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#

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 & McConnell 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, Program Manager

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 WFR 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.

Molly Mazel, CVA, Volunteer & Partnership Coordinator

Molly Mazel, CVA

Molly is a Colorado Springs native and lifelong Colorado resident. She received her BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009 and has been working in public stewardship, community engagement, and the non-profit sector ever since. She has worked as a Trip Leader and Program Director of international youth service trips in Costa Rica and Argentina where she and her young crews worked on a variety of ecological and community-focused projects, while mixing in some requisite adventure travel. She additionally worked for several years as Denver Local Manager for the Chill Foundation, a non-profit youth development organization providing outdoor recreational experiences to underserved youth. Molly joined the RMFI staff in 2014 and, in 2018, earned her CVA, an internationally recognized Certification in Volunteer Administration. A lifelong outdoor kid, Molly enjoys trail running, hiking, climbing, biking, skiing, and snowboarding, and can often be found on our local trails with her canine life mate, Lucky Dog.
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#

Jamie Goins, High Alpine 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, High Alpine 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.

Jacob Twersky, Field Instructor

Jacob Twersky

Jacob became enthralled with the natural world in his childhood backyard in Memphis, Tennessee while observing ladybug larvae as they transformed. This love grew and brought him out to the mountains where he studied ecology at Colorado College here in Colorado Springs. Since graduating in 2015, he’s helped out with wildfire research, studied permaculture, traveled to the jungles of South America, taught at a high school and herded cattle in California. A deep appreciation for the natural world and understanding of ecological systems has led him into work that focuses on sustainable interactions between humans and nature. You may find him with his face to the ground searching for crystals or his eyes to his binoculars watching the birds.

Josh Cohn, Field Instructor

Josh Cohn

Growing up in Colorado Springs, Josh explored the trails throughout the Pikes Peak region. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Kansas, Josh realized that he needed to return to the mountains. Josh worked as a naturalist for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) as well as a ranger for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails in Aspen, Colorado. Josh is WFR certified and is also a NOLS-Alaska alum. Josh has also traveled extensively around the world, most recently in Southeast Asia. You can find Josh mountain biking, trail running, hiking, or watching KU basketball. Josh is excited to join the RMFI team and help maintain some of the places he has loved his whole life.

Lindsay Williams, Field Instructor

Lindsay Williams

Lindsay was born in Central Illinois but grew up here in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, receiving a BS degree in Natural Resource Management with a Minor in Rangeland Ecology. After graduating Lindsay spent a season working at Castlewood Canyon State Park as an Interpretive Ranger leading school groups on hikes around the park. Lindsay is WFR certified and would like to further her training to become a Wilderness EMT. She loves to get out and hike anywhere she can, hoping to find her next favorite trail. She looks forward to learning new restoration techniques and furthering her passion for stewardship.

Jeronimo Sexton, Field Instructor

Jeronimo Sexton

Jeronimo was born in Mexico City, but grew up in Los Angeles. Exploring the arid chaparral scrublands of California’s Los Padres National Forest as a youngster, and getting lost in volcanic craters near Mexico City on visits to his grandmothers’ home instilled a strong desire to immerse himself in the natural world, and eventually come to prefer the ground and a pad to a bed. It only made sense to return to his high altitude roots (Mexico City sits at 7,382ft) by way of attending Colorado College, where he obtained a degree in Southwest Studies. Travel by road or foot, and ideally through rural areas of the Americas, is his preferred mode of existence. He found his passion for service based work in teaching music, but only recently discovered his love for trail building and environmental stewardship, during a season as a member of the Montana Conservation Corps in 2017. His trail crew built a quarter-mile section of one of the few ADA accessible trails in Glacier National Park. He is looking forward to continue finding meaning and purpose in the rigor and beauty of environmental stewardship, and helping create the potential for others to do the same.

Maddie Peddy, Field Instructor

Maddie Peddy

Maddie is a desert enthusiast originating from Tucson, AZ. When it wasn’t one million degrees in Tucson, Maddie took every opportunity with her family and friends to be outside. A love of the outdoors was instilled in Maddie as a young girl, which continued to grow throughout her life. Through her passion in outdoor recreation, she developed a love for environmental sustainability and stewardship. In college, she studied Outdoor Education and Leadership and now uses her knowledge from her degree to go backpacking, climbing, hiking, and snowboarding as often as possible. Maddie is a certified Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician.