For over 25 years, Yampatika has connected people with nature to inspire environmental stewardship. You can take the classroom OUTDOORS for people of all ages by supporting Yampatika!

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Joseph Haines, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 2016

Joe has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. He originally started by working with the homeless in Washington DC after graduate school at George Washington University. He likes to say that his "unofficial" title at Calvary Women's Shelter was "Chief Gopher" because of his diverse responsibilities which included office management, databases, facilities maintenance and opening the shelter. After Calvary, he spent almost 10 years in youth services in Illinois and Colorado including five years as a Camp Fire USA Council Executive Director in both Illinois and Colorado. In addition to working with the homeless and youth, Joe has led organizations that work with disabled adults, the poor and working poor and feral and stray cats (getting them spayed or neutered). He is a life-long chess enthusiast and is the former President of the Colorado State Chess Association. He enjoys the outdoors including hiking and biking. He also enjoys the occasional computer game. Joe has been married to Julia since 2008 and they co-habitate with two tolerant cats. He has been the Executive Director since May 2016.

Meg Walker, Director of Youth Programs
Start Date: 2019

Meg discovered her passion for experiential education while leading children on horse-back rides and pack-trips in Colorado's backcountry, and leading nature-based children's programs as a naturalist. Her adventures raising three kids in the Yampa Valley and desire to share her love for everything wild with her family over the past decade have inspired her to create opportunities to connect youth in the community to the natural world with a particular focus on expanding early childhood programming. Meg is a graduate of Colorado Mountain College's Outdoor Education and Sustainability Studies degree programs and is nearing completion of her Master in Environmental Management degree with a focus in Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities from Western Colorado University. Meg has led a variety of community educational programs focused on environmental and sustainability-related topics in Routt County over the years and returns to Yampatika after teaching in a Montessori early childhood classroom for two years. Along with raising her family, she enjoys raising chickens, bees, horses, and growing and preserving food.

Lexi Stine, Director of Adult Progams
Start Date: 2019

Lexi grew up in Arizona and completed her Bachelor's of Science in Parks and Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Leadership and Education at Northern Arizona University. Since graduating she has worked ten seasons for the U.S. Forest Service. Her passion to educate, work with people and conserve public lands has led her to positions as an Archeologist and Wilderness Educator in Arizona, Wilderness Ranger in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Northern Minnesota, 3 seasons on a Wildland Firefighter in Northern California and locally on the Routt National Forest in Timber Management. Her passion for the outdoors and people continues into her personal life including mountain/road biking, trail running, backpacking, thru-hiking, canoeing, camping, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and anything else that takes her outside- all always better with good company.

Gabriela Rodriguez, Water Education Coordinator
Start Date: 2020

She is originally from Bogota, Colombia, but has lived in North Routt at the base of Hahn's Peak since 2015. Gaby graduated from Colorado College with an Environmental Science Major in 2015. Her passions combine environmental science and education, leading her to become a Certified Environmental Educator by the Colorado Alliance of Environmental Education in 2018. Gaby is also a certified Early Childhood Professional Level III with PDIS in the state of Colorado and has several years of experience leading preschool-college aged students in nature-based learning pursuits. Gaby finds joy in recreating, learning, and teaching outdoors and is excited to share such passion with the Yampa-White-Green River Basin community in her Water Education position with Yampatika.

Sue Hansen, Office Manager
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Sue Hansen is a long time local and outdoor enthusiast. She has a B.S. in International Business and Marketing from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a resort management degree from CMC, and is a certified massage therapist. She owns and manages SK Hansen, Inc., a company that provides bookkeeping, property management, massage, notary and pet sitting services. She brings these skills and organization to Yampatika. Growing up as a Girl Scout, Sue believes in the importance of outdoor education. When she is not working, you can find her bicycling, gardening, skiing and enjoying outdoor music festivals. She also enjoys traveling and exploring faraway places. One of her life goals is to trek in every major mountain range in the world.

Karen Vail, Naturalist
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Karen Vail has been involved in Yampatika from its beginning--way back in the early 1990s. Karen received a B.S. in Horticulture, with a concentration in Botany from Colorado State University, and earned her Master's Degree in Gardening from the Royal Horticultural Society in England. She rode the "big yellow bus" for a year on Audubon Expedition Institute during her first year towards a Masters in Environmental Education, finishing up at Antioch in New England. She runs her own landscaping business, and has recently published a book of beautiful wild flower photographs, entitled "For the Joy of Wildflowers: Colorado Creations." She has also created a DVD of local wildflowers.


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