MEET OUR STAFF

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Tanya Henderson, Executive Director

Tanya is excited to be a member of the WSCC team, joining in November 2020. She comes to the North Fork Valley from just outside of Death Valley where she dedicated five years working on behalf of the Amargosa Basin, first as Stewardship Program Manager and most recently as their Executive Director. 

Tanya grew up and has spent most of her life in the rural west from Tuba City, AZ to Shoshone, CA, Cortez, CO to Ridgecrest, CA, Walla Walla, WA to Holbrook, AZ with stints in other places. She is happy to set aside her wandering ways and settle into the North Fork Valley community. It was trailwork that set her on a conservation path and she was later able to merge her commitments to conservation, communities, and passionate individual stewards through collaborative land management initiatives. She solicited community input for watershed restoration efforts in Canyon de Chelly, AZ and helped amplify community voices for legislative protection of desert lands in the northern Mojave Desert. She had always hoped her German Studies degree from Whitman College in 2005 would lead to a career in public lands conservation but went back to school at Northern Arizona University in 2010 for an MS in Environmental Science and Policy just to be sure.

For Conservation Center conversations (or just conservation chat) contact Tanya here!

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Viva Kellogg, Accountant

Viva Kellogg joined the Conservation Center in 2014 to take care of our financial management and accounting. Viva lives in the North Fork Valley with her partner and their two dogs.

You can reach Viva here!

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Jake Hartter, Watershed Coordinator

Jake joined the Conservation Center team in March 2017 and is honored to serve as WSCC’s watershed coordinator.  Jake graduated from Greenville College in 2002 with a B.S. in Environmental Biology.  His early work history focused around developing stormwater wetland basins and riparian corridors for improving domestic water quality.  He has worked with municipalities, agencies, universities, and private landowners to implement watershed scale habitat management practices.  In addition to his work in habitat restoration, Jake has spent nearly 10 years in the geothermal drilling industry, operating heavy equipment and managing small work crews to install energy efficient heating and cooling systems in the midwest.  Jake lives in Paonia with the 3 most amazing girls on the planet where they enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, biking  and floating, through the incredible vistas of the North Fork Valley.

Expect a speedy reply when you email him here. 

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Ben Katz, Public Lands Program Director

Ben joined the Western Slope Conservation Center in 2019. He grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Vermont in 2012 with a B.S. in Environmental Science. His interest in public lands began after college, when he worked as a Wilderness Ranger in the Weminuche Wilderness in San Juan National Forest. Travelling throughout southwest Colorado that summer, the natural landscapes and breathtaking scenery ingrained a desire to defend wild areas for future generations. After a second summer working as a Wilderness Ranger in the John Muir Wilderness, he moved into a role as a Wilderness Fellow with USFWS, writing baseline Wilderness character monitoring reports for Wilderness areas within wildlife refuges in Alaska and Nebraska. After working for a few years in water quality, Ben is excited to focus his efforts on protecting and preserving the public lands on the Western Slope. In his free time, he enjoys long distance backpacking, hiking, snowboarding, and relaxing with a good book.

Say Hey to Ben here!

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Karley O’Connor, Operations Coordinator

Karley joined the Conservation Center team in June 2019 as the Community Outreach VISTA and is happy to be sticking around. Karley grew up in Saugerties, NY and graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse with a degree in Environmental Studies: Communication & Society. During college, she interned with the Gunnison Ranger District through the Student Conservation Association as an Interpretive Field Ranger. After romping around the National Forest for work, she decided that one summer on the Western Slope just wasn’t enough. Karley loves to think about social solutions and systemic approaches to environmental problems.

These days you can find her dipping her toes in at the Hotchkiss boat ramp, tending to her plants, fostering kittens, or staring longingly at your dog.

Give Karley a shout here!

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Alaina Geibig, Community Outreach AmeriCorps VISTA

Alaina joined Western Slope Conservation Center in 2020 as the new Community Outreach VISTA. Alaina grew up in Colorado Springs but has spent the last four years in Tacoma, WA for college. Alaina graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a B.A. in Psychology and Environmental Policy. During her education, Alaina participated in conservation initiatives that focused on salmon and watershed health in the Puget Sound. She also conducted independent psychological research that studied how and why people engage with environmental behaviors. Eventually though, she had enough of the rain and is excited to move back and bask in the Colorado sunshine. In her free time, you can find her on the trails running or biking, skiing, napping, or munching on a donut.

Say hi to Alaina here!

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Emma Gregory, Conservation Fellow

Emma joined the Western Slope Conservation Center in 2020 as the Conservation Fellow. A few weeks before moving to Paonia for the position, she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in environmental science from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. During her time in college she held internships with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, The Nature Conservancy, George Mason University’s Office of Sustainability, and the Friends of the National Zoo. Although originally from Maryland, her interest in protecting public lands was awoken during an internship with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency at Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. Emma is passionate about working towards environmental justice and using outreach as a tool for protecting local ecosystems and the communities which depend on them. She’s super excited to join the team at the Conservation Center and connect with the community in Paonia! Outside of the office, Emma loves hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, hammocking, eating strawberry ice cream, and reading mysteries.

Feel free to reach out to her here!