Meet Our Team

Our Staff

Executive Director

Favorite place in CO: North Routt

Michelle Stewart grew up in the foothills north of Fort Collins. Michelle has been involved in sustainability-related teaching, research, mentoring, program development and leadership for over 20 years.

Prior to joining YVSC in 2020, Michelle was the Academic Director for the School for International Training’s Iceland Program on Renewable Energy, Technology and Resource Economics, where she designed and led an experiential learning study-abroad program for university students. She and her Iceland colleagues co-developed one of the first carbon-neutral study abroad programs in the world in 2019 by offsetting transportation-generated emissions through reforestation in one of Iceland’s flight forests. Michelle has served as distance faculty in University of Denver’s M.A. Program on Environmental Policy and Management and the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Geography Department and was the Pick Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Amherst College from 2013-2016. From 2016-2017, she was a rangeland social scientist with Colorado State University in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, where she worked with CSU researchers, USDA, local ranchers and conservation organizations to identify how best to collaboratively manage Colorado rangelands for production, wildlife and floral biodiversity outcomes. She served as a doctoral fellow examining the politics of knowledge and environmental management at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government from 2011-2012.

Michelle holds her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Notre Dame; an M.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California-Santa Cruz; and a Ph.D. in Human-Environment Geography from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She lives in North Routt with her husband, Nathan (Professor of Sustainability Studies at CMC), and their two sons, Michael and Leif. Michelle is an avid outdoorswoman who enjoys all varieties of skiing, hiking, camping, biking, running, and horse-back riding. Having known this area since she was a child, Michelle could not be happier to live and work in the Yampa Valley.


Tim Sullivan, M. Sc.


Favorite place in CO: Echo Park

Tim Sullivan has more than 30 years of leadership experience in international, national, and local conservation efforts. Prior to joining YVSC, Tim was the Climate Director for the North American Region of The Nature Conservancy where he oversaw work in all 50 states to develop a climate change program including work on state-level policy; land based emissions mitigation and adaptation; and communication and outreach projects.

Prior to this, he was the State Director for The Conservancy’s Colorado Chapter. As State Director he was responsible for the strategic vision and direction of the chapter, overseeing a diverse staff of professionals across the state, and reaching across borders to support the Conservancy’s work in other states and countries. Tim was earlier Conservation Initiatives Director for the Colorado program, managing programs in Science, Fire, Water, and Land Protection. He led the development of The Conservancy’s whole-system Colorado River Program.

Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Tim served as Regional Director for the Environmental Defense Fund, guiding their programs in seven states in the Rocky Mountain west. Tim was Deputy Director for Conservation Programs for the Chicago Zoological Society and worked for the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission. He also served as an aide to Senator Tim Wirth with responsibility for environmental and public lands issues.

Tim holds an undergraduate degree in Biology and History from Cornell University, and a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Tim has lived in Steamboat Springs since 2014 and looks forward to leading YVSC’s Natural Climate Solutions Program to enact land-based climate solutions that align emissions reductions, adaptive capacity and the unique cultural and natural assets of the Yampa Valley. In his spare time, Tim can be found outdoors–on skis, bikes, running shoes, roller blades, boats, etc.


Paul Bony, MBA

Energy & Transportation Director

Favorite place in CO: The Grand Mesa

Paul brings over 25 years of diversified experience in planning, implementing, marketing and evaluating energy efficiency, demand side management, renewable energy and consumer product programs and services. Paul has extensive electric, gas and water utility experience and he has also worked in the HVAC industry where he focused on ground source heat pump market adoption at the national, regional, and local level. Paul’s energy efficiency and renewable energy market development activities have earned the Association of Energy Services Professionals “Achievement in Energy Services” Award, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Excellence in ENERGY STAR Outreach award, and special recognition from the Alliance to Save Energy.

Paul’s market development activities have been reported on in many publications, including Time Magazine, Business Week, The Denver Post, Inc. Magazine, Rural Electrification Magazine, High Country News, The Energy Services Bulletin, RSES Journal, Solar Today, The Fuel Cell Industry Report, and African Heating and Cooling. Marketing and promotional efforts developed under Paul’s direction have won state and national awards.

Paul has served on the Electric Power Research Institute’s Demand Side Management Advisory Committee, the Cooperative Research Network’s End Use Solutions Advisory Group, the California Utility Energy Forum Steering Committee, the Colorado Geo-Powering the West state-wide working group, the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association’s Board and the Montrose Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. Paul currently serves on the Board of Solar Energy International, located in Paonia, Colorado.

Paul holds his B.S. degree in Grain Science and Industry from Kansas State University and an M.B.A from the University of Nevada – Reno. He is excited to have a home in Steamboat and plans to spend his spare time exploring all of the outdoor opportunities in the area with his wife Susan, their two large dogs, and his adult daughters, Katherine and Lauren.


Kate Brocato

Donor Engagement Manager

Favorite place in CO: Mica Lake

Kate Brocato joined YVSC in 2019 as a Communications and Administrative Assistant while she was completing her B.A. in Sustainability Studies at Colorado Mountain College (CMC). Upon graduating in 2020, Kate joined YVSC in a full-time capacity as the Communications and Program Manager.

With a passion for food systems, Kate has volunteered and worked with several organizations that increase public understanding and community action relating to permaculture, soil health and green design. Her volunteer experiences include leading CMC’s Beekeeping Club in hive maintenance and honey extraction; providing garden beds at no cost to Missoula residents at University of Montana’s 1,000 New Gardens; and aiding the horticulture team in plant care and providing educational information on the importance of macro invertebrates in various ecosystems to visitors at Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado. As a 2018 intern at Elkstone Farm, she learned about and supported the farm’s food production and sales activities, such as – harvesting and preparing produce for sale, using integrated pest management techniques, and planting new crops.

Since 2018, Kate has worked closely with CMC’s Bear Park Permaculture Center both as a Bear Park Intern and as the Assistant Site Manager and holds her Permaculture Design Certificate. In these capacities, she has supported and led in the design, implementation, and management of the Park, equipping her with a grounded understanding of permaculture principles and related sustainable agriculture techniques (e.g. drought-ready production, companion planting, no-till farming, and cover cropping). Kate has also supported and led site tours, educational programming and park stewardship activities for visitors, including CMC students and staff and community youth groups like Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Through her role in designing and building some of the most prominent features at Bear Park (e.g. the grow dome), Kate’s work at Bear Park will be visible for many years to come.

Given her education and training in both sustainability and food systems, Kate looks forward to supporting YVSC’s growth towards permaculture-promoting programs. She aims to foster a sustainable future that is accessible to all by creating strong foundations for education, action and sustainable lifestyles. In her spare time, Kate can be found in a garden, cooking, fly fishing, or knitting.


Senior Manager for collaborative Initiatives

Favorite place in CO: Floating down the Yampa River

Ashley Dean is an environmental management, marketing and communications professional with 18 years of experience working for mission-driven nonprofit, academic and for-profit organizations. Family and a love of the outdoors brought her to Steamboat Springs in 2019. Prior to her move to Steamboat, she spent 22 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, Ashley was the Director of Marketing and Sales for Spiriterra Vineyards – a small, family-run vineyard in St. Helena, CA.

Stanford University was her second home for many years. Initially as an undergraduate student studying Human Biology, and then as the Assistant Director for Public Affairs for Stanford’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy. She represented the work of over 30 faculty and fellows and facilitated national and international collaborations of interdisciplinary research teams studying climate change, water resources, crop and livestock systems, natural capital, land use change and food security.

She briefly left “The Farm” in 2007 to obtain a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara. When not surfing, biking or hiking, she could be found studying Eco-Entrepreneurship and completing a group business plan on real estate investments in responsible tourism and conservation. After earning her MESM, she returned to Stanford University to help support the launch of the Center on Food Security and Environment as their Communications and External Affairs Manager.

While Ashley occasionally misses the sound of the ocean waves, she loves mountain living. She enjoys the changing seasons and the outdoor adventures each season brings. Her husband Paul and kids Ella and Ethan have also embraced their beautiful new home. Ella and Ethan will be out-skiing her in no time. Ashley feels fortunate to work for an organization dedicated to protecting this special place and looks forward to supporting real climate solutions in the Yampa Valley.


Natural Climate Solutions Project Manager

Favorite place in CO: California Park

Ryan has been coming to Steamboat for his whole life to ski, and has recently settled down here to call it home. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in International Affairs, he spent the next few years traveling through Europe, Asia, and Oceania. While abroad, he developed his passion for reforestation and conservation. He interned with Conserve Natural Forests in Thailand where he helped expand the reforestation program and lead tours around the project site. Ryan also sought out various conservation opportunities during his time in Australia, which included planting Eucalyptus trees for koala habitat and protesting against logging with The Bob Brown Foundation in the Tarkine rainforest. In addition to his employment with RMYC and the BLM, Ryan is currently working with YVSC on the Yampa River Forest Restoration Project, where he hopes to broaden natural climate solution efforts through tree planting and ecosystem restoration.


Forest Resilience Projects Manager

Favorite place in CO: Gilpin Lake

Dakota grew up in New Jersey before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2014 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability from Colorado State University (CSU). Prior to moving to Colorado, she completed her Associate’s degree in Mathematics and Environmental Science at Raritan Valley Community College, where her passion for ecology and sustainability planted its seed. As a student at CSU, she was the president of the Climate Reality Project where she assisted in CSU’s written commitment to use 100% renewable energy by 2030. During her undergraduate studies, she also spent 5 weeks in Costa Rica with the School for Field Studies working on a sustainable farm and taking immersive courses in Sustainability of Tropical Ecosystems. She graduated from CSU in December of 2017, and is currently back at CSU online completing a Master’s degree in Ecological Restoration.

During her undergraduate coursework, Dakota worked at the Colorado State Forest Service as an Administrative Assistant for 2 years, where she was nicknamed “The Sustainability Police”. After graduating, she moved to Steamboat Springs to switch gears within the Forest Service to become a Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Research Associate, where she became familiar with Colorado forest ecosystems. She spent 3 years in this position collecting and analyzing tree, soil, and vegetation data throughout remote locations of Colorado, Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park. In 2019, Dakota took a year away from the Forest Service to explore nonprofit work in the Yampa Valley and became a Naturalist for Yampatika. There she created a daily curriculum for a children’s environmental camp, and quickly realized she wanted to grow roots in the Steamboat community.

Since moving to Steamboat, Dakota has also worked as a ski instructor for the past 3 winters, a server at Mountain Tap Brewery, and a representative at Ohana, giving her a variety of perspectives as a Steamboat resident. She is extremely excited to be a part of YVSC’s impressive momentum, and feels incredibly fortunate to serve the community she loves in a capacity that she is truly passionate about.

Dakota loves mountain biking and skiing every moment she can, but can also be found playing with her dog, Poncho, reading Harry Potter, eating candy, or backpacking in our vast surrounding public lands.


Energy and Transportation Projects Manager

Favorite place in CO: Telluride

Conner was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. By the time he was a teenager, he had summited multiple 14’ers, white-water rafted and kayaked the upper Colorado River, the Yampa River, the San Juan River, the Arkansas River, and the Green River, and camped in the mountains too many times to count. Making the move to Steamboat Springs in 2014 for college was a natural progression to living in the area he loves.

Conner earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability Studies from Colorado Mountain College. His passion for the environment and sustainability started at a young age.

Conner joined YVSC as the Sustainability Coordinator. He has worked and coordinated many events with volunteers including, Zero Waste Events, EV Ride and Drives, and has hosted multiple workshops including Colorado Green Business Network Business Leadership for Climate, Navigating EVSE charging installation for HOA’s, Businesses, and Workplace, and Heat Pump 101 for Contractors. Conner managed the Yampa Valley Recycles Depot, which has diverted over 90,000 lbs of electronics from the landfill.

Conner is an energy efficiency contractor with a focus on building science. He holds multiple certifications including BPI Building Analyst, LEED Green Associate, IREC Heat Pump Design, Installation, Service and Maintenance, and ICC Mechanical Code. He is on the Xcel preferred contractor list, and does energy assessments and heat pump installs in Xcel, Holy Cross Energy,
and YVEA territories.

Conner hopes to bring focus to the great work of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s Energy and Transportation priority areas as the
Energy and Transportation Manager. When he’s not at work, Conner can be found snowboarding, rafting, playing hockey, biking, and enjoying the beauty of the Yampa Valley.


Communications Manager & Strategist

Favorite place in CO: Shadows in the middle of a blizzard.

Abby grew up in Stagecoach, Colorado and is excited to reconnect with her home valley through her work with YVSC as Operations Assistant.

Abby earned a Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary liberal arts with minors in Spanish and anthropology from Colorado State University in 2021. In college, she worked in student media as a managing editor and opinion columnist. She also spent a semester abroad in Cusco, Peru, where she solidified her Spanish language skills and studied Latin American culture and history.

After graduating, Abby worked as an intern at Environment America, where she helped spread awareness about the impacts the paper products industry has on the deforestation of Canada’s boreal forest.

She later went on to work as a journalist in Laramie, Wyoming, covering the local government and community. There she was inspired by neighbors working together to solve local problems.

At YVSC, she is excited to be a part of the solution for a change, rather than reporting on it from the outside looking in. 

When she’s not at work, Abby likes to travel, camp, ski and spend time with her crazy blue heeler, Obi. 


Natural Climate Solutions Technician

Megan grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado then moved away to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Organismal Biology from Fort Lewis College in Durango. She initially started with a Graphic Design major but switched to Biology after an inspiring Conservation Biology course. For Megan’s independent study, she researched the impacts of oxeye daisies on insect pollinators in southern Colorado, where she developed a passion for entomology and wildlife conservation.

After graduating, Megan interned at Colorado Parks & Wildlife as a Black Bear Management Coordinator. She spent her time educating the community on black bear safety, enforced wildlife laws, and inspected harvests for mandatory hunt reporting. Megan is working at YVSC as a Natural Climate Solutions Technician. She is excited to be part of such a passionate team, and to help restore natural ecosystems through wetland restoration projects.

Outside of work, Megan likes to mountain bike, paint, search for bumblebees and spend time with her dog, Koa.

George O’Brien

Waste Diversion Technician

George O’Brien was born in Denver, and first moved to the Yampa Valley almost 20 years ago. He graduated from Soroco High School in Oak Creek Colorado. George has lived in Steamboat Springs for about three years now and is calling the Yampa Valley home for many years to come.

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council partnered with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Horizons, and True North to coordinate a position for George to excel in the work place. Through this partnership, George was hired as the newest Waste Diversion Technician for YVSC. George’s quick learning abilities paired with his attention to detail allows him to thrive in this position when it comes to sorting recyclable materials at the Yampa Valley Recycles Depot.

Some of George’s favorite parts of working at the YVR Depot would be meeting new friends. George enjoys helping people out especially when it comes to being a steward of the environment. Working with YVSC has brought more awareness and motivation to his personal life in making sustainable choices and lessening his overall impact on the planet. George’s humor radiates through the depot with his witty commentary. This passion comes from George’s big heart and desire to help others. He’s looking forward to being part of the team for many years to come.

When George is not at the recycling depot he enjoys working out, cooking, and is an avid fan of WWE. He likes to collect the action figures of his favorite wrestlers and the belts of the winners. George is proficient at sign language and takes art classes at the College. He likes to go bowling with his friends and family and spending quality time with his loved ones.

Marketing and Communications Associate

Favorite place in CO: Ice Lakes (outside of Durango) & The Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Julia Hebard is a graduate of the Global, Social and Sustainable Enterprise (GSSE) MBA program (now called the Impact MBA) at Colorado State University. She chose the GSSE MBA because of its unique perspective on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

Julia specializes in sustainable business development, is an accomplished graphic designer and has over 18 years of experience in marketing and branding. “I am passionate about social and sustainable enterprise, animals, the environment and working with businesses to create a positive change in the communities that they operate in,” says Julia. As a life long Routt County resident Julia understands the unique needs of our county and enjoys working in the community she calls home with organizations who share her values.

Creative Climate Communications Associate

Jill Bergman’s linocut relief prints use linework, movement, and contrast to create dynamic and playful images. Her love of wildlife, the western landscape, and decorative illustration combine to create her unique style. Jill is originally from Wyoming, and now lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She enjoys working with environmental organizations to help protect the land, water, and wildlife of Northwest Colorado. Her fine artwork is represented by Pine Moon Fine Art in Steamboat Springs You can see more of her work at

Our Board

Sarah Loughran

Board Chair

Favorite place in CO: An impossible question!

Sarah grew up outside of Edwards and Eagle, CO with a 3 rd grade stint in Steamboat and a 5th grade adventure traveling through Central America in a converted school bus. Her deep love for the environment stems from a childhood filled with being outdoors
amongst the wonders of nature.

Sarah graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Economics and from the University of Michigan with dual Masters Degrees in Business Administration and Health Services Administration. After a decade in hospital administration and consulting, Sarah co-founded HealthGrades, Inc in 1998.

After leaving HealthGrades in 2010, Sarah switched her focus to aiding the natural world that has given so much to her. This includes going back to school to study environmental science and serving on steering committees, boards, and commissions for The Nature Conservancy-California, Environmental Forum of Marin, the Marin Conservation League, and the San Rafael Planning Commission. Major areas of work and advocacy include recycling, use of 100% renewable energy, and alternative financing mechanisms for conservation.

Sarah recently returned to Colorado and is thrilled to be HOME! She loves to spend time outdoors with friends and family – hiking, skiing, biking, backpacking and just sitting quietly to experience and enjoy the workings of the natural world.

Paul Hebert

Board Vice-Chair

For more than 35 years, Dr. Paul Hebert has worked to promote and support sustainable development and humanitarian action in less developed countries. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1968 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering, earned an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from UNC/Chapel Hill in 1970 and returned there to earn a Ph.D. in 1985. Paul has been a resident of Steamboat Springs since 1985 with various international work abroad including with the Near East Foundation in Iran, helping the government to improve water supplies and sanitation, for the World Bank training water engineers in developing countries in Asia and Africa, and for the UN coordinating humanitarian relief work in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and East Africa. Most recently Paul taught and developed curricula for an environmental studies program at VMI. Paul is an avid skier and loves sailing and biking. He is married to Dr. Mayling Simpson and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

Jay Lambert

Board Treasurer

Favorite place in CO: Flat Tops Wilderness Area

Jay grew up in Aurora, Colorado. He moved to Portland, Oregon for college, where he received a degree in Business & Economic Studies. Jay spent four years as an investment banker in Portland before moving to Whitefish, Montana where he worked in Glacier National Park as a general park ranger and on the Glacier Green Team, focused on trail maintenance and clean-up, visitor education, recycling, and global warming initiatives. Jay moved to Steamboat Springs 11 years ago where he has worked for Steamboat Ski Resort on the seasonal finance staff and most recently for Smartwool in supply chain management, as well as co-leading the Smartwool Sustainability Team. Jay enjoys spending time outdoors with family biking, skiing, camping, dog walking, and all things Yampa Valley.

Sarah Jones

Board Secretary

Favorite place in CO: Yampa Valley

Sarah B. Jones, Director of Sustainability and Community Engagement, has more than 25 years of experience investigating, evaluating and presenting information about environmental issues. At Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation (SSRC), she oversees operational sustainability, works with local municipalities to advance climate action, and partners with local government agencies and nonprofits on the preservation of local natural resources. Before joining the team at SSRC, Jones was Executive Director of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council for 7 years. She has also worked as an environmental consultant, managing both the technical and administrative aspects of multi-site environmental clean-up programs. She received her B.A. in Biology, Environmental Studies from Colby College, and her M.S. in Geology, Environmental Geochemistry from University of Colorado, Boulder.

Katie Durrwachter-Erno

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: Steamboat Ski Resort

Katie Durrwachter-Erno grew up in central Pennsylvania, hiking and swimming in creeks. Her passion for the outdoors led her to the University of Oregon where she graduated with a BS in Environmental Studies.

After graduation, Katie taught biology in Tanzania, which sparked her interest in global health and led her into medicine. She obtained her M.D. at Temple University School of Medicine and pursued her residency in Pediatrics at University of Minnesota. At present, Katie is a neonatologist working in the insurance industry, which is a remote position that allowed her and her family to move to Steamboat.

Katie’s passion is the intersection of environmental issues and health, and advancing public awareness and action addressing climate change as a public health emergency. She is a Climate Advocate for the American Academy of Pediatrics, working at both the state and national level, and she looks forward to engaging with YVSC’s Climate Action and Adaptation Priority Area along these lines. In her free time, Katie can be found skiing, snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, and camping with her husband and three boys.

Gail Garey

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: Moose Meadow

Having grown up in a rural farming community in Kansas, Gail has always felt at home in the natural environment. She and her husband moved to the Yampa Valley to raise their children in a grounded Community where they would have ample opportunity to be closer to nature.

Before calling Steamboat home, Gail began her career working in policy and the political arena venturing to the Nation’s Capital after earning her BA in Journalism from Kansas State University. She also worked for Verizon holding various roles in public policy, advocacy, marketing operations and compliance.

Gail created and hosted a video series interviewing experts on climate change and actions that we as individuals can take to live a sustainable life. She is the Founder and Creator of Impact 360 Strategies, whose mission is to guide and empower businesses to accelerate environmentally friendly and socially responsible, sustainable business practices that benefit the bottom line and create positive social change by becoming Certified B Corporations.

She serves as Chair of the Organics Recycling Task Force which has been working to bring community wide composting to the Yampa Valley.

When she isn’t at her desk, Gail can be found hiking, trail running, backpacking or nordic skiing with her two Brittany Spaniels.

Terry Huffington

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: Strawberry Park

Terry Huffington grew up in Houston, Texas. While driving from Texas to California before her junior year at Stanford University, she discovered the beauty of places such as Carlsbad Caverns and the Grand Canyon and decided to change her major from Asian Studies to geology. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, she moved to Austin to pursue a master’s degree in geology at the University of Texas. Going where the jobs were post-graduation, Terry joined Chevron, U.S.A. as an exploration geologist in Denver, and it was then that she fell in love with Colorado and discovered Steamboat. After four years, she left Chevron to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School, then returned to Houston to work in the international petroleum industry, first for her family’s company, then for her own.
In the late 1990’s, Terry decided to sell her business and turn her focus to supporting educational and other non-profit institutions, serving on a variety of boards across the country. Currently, in addition to YVSC, she serves on the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Chapter, and the Advisory Board of the Jung Center’s Mind Body Spirit Institute (Houston).

In 2009, Terry and her husband wanted to do something special with land they had purchased in Strawberry Park in 1993, so they established Elkstone Farm, using permaculture principles to grow produce for sale to the local market. As this endeavor has evolved and expanded, it has transformed Terry’s casual interests in the environment and community into her passions.

When not at the farm, Terry cherishes time to relax outdoors, whether by road biking, hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, or just stretching out to read a good book in the fresh mountain air.

Jennifer Holloway

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: Echo Park, Dinosaur National Monument 

As a Colorado native, Jennifer embraces the opportunity to create a more diverse, educated and engaged community while preserving our cultural heritage and environmental wonders.

Jennifer is a proud community college alum with an associate of arts degree in political science, a bachelor’s degree in public management and a master’s degree in leadership with a concentration in organizational communication.

In addition to her work with the Craig Chamber, Jennifer served as the 2021 Board President for Moffat County United Way and is elected to the Yampa River Basin Round Table and Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control. She is also a member of the Strategic Council for the Denver Museum’s Institute of Science & Policy.

Jennifer and her family are blessed to call the Yampa Valley home where they enjoy the beautiful open spaces and abundant outdoor opportunities.

Taylor Drexler

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: The San Juan Mountains

Taylor is a Colorado native who spent the last decade in sustainable agriculture and land conservation. She has worked alongside nonprofit and for-profit leaders to grow organizational capacity and lead communication and development strategies, including directing communications for municipal and county land conservation measures.

After completing a BS in Business Administration, Marketing and Social Enterprise at CU Boulder, Taylor realized her interest in resource conservation upon moving to South America where she lived and worked in 2013-2014. Through witnessing extreme examples of both environmental stewardship and degradation in some of the most remote areas of the world, Taylor decided to dedicate her career to stewarding the places we love and the food systems that sustain us.

Most recently, she was the Communications Director for Routt County’s Purchase of Development Rights reauthorization campaign, where she worked with the community to successfully reauthorize an important land, water and habitat conservation program in the Yampa Valley. She also runs a communication and project management consultancy.

Taylor believes in the power of productive partnerships between the public, private and NGO sectors to combat climate change and create environmentally sustainable systems. To this end, she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Environmental Policy at CU Denver.

Outside of work you can find Taylor and her family building a sustainable homestead in South Routt, gardening, backpacking and cooking.

Andrea Forster

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: Yampa Valley

Andrea grew up and has spent much of her life in the Northeast where she raised her family and pursued a career in finance.  Most recently she was Mastercard’s Corporate Controller and then EVP – Shared Services Strategy.  Prior to that, Andrea spent more than 20 years with the PepsiCo organization in various finance and process improvement and risk management roles.  Andrea received a B.S. in Business Administration from Providence College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Andrea and her husband Bob visited Steamboat for many years, always leaving with a sense of peace and contentment.  They dreamed of moving to Steamboat Springs and several years ago, that dream became reality. 

Andrea aims to be a contributing resident of the Yampa Valley and has been a volunteer at Lift Up for three years. She is also passionate about turning climate solutions into actions to reduce emissions and make the Yampa Valley more resilient as it faces a changing climate. The mission of YVSC resonates loudly with Andrea as she firmly believes that locally developed solutions based on science with community input will keep the Yampa Valley healthy and sustainable for all. Andrea expects to leverage her past experience and expertise to add ideas and develop solutions.  

Andrea is an avid yogi, enjoys traveling and exploring new places, hiking, biking and skiing.

Alston Williamson

Board Member

Favorite place in CO: San Juans

Alston Williamson grew up in the Lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina where she spent hours sea kayaking and exploring the beautiful saltwater rivers, maritime forests. She spent many summers in mountains of western North Carolina where her love and dedication to nature and the outdoors grew. Alston went to college at a small, liberal arts college on top of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau called The University of the South: Sewanee.

Alston graduated with a degree in American Studies from Sewanee and spent several years leading wilderness trips for young adults throughout the western US. After a few years gaining experience and skills in the nonprofit development space, Alston landed a position with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Colorado Chapter on the development team and now serves as TNC’s Associate Director of Philanthropy. Over 13 years later, she works with TNC supporters, trustees, and partners to inspire investment in conservation efforts worldwide.

Alston’s passion and drive for conservation work and environmental advocacy is deeply rooted in a connection with the natural world. She is happiest out with her husband, two kids, and dog, Tallulah, hiking, backpacking, skiing, mountain biking… or cooking!

Shea Speer

Youth Board Member

Favorite place in CO: Yampa Valley in June, when it’s greenest!

Shea is a Youth Board Member of YVSC’s Board of Directors. She is a dual-enrolled freshman at Steamboat Springs High School and Colorado Mountain College and a member of the Steamboat Springs High School Eco Club.

Shea moved to Steamboat when she was three years old, and has been loving the mountains ever since. Her favorite ways to enjoy nature are hiking, gardening, and owning too many houseplants. She loves to get outdoors to enjoy Steamboat’s record days of sunshine and amazing wildlife. Shea is also an avid learner, and she’s been taking classes at CMC since 7th grade.

In the future, Shea hopes to work in sustainability, architecture, or somewhere in between. She is delighted to be a part of YVSC and is looking forward to connecting the Yampa Valley’s rising youth to sustainability issues. 

Our Interns

Favorite place in CO: The San Juan Mountains

Chase Podurgiel


Chase Podurgiel grew up in San Antonio, Texas until moving to Onalaska, Wisconsin in 2016. In the summer months, he found himself mountain biking on the Hixon HPV trails and working on maintaining the local trails within his neighborhood. He enjoys skimboarding on the Mississippi River with his friends, hiking up the bluffs, and camping in the Driftless region, which allowed him to connect with his surroundings. Chase is also an avid snowboarder, beginning alpine racing in his freshman year of high school. His passion for snowboarding brought him to join Wisconsin Alpine, a USCSA alpine ski and snowboard team.

He is currently attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After his planned graduation in 2025, Chase hopes to use his degree to make an environmental difference through either optimizing clean energy processes or designing better products/systems. This lofty goal he has for his future is driven by his love for outdoor activities and rising concerns for the environment. He wishes to actively see the changes his efforts are making in his local communities and more.

Outside of academics, Chase enjoys learning about and trying new hobbies. These past two years he has begun bouldering in Madison, mediocrely learned how to play the guitar, witnessed the thrill of biking on gravel, landed a 360 flip on a skateboard, and jumped in quite a few alpine lakes.

Ruby Stephens


Ruby was born and raised in Denver and grew up skiing and hiking throughout Colorado, where she gained her passion for the outdoors. Having spent much of her childhood in Steamboat visiting family, she is excited to become more actively involved in local sustainability initiatives as an intern with YVSC.

Ruby is a third-year student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver majoring in Natural Resource Conservation, specializing in International Perspectives, ultimately pursuing a career in social ecology and wildlife conservation. She is involved with UBC Sustainability through the Sustainability Ambassadors program which seeks to support community engaged learning on the complex and multifaceted concept of sustainability. She most enjoyed working with her team to have conversations and build panels focused on interdisciplinary, intergenerational involvement on topics like climate change and socio-environmental justice.

She also volunteers at the Hatch Art Gallery, a student-led art gallery on campus, which has offered her a great way to explore the connections between environment, art, and the role of creativity and artistic expression within the climate crisis. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, traveling, and overly ambitious cooking.

Darby Martinez


Darby Martinez was born and raised in Steamboat Springs. She attended Steamboat Springs High School and graduated in May of 2022 with an emphasis in science. She always wanted to go to a big, out-of-state university with good academics and a rowdy sports atmosphere. Currently, she is an incoming junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is pursuing a degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics with an emphasis on Environmental Economics. Her certificates include Life Science Communication, Sustainability, and Leadership. She is a student Leader for the Student Leadership program and helps coordinate various events on campus.

At school, you can find her swimming in the lake, at any Badger sports game, or climbing at the local gym. She is passionate about sports, and you can find her playing any intramural sport including soccer, basketball, beach volleyball, or pickleball. She has fallen in love with the Midwest, loves cheese, lakes, and everything that Madison has to offer. Home for summer break, she hopes to reconnect with nature and enjoy a Steamboat summer. She spends her time mountain biking, camping with friends, playing soccer, and getting overly competitive at pickleball. She enjoys the outdoors and understands the importance of protecting it. Darby hopes this internship will allow her to connect with local sustainability leaders in the hopes of raising awareness and helping determine what her future goals are.

Emmy Watson


Emmy was born and raised in Steamboat playing soccer, skiing and loving the outdoors. Family and friends are important to her and she is always looking to make new friends. During the summer, she is always in the water, whether it’s rafting, swimming, or traveling. Fall is her favorite season because of all the gorgeous colors and her birthday is in early fall. She is currently enrolled in Steamboat Springs High School and is a new member of the SSHS National Honors Society and captain of the club soccer team.

In her future, she hopes to pursue a career in marine biology or environmental sciences. She is graduating high school in spring of 2026, and hopes to go to college in California at the University of California Santa Cruz. Emmy’s biggest passion in life is the environment and wants to do all that she can to keep the earth sustainable. Through this internship, she hopes to learn and grow her knowledge to have the ability to educate herself and her peers.

Contributing Photographers, Designers and Artists

Chris Hylen


Chris Hylen is a Sustainability Studies graduate of Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Steamboat Campus. Living and working out around Steamboat Lake encouraged him to get outside each and every day, exploring endless terrain without another soul in sight. For Chris, moments like those open his eyes, allow for decompression, and keep him longing for more. Chris has had a camera in his hands for as long as he can remember and he strives to use the visual art form of photography as a basis to promote conservation and sustainable behaviors. He hopes his images serve as a reminder to help preserve the beauty of this area and others, as well as encourage people to get involved with organizations like YVSC that create a path for productive action.

Tatum Heath


Tatum grew up on a small ranch along the Lower Elk and graduated from SSHS in 1993. After graduating from Carleton College with a major in English and a minor in Archaeology, he moved to Nicaragua where he joined an archaeological excavation funded by a joint venture between UCLA and the Nicaraguan National Government. Since then, he has worked on an organic farm on the border of Canada, taught Spanish, and coached basketball. In an effort to reestablish roots in his hometown of Steamboat, he accepted the position of Rout County Case Manager with Horizons in 2002. He became the Executive Director at Horizons in January 2020 and can be found pedaling the backcountry on his bike and snapping photos.

Tai Juneau


Tai Juneau was born on skis in the Eastern Sierras in Mammoth Lakes CA. He grew up splitting his time between New Zealand and the Western United States representing New Zealand in Alpine Ski Racing. Tai was a member of Colorado Mountain Colleges NCAA Ski team where he got a Bachelors of Business Administration emphasizing in Marketing. Growing up with his mother as a professional photographer Tai was exposed to the world of photos at a young age and found his own passion in sports photography. Throughout his growing career, Tai has spent a lot of time shooting events, products, real estate, and lifestyle images mostly in the Western slopes of the Rockies.

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