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.

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. 

CLICK HERE if you are interested in joining the Thorne team.


Dr. Oakleigh Thorne II / Founder, Honorary President, & Bird Banding Instructor
303.499.3647 x 104
[email protected]
Julia Abell / School Programs Coordinator
[email protected]

Julia (she/her/hers) joined the Thorne team in the summer of 2021 as a Summer Camp Instructor and now works as the School Programs Coordinator. 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 (she/her/hers) 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.

Lauren Barth / Preschool Coordinator and Lead Preschool Teacher- Lafayette
[email protected]

Lauren (she/her/hers) will be working her first year as one of the lead preschool teachers in Lafayette. She joined the Thorne team while in high school as a volunteer and returned for the summer after finishing her major in Recreation Outdoor Education with an emphasis in outdoor leadership and youth education. Lauren also has an ECE certification through Front Range Community College and over six years of experience working with outdoor youth education programs. Lauren believes that the connection to nature at early ages is not only developmentally beneficial in the experience of free exploration, but it also helps build a connection to the spaces around us as stewards, leading to a better environmental future. In Lauren’s free time she can be found making jewelry out of retired skis, rafting, climbing, biking, running, and hiking with her dog Peri. 

Natalie Becker / Senior Manager of Summer Camp
303.499.3647 x 109
[email protected]

Natalie (she/her/hers) joined the Thorne team in late 2022. She has ten years of experience as the executive director of a residential summer camp in Oregon. She is a professional educator and holds a PhD in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Natalie believes deeply in the summer camp experience as a means to connect young people with themselves, others and the rest of the natural world.

Rachel Brett / Director of Community Partnerships
[email protected]

Rachel (she/her/hers) joined the Thorne team in late 2022. She has a B.A. in History from Brown University and an M.S. in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England. Her experience includes leading backpacking and sea kayaking expeditions, taught in both informal and formal classroom settings, and for the last six years was the Youth and Inclusiveness Director for Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. Rachel is especially passionate about ensuring that all youth and families have equitable access to nature. When she’s not working, Rachel spends her time hiking, trail running, gardening, eating hummus, and playing with her two young children.

Drew Bussanmas / Assistant Preschool Teacher
[email protected]

Drew (she/her/hers) is serving through Americorps as an assistant nature preschool teacher in Boulder. She recently received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Technology with a Sustainability Studies certificate and a minor in Spanish from Colorado Mesa University. Since graduating, she has been certified as a Forest School Teacher and in Wilderness First Aid in preparation for working as an environmental educator at the Wilderness Awareness School summer day camp. Drew values conservation and rehabilitation of natural and wild spaces, and loves teaching about how we can be part of our ecosystem rather than apart from it. She is excited by the opportunities that nature provides for community and personal development, and hopes to encourage connection and respect among all life in Boulder County!

Callie Dahlberg / Environmental Educator
[email protected]

Callie joined the Thorne team Spring 2022 leading up to summer camp. She got her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Montana State University in December 2019. Since then, she has worked a wide range of jobs ranging from an alpine ski racing coach to an education assistant at a dinosaur museum in Montana, before finally landing in the environmental education sector. Callie grew up hiking, backpacking, running, and skiing in Washington State, spent six years in Montana exploring further, and moved to Boulder in late 2021. She hopes that her joy of teaching combined with her love of the outdoors is a perfect fit for Thorne.

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

Keith (he/him/his) 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.

Sarah Grove / Volunteer and Field Trips Manager
[email protected]

Sarah (she/her/hers) 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)

Silje Hayes / Preschool Assistant Teacher
[email protected]

Silje Hayes, pronounced Sil-yuh or Sil for short, (she/her/hers) is a graduate of Colorado State University with a BS in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She has worked with children in many different capacities over the years, starting as a summer day camp volunteer at 17. Since graduating from CSU, Silje worked with children at outdoor summer day camps, as an EcoWeek Instructor at the CSU mountain campus, as a paraprofessional in Poudre School District, and most recently by guiding outdoor field trips for students in the Denver Metro area. She is beyond excited to be working with Thorne Nature Preschool. It is her belief that children who develop a love of nature will become lifelong stewards of the earth and Thorne Nature Preschool helps children to love the outdoors.

Keerigan Heg / Development Assistant
303.499.3647 x 113
[email protected]

Keerigan (she/her/hers) joined Thorne in the spring of 2022 as the Development Assistant.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Environmental Sustainability from SNHU. She grew up in the woods of Connecticut and beside the ocean in Rhode Island but always yearned to be more than just a flatlander. Keerigan is passionate about environmental stewardship, food sovereignty and the power of community. She loves all things crunchy…camping, hiking and yoga. 

Danielle Henshaw / HR Support / Bookkeeper
303.499.3647 x 115
[email protected]

Danielle (she/her/hers) joined the Thorne team in 2021 and uses her extensive background in human resources and bookkeeping to support Thorne programming by keeping the general operations at Thorne moving forward. In addition to an HR background, Danielle was a Summer Camp Director, Outward Bound Instructor, Case Manager, and Medical Technician. Being outdoors and connecting with nature has been a life long passion and now Danielle enjoys sharing those activities with her family- and her kids LOVE the Thorne summer camp program!

Greyson Holt / Summer Camp Coordinator
[email protected]

Greyson (he/him/his) has been an educator for over a decade, teaching a diverse range of ages and subjects. After graduating Texas A&M University, he taught middle school in Texas and led youth summer camps in the New Mexico mountains. He then spent three years in Spain teaching English as a foreign language, learning Spanish, and exploring the Basque mountains and coast. He returned to Texas to teach special education in an Elementary classroom for another 3 years. Through each stage he was able to deepen his relationship with nature in unique ways. From nature play with siblings, to mountain coast exploration, to backyard science experiments, his wonder of the outdoors is something he has not outgrown, and loves to share with students.  He happily joined the Thorne team in 2022.

Elisheva Holzman-James / Lead Preschool Teacher- Lafayette
[email protected]

Elisheva, pronounced Eh-Li-Sheh-Vah, (she/they) was raised in Santa Barbara, California where she attended alternative and nature based schools as a child. Her passion for gentle and nature centered education continued through her teenage years where she volunteered for Wilderness Youth Project’s Forest Preschool, and eventually became an assistant teacher at 18. She spent 5 years in Israel teaching at a homestead/forest preschool in a farming community while studying Jewish History at PARDES Institute of Jewish Studies, then founded her own forest preschool based on the seasonal rhythms and ancestral traditions of stewards of the land for 3 years. She has almost 9 years of forest pre-schooling experience and what feels like many lifetimes worth of passion for this work! She is currently entering her 3rd year of study with the Academy of Forest Preschool Teachers. Days spent at the Coal Creek site in Lafayette are filled with wild crafting, singing, storytelling, and playing.

Ian Jensen / Environmental Educator
[email protected]

Ian (he/him/his) joined Thorne as a summer camp instructor in 2021, then joined the team as a full-time environmental educator in 2022.  He loved nature as a child, playing on rooftop gardens and building forts in the woods, then discovered a passion for education while working at a summer camp in the Adirondacks.  He graduated from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Environmental Studies and went on to work for various environmental education organizations in NC and NY.  He is now also working on a Masters in Nonprofit Management and loves to spend time in the mountains camping, hiking, climbing and playing in the water.

Tangi Lancaster / Community Engagement Manager
[email protected]

Colorado became Tangi’s (she/her/hers/ella) permanent home in 1996, after living on both coasts in many states. She has also lived, traveled, and studied in Germany and Mexico. Tangi loves to learn about all cultures across the globe and her family has hosted 15 high school exchange students from around the world and 3 international adult visitors. She received her degree in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Denver and has worked within and alongside of the local Latine community for many years. Laying in the grass in the afternoons, during light, Colorado Summer rains, was a favorite childhood past-time and now she enjoys adventuring into the mountains with her husband and their sons. Tangi joined Thorne in February 2023 as part of the Community Impact Team with Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza.

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

Anthony “Andy” Maeding (he/him/his) 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 (she/her/hers) 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.

Ronnie Order / Administrative Director
303.499.3647 x 100
[email protected]

Ronnie (he/him/his) joined Thorne in 2022 as the Administrative Director. He spent many years in environmental education, and comes to us most recently from Denver Zoo, where he helped to run their extensive camp program for six years. Ronnie has a background working at several museums, and has also been an elementary school reading interventionist. He double-majored in Geology (focused on Paleontology) and Biopsychology (focused on brain evolution) as an undergrad, and has a Master’s degree in Teaching in the Biological Sciences (focused on Inquiry Education). His lifelong goal is to educate the public about the wonders of science. Ronnie enjoys hiking, kayaking, and camping, but also considers himself a true nerd and loves role-playing games, science fiction and fantasy, and tabletop and video games.

Caroline Pettit / Lead Preschool Teacher- Boulder
[email protected]

Caroline (she/her/hers) has an MA in Learning, Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education from the University of Colorado, Denver. She believes that nature-based education is beneficial for healthy, whole-child development and fostering a life-long connection to nature. Her experience studying and teaching using the Reggio Emilia approach leads her to hold a strong image of the child, understand the importance of the outdoor classroom for guiding learning, appreciate and encourage the many languages of children, understand children grow in relation to others, and utilize documentation to understand and share learning journeys. Both her children attended nature preschool and forest schools in Maryland. She is a scout leader and certified mindfulness educator. She loves exploring with her family and puppy, knitting, and horseback riding. 

Carrie Riesberg / Marketing Manager
303.499.3647 x 110
[email protected]

Carrie Riesberg (she/her/hers) 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 (she/her/hers) 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.

Brenna Wapstra Scott / Preschool Teacher
[email protected]

Brenna (she/her/hers) recently graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Education. During her college career and summers spent working with children in nature programs, she developed a strong passion for nature-based education and mentoring children to become stewards of the earth. Growing up near Lake Tahoe, CA allowed her the freedom to blossom into the environmentalist and community-oriented individual she is today. Spending a summer working as an Environmental Education Intern at Wild Bear Science School in Nederland planted the desire to return to Colorado. In her free time, Brenna loves to ski, run, mountain bike, travel, and crochet gifts for her friends. She is excited to join the Thorne Nature Preschool team!

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

Gwen (she/her/hers) 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.

Christian Vargas / Director of Community Engagement
303.499.3647 x111
[email protected]

Christian (he/him/his) started working for Thorne in the end of 2022. He had previously volunteered on the board for Thorne and as president of the Promotores for Nature Kids Lafayette, before transitioning into a full-time employee. Christian comes from working over 16 years at Boulder County HHS supporting underserved families, especially the Latinx community. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Christian has always had a connection to the outdoors. He also has a passion for connecting kids to the outdoors. Christian has two sons who have participated in Thorne Nature and Lafayette Nature Kids programs for several years. During his free time Christian enjoys camping, mountain biking, skiing, hiking, paddle boarding and multiple sports with his family and two dogs. In 2001, he moved to Boulder with his wife and graduated from CU Boulder with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with an emphasis in International Trade and a Minor in Business.

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

Lorene (she/her/ella) 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 nature-based programs for children. 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. 

Hannah Weiss / Senior Manager of School Programs
303.499.3647 x 103
[email protected]

Hannah Weiss (she/her/hers) is a New York state native who was born in the Bronx and grew up in New Rochelle, NY. She is a devoted STEM communicator who has spent over a decade in parks, zoos, aquariums, children’s museums, and science museums, working to engage people of all ages in the joy and wonder of STEM. She has an undergraduate degree in biology with a mathematics minor from the University of Rochester and a graduate degree in education from Radford University. Her career has brought her all over the country and has had her working everywhere from the beach to mountaintops and in classrooms and labs of all sizes. Throughout her varied career Hannah has hosted a monthly television segment on local news, developed methodology for adapting Project Based Learning to informal settings, coached award winning Kid Wind and Lego League teams, and even attained National Geographic Educator certification.

Outside of her work in STEM, Hannah is an unrepentant geek with a love of all things pop culture. You can often find her working to join these two passions either through contributions to Cosplay for Science or in her subtle nods to a well-known bus driving science teacher through her expansive STEM wardrobe. After all, what fun is science if it doesn’t take chances, provide the room to make mistakes, and get at least a little messy.


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 Kirk / Chair
Highland Real Estate Consulting
Annika Paradise / Vice Chair
Instructor, Front Range Community College; Author
David Brantz / Secretary
Kottke & Brantz, LLC - Partner
Micah Shagoury / Treasurer
JSR Life Sciences - Senior Manager Strategic Planning
John Ahrens
BOE St Vrain Valley School District - Director of Education
Luis Alvarez
Dolphin View Vacation Rentals - Principal
Christine Berg
Colorado Energy Office – Senior Policy Advisor
Amanda Dumenigo
SOSVV, Inc - Executive Director
Sarah Hauck
Conservation International - Director, Freshwater Health Index
Pablo Hester
Clinica Family Health - Dental Operations Director
Sarah Irizarry
Harris Freeman - VP of Brands and E-commerce
Lauren Koopman
Sustainable Finance Consultant
Anne-Worley Moelter
Movement Climbing & Fitness - CEO & Founder
Sophie Ramus
Centennial Middle School - Teacher
Aidan Smith
Skratch Labs, Amazon Manager