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.
Kristen Wilkinson, she/her
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.
Parker Allen, he/him
Graduate Student, Conservation Leadership Through Learning
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.
John “Sully” Sullivan, he/him
4th year, 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 certain that this year is their year.
Esme Wissinger, they/she
3rd year, Forest Management
Esme is from St. Louis, Missouri, where she grew up participating in environmental education programs through Girl Scouts and her local botanical gardens. She is super passionate about nature and wants to share that passion with others through environmental education with the hopes of inspiring future stewards and caretakers of the environment. In her free time she 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.
Trevor Thomas, he/him
3rd year, Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
Trevor is from Simi Valley, California and is sick of being called “Cali”. He moved to Colorado to pursue a degree in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology in a setting close to protected areas in the Rockies. Trevor became obsessed with the outdoors when he “saw that bug that one time when he was a child” and has loved it ever since; spending his time fishing, hunting, foraging, logging, and cooking what he gets from those activities. Trevor believes that exposing children to nature is the key to saving the planet and he hopes that every child he works with comes to love nature more than he does. He thinks that by working at the ELC he can inspire children to make connecting with nature an everyday part of their lives and eventually become natural resource professionals themselves.
Fun fact- Trevor loves moss and WILL touch any that he comes across. Nobody can stop him, and he will one day touch ALL OF THE MOSS.
Madison Luna, she/her
4th year, Natural Resource Tourism & Marketing
Madison is in her last year at CSU double majoring in Natural Resource Tourism and Marketing. She spent the majority of her childhood in Minnesota but moved to Colorado right before her sophomore year of high school. She loves anything outdoors, especially skiing and hiking! Madison is so excited to be working at the ELC again this fall and can’t wait to share her love of nature with the kids. Her two biggest goals are to help foster a connection between the kids & the environment as well as make sure they have a ton of fun!! When she is not working you can find Madison hanging out with friends, paddle boarding, hiking, cooking, or reading a good book.
Fun Fact: If Madison could have any animal trait it would be to have the bullfrogs ability to not need sleep! When tested, scientists realized they were always alert (wouldn’t that be helpful during finals week!)
Becca Rugg, she/her
3rd year, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability
Becca is from Colorado Springs, CO, and loves the beautiful outdoors! Becca considers herself a water nerd and would love to work in water quality someday! In her free time, you’ll probably find her playing board and card games with her friends. She is excited to make each experience for kids at the ELC meaningful in hopes that they take on responsibility surrounding environmental impact and stewardship as they get older.
Fun Fact – If Becca could have any animal adaptation, she would love to be able to mimic like a parrot so that she could communicate with people in all different languages.
Chloe Comcowich, she/her
4th year, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Chloe is from Burlington Vermont where she found her love for skiing, hiking, and enjoying our natural resources. She moved out to Fort Collins for school and has no plan to leave Colorado any time soon. She is a fourth year Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Major and hopes to one day enter the sustainability field specifically in outdoor retail manufacturing. She gained an appreciation for nature at an institution similar to the ELC and aims to help children achieve the same love for our environment. Lastly, if Chloe were to be an animal, she would be a Golden Retriever because of her positive attitude and excitement.
Fun Fact: The only food she’s ever tried and hasn’t liked is Greek Yogurt.
Travis Cosgrave, he/him
3rd year, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources with a minor in Sustainability
Travis comes from Davis, California and if there’s two things he loves, it’s spending time outdoors and working with kids. Travis wants to get paid to hike when he grows up (who doesn’t?). He’s excited to inspire the younger generation to be curious about nature and treat it with respect. When he’s not somewhere in the wilderness or at the ELC, Travis loves watching his favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. The animal he most relates to is the wolf due to its powerful, yet careful nature and its ability to work as part of a team.
Fun Fact: Travis remains undefeated at Spikeball!
Jack Allen (he/him)
2nd 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 sophomore 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.