor

Lisa C Taylor
Short Story Writer
2019 Willowtail Scholarship

“I was lucky enough to be offered an artist residency at Willowtail Springs Bungalow for this gorgeous week in June. I’m currently working on a proposal for a novel and short stories. My daughter (a poet) shared the space with me.
Willowtail Springs is in a unique setting. There are views of the mountains and a pond where you can see (and hear) coots, and a variety of birds. I’ve been to other residencies but never one in the mountains. The cool mountain air and the abundance of wildlife was unique. I really appreciated the nature walk we did with Lee, availing ourselves of his vast knowledge of the flora and fauna in Willowtail.”

Leslie Lloyd

Leslie Lloyd
2019 Residency

“Willowtail is a special and important place for many reasons. Not only does the environment sustain the artist’s soul, the physical place is conducive to deep relaxation and the feeling of being able to “spread out” psychologically. There is a sense of privacy and respect at Willowtail, which is so important in nurturing the creative process of an artist”


Vanessa Blakeslee

Vanessa Blakeslee
2019 Willowtail Scholarship

Vanessa’s latest published novel, “Perfect Conditions” has won multiple awards; Indie Excellence Book Award for Short Story Collections, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and Foreword Review Indies Gold. You can purchase all three of her published books from Curbsidesplendor.com or Amazon.com

“As a writer, I often seek out residencies that are near to or surrounded by wilderness, having found the solitude and natural environs allow me to reach deeper contemplation and creative breakthroughs in my work. The unique location of Willowtail Springs in southwest Colorado spurred me to consider the impact of water in my current novel — whether too much, or not enough, water is destined to play a vital role in our lives moving forward in the 21st century. Also, the residency’s proximity to Mesa Verde National Park proved a mysterious presence and inspiration — what better place to speculate upon the path of our Industrial Civilization, than so near what’s left of those complex societies that have come before?”

Vanessa Blakeslee Contact info