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 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#

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. *#

Andy Riter, Program Coordinator

Andy  Riter

Over an earlier career as an Army Officer stationed around the world, Andy often wondered who the dedicated people were who built and sustained the trails and protected the natural areas that he enjoyed at altitude and beneath the waves. Here at RMFI and amongst its volunteers, he's found some of the most energetic of them. Andy grew up in the northeast, has Bachelors and advanced degrees in the aerospace field and looks forward to the energy that volunteers bring to project sites. He can often be found hiking, backpacking or fishing in the Colorado backcountry and has been involved with RMFI since 2012. He is a volunteer wildland firefighter, a certified wilderness first responder, and is certified in S212 wildland chainsaws. Email: [email protected], Telephone: 719.471.7736, ext. 2#

 

Kelly Kaufmann, Senior Field Coordinator

Kelly Kaufmann

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Kelly was ready to leave the rolling hills behind and set out for the mountains. After receiving her BA in Sociology at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, she packed up and headed to live in Nevada for a year working for the Nevada Conservation Corps. Through NCC Kelly gained extensive trail building and restoration skills and techniques. She continued her work in conservation and brought her skills to AmeriCorps St. Louis’s Emergency Response Team. As a part of ERT, Kelly learned chainsaw and wildland firefighting and was deployed on disaster response where she got her first glimpse at volunteer coordination. She is excited to continue her work in conservation with RMFI and pursue her passion for the outdoors.

Mark Tatro, Field Coordinator

Mark Tatro

Growing up in Monument, Colorado, Mark gained an appreciation for the outdoors while traipsing all throughout the Rampart Range. He discovered his passion for working with volunteers while helping rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Upon returning home he immediately signed up for a yearlong Americorps program tutoring and mentoring underprivileged students in the Philadelphia Public School District and loved it so much he stayed on for a second year. Recently Mark obtained two associates degrees from Pikes Peak Community College, one in Natural Resources and the other in Outdoor Leadership, and is continuing his education at CSU-Pueblo in pursuit of a Bachelors in Recreation Management. He is excited to be back and looks forward to continue stewarding the land with RMFI.

Donnie Ferns, Field Instructor

Donnie Ferns

Donnie was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and grew up across the street from Mill Creek Park where his appreciation of nature began at a young age. After obtaining his Bachelors degree in Geography from Youngstown State University he then headed out west. Although he's from a state that is not exactly known for it's outdoor beauty and accessibility, he has totally embraced and adapted to the ruggedness of the Rocky Mountains. Donnie recently obtained his Wilderness First Responder certification and looks forward to working with RMFI and learning more about trail reclamation and restoring natural habitats.

Alex Hladkyj, Field Instructor

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.

Kyle Anderson, Field Instructor

Kyle Anderson

Kyle, a native to Monument, Colorado, received his BA in Political Science from Southwestern University in Texas. After graduating in May 2017, Kyle heeded RMFI’s call for wilderness and public land conservation, joining the TOPS Crew. As an alumni to RMFI’s Earth Corps program, Kyle’s desire to demonstrate his love for the natural world has motivated him to pursue an environmental law degree in the coming years. Throughout his environmental explorations, Kyle has engaged in building sustainable trails in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. He is eager to continue in field conservation and to protect our public lands from degradation.

Jaz Odhner, High Alpine Field Instructor

Jaz Odhner

Growing up in Moose Pass, Alaska Jaz developed a love for the outdoors and respect for nature.  After leaving home in 2013, he moved to Gunnison, Colorado where he attended Western State Colorado University. Here he received a double major in Economics and Environment and Sustainability. Each summer he retuned to Alaska to work at Kenai Fjords National Park to work on a Park Service trail crew. Here he learned the importance of trail building and restoration work. After four summers with the Park Service it was time for something new. He has since been hired by RMFI and will soon be working on the Kit Carson project. Jaz is excited about this great opportunity and looks forward to this coming season.

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!

Brianna Anthony, Field Instructor

Brianna Anthony

Brianna grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado which was the perfect setting to spark her love for the outdoors. She received a BS from CSU in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and has been roaming about Colorado ever since. She has explored being an environmental educator at Rocky Mountain National Park and snowboard instructing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. She enjoys live music, snowboarding, climbing, camping, slack lining, cooking, traveling and just having a darn good time whenever and wherever.

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.

Carter Eng, Field Instructor

Carter Eng

Carter grew up just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He spent his childhood exploring the woods behind his house and paddling through the Boundary Waters during his summers. These experiences began his love for the natural environment. He is now a junior at Colorado College pursuing an Environmental Policy degree. Carter’s first exposure to RMFI was during a fieldtrip his freshman year at Colorado College. He then participated in RMFI’s Earth Corps in the summer of 2016. After a few years of use, Carter is excited to help maintain and grow the amazing trails that the Colorado Springs area has to offer.