Meet Our Staff

Adminstrative Staff

Nicole dragging a tree in the snow
Nicole Stafford (she/her)

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.

Esme crouches in a tree and smiles
Esme Wissinger (she/they)
Program Coordinator

Esme has been working for the ELC since 2021 and, after graduating CSU with a degree in Forest Management in May 2023, they shifted to working full time as the ELC’s Program Coordinator. Esme is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, where she participated in some amazing environmental education programs. Growing up she was lucky enough to spend summers driving all over the country visiting National Parks, an experience that was crucial to her development as both a person and an educator. She believes in connecting people with the natural world by finding joy in the smallest things. In her free time, Esme enjoys spending time outdoors, playing board games and baking

Fun Fact – Esme’s favorite animal is an ant, and she is always excited to share a fun ant fact with anybody who shows interest.

Student Staff

Jack stands in a river holding a fishing rod
Jack Allen (he/him)
3rd year, Fisheries and Aquatic Science Biology

Jack comes to us from Fort Worth, Texas. He is an avid fly fisherman and photographer, he would even tell you fly fishing is not just his hobby, but his lifestyle. He is currently a third-year studying Fisheries and Aquatic Science Biology. He loves to be outside hiking, camping, road tripping, or on any body of water he can find. Jack spends his summers working and guiding out of a fly shop in Colorado, taking his clients to catch fish like the native Greenback Cutthroat in Rocky Mountain National Park. Jack loves working for the ELC because he gets the chance to pass along the knowledge that he has accrued about our natural world to younger generations. He hopes that they will take this new found knowledge and use it to understand and appreciate the natural world around them. When he is not in school he can be found with a camera in hand capturing all of nature’s beauty or fly fishing a new stretch of river with good friends

Fun Fact – Jack would like to have the adaptation of the mudskipper which can survive in and out of the water.

Skylar Culligan (he/him)
4th year, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources & Biological Sciences

A Colorado native from Lakewood, Skylar is a fourth-year student studying Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and Biological Sciences. He hopes to pursue a career in marine biology after the completion of his degrees. By working at the ELC, Skylar hopes to effectively teach people about the environment so they can better understand how to conserve it. He hopes that the youth we work with are able to understand and enjoy the environment in a safe and sustainable manner. The animals Skylar most relates to are a puffin or parrot because of their social behaviors and if he could have any animal adaptation it would be the ability to breathe underwater so he could observe awesome aquatic ecosystems. In his free time, Skylar enjoys reading, being outside, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends.

Halley smiling while facing the camera on a foggy rock
Halley DeWalt (she/her)
4th year, Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Halley is a fourth-year studying Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation biology with an emphasis in wildlife biology. Growing up just outside of Buena Vista, Colorado, she is excited to bring her knowledge of all things Colorado outdoors, from native species to cool places for an adventure. By working at the ELC, she hopes that she will get to be an outdoor mentor for those she teaches, emulating those that helped her find a passion for the environment. In her free time, Halley still loves to be in the outdoors in the forms of climbing, camping, hiking, and fishing. The animal that Halley relates to most is a raven because she too likes to collect things and go on little adventures.

Emily smiling in the mountains
Emily Doorack (she/her)
3rd year, Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Emily is a third-year student at CSU studying Fish and Wildlife Conservation Biology with an emphasis on species conservation. She loves the outdoors, especially going camping and taking a hike in the afternoons. Emily is attempting to be able to identify more birds and insects on her outdoor adventures. Working at the ELC, Emily is really excited to share her passion for nature with others and hopefully inspire a few to want to spend even more time outside in their futures!

Kayla smiling and holding a plant in front of trees
Kayla Finley (she/her)
4th year, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Kayla is a Colorado native, who grew up camping, hiking, and spending lots of warm days on a lake. She is super excited to have found a way to combine her passion of working with kids with her passion for the environment. At the ELC, she hopes to help kids form a connection with nature and help teach them about how incredible the natural world is. In her free time, Kayla loves to hike, camp, ski, paddleboard, and swim! You can also find her taking care of her many, many house plants (probably getting close to 50 now) or reading a book outside. If Kayla could be any animal, she would want to be a Moose living in Rocky Mountain National Park, so she could be super big, run really fast, and be a great swimmer in one of the most beautiful places in Colorado.

Jack in a selfie with mountains behind him
Jack Hagenbuch (he/him)
3rd year, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Jack is a third-year student from Palatine, Illinois studying Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. He had people in his life who inspired him to pursue his interest in the environment and he hopes that by working at the ELC he can inspire others to do as well. Jack brings positivity and creativity to the ELC team and is looking forward to lesson planning and teaching groups of students! If he could have any animal adaptation, he would have gills so that he could breathe underwater. Jack is secretly really good at finding cool clothes in thrift stores and in his free time enjoys making music, hiking, climbing, camping, and creative writing.

Elena standing on a trail smiling at the camera
Elena Henderson (she/her)
3rd year, Natural Resources Management

Elena Henderson is a third year student at CSU studying natural resource management with a minor in conservation biology. She is from Monument Colorado and where she loves to ski, hike, and rock climb. Elena has been working with kids for almost four years now and loves that she have the opportunity to have a positive impact in their lives. Her favorite part about working with the ELC is getting to see the kids find their own personal connections with nature and have fun being outdoors!

Cecilia making a kissing face while holding a fish
Cecilia Huber (she/her)
3rd Year Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Major

Cecilia is a Midwesterner at heart, hailing from a small town outside of Chicago called Cary, Illinois. She is currently a junior studying Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with a minor in Entomology. In her free time, she thoroughly enjoys early morning birding, camping with her buddies, getting tatted, and hanging out in local music venues! She harbors immense passion for environmental education, sustainability, and wildlife conservation, and is diligently working towards becoming an avian researcher for her career. In pursuing this dream, she’s completed two internships working with birds spanning from the size of hummingbirds to great horned owls and has participated in her first season of bird banding!

Fun Fact – Cecilia’s mom named her after the Simon & Garfunkel song!

Cory Milligan (he/him)
4th year, Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Cory is a fourth-year student at CSU studying Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation biology with an emphasis in conservation biology. He is from Newbury Park, California and is an avid baseball fan. Cory works for the ELC because he loves to teach and believes that one of the biggest things he can do to have an impact on the environment is to pass on his knowledge to future generations. Cory hopes to foster a good relationship between the youth he works with and the Earth so that they can show others what it means to respect our planet. Cory’s favorite ice cream flavor is anything with chocolate chips, and the animal he relates most to is a giraffe because of its height.

Jill smiling at the camera in front of Horsetooth Reservoir
Jill Smith (she/her)
3rd year, Natural Resources Management

Jill is a third year Natural Resources Management major, minoring in GIS. She is originally from Snoqualmie, WA where she gained a love for the outdoors; growing up she spent every weekend somewhere in the Cascade mountains. Jill loves hiking, swimming, camping, paddle boarding, and exploring the local environment. It’s extremely important to her to preserve our ecosystems and conserve our natural resources, which is why she is so passionate about teaching others how to be the best earthlings we can be! Jill loves Colorado, and is so excited to show the ELC kids how amazing our local ecosystems are.
Fun fact- Jill has an album out and is the lead singer in a local band! She looooves music!!

Riana standing on a trail in front of a mountain
Riana Zinn (she/her)
3rd year, Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Riana is a third-year student in wildlife biology from Broomfield, Colorado. She hopes her studies will lead her to a career in conservation and she is passionate about inspiring others to conserve and preserve our natural resources. She is especially excited to work in our GASP! programs, inspiring girls to find their place in the field of environmental science. Riana hopes that through working at the ELC she can get kids excited about the little things in nature like plants, invertebrates, soil, and fish. The animal she most relates to is a lemur because they can both have lots of energy but also enjoy relaxing by basking in the sun. In her free time Riana enjoys hiking, basketball, board games, and snowboarding.