THE TEAM

Thorne is governed by a Board of Trustees which makes policy level decisions that guide operations to ensure the fulfillment of Thorne’s mission. All of Thorne’s Trustees volunteer their time and contribute their talents in ways that best help Thorne connect youth to nature. 

Thorne’s programs are managed and implemented by an experienced staff of nonprofit professionals and environmental educators. Thorne maintains a small year-round staff and hires more than 30 seasonal instructors for its camp each summer. CLICK HERE if you are interested in joining the Thorne staff, and CLICK HERE to download Thorne’s organizational chart.

Dr. Oakleigh Thorne II / Founder, Honorary President, & Bird Banding Instructor
303.499.3647 x 104
[email protected]
Julia Abell / Environmental Educator
303.499.3647 x 100
[email protected]

Julia (she/her/hers) joined the Thorne team in the summer of 2021 as a Summer Camp Instructor and now works as an Environmental Educator. Julia grew up in Minnesota, playing and exploring outside from an early age. She got her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Anthropology, blending her passions for cultural continuity and environmental justice. Since graduating, Julia has worked in environmental education programs for youth and families in Minnesota and Colorado. Her favorite part about teaching is seeing children’s faces light up when they get the chance to play and connect with Mother Earth. She cares deeply about providing more equitable access to outdoor spaces and hopes that her work can continue to support youth and families’ loving relationships with all life on Earth.

Leann Arend / Deputy Director
303.499.3647 x 112
[email protected]

Leann joined the Thorne team in 2020.  She has ten years experience as Chief Operating/Financial Officer in Washington State, working with Outdoor Recreation and Conservation and Public Education Advocacy non-profits. She has a B.A. in Business Administration, Finance from the University of Washington.  Leann connected to nature as a kid growing up in Alaska; camping and fishing with her family and currently enjoys trail running, camping, hiking, biking, and skiing.

Skyler Carnes / Assistant Preschool Teacher - Lafayette

Skyler joined the Thorne team in the summer of 2021 as an Assistant Teacher for the preschool summer camp. Skyler is currently in school for early childhood development/education with hopes to continue her education in environmental science in the near future. Growing up in Colorado and Wyoming has fueled Skyler’s desire to learn about our natural world and her passion to share this learning with young children. She has 3 years of childcare and preschool experience and is coming into a new found passion for nature-based early childhood education. Skyler also has professional development in early childhood practices, including Conscious Discipline and Learning in Play-Based Environments. She is excited to transfer her classroom skills outdoors, as she believes nature is the best learning environment. In her free time, Skyler enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, and going to see live music.

Keith Desrosiers / Executive Director
303.499.3647 x 105
[email protected]

Keith joined the Thorne team in 2010 and has a B.A. in Government from Skidmore College and a M.A. in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College. Keith has served as an Executive Director, Development Director or Nonprofit Consultant for Colorado environmental nonprofits since 1997. Keith has extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising, operational efficiency, and board development.

Tatum Figone / AmeriCorps Assistant Preschool Teacher- Lafayette

Tatum Figone is joining Thorne this year as a service member of AmeriCorps. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of Thorne Nature Preschool and help foster a love of nature with the preschool students. Tatum grew up in Northern California and moved to Colorado to attend Colorado State University, graduating with a BS in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Since graduating she has followed her passion for the outdoors working at Golden Gate National Park Conservancy and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It was Tatum’s recent experience working for Avid4Adventure in Boulder that helped solidify her desire to work with children and help foster a connection to nature while learning through outdoor play. Tatum loves hiking, rock climbing, yoga, dogs, hot sauce, and lacrosse.

Erica Fine / Program Manager - E Movement & Marketing
303.499.3647 x 113
[email protected]

Erica joined Thorne in 2019 as the Program Manager for E Movement, a community-wide effort to advance the continuity, effectiveness, and access to environmental education in Boulder County. She also supports Thorne by providing leadership and support in several areas, including marketing and communications, research, and delivery of educational programs. Erica holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.S. in Geology and Environmental Studies from Tufts University. She is passionate about collective impact and improving the quality of life for all children and families, especially through equitable access to nature in all forms.

Sarah Grove / Environmental Educator & Volunteer Coordinator
303.499.3647
[email protected]

Sarah joined our growing team here at Thorne in early 2021. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from Auburn University in Alabama. For nearly a decade, Sarah has been working as an informal educator at non-profit organizations that focus on environmental education and early childhood education. Sarah is passionate about connecting people, especially children, and nature; fully believing that … “in the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we are understand; and we will understand only what we” experience! (quote excerpt from Baba Dioum)

Paul Humes / Summer Camp Manager
303.499.3647 x 109
[email protected]

Paul joined the Thorne team in 2018 as the School Programs Manager and educator and began leading Summer Camp in 2021. He received his B.A. in Elementary Education from Ball State University in Indiana. His classroom experience ranges from Indianapolis, Indiana to Liverpool, England, and rural Thailand with the Peace Corps. He was also an overnight summer camp counselor, managed and designed curriculum for a primitive skills academy, and trained in the 8 Shields mentoring model at the Art of Mentoring Vermont. Paul connects with nature by trail running, biking, backpacking, and practicing wonder & awe with the youth he mentors.

Ruby Lopez / Boulder Community Liaison
303.499.3647 x 114
[email protected]

Ruby joined the Thorne team as Nature Kids Boulder’s Community Liaison and Bilingual Educator in 2021. She has a B.S. in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the past 4 years she has worked in several different sectors of the environmental field, from working in ecological restoration to providing job training and environmental education to marginalized communities of inner-city Chicago. She is an advocate for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities and believes in harnessing the healing powers of nature to address the pain of inequity facing these communities.

Andy Maeding / Education Programs Mentor
303.499.3647 x 107
[email protected]

Anthony “Andy” Maeding joined the Thorne team in 2016. He has a B.S. in Recreation Resources Management from Colorado State University and a Montessori Lower Elementary Teaching Credential from Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. Andy has extensive experience cultivating nature connection with children of all ages, having led students on extended wilderness expeditions, sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, backcountry skiing, fly fishing and international travel experiences for more than two decades.

Caitie Maxwell / Development Director
303.499.3647 x 108
[email protected]

Caitie joined the Thorne team in 2021. She has a B.A. in Business from Southwestern University and a M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Case Western University. Caitie has over twelve years of fundraising experience within the nonprofit sector, with a focus on education and healthcare. Her love of nature has been a constant in her life since childhood and drives her personal time with family and friends.

Sean Munley / Assistant Preschool Teacher - Boulder

Sean joined the Thorne team as an educator in the summer of 2021. Sean loves nature and loves working with kids and has a lot of experience in the wilderness through his upbringing in Boulder and his weekly mountain adventures with his parents. After high school he did a NOLS semester and joined a Nature Conservation Corp. Sean has experience working with children through after school programs with the YMCA, but it was at Thorne this summer where he realized his passion for nature education. While new to the field, Sean empathizes with every child’s unique experience and cares deeply about mentorship and creating a sense of belonging. Sean believes in connecting kids to nature and is thrilled to be working in this role as an assistant to the Boulder team.

Angela Myers / Program Director - Community Partnerships
303.499.3647 x 102
[email protected]

Angela joined the Thorne team in 2013 and has a B.A. in Geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has six years experience as a bilingual classroom teacher in the Denver Public Schools, infusing experiential learning into curriculum as her school’s Science leader. Angela also served as a Peace Corps environmental volunteer in Peru where she gained advanced proficiency in Spanish.

Shaylyn Pergola / Lead Preschool Teacher - Lafayette

Shaylyn joined the Thorne team in 2018. She has a BA in Environmental Studies from Naropa University and is pursuing her masters degree in Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences from CU Denver. Shaylyn holds a Colorado Teaching License in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education, as well as a Science Education 7-12 endorsement. She has worked in kindergarten and first grade classrooms in Boulder, and is a certified kids yoga teacher. Shaylyn loves to experience the magic of nature through children’s eyes and believes strongly in the benefit of nature immersion for development of the whole child- physical, cognitive, and social/emotional- as well as the power of early childhood nature connection for creating earth stewards to lead our society into a sustainable future. In her free time, Shaylyn loves practicing Ashtanga Yoga, traveling, hiking, camping, painting, reading, baking, and eating yummy vegan food.

Kaitlyn Ogden / Lead Preschool Teacher - Boulder
303.499.3647
[email protected]

Kaitlyn has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Geology from the University of Colorado in Boulder and joined the Thorne team in May of 2017 as a Field Assistant Intern for Thorne’s Summer Camp. She returned two years later in 2019 as a summer camp counselor and soon thereafter was hired as an Environmental Educator in January of 2020. Kaitlyn worked briefly as a Community Solar Salesperson and hopes to bring her knowledge and love of renewable energy to her teaching as well as her passion for childhood nature connection.

Carrie Riesberg / Manager
303.499.3647 x 110
[email protected]

Carrie Riesberg joined the Thorne team as a summer camp instructor in 2010, was hired as Summer Camp Coordinator in 2016 and served as the Summer Camp Manager until 2021. She has a B.S. in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has extensive training and experience in special education and school-based mental health services, including eight years of experience as a behavioral specialist and paraeducator in elementary special education and as an after-school enrichment teacher.

Erin Saunders / Education Programs Director
303.499.3647 x 101
[email protected]

Erin joined the Thorne team in 2004 and has a B.S. in Zoology and Botany from the University of Washington. Erin has created curricula for many Thorne programs, written grants, and worked exhaustively with teachers, science coordinators, and district administrators as well as parents to ensure quality nature science programming for our community. Erin is a certified Project Wild facilitator and is conversant in Spanish.

Jen Talagrand / Lead Preschool Teacher - Lafayette

Jennifer has been an educator at numerous outdoor and environmental education programs over the past 25 years. These opportunities are a direct result of her environmental passions and educational degrees. She graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University. Jen is early childhood teacher and director qualified and has attended professional development programs including The Cedarsong Way: Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training and Juniper Hill School for Place-Based Education Teaching with Nature: An Introduction to Forest Kindergarten. These trainings support her skills in nature immersion, authentic free play, flow learning, child-inspired emergent curriculum and inquiry-based teaching style. She holds true to the value and importance of children (and adults) learning through exploration and play all while cultivating one’s connection with nature. Jennifer is thrilled to be returning to Thorne Nature Experience as a member of the Thorne Nature Preschool community. Jennifer is inspired through traveling, live music, film festivals, dancing and gathering with family & friends.

Gwen Tenney / Lead Preschool Teacher - Boulder
303.499.3647
[email protected]

Gwen joined the Thorne team in 2010 as a Summer Camp Instructor and has a M.S. in Ecology from the University of Toledo and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Lake Forest College. Gwen has served as an educator, coordinator, and conservationist with organizations like the Butterfly Pavillion, the Len Foote Hike Inn, and Joshua Tree National Park. Gwen is a published author and certified Project Wild facilitator.

Mollie Theis / Environmental Educator
303.499.3647
[email protected]

Mollie joined the Thorne team as a summer camp instructor in 2019. She has a B.S. in Spanish and Sociology with an emphasis on Sustainability from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For the past four years she has worked in many different sectors of environmental education from leading overnight backpacking trips in the Sierras to teaching hands on environmental learning in urban Milwaukee. She strongly believes in the importance of reconnecting youth with nature and has a passion for creating memorable outdoor experiences for children from all demographic backgrounds.

Maggie Vest Engelman / Program Manager - Field Trips, Volunteers, & School Programs
303.499.3647 x 103
[email protected]

Maggie joined the Thorne team in 2012 through an internship and worked full time at Thorne as an AmeriCorps Member from 2014-2016. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a M.S. in Natural Science Education and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming. Maggie’s passion is connecting students to their place. She has a wide range of experience from teaching students geology in the Tetons, investigating the scientific process with undergraduate students, to mentoring students on the amazing things they can find in their own backyards. She is passionate about the outdoors and on the weekends is likely to be found in the mountains backpacking.

Lorene Wapotich / Preschool Manager
303.499.3647 x 106
[email protected]

Lorene joined the Thorne team in 2021 as our Preschool Manager. She is passionate about guiding children and their families into deeper relationship with nature, greater knowledge of self, and the cultivation of multi-generational community through long-term, nature connection mentoring. She has worked in the field of outdoor experiential education for nearly 30 years, including founding Feet on the Earth Programs, a local nonprofit which for 10 years provided Boulder County families with exceptional, year-round, nature-based programs for children, including summer camps, homeschool and after school programs. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Education from Prescott College, with an emphasis in Wilderness Leadership and Natural History Education, and a Masters of Education from Lesley University, with a concentration in children’s development, nature-based education, and rites of passage. In addition to her extensive training and experience as a nature-based educator and naturalist, Lorene studied and practiced the 8 Shields Cultural Mentoring model, wilderness survival skills, outdoor emergency medicine, is Certified Clinical Herbalist, and is Large Childcare Center Director qualified. 

Regina Zaragoza Frey / Inclusiveness and Equity Manager
303.499.3647 x 111
[email protected]

Regina joined the Thorne team in 2020 as Inclusiveness and Equity Manager and has a double B.A. in International Affairs and Art History from CU Boulder. She is originally from Querétaro, Mexico, where she attended school before moving on to college in Boulder. Currently, Regina is pursuing an MSL degree with the CU Law School while working full time. Regina has been involved in Boulder’s nonprofit sector since she graduated in 2015, working with Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, and with the “I Have A Dream Foundation” of Boulder County. She is on the board of the Boulder Chamber and is one of the founding committee members of the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County. Regina loves to stay engaged and active within her community and uses her role as Inclusiveness and Equity Manager to empower others to do the same.

THE BOARD

Thorne is governed by a Board of Trustees which makes policy level decisions that guide operations to ensure the fulfillment of Thorne’s mission. All of Thorne’s Trustees volunteer their time and contribute their talents in ways that best help Thorne connect youth to nature.

Thorne Board of Trustees

David Brantz / Chair
Kottke & Brantz, LLC - Partner
David Kirk / Vice Chair
Highland Real Estate Consulting
Chris Jacobs / Treasurer
Element Properties - Principal
Jacquie McKenna / Secretary
Development Finance Consultant
John Ahrens
BOE St Vrain Valley School District - Director of Education
Graham Casden
Oceans First Divers – Owner
Pablo Hester
Clinica Family Health - Dental Operations Director
Sarah Irizarry
Harris Freeman - VP of Brands and E-commerce
Niki Koubourlis
Colliers International - Director of Finance and Operations
JD Mangat
Lafayette City Council
Kerry Merkel
Blue Mountain Montessori - Owner/Director
Anne-Worley Moelter
Movement Climbing & Fitness - CEO & Founder
Annika Paradise
Graduate Student & Parent
Sophie Ramus
Centennial Middle School - Teacher
Micah Shagoury
JSR Life Sciences - Senior Manager Strategic Planning
Jose Vietez
Boomtown Accelerator - Director
Mark Davison / Ex-Officio Trustee
City of Boulder Open Space - Community Connections and Partnerships Manager
Amanda Paulson / Ex-Officio Trustee
Bobolink Foundation - Special Program Officer