Meet Our Staff

Adminstrative Staff

Nicole dragging a tree in the snow
Nicole Stafford, she/her/hers

Our noble leader has been the ELC director since the summer of 2016. Growing up, Nicole lived in many different places. Since she has now lived in Fort Collins longer than anywhere else, we’ll let her claim it as her hometown. Nicole has degrees in Parks and Protected Area Management and Environmental Communications and finds solace, adventure, escape, and more in nature. She cares deeply about the natural world and wanted to ‘save the environment.’ While she still wants to save the world, a part of that has morphed into helping to grow good humans (her words). Her favorite programs are those that allow participants to discover nature on their own terms through semi-structured exploration, when participants do the most learning and growing. Nicole hopes program participants leave the ELC feeling comfortable and confident in the local environment and that the student staff finds in the ELC a positive place to learn and grow. Like any good leader, Nicole brings the 30,000 foot view. She keeps the ELC’s mission and goals in mind through all of the work we do and all the decisions we make. Her personal values of growth, adventure, and connection are embodied in her work at the ELC. She brings idealism and, at the same time, pragmatism. When she’s not making big decisions, Nicole enjoys trail running, rafting, SUPing, crafting, exploring new places, learning, romping around outside, and snowboarding.

Fun Fact – Nicole has two secret talents: a mean raptor walk and a pretty decent crab imitation.

Kristen hiking with dog
Kristen Wilkinson, she/her/hers
Program Director

Our awe-inspiring program director grew up in Albuquerque, NM but now calls Colorado home. Kristen’s attention to detail, ability to problem solve, organizational skills, and willingness to serve as a sounding board for student staff keeps the ELC running smoothly. She believes that every child deserves the opportunity to have a connection to nature and is so grateful to be part of an organization working towards this goal. Kristen believes the ELC is a special place where children develop a new found sense of connection to the natural world. You may even find Kristen exploring nature out at the ELC! When she’s not problem-solving or mentoring student staff, Kristen spends her time hiking, biking, reading, and working on jigsaw puzzles.

Fun Fact – Kristen’s favorite ice cream flavor is Tillamook mudslide, which is basically as much chocolate as you can get into an ice cream. Keep this in mind if you want to be on Kristen’s good side.

Student Staff

Parker holds a fern branch and points to it excitedly
Parker Allen, he/him/his
Senior, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Parker is from Fort Worth, TX and does, in fact, own a cowboy hat. He gets outside as much as possible, valuing experience and working to explore places, both new and old, with great friends. Parker has also spent his summers working at summer camps in Texas where he developed his enthusiasm, high energy and passion for mentoring kids and young adults. He now spends his summers in North Carolina as a Trip Leader where he takes kids outside to backpack, bike, hike, raft and climb, working to help them develop a connection with the natural world. Parker sees the ELC as a way to give back and continue to work with kids, helping them develop connections with nature just as someone helped him. When he’s not at school, he spends his time hiking, backpacking, biking, climbing or road tripping to see national parks.

Fun Fact- Parker’s favorite plants are Ferns, specifically Southern Lady Ferns.

Anna stands on top of a mountain
Anna Baize, she/her/hers
Senior, Wildlife Biology

Anna is from Indiana and when she grows up she wants to focus on research related to plants, wildlife, and forestry but also stay focused on community outreach. Anna loves hiking, running, camping, hanging out with trees, and photography! She loves writing her own lessons plans and getting kids excited about the outdoors. She also brings creativity, a little bit of humor and a smile to the ELC team. Anna hopes the kids she teaches take away a special appreciation for their surroundings and an excitement to learn more about the world around them.

Fun Fact – Anna can sometimes beat box on the flute!

Claire stands at the top of a canyon
Claire Silvestre, she/her/hers
Senior, Ecosystem Sciences and Sustainability, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Claire is from Dallas, Texas and is not used to the Colorado winters. Claire’s hobbies include reading, watching TV, and appreciating nature. She wanted to work for the ELC because she believes that educators are the most powerful tool we have to create a more sustainable and positive future. She brings enthusiasm and experience with teaching children to the ELC team. Claire is most excited about learning how to be a better educator and scientist this year.

Fun Fact – Claire can retain a lot of weird and random information, the more random the easier to remember (it is apparently never useful).

Isaiah stands on top of a mountain
Isaiah Sandoval, he/him/his
Senior, Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Isaiah comes to us from Walsenburg, Colorado. Having known him since his first week on campus, we can tell you he is one of the hardest working humans around. His work ethic is something to behold and his perseverance is the same. We are very excited to have Isaiah on staff as our site maintenance and volunteer coordinator. Isaiah is most excited about working outdoors, gaining knowledge, learning new skills, and working with great people. He hopes to improve the ELC property with his skills in leadership, carpentry, and construction and with his positive attitude! When he does take time to play, Isaiah enjoys rock climbing, art, making music, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, exercising, and climbing Colorado’s 14ers!

Fun Fact—Isaiah would like to inherit an adaptation from the Kangaroo Rat—the ability to survive without ever drinking water. He thinks his 14er hikes and other outdoor adventures would be a lot easier if he didn’t have to worry about water!

Emma stand in front of a tree
Emma Riley, she/her/hers
Senior, Conservation Biology

Emma is from New Brighton, Minnesota. Her hobbies include backpacking, fishing, identifying plants, and basking in the sunshine! Like many at the ELC, Emma believes that the greatest tool we have to help shape the future of tomorrow is through education. Emma is most excited to learn new things from every program she teaches. The animal Emma can relate to most is her 16-year-old house cat, Mochi, because cats are always happy with their surroundings but eager to know more about the world. She hopes that with each program she teaches kids will leave the ELC with a greater understanding of the world around them, and more compassion for all the living things that call it home.

Fun Fact – Emma is the ELC’s unofficial graphic designer which was a secret talent she didn’t know she had till now!

Carmen stands in the snow
Carmen Bachofen, she/her/hers
Senior, Environmental Sciences and Sustainability

Carmen is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she grew up loving the outdoors and doing anything outside. Her hobbies include climbing, hiking and painting. She’s excited to teach programs at the ELC and inspire the next generation of nature lovers. Carmen hopes to inspire the kids she teaches to appreciate the world around them and understand how interconnected humans are with their surroundings. But also, to never stop asking questions and learning, no matter how old you are!

Fun Fact – If Carmen could have any animal trait it would be to jump like an African Bush baby squirrel. (If you haven’t seen a video of it, go look it up. It’s awesome).

Kaili stands at a trailhead wearing a large backpack
Kaili Schroeder, she/her/hers
Senior, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources with a Minor in Environmental Affairs

Kaili was born and raised right here in Fort Collins. Above all else when she grows up, she wants to be happy. She brings enthusiasm, positivity, and a willingness to try new things to the ELC team. Kaili is most excited about how awesome all her fellow coworkers are and is excited to work with them. She hopes the kids she teaches will grow to have just as much of an appreciation for the outdoors as all the staff at the ELC. Kaili also wants the kids she teaches to become informed citizens of the world who always stay active learners.

Fun Fact – Kaili has an affinity for dad jokes…she’ll likely find a pun in anything you say.

Vica stands on a beach
Vica Gurevich, she/her/hers
Senior, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability with a minor in Role of Sustainability in Peace and Reconciliation

Vica is a Colorado native, from Aurora, though her parents immigrated from Belarus! She really loves being able to work outdoors, and adores working with kids, so the ELC is the best of both worlds. Vica hopes to share her passion for the environment so that kids will want to take care of the earth the same way that she does. She hopes to live in a future in which everybody has a deep connection with nature and value it for all that it provides. Some of Vica’s hobbies include painting and drawing, being kind, spending time with loved ones and her kitty!

Fun Fact – The animal that Vica relates most to is a snake. She deeply relates to the idea of rebirth, and second chances, similar to the “shedding of skin” that snakes experience.

Margaret hiking in the mountains
Margaret Moody, she/her/hers
Senior, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Margaret comes to us from Vermont where she grew up skiing, hiking, running, and having a passion for being outside. Her passion for the environment started in high school, when she became a member of her high school’s environmental club. She helped start a school-wide composting and environmental workshop. Margaret would love to work as an environmental educator and/or guide after she graduates. She started working for the ELC because she wants to make an impact by spreading love and excitement for the outdoors. Margaret believes that her positivity and stoke is a great addition to the ELC team. We couldn’t agree more!

Fun Fact- If Margaret were stranded on a deserted island, she would bring a water bottle to hold clean water, her twin sister Kat and of course her crocs!

Fran sits on a log and smiles
Fran Letts, she/her/hers
Junior, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and Spanish

Fran joined the ELC in January 2020 and just finished teaching summer camp with us. She is a junior at CSU studying human dimensions of natural resources and Spanish. Fran grew up in rural Illinois but came to Colorado for all of the amazing outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping. She enjoys working at the ELC because, although she primarily helps others grow their knowledge, she learns so much from the students and other staff as well. In her free time, Fran enjoys soaking up the sunshine, listening to music and sorting trash with the Zero Waste Team at CSU.

Zach poses with three dogs, mountains in the background
Zachary Spillner, he/him/his
Senior, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Zachary is a college senior studying Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. After an awesome spring and summer working at the ELC, he’s super excited to see what fall brings! He is originally from Littleton, Colorado and commonly makes the journey between Fort Collins and his hometown throughout the year. Zachary’s love for the outdoors originated during his childhood when he participated in programs similar to this one. To give back to the educators that made a positive impact on his life, Zachary wants to share his passion for the outdoors with today’s kids. When he’s not at the ELC, Zachary likes to spend time with his five dogs, go kayaking and take hiking trips.

Fun Fact – Zachary was a nationally ranked fencer for eight years, taking the bronze medal at the 2015 United States Division II National Championships (that’s a mouthful)! He’d like to continue fencing again someday, perhaps in a recreational setting.

Sully hikes on a mountain with his dog
John “Sully” Sullivan, he/him/his
Junior, Natural Resource Management and Entomology

From humble beginnings in the true north, Buffalo, NY, Sully is a second bachelors’ student who is studying Natural Resource Management and Entomology (he really loves insects!). Sully loves spending his free time outdoors, whether it’s exploring wild lands or playing sports.  Sully decided to move to Colorado and go back to school to pursue his dream of working in and with nature. Sully is really, really, REALLY, good at picking stuff and putting it down again, to the point that he competes in local competitions. He enjoys hiking with his pup Oscar T. Dog and they have even started climbing 14ers together.  Sully hopes that by teaching the children of Fort Collins about nature he might inspire them to follow their nature dreams as well.

Fun Fact – Being from Buffalo, Sully is a lifelong Bills fan and is for sure certain that this year is their year.