Our Team

Jennifer Peterson

Executive Director

Jennifer joined the RMFI team as Executive Director in 2014 where she leads a dedicated and passionate staff united around public land stewardship and sustainable outdoor recreation. As a young girl, Jennifer fell in love with the outdoors on numerous weekend backpacking and fishing excursions with her family along the Appalachian Trail. She carried that passion into her educational pursuits where she received both a B.S. and M.S. in Rangeland Ecology & Management from Texas A&M University and the University of Idaho, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Management with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Texas A&M University. Jennifer brings nearly 15 years of experience in environmental stewardship, watershed health, public engagement, and environmental education to RMFI. She also sits on the Board of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance and was recognized by the Mayor of Colorado Springs with a Young Leader Award. Outside of the office, Jennifer enjoys any activity in the outdoors including hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, trail running, and gravel biking. 

Interests

Backpacking, camping, hiking, trail running, fly fishing, and skiing.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext 1#
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Carl Woody

Program Director

Carl comes to RMFI with a wide range of natural resource knowledge and experience. An enthusiastic environmental steward and public servant, Carl is excited to join the passionate and dedicated RMFI team. Carl served several seasons as a member of an AmeriCorps conservation corps, worked as a natural resources intern with the National Park Service in Denver, and served as a Wilderness Fellow with the US Forest Service in Lake Tahoe, California. Carl earned his master’s degree in Natural Resource Management and Policy from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in May of 2019. Carl grew up in Austin, Texas, where he enjoyed hiking around the rolling Texas Hill Country, swimming and fishing its numerous lakes, rivers, and springs. On the weekends you can find Carl playing a game of pick-up basketball, out for a bike ride, or on a stream bank struggling to untangle his fly line.

Interests

Fishing, riding bikes, and shooting hoops. 

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext 3#
Pronouns: he/him/his

Calla Balliett

Volunteer & Partnership Coordinator

Calla is originally from Metro Detroit where she spent her days dreaming of moving to Colorado. Ten years ago she made the move and has been cultivating a love for our public lands ever since. Wanting to find a way to give back, she joined the Board of Directors for Friends of Cheyenne Cañon and became a Pikes Peak Regional Certified Crew Leader where she has spent the past 3 years volunteering for our parks. When the opportunity to work for RMFI came along, Calla jumped at the chance to combine her background in the outdoor industry with her passion for our outdoor spaces. Calla fills her weekends by enjoying the local trails and her love for cooking.

Interests

Running, mountain biking, exploring new places, and spending time with her dog

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext 4#
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Alex Hladkyj

Program Manager

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. 

Interests

Climbing, camping, shredding the slopes, and hiking with the family dog.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext 5# 
Pronouns: he/him/his

Otzma-Bie Paz

Program Manager

This is Otzma's second year with RMFI but first year as program manager! She grew up in Arizona but really found her passion for the outdoors and conservation when she did an 8 month gap year program traveling and studying development around the world. From there, she moved to California and spent a year and a half with American Conservation Experience and then California State Parks Monterey District Trail Crew for almost 3 years! It was there that she honed in on her trail working passion and eventually found her way here to us at RMFI. :) If you have the chance to work with Otzma, she'll most likely chat your ear off or try really hard to make you laugh. 

Interests

Yoga, eggs, hiking, reading, cats, travel, people.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext 2#
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Lindsay Williams

Program Manager

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 has worked multiple seasons for RMFI during the summer and for the City of Colorado Springs during the winter. Lindsay is WFR certified and would like to further her training to become a Wilderness EMT.

Interests

Traveling, hiking, exploring new areas, and running Tough Mudders.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext 6#
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Bronwyn Woodward

Business Manager

Bronwyn was born in Maryland but moved many times during her childhood including a stop in Dallas, Texas where she became a life long Dallas Cowboys fan. She landed in Colorado in 1981 and loved it so much that she has stayed put. She graduated from Colorado State University in 1988 with a degree in Accounting. She has been married for 30 years and has two children. Her daughter is a preschool teacher in Denver and her son attends Northern Arizona University where he is working towards a degree in Photography. She has been the bookkeeper at Coaltrain Wine & Liquor for the past 16 years and has been a RMFI volunteer for the last 7 years. She is an avid hiker and enjoys skiing during the winter. Her other passions are baking and Christmas.

Interests

Baking, hiking, gardening, skiing, reading (especially history), and traveling.

Contact Info

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 719.471.7736, ext *#
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Elizabeth Barber

Field Coordinator

Elizabeth grew up in Colorado and has been exploring the mountains and forests since she was a child. Those early experiences instilled in Elizabeth a lifetime love of nature. As an adult, she began hiking Colorado 14ers, rock climbing, mountaineering and volunteering for trail projects. In 2020 Elizabeth graduated with a degree in Outdoor Leadership and Recreation Technology. Elizabeth also currently works as a local and back-country hiking guide for Hike For Life. Previously she worked as an Interpreter at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and Program Coordinator for the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. Elizabeth has a passion for learning and teaching. When she isn’t hiking, Elizabeth enjoys time in her art studio at Cottonwood Center for the Arts where she teaches art classes that include pine needle basketry, needlework and recycled crafts. Combining her love of history and hiking, in 2018 Elizabeth hiked Pikes Peak in moccasins and an 1850s style “Bloomer dress” to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the first recorded woman to climb Pikes Peak. Elizabeth enjoys sharing her adventures with friends and family.

Interests

Hiking, backpacking, cooking, arts and crafts, history, adventuring

Bri Herder

Field Coordinator

Born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO, Bri is a self proclaimed dirtgrub who finds endless joy in living, playing, and working in the great outdoors. If they aren’t falling off of their climbing proj or trying equally as hard not to fall off of a mountain bike, it is likely you’ll find Bri hiking some of the fine trails Colorado has to offer. Make no mistake though, Bri’s dirtgrub-ism IS backed by a reputation for their highly skilled rock work and a college degree. 

This is Bri’s second year working for RMFI and their first as a Field Coordinator. They are also a graduate from UCCS, achieving a BA in Geography and Environmental Studies in addition to a minor in sustainability. Throughout their years in college, Bri developed a deep connection to the natural world, finding themself particularly enamored with forest and alpine ecosystems. Bri participated in Earth Crops in 2020 where they fell in love with trail work and found a real sense of direction for their passion. For Bri, working for RMFI means being able to act as a steward of the earth, turning academic knowledge and technical skills into meaningful action. Rolling around in the dirt is just a bonus.

Interests

Rats (yes, rats), hiking, wrestling rocks, tree-hugging, being impressively bad at mountain biking, Beans, and craft beer snobbery

Contact Info

Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Kelly Malone

Field Coordinator

Kelly grew up playing outside whenever she could, from climbing the trees in her backyard to running wild at her family's ranch in Wyoming. The outside has always been dear to her heart and soul. She is excited to return to RMFI for her third season. Giving back to the land that gave her so much as a kid.

Interests

Walking, hiking, aerial silks, crocheting, and finding time to read in a hammock.

Sean McKenna

Field Coordinator

Having lived in Colorado his whole life, Sean grew up skiing and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. With three years’ experience working as a mountain bike guide, Sean enjoys taking groups on mountainous adventures and educating people about the Front Range. After spending a season working with Mile High Youth Corps building, maintaining and restoring trails along the southern Front Range, Sean discovered his passion for stewardship and conservation. He is thrilled to be a part of the RMFI team and looks forward to being a steward of our public lands!

Interests

Mountain Biking, skiing, climbing and maxing out the stoke meter.

Contact Info

Pronouns: he/him/his

Leslie Andros

Field Instructor

Leslie grew up in sunny Southern California playing beach volleyball and scuba diving. She spent an extensive portion of her teenage years on road trips, camping across the USA and Canada. However, her love for the outdoors and need to escape the concrete jungle drove her, quite literally, to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains in 2017.

Here, her passion for alpine environments grew and she found herself exploring Colorado through solo backpacking trips with her Australian Shepard, Blue. Leslie is an Earth Corps alum and worked on the Kit Carson project in 2019. She later joined RMFI as a Field Instructor in 2021. Her time in the backcountry has cultivated a deep appreciation for wilderness areas and ingrained in her the importance of protecting and conserving our public lands. Leslie graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in May 2021 with a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies and a minor in Geology.

Interests

Yoga, mountain biking, rocks, via Ferrata, insects, hiking, camping, concerts, and botany 

Contact Info

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Nicole Box

Field Instructor

Nicole, a Colorado Springs native, has a special place in her heart for the Rocky Mountains. This is Nicole’s first season of trail work and she is stoked to be working outside. She is currently studying environmental studies at Pikes Peak Community College and is just going with the flow...wherever life takes her. She hasn’t traveled outside the southwest in her entire life and she is craving new places, new people, and new opportunities. She loves her pets, her plants, and her people. 

Interests

Dancing, Hiking, Cooking, trying new things, and most importantly picking up trash. 

Contact Info

Pronouns: she/her

Kimberly Fowler

Field Instructor

Kim is a Southern California native and grew up enjoying the great outdoors. Her love for hiking went above walking the trails to wanting to conserve natural lands. Kim attended California State University of San Bernardino and has her B.A. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geography and experience with Geographic Information Systems. Although California has its beauties, Kim decided to take on the majestic Rockies to pursue her dreams in natural resources and conservation. Kim is the happiest when she's on the trails and can't wait to be a part of keeping nature wild!

Josh Grundy

Field Instructor

Josh grew up near Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma, where he developed a passion for the outdoors. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2019 with a BS in geography. After spending two years exploring rivers with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Josh decided to make the move to Colorado to pursue his outdoor interests. He spends as much time as possible hiking, climbing, camping, and cycling. Josh is excited to join RMFI and help preserve the beauty of the western United States!

Interests

Peakbagging, traveling, long-distance cycling, running, camping, music, weather.

Contact Info

Pronouns: he/him/his

Mikayla Manyin

Field Instructor

Mikayla grew up alongside the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland where she developed her call to environmental stewardship through her experiences as a student advocate for the Chesapeake Bay. She graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA with a B.A. in Biology and Minors in Geoscience and Environmental Studies. After college, she joined the Biogeochemistry Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD where she contributed to research on the effects of global change on coastal wetlands. In addition to her fieldwork in the marsh, Mikayla enjoyed connecting with citizen scientists in her role as the volunteer coordinator for her lab. She's excited to join RMFI to continue cultivating a public conservation ethic with community volunteers through meaningful restoration projects in Colorado!

Hannah Mooney

Field Instructor

Hannah was born and raised in Massachusetts until deciding to move to Colorado for college. She graduated from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in December of 2021 with a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies and a minor in Sustainability. Although she grew up as a beach bum and thrives near the ocean, she has a special love and appreciation for the majestic mountains of the West. Hannah loves to travel and spend time outdoors with her golden retriever, Koa. She is excited for the opportunity to preserve the environment and provide safe and enjoyable recreation for fellow outdoor enthusiasts!

Interests

Camping, backpacking, paddle boarding, music festivals, yoga, and skiing.

Jessica Morales

Field Instructor

Jess is a Chicago native but fell in love with Colorado after many hiking and backpacking trips to the state. She attended Southern Illinois University where she obtained a BS in Forestry with a specialization in Wildlife Habitat Management and Conservation. After college, she decided she wanted to make an impact somewhere new, so she joined the Peace Corps as an Agroforestry Extension Agent in Senegal. Her love for the outdoors only heightened as she saw how impactful NGOs are for natural land management. When she saw RMFI was hiring, she knew she had found a perfect job for her! Jess is happiest when she’s exploring unfamiliar outdoor areas. She loves to hike, camp, backpack, and lounge in the sun like a lizard. You can also be sure to find her dancing the night away at a local concert or festival when she’s not spending time with her cuddly cat. 

Interests

Hiking, traveling, dancing, exploring, and art.

 

 

Thomas Orfan

Field Instructor

Thom is a New England native, having been born in Rhode Island and raised in Massachusetts. He spent a lot of his free time growing up exploring the woods of New England and camping amongst the maples and elms. After graduating from UMass Boston with a B.S. in Environmental Science, Thom found himself with the opportunity to intern with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection working on Water Quality Certification throughout the state. Following a stint working as an environmental scientist for an environmental consulting firm, Thom realized that it was time to pursue his true passion - conservation. In 2020 he convinced his fiancé to move across the country with him to Colorado so he could chase his dream of being a part of conservation efforts in the majestic Rockies. He is extremely excited to begin his second season with RMFI and continue to be a part of the important work that RMFI does and he hopes to leave a positive impact on the incredible landscapes of Colorado. 

Interests

Hiking, exploring the National Parks, reading, photography, kayaking, music, and good beer.

Contact Info

Pronouns: he/him/his

Erin Reid

Field Instructor

Erin grew up primarily in the Carolinas and attended Clemson University where she studied Chinese Language and International Trade. Following graduation, she was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an Officer. Erin served for over 7 years as a Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot and has been stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado since 2017. She has spent most of her life so far enjoying hikes, backpacking, and exploring wilderness areas, national forests and parks. Erin has visited over 19 National Parks from across the United States. Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Everglades are some of her favorites. Now as Erin begins her transition out of the military she is hoping to utilize her skills and experiences to help preserve these amazing and historic pieces of land.

Interests

Climbing, hiking 14ers, snowboarding, yoga

Bronson Rivera

Field Instructor

Bronson is a Colorado native, born and raised. He recently graduated from Colorado State University and studied Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, while getting minors in Environmental Affairs and Creative Writing. Bronson has volunteered for RMFI in the past as well as worked for AmeriCorps doing trail work. He loves the Rocky Mountains and is excited to be working in a place that he's always called home. 

Interests

Writing, hiking, soccer, traveling, being with family.

Contact Info

Pronouns: he/him

Robert Schwartz

Field Instructor

Born and raised in Colorado, Robbie has grown up with a love and deep respect for the outdoors. His hobbies include hiking, mountain biking, climbing, caving, and backpacking! As a firm believer in conversation and restoration, he is excited to start his journey with RMFI. To further open his horizons to the possibilities of the outdoors and learn and gain new skills! He sometimes says all you need is your dog a hammock and a place in the woods to have a good time!

Emma Stonesmyth

Field Instructor

Emma grew up hiking and camping with her family in her home state of Wisconsin. She enjoyed regular trips to Colorado where she hiked every day in Rocky Mountain National Park and developed a deep love of the natural world, especially alpine areas. Emma attended Colorado College which she chose, among other more minor reasons, because it brought her close to the mountains. She graduated with a degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology with an emphasis in evolutionary botany. Emma adores being outside and loves to take advantage of the amazing trail running in Colorado Springs. Emma's most recent adventure was to attend circus training school for a year and learn trapeze, satisfying a life-long desire to fly in the air. Emma couldn't be more excited to be a part of the RMFI team for her first season to combine her loves of leading, land stewardship, and being outside.

Interests

Circus, botany, running, and her cat.

Brew Tisson

Environmental Leadership Intern

Brew is excited to be joining the RMFI team, having enjoyed the amazing natural offerings of the Pikes Peak Region over the last three years. A Pennsylvania native, Brew attended college in New York and subsequently has lived and worked in the US and abroad. Brew has been an RMFI volunteer over the past few seasons and looks forward to contributing to RMFI’s stewardship mission and protection of our public lands. 

 

 

Interests

Snowboarding, trail running, mountain biking, and brewery tourism

Kinsey Warnock

Field Instructor

Kinsey grew up in New Mexico at the base of the Sandia Mountains. She was an environmental studies major at Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts. Studying abroad in Bhutan and Australia made her realize that she missed the mountains and wide-open spaces of the western states. After college, she headed to Idaho and Utah for a couple of seasons doing conservation corps work. She loves being outside and any kind of type 2 fun. Her summers are filled with hiking, backpacking, climbing, and sometimes boating. While winters are dedicated to skiing and puzzles. Kinsey is looking forward to learning new trail skills and exploring Colorado’s wild spaces in her first season with RMFI.

Oliver Watkins

Field Instructor

Oliver is originally from New Jersey but is excited to be living in Colorado Springs which gives him more opportunities to explore his passions for mountain biking and hiking. Oliver just graduated from Hamilton College in May 2021 with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Over the past couple of summers, he spent his time as a wilderness guide for Overland Summers leading backpacking and bike touring trips in Maine and Montana. Oliver is excited to be joining RMFI as a Field Instructor so that he can combine his passion for outdoor leadership with his interest in preserving beautiful natural spaces.

Interests

Mountain and road biking, backpacking, guitar, skiing, and listening to podcasts.

Contact Info

Pronouns: he/him/his

Kari Wellman

Field Instructor

This is Kari’s second season at RMFI and she’s so excited to be back with old crew members and to meet new ones. She grew up in Des Moines, Iowa where her love of the outdoors started with playing in the creek by her house and exploring her grandparents’ land. She studied Environmental Science at the University of Northern Iowa and graduated in May 2021. Her family often took vacations to Colorado and she swore that she would move there someday. RMFI gave her a chance to trade cornfields for mountain ranges and she hasn’t looked back since! 

Interests

Yoga, skiing, cooking, reading, hiking, botany, crochet, and petting other peoples dogs 

Contact Info

Pronouns: she/her