Friends of Pando Logo

Friends of Pando

A friend of Pando is a friend of mine...

Mission  |  Values  |  Leadership

Our Mission

Friends of Pando is dedicated to educating the public, supporting research and inspiring stewardship of Pando, the world’s largest tree.

Our Vision

We envision a future where Pando is understood,  documented,  and cared for by community stewards so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.


Our Values

friends of pando volunteer have fun together


Just as each of the 47,000 branches of Pando are unique expressions of the larger tree, we recognize each person brings unique talents, insights, and skills. We appreciate and respect all who are inspired by the tree and declare “A friend of Pando, is a friend of mine.”


Just as Pando is one tree that spreads it roots widely, Friends of Pando works to foster collaboration working with all who demonstrate a sincere commitment to a future where Pando is understood and thrives.

Gate Building Crew
Image of researcher and citizen scientist studyign trees

Inspired Stewardship

Just as the branches of Pando reach in all directions as it seeks the light, Friends of Pando seeks to creatively advance our vision and inspire stewardship.

Long-term Thinking

As the Pando represents thousands of years of sustained growth, Friends of Pando supports and promotes long-term thinking to advance understanding and inspire stewardship.

Pando Sign on highway 25 in Utah
citizen scientist training

A Learning Organization 

Just as the branches of Pando fall off as the tree finds better paths to light, Friends of Pando works to advance our vision through open communication relying on data, insight and feedback to advance our growth.

Creative Partnerships to Promote Prosperity

Working with our partners, sponsors and community members, Friends of Pando is dedicated to developing creative approaches to long term conservation. From work opportunities for students, to marginalized populations to

image of different colored pando leaves arranged in a triangle

Our Leadership

Dave Ogden, President

Dave Ogden, President

Former Mayor and longtime resident of Richfield, Utah, Dave Ogden has recently retired from public service.  He first met with Lance Oditt, Friends of Pando’s Executive Director  in 2020 to talk about the Pando tree and has been instrumental in helping get Friends of Pando up and running. He has graciously agreed to serve as the first Board President for Friends of Pando in addition to his work as a local historian, Kids for Pando and Richfield Visitor Center.

lance oditt, executive director

Lance Oditt
Executive Director

Friends of Pando founder and Executive Director Lance Oditt first fell in love with trees in rural Ohio where he used to climb a hickory tree and read books. He first experienced Pando in 2017, and In 2019, began to organize calls with people who shared his passion for the tree to gather ideas to ensure this natural wonder can be enjoyed for generations to come. Lance brings 5 years experience working on Pando doing everything from fence building to developing partnerships and programs that employ local students and Pando lovers. Lance brings background in public service (Americorps) as well as experience leading large scale projects in the high tech sector (Microsoft, State of Texas) to the role working to blend art and science to inspire stewardship and long term thinking.

Ryan Thalman, Treasurer

Ryan Thalman, Treasurer

Our Treasurer Ryan Thalman is an Associate Professor at Snow College in Richfield, Utah where he teaches Chemistry, Geographic Information Systems and, Natural Resources. In 2021, Ryan served as the Chief Science Advisor on the Pando Photographic Survey. Ryan enjoys teaching field-based curriculum which lets students get practical experiences in a variety of Natural Resource careers like those Friends of Pando offers in forestry, land management and research. In addition to his board work and his teaching work, he is a father of four and his research in atmospheric chemistry has earned him grants from National Science Foundation.

Hope Smith, Secretary

Hope Smith

Our board Secretary, Hope Smith, is a certified Human Resources professional with over 10 years background in executive non-profit management. Hope was first captivated by Pando and in 2021, she provided logistics and support for the team taking part herself in photography work while also cooking for a team of 20 each day. Now in her second year with Friends of Pando, Hope’s extensive experience in the nonprofit leadership, HR and, as a small business owner provided rare and invaluable insights to the Friends of Pando board.

April Anderton, Community Liason

April Anderton
Community Liaison

Our first Community Liasion, April Anderton was one of the first people to volunteer with Friends of Pando. April is an Assistant Professor at Snow College where she teaches in the Nursing program and have been a Registered Nurse for over 25 years. As a longtime resident of the Richfield community, she has a long personal history at Fishlake enjoying all that the outdoors has to offer includign hunting, fishing, hiking and photography. As Community Liasion, April has been working to educate the three counties area about Pando, works on local event planning and helps with research and maintenance in the tree.

Our History

Friends of Pando was founded in 2019 by a group of researchers, artists, land managers, educators and community leaders who gathered together to share their passion for the tree and share ideas :

  • Educate the public
  • Promote awareness about Pando
  • Document the tree
  • Support research
  • Provide hands-on experiences with the tree
  • Inspire stewardship through opportunities in field work, research and tell the story of the land
Those early gatherings informed our development strategy and inspired a sense of shared responsibility that drives our work today. 
Yellow and red aspen leaf on gray lichen

© 2022  | Design : Hope Smith  &  Lance Oditt