Youth Programs Staff

Youth programs team sitting on log

We hire enthusiastic science educators who love working with children in the outdoors! Each staff person must pass a background check as well as have First Aid and CPR certifications. Our youth program team is trained not only in safely managing groups in the outdoors, but in how to engage children in both fun and meaningful field science learning experiences.  Staff are typically hired after already having experience as teachers and guides for youth in a variety of camps, schools or non-profit organizations.

Meet Our 2024 Instructor Team Below!

Katie Lawn (Youth Programs Coordinator)

Hometown: Lake Villa, Illinois
Degree(s) or Area(s) of Expertise: B.S. in Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Education
If you could have a superhero power or superhero tool, what would it be? I would like to be able to have gills to breathe underwater.
Favorite Animal: Bison and salamanders
Favorite Insect: Caddisflies, especially those that build their own cases!
Favorite Plant: Sassafras trees
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food
Commonly Seen: Skiing, hanging out on water, adventuring with my pup, relaxing in hot springs and making friends wait for me on hikes while taking pictures of wildflowers and other treasures.

Colleen Baker

Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Degree(s) or Area(s) of Expertise: B.S. in Environmental Science, M.S. in Agricultural Leadership & Education
If you could have a superhero power or superhero tool, what would it be?: I would slow down time to be able to do all the different things I want to do!
Favorite Animal: salamanders
Favorite Insect: luna moth
Favorite Plant: fynbos
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: chocolate raspberry chunk
Commonly Seen: in the mountains, paddleboarding, hanging with my cats in my garden, dancing

Jacob Gasser

Hometown: Castle Rock, CO
Degrees: B.A. in Environment and Sustainability, B.A. in Recreation and Outdoor Education with an emphasis in Outdoor Environmental Education, Minor in Business Administration
Superpower: time travel
Favorite Animal: Mountain chicken (its a type of frog!)
Favorite Insect: Ants (they’re always up to something)
Favorite Plant: Blue spruce
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mint chocolate chip
Commonly Seen: Floating the river, rock climbing, powder-hunting at CB, and playing guitar.

Anna Houser

Hometown:  Charlotte, NC
Degree(s) or Area(s) of Expertise: Environmental Economics, Horticulture, Sustainability
If you could have a superhero power or superhero tool, what would it be? Water or fire bending, most likely water bending because of healing powers
Favorite Animal: Chicken or Penguin
Favorite Insect: Hummingbird Moth
Favorite Plant: Orchids, Okra, and Osha
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cookies and Cream
Commonly Seen: Skiing, hanging out on my porch, gardening around town, jamming at concerts

Marley Santos

Hometown:  Boulder, CO
Degree(s) or Area(s) of Expertise: I have spent time working in a preschool both as an assistant teacher and lead teacher. I plan to start at Western in the fall, with interest in environmental education.
If you could have a superhero power or superhero tool, what would it be?: Teleportation! Would love to travel to any place at any time.
Favorite Animal: Elephant. Strong, smart, and grounded creatures.
Favorite Insect: Mariposa butterfly
Favorite Plant: Cherry tomato plant
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  Cookie dough
Commonly Seen: The disc golf course!