Staff

Jennifer Peterson, Ph.D., Executive Director

Jennifer  Peterson, Ph.D.

Jennifer joined the RMFI team in September 2014 after spending the last several years working for the Extension Service at Texas A&M University where she coordinated two statewide educational programs designed to educate citizens about the importance of conserving and protecting natural resources. She received her BS from Texas A&M University in Rangeland Ecology and Management, an MS from the University of Idaho in Rangeland Ecology and Management, and graduated in August 2014 with a PhD from Texas A&M University where she investigated factors influencing landowner decisions to adopt conservation practices. Jennifer also obtained a professional graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. She brings extensive experience in education, stewardship, research, stakeholder engagement, and watershed restoration. In 2015, Jennifer was awarded the Mayor's Young Leader Award in the Future Industries category.
Email: [email protected], Telephone: 719.471.7736, ext 1#

Joe Lavorini, Program Director

Joe Lavorini

Hailing from Western Pennsylvania, Joe moved to Colorado in 2005 to pursue his interest of the natural world. Joe graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies with a focus on Sustainable Development. Prior to working for RMFI, Joe served as Director of the Colorado Springs Conservation Corps working on energy efficiency projects in the Pikes Peak Region. When he's not daydreaming about his next international trip, Joe can often be found pursuing any of his favorite recreational activities including fly fishing, teaching yoga, and making turns. Joe is a NOLS-Alaska alum, Leadership Pikes Peak graduate, and certified Wilderness EMT. Joe has recently earned recognition as a Rising Star by the Colorado Springs Business Journal. Joe has been involved with RMFI since 2008.
Email: [email protected], Telephone: 719.471.7736, ext. 3#

Molly Mazel, Volunteer and Partnership Coordinator

Molly Mazel

Molly, a Colorado Springs native, received her BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Upon graduating, she began working as a Trip Leader and Program Director of international youth service trips with Global Works Travel. Over three summers, she and her young crews worked on a variety of ecological and community-focused projects in both Costa Rica and Argentina, mixed in with some requisite adventure travel. Additionally, prior to joining the RMFI staff, Molly served as Denver Local Manager for the Chill Foundation, a non-profit youth development organization which takes at-risk youth out of the city and into the mountains for life-changing outdoor recreational experiences. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Molly enjoys trail running, hiking, climbing, biking, skiing, and snowboarding. She joined the RMFI team in 2014.
Email: [email protected], Telephone: 719.471.7736, ext. 4#

Jay Minton, Program Manager

Jay Minton

Growing up in Oklahoma, Jay spent a lot of his time outdoors, but didn't get a first-hand glimpse of the mountains until his teenage years. He immediately fell in love with the scenic vistas and challenging environments that he found in the southwest and knew it was where he was meant to be. Jay developed a healthy respect for rocks while earning his BS in Environmental Geology at the University of Oklahoma. He developed an equally healthy respect for rock-walls during his seven seasons working within the Philmont Conservation Department in New Mexico. During that time, Jay was able to gain experience in all aspects of trail work, as well as environmental education and restoration work. Jay joined the RMFI team in January of 2018 and is excited to be a part of an organization that has such a strong positive impact on the members of the community and the public open spaces they enjoy. Jay is an Eagle Scout, certified Emergency Medical Technician, and Wilderness First Responder. Email: [email protected], Telephone: 719-471-7736 ext. 2#

Liz Nichol, Office Manager

Liz Nichol

Liz received her BA at McGill University, and put in two years at York University in a Master in Environmental Studies program. She was an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School and Peak Performance, guided for Adventure Specialists, was the bookkeeper for Collins & McConnel law firm and owned and managed Ceres’ Harvest Natural Foods. She founded the Everest Environmental Project to clean up climbers’ camps on Mount Everest, after being a member of the 1987 American Everest North Face Expedition; created the Hummingbird Garden at Starsmore Discovery Center, and was treasurer of the board of the Friends of Cheyenne Canon. Liz joined RMFI’s staff in 2003.
Email: [email protected], Telephone: 719.471.7736, ext. *#

Alex Hladkyj, Field Coordinator

Alex Hladkyj

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and Colorado Springs native, Alex has developed a deep appreciation for the beauty emanating from the Southern Rockies. When the opportunity arose to work for RMFI, he knew it was time to turn that appreciation into action. Alex earned his BA in Communication with an emphasis in Leadership Studies at the University of Colorado Springs – Colorado.  He was the top graduate of those in the leadership track and received highest distinction in UCCS’ Communication Honors program. Through his sustainable development minor and an internship with CoPIRG Energy Service Corps., he cultivated a strong interest in conservation, stewardship, and helping others connect with the natural world. Post-graduation he foraged his skills as a salesman at Time Warner Cable, but after a year decided to seek a balance between a career in sales and environmental work.  Around this time Alex took a position with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. There he advanced BMP implementation for Denver Water’s Source Water Protection Plan. Recently, Alex obtained his WFA certification from NOLS and is currently working on a startup business in the UAS industry. You can usually find him exploring the vertical world with his climbing buddies, camping, shredding the slopes, or hiking with the family dog.

Chris Ullom, Field Instructor

Chris Ullom

Growing up in Northern Colorado, Chris has always had a passion for the outdoors. In college he ran track and cross country. After graduating from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies, he joined Mile High Youth Corps for two seasons. Here he earned his equivalence S-212 and that summer his passion for the environment only intensified. During the winter months to follow Chris ventured to Northern Colorado to work in the Oil and Gas industry. Over this period of time he realized how profound his passion for conservation stewardship was. He made the decision to get back into the work he loves. He now has his Wilderness First Responder, and after a long off season Chris is excited to get his hands dirty again.

Hannah Millsap, Field Instructor

Hannah Millsap

Hannah grew up with her hands in the dirt in beautiful Black Forest, Colorado and attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where she received a BA in philosophy with a minor in sustainable development. She knew she belonged at RMFI after the first day of her internship in the still-ashen Black Forest burn scar where she had the opportunity to help heal and restore her childhood neighborhood alongside individuals who shared her affinity for the natural world. Hannah loves her cats, her plants, and stimulating philosophical banter. She hopes to inspire members of her community to embrace principles of stewardship and ecological harmony through her position with RMFI!

Jamie Goins, Field Instructor

Jamie Goins

Jamie grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado and rarely spent any time indoors. She received a BS degree from Gonzaga University in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. She is a lover of heights, especially above fourteen thousand feet, and always willing to explore the natural world. Her first experience of RMFI’s work was through the Earth Corps program and she wanted to continue as a steward for the environment in her home city. She is WFA certified and loves travelling, hiking, aerial silks, coffee and exploring new beautiful trails.

Jarrod Gaut, Field Instructor

Jarrod Gaut

Although he was born upon the tide in Southern California, Jarrod found his calling deep in the Sierra Nevadas. Led there every year since his 11th birthday by his grandfather and his father, Jarrod very quickly learned that trails were not magical entities that sprung up without human effort. "Stop cutting the switchbacks, you ratfink!" his grandfather would yell, and with that came the teaching that trails, and trail-building, is immensely involved and immensely important. Although he is relatively new to the building of trails, Jarrod is proud to be creating ways to introduce more people to the majesty of our natural spaces.

Siena Mann, Field Instructor

Siena Mann

Growing up in Colorado, Siena was lucky to spend a lot of time in the outdoors as a child. In high school she worked for two seasons at the Boulder County Youth Corps and later returned as a leader for two seasons on trail maintenance and forestry crews. She studied Spanish literature and environmental studies at Haverford College, where, in addition to leading outdoor trips for college students she co-founded the college farm. Siena has lived internationally in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Spain, is a fluent Spanish speaker and is passionate about Latin American politics and immigrant justice issues. Siena has long been committed to environmental stewardship and is looking forward to joining the RMFI team!