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Partners in the Outdoors Conference

About the Speakers and Presenters​

Keynote speakers and presenters are selected by our conference planning team in conjunction with CPW leadership to bring you the most interesting and relevant information. Our speakers will share thought-provoking stories and information, and professional development and collaboration skills, along with training on topics currently affecting conservation and outdoor recreation.

We are continuing to highlight our 2021 Conference Presenters. Check back in next year to see our 2022 list of  Conference Presenters. 

2021 Keynote Speakers: Eduardo Garcia and J. Drew Lanham

Image of Eduardo Garcia

"A Hungry Life - How my relationship with the outdoors became the most dynamic single contributor to my life's journey"

Eduardo will share why and how he fell in love with the outdoors. His journey is filled with adventures in the outdoors, travel around the globe, unexpected tragedies and at its roots a career built by cooking and connecting from the heart.

Growing up in southwest Montana, Eduardo developed a deep love and connection to the outdoors while becoming an accomplished hunter, angler and triathlete all while fostering a career as a classically trained chef. He will be discussing his journey through career milestones to recent accomplishments, as well as sharing his insight into how we can make the outdoors a welcoming place for people from all walks of life while ensuring we advance and balance both recreation and conservation so the Colorado we all know and love is here for future generations.

An avid outdoorsman with an unmatched zest for life, chef Eduardo Garcia is a testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity. A classically trained chef who found his passion for cooking at an early age, Eduardo cut his teeth in the industry at just 15 years old; hustling over hot pans, flipping burgers and throwing pizzas. After working in the fast paced kitchens of Seattle and attending culinary school, Eduardo took his love for cooking to the high seas; working as a private chef on luxury yachts and more importantly, on the hunt for exceptional food experiences that can only be found by traveling the world. It was during this pivotal time that Eduardo started inviting others to join him in the kitchen to collaborate and discover the joy of creating memorable food and experiences therein. The watershed moment gave birth to Eduardo’s personal mantra; a meal is more than just what we eat, but an integral part of what builds culture and brings people together.

Image black and white portrait of of  J. Drew Lanham.

"Coloring the Conservation Conversation"

Lanham will discuss what it means to embrace the full breadth of his African-American heritage and his deep kinship to nature and adoration of birds. The convergence of ornithologist, college professor, poet, author and conservation activist blend to bring our awareness of the natural world and our moral responsibility for it forward in new ways. Candid by nature — and because of it — Lanham will examine how conservation must be a rigorous science and evocative art, inviting diversity and race to play active roles in celebrating our natural world.

A native of Edgefield, South Carolina, J. Drew Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, which received the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Southern Book Prize, and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal. He is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies, including The Colors of Nature, State of the Heart, Bartram’s Living Legacy, and Carolina Writers at Home. An Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina, a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall.

2021 Session Presenters

Session 1: “Laugh and Live: The joy of diversity in hunting and fishing”

Image of Kamila Elsisie posing behind a turkey she harvested.

Kamila Elsisie, Ambassador for Artemis Sportswomen

Kami Elsisie (37) who is Navajo, lives in Albuquerque, NM where she works Full Time as a Paramedic in the Emergency Room and on an ambulance. Kami is also the Communications and Education Outreach Coordinator for the NMWF, the Central New Mexico Artemis Ambassador and she sits on the board for the Minority Outdoor Alliance. When Kami is not busy working you can find her out in the woods with her German Short-haired Pointer Sig Sauer and her Squirrel dog Annie.

Image of Ray Trejo with his two hunting dogs.

Ray Trejo, Southern New Mexico Outreach Coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation

Ray Trejo, an avid sportsman and conservationist,is the Southern New Mexico Outreach Coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. Trejo spent the last 27 years of his career as a public-school teacher and administrator. Trejo also attended Western New Mexico University in Silver City where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in teaching, and a second master’s in educational leadership. He was instrumental in helping to create the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument and has been actively involved in work along the Mexican border that affects wildlife, more public access and advocacy.

Image of Jeremy Romero posting with successful pronghorn buck harvest.

Jeremy Romero, Regional Connectivity Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation

Growing up in northern New Mexico and coming from a long lineage of ranching, hunting and public land users, Jeremy gained his appreciation for the outdoors at an early age. As an avid hunter and angler, Jeremy channeled his passion for the outdoors into wildlife conservation and now serves as the Regional Connectivity Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. In this role, Jeremy works with local communities, tribes, private landowners, sportsmen, traditional land users and federal and state agencies to protect wildlife connectivity and ensure the conservation of our nation’s land, water, wildlife, and cultural uses like hunting and fishing are protected for future generations.

Head shot image of Jamie Gloshay wearing red beaded jewelry and a black with floral top..

Jamie Gloshay, Co-Founder of Native Women Lead

Jaime is also a Manager at Roanhorse Consulting, LLC and co-designs and develops initiatives on economic inclusion, entrepreneurship, and resource curation. She holds a BA in Native American Studies & Political Science and an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Jaime is a Matriarch of the Navajo, White Mountain Apache, and Kiowa Nations, and mother of three. Outside of work, Jaime finds balance by being outdoors: hiking, snowboarding, and partaking in cultural activities of her community. She has recently embarked and explored hunting as it relates to traditional food systems and food sovereignty.

Image of Gabe Vasquez sitting on a sandstone rock.

Gabe Vasquez, Founder of Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project

Gabe Vasquez was born in El Paso, TX, and raised in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, and is the founder of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project. Gabe grew up fishing the Rio Grande in Chihuahua and New Mexico with his father and learned early on about hunting and conservation traditions from his grandfather Javier. Gabe is a Las Cruces City Councilor and serves on the boards of the Outdoor Alliance and Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks. Gabe's passions include outdoor equity, fishing, hunting, and conservation.

Session 2: “Managing Our Public Lands in the Face of Wildfire: A US Forest Service Perspective”

Image of Kara Chadwick wearing a brown forest service uniform and leaning against an aspen tree.

​Kara Chadwick, Forest Supervisor for San Juan National Forest

Chadwick began her U.S. Forest Service career in 1985 working on timber crews and fighting fires in Montana and Idaho on the Kootenai and Clearwater National Forests. From 1988 to 2002, she held various positions in Timber, Silviculture, and NEPA on the Clearwater and Nez Perce national forests in Idaho, and Kaibab National Forest in Arizona... In 2010, she moved to the U.S. Forest Service Washington Office as a Liaison in Minerals and Geology before being named as the agency’s Assistant Director for Forest Management in 2011. From 2008 to 2017, she was a Resource Unit Leader with the USFS Southern Area Type I Incident Management Team.
Headshot of Monte Williams wearing a green forest service ball cap.

​Monte Williams, Forest Supervisor for Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest

Monte Williams has served as the Forest Supervisor for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland located in northern Colorado since 2015. Williams’ background includes serving as a Legislative Affairs Specialist in the Forest Service headquarters in Washington D.C. and acting Chief of Staff for Arthur ‘Butch’ Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Natural Resources and Environment.. Williams’ formal education is Watershed Management with a Bachelor of Science from Utah State University.
Image of Russ Bacon smiling and wearing a brown Forest Service uniform.

​Russ Bacon, Forest Supervisor for Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

Prior to becoming the Forest Supervisor in 2017, Russ was the Deputy Forest Supervisor of the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest in western Colorado. Throughout his career, Russ has dealt with the nexus of recreation management, conservation, and wildfire management. Experiences range from managing wildfire in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Central Idaho to managing a recreation program within a half day's drive of Detroit and Chicago.
Head shot of Scott Fitzwilliams.

​Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor for White River National Forest

Scott has also served as the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Willamette National Forest in Eugene, Oregon and the Staff Officer for Recreation, Wilderness Lands and Minerals on the Tongass National Forest in Sitka, Alaska from 2001-2006. Additionally, he was the Public Affairs Officer for the Forest Service on the Bridger-Teton NF in Jackson Hole, Wyoming from 1992-1998. Scott has a BS in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin and a MS in Environmental Planning from the University of Colorado. Scott and his wife Lisa and their 19 year old son Sam live in Glenwood Springs, CO.
Image of Emily Olsen smiling and posing in front of a tree.

​Emily Olsen, Rocky Mountain Regional Director of the National Forest Foundation

Working alongside a small but growing team, Emily leads programs in Colorado and neighboring states to enhance forest health, support sustainable recreation, and connect communities to their public lands. Her work is possible because of durable partnerships with nonprofit, business, and community partners. Previously, Emily worked as a facilitator and policy analyst at the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, and spent several years with the U.S. Forest Service at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Science Lab in Missoula, Montana. She holds an M.S. from the University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation, where she specialized in forest planning, policy and conflict resolution.

Session 3: “Effectively Managing Increasing Visitation to Colorado’s Public Lands”

Black and white head shot of Ben Lawhon.

​Ben Lawhon, Director of Education & Research for Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Ben Lawhon joined the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics staff in 2001
where he serves as Director of Education and Research. His primary responsibilities include research, curriculum development, management of national education and training programs, agency relations, and oversight of national outreach efforts. In his free time, Ben spends as much time outdoors as possible.

Session 4: “What Are the Impacts of Recreation on Wildlife?”

Head shot of Brian Dreher wearing a blue ball cap with the CPW logo.

​Brian Dreher, Senior Terrestrial Biologist for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Prior to joining CPW, Brian attended Colorado State University for a Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Biology and a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University As an area biologist, Brian managed wildlife in an area that spanned from Colorado Springs to the Kansas border to the east. He conducted several projects with bighorn sheep on Pikes Peak and the Rampart Range. After 3 years as an area wildlife biologist, Brian Promotes to a Senior Wildlife Biologist for the SE region of Colorado, where he supervised 6 biologists, an airplane pilot and a forest habitat coordinator. In December of 2019, Brian became the Terrestrial Section Manager, which oversees the terrestrial section at the statewide level.
Head shot of Jake Ivan wearing a blue button down shirt.

Jake Ivan, Mammals Researcher for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Jake's recent projects include impacts of forest management on snowshoe hare density, impact of bark beetle outbreaks on wildlife, including Canada lynx and their prey; impacts of winter recreation on Canada lynx, and monitoring programs for rare carnivores. He holds a PhD in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University, and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana.

Head shot of Eric Bergman wearing a green ball cap with sunglasses on the brim and a gray and green outdoor sports coat.

​Eric Bergman, Mammals Researcher for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Eric joined Colorado Parks and Wildlife in 2003 as an ungulate research scientist. Most of Eric’s research focuses on population ecology, largely in the context of evaluating the effect of management actions on ungulate population performance. Eric has worked on mule deer, moose, and most recently elk, although he has also had small research projects focused on bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and pronghorn. Eric grew up in Iowa before completing his Bachelor’s degree in Minnesota. He completed a MSc in 2003 at Montana State, where he focused on predator/prey spatial dynamics of wolves, elk, and bison in Yellowstone National Park. In 2013 Eric completed a PhD at Colorado State University.

Image of Tina Jackson smiling and posing with a white mountain goat mascot.

​Tina Jackson, Species Conservation Coordinator for Colorado Park & Wildlife

Tina joined Colorado Parks and Wildlife in 1997, serving as a Species Conservation Coordinator since 2003. In this position, she implements species conservation and recovery programs for black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs, Preble’s and New Mexico meadow jumping mice, bats, and reptiles throughout Colorado. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental, Population, Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Law and Policy from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Image of Jeff Thompson posing while hugging a young girl. He is holding a small bird in one hand.

​Jeff Thompson, Resource Stewardship Coordinator for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Jeff earned his master's degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Natural Resource Law and Policy. He also holds degrees in Recreation Land Management, Biology, and Outdoor Leadership. Jeff's work experience includes leading field crews in the inventory and monitoring of biological and recreation resources, applying field data to land management decisions in GIS applications, performing field and programmatic work for the Colorado Natural Areas Program, directing outdoor education programs, and park management and operations. Within CPW, Jeff leads natural resource inventory, monitoring, and planning on state park lands as he works with field staff to apply natural resource data to land management decision processes.
Head shot of Matt Schulz. Matt is looking at the camera and smiling.

​Matt Schulz, Forest Management Coordinator for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Matt manages several statewide conservation initiatives and partnerships for Colorado Parks and Wildlife covering a wide range of topics including citizen science, forest management, prescribed fire, cultural resources, paleontology and the soon to be minted Colorado Conservation Data Explorer (CODEX). These initiatives feed into a larger Resource Stewardship Program designed to provide direction and assistance on all resource issues for park management. Matt's expertise is in forest ecology, GIS, resource planning and integration of scientific information into planning and management. Matt received his formal training from Colorado State University and worked with local governments on natural resource, recreation and water issues prior to joining CPW.

Session 5: “Funding Public Access and Habitat Conservation: Opportunities for Colorado”

Head shot of Amanda Nims wearing a blue vest with the CPW logo and smiling at the camera.

Amanda Nims, Land Protection Specialist for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Amanda is responsible for managing the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program and CPW's Conservation Easement Stewardship Program. Amanda has close to two decades of experience working in private land conservation across 3 states. Prior to joining CPW, Amanda worked for 6 years at Colorado Open Lands as a senior project manager, working with multiple partners to complete complex land, water, and public access conservation deals across the state of Colorado.
Head shot of Tim Brass. He wearing hunter camouflage jacket and hat, and holding a harvested duck in each hand.

Tim Brass, Member of the Habitat Stamp Committee

Tim Brass is the state policy and field operations director for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, where he helps direct the organization’s work to protect and enhance habitat and public recreational access to public lands. Tim’s work is focused on enhancing access to inaccessible public lands, while also balancing growing demands for recreational access and needs for undisturbed fish and wildlife habitat. Tim enjoys hunting waterfowl, big game hunting with a bow and fly-fishing high mountain lakes.
Head shot of Dan Gates. He is wearing glasses and smiling at the camera.

​Dan Gates, Member of the Habitat Stamp Committee

Colorado resident since 1976, Dan is an avid lifetime sportsman. Dan is deeply engaged in multiple sportsmen’s and conservation organizations, and sits on the Habitat Stamp Committee and CPW’s Executive Summit Council, and the Colorado Wildlife Council. His passion for the outdoors is a true representation of his beliefs in conservation. He and his wife Karen and son Ethan conduct their lives in a manner that benefits not only themselves but all of the sportsmen in Colorado.

Session 6: “Envision Recreation in Balance: Practical advice for collaborative planning and transformative action”

Head shot of Cindy Williams wearing a blue plaid dark blazer and turquoise turtleneck.

​Cindy Williams, Co-Chair of Envision Chaffee County

Cindy is the Co-Chair of Envision Chaffee County and Chair of the Chaffee County Common Ground Fund. She is a Colorado native, tapping her experience to catalyzing citizens to support the community and landscapes that make Central Colorado special. Williams is an accomplished executive with 30 years of domestic and international experience including executive roles leading global exploration, innovation and technical services for Newmont Mining Company. She holds a BS and MSc in Economic Geology from Colorado.
Head shot of Carlee Koutnik. She is smiling at the camera and wearing a black top.

​Carlee Koutnik, Deputy Director for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Carlee Koutnik is a Colorado native from La Veta who grew up with a wide appreciation for Colorado’s public lands and wildlife. She graduated from the US Air Force Academy with an undergraduate degree in biology and shortly after, earned a master’s degree from the University of Florida in forest resources and conservation. Carlee joined CPW in 2020 following eight years in the Air Force. While serving, she specialized in occupational and environmental health management, sexual assault victim advocacy in Florida and Alaska, and she proudly finished her military service in Colorado as an instructor of biology at her alma mater. Among Carlee’s repertoire of interests, she's a lifelong hunter and enjoys hiking, triathlons, snowmobiling, pottery, and snowboarding.
Image of Jamin Griggs holding a deer fawn.

​Jamin Grigg, Wildlife Biologist for Colorado Parks & Wildlife

I have been a wildlife biologist for CPW for the past 14 years, including the past 12 years as the wildlife biologist for the upper Arkansas River valley based out of Salida. Prior to working for CPW, I completed my master's degree in Montana studying the impacts of road and trail networks on elk movement, distribution, and migration patterns. In my free time, I enjoy hunting, fishing, rafting, skiing, and philosophical discussions over beers with my mountain biking friends.
Head shot of Greg Felt wearing a blue blazer and smiling at the camera.

Greg Felt, Chairman for Chaffee County Board of Commissioners

A fly-fishing guide and outfitter for over 30 years (co-owner of ArkAnglers, LLC), Greg has had a deep and lasting involvement in natural resource issues and water planning. He has served on the state’s outfitter licensing board, the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Citizen’s Task Force, and the Colorado Advisory Board for the Trust for Public Land. In the water world, he is Vice Chairman of the Board for the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, represents Chaffee County on the board of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, and was appointed in 2020 by Gov. Jared Polis to serve as the Arkansas River Basin representative on the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Image of Ben Lara. Ben is wearing a red shirt and a white ball cap with a dark brim.

​Ben Lara, Recreation Staff for United States Forest Service

Originally from the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado, Ben started his Forest Service career in the Inyo National Forest and Pacific Southwest Regional office in California. He has spent the better part of his career working on facilitating access to National Forests. Ben has a strong passion for connecting people to their public lands and building a strong stewardship ethic within the communities he serves. Ben’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in Parks and Protected Area Management from San Francisco State University.
Image of Kalem Lendard standing with one arm around his son. They are both wearing hydration packs in front of a trail.

​Kalem Lenard, Assistant Field Manager for Royal Gorge Field Office BLM

He has been with the BLM in Canon City Colorado for the past 11 years working in recreation and as a supervisor over the recreation, wildlife, range, forestry, fisheries and archaeology programs. He began his career in eastern Nevada as an intern with the BLM inventorying invasive plants where he was introduced to land management and the complex field of outdoor recreation planning and management. He has a degree in Geography from Portland State University and enjoys exploring the west with his wife and two kids.
Image of Domonique Naccarato wearing a dark blue shirt and smiling up at the camera.

​Dominique Naccarato, Executive Director of Greater Arkansas River Nature Association

A native of Salida, Colorado, Dominique Naccarato, MEM is a systems thinking professional who is passionate about community engagement and collaboration. She’s the Executive Director of the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), a non-profit with a 25-year history which partners with public land agencies to inspire a conservation ethic by providing educational opportunities and experiences so that those who live, work and play in the Upper Arkansas Valley are motivated to take care of the natural resources and leave a legacy of responsible use of the natural environment.