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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Sheryl Horton, Manager of School Programs
Start Date: 2020

Sheryl began her love affair with Colorado in 1999 while working for the Geological Society of America. She has spent the past 20+ years in the Rocky Mountain and Southwest working as a Geologist and educator. She has a bachelor's degree in Geology from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, her home state, and a master's degree in Education from Adams State University.

Her passion for environmental education and science led her to become an educator to pass on her enduring curiosity about and respect for the natural world to the next generation. She has worked as the In-Class Program Coordinator for Colorado Parks & Wildlife's Schools and Outdoor Learning Environments (SOLE) program and most recently came from Denver Water, serving as the Youth Education Coordinator for Youth Education. Her appreciation of the outdoors extends outside of work as well. She enjoys hiking, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, travel, watercolor Plein air, and anything else that takes her out and about. She is also an avid photographer, dancer, and board gamer.

Lauren Hughes, Water Education Coordinator
Start Date: 2020

Lauren is originally from Albuquerque, NM, but fell in love with Colorado when she moved here in 2014 to pursue a degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She studied Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and double minored in Global Environmental Sustainability as well as Environmental Affairs. During her college career, Lauren fell in love with outdoor education. Before starting at Yampatika, she worked at the CSU Environmental Learning Center and the CSU Mountain Campus and did a stint as a children's ski instructor. Lauren believes that to become stewards of the land, children must first learn to love the environment they live in through play and experiential learning. In her free time, you can find Lauren rock climbing, skiing, kayaking, dancing, and going to concerts.

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.

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.

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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