Staff & board

We are nature lovers, educators, and community members.
We are passionate about sharing the outdoors with future generations.

We are dedicated to the outdoors

Meet the team

We are a team of passionate educators and nature lovers who are excited to share that passion with the next generation.  Spending time in nature is something that we all feel strongly about and do in our personal lives. The only way to create great things every day is with great people who truly enjoy their job, so we make sure we only hire the best. As cheesy as it sounds, we live and breathe what we do, we’re enthusiastic and take pride in doing the best work we can.

Please welcome

Executive Director
Heather Graves

“I am beyond excited to join the team at the highly regarded Catamount Institute where I will bring my passions, experience, education, and expertise full circle. Having the opportunity to connect kids with the outdoors, build resilience and strengthen physical and mental health through education, nature and adventure is an honor and a responsibility I do not take lightly. I look forward to serving in this role, it’s really a dream come true!” – Heather Graves 


After a long and thoughtful search for a new Executive Director, I am absolutely thrilled to say that I have some great news to share on behalf of the Catamount Institute. Heather Graves will be joining Catamount Institute as Executive Director beginning on December 12, 2022. We are excited and honored that Heather has chosen Catamount Institute as a place to dedicate her talent and energy. 


Heather Graves, MS MLS, has over 20 years of leadership experience working in community based non-profit organizations, healthcare, and public health. She is a thoughtful and collaborative leader with expertise in relationship building and community partnerships. Heather has a proven track record of successful staff development and mentorship along with financial development, innovative program design, development, and implementation. 


Throughout her career there have been common threads of youth development and health in each role, starting with the YMCA and extending through her work with community and public health. She has tremendous passion for connecting kids with the outdoors, and a vision for aligning our programs with mental, physical health and wellness. She is committed to making an impact in the lives of others through her leadership in her professional work, volunteer service and by serving on many community boards and committees.  


Heather received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University and Master of Science Degree in Management, Leadership and Strategy from Michigan State University. 


Outside of work, you will find Heather spending time with her husband Eric, and their son, Kaden enjoying all of the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer such as hiking, kayaking, camping, backpacking, traveling, gardening, playing, or watching sports.


I would also like to thank Linda Boedeker, Interim Executive Director, who has done an exceptional job of leading the organization through the interim period. Linda’s expertise and natural leadership have been invaluable to keeping the organization moving forward. 


And, lastly, I’d like to thank the Catamount Institute staff, who show unrelenting resilience and dedication to the children and families that we serve and ensuring that Catamount Institute lives up to its mission of connected kids with the outdoors every day. You have all made the Board of Directors so very proud to be a part of this organization this year. You are what makes Catamount Institute special. Thank you for all you do. 


Please join me in welcoming Heather to Catamount Institute. We are truly looking forward to all of the great progress we will achieve with her leadership. Let’s get outside!


Darren Reed

Catamount Institute


Board President

Our staff

Linda Boedeker

The Catamount Institute welcomed Linda J. Boedeker, Interim Executive Director, to our organization in April of this year. Linda has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and has extensive experience serving in interim roles for organizations going through a transition. She has worked with agencies serving the homeless, LGBTQ, veterans, the arts, healthcare, advocacy, and children. She is also a Senior Trainer for The Grantsmanship Center, providing grant proposal writing boot camps for nonprofit and government agencies throughout the nation. Linda lives here in Colorado Springs with her husband Greg, where she enjoys recumbent bicycling, gardening, and her two hard-headed basset hounds.

Janelle Ross

Director of Operations
Janelle Ross graduated from West Virginia University in 2016 where she studied Environmental Geoscience. She is dedicated to contributing to environmental education in and outside the classroom. Janelle loves having fun and creating positive experiences for kids outdoors to greater their connection to nature and themselves.


Finance & Operations Manager
Cheryl Sims moved to Colorado Springs from Minnesota in 1973 after graduating from Riverside Community College with a degree in Business Management. For more than 30 years, Cheryl has worked in the field of accounting for various local businesses.

Emily Tamayo Generation Wild of the Pikes Peak Region Coordinator
Emily Tamayo

Generation Wild of the Pikes Peak Region Coordinator
Originally from Hawai'i, Emily Tamayo has lived in Colorado Springs for the past 20 years with a degree in Anthropology from UCCS. She is passionate about the connections between the Earth and its people with a focus on land justice and anti-colonialism. Besides being with her cat, she loves exploring new foods, cuisines, and restaurants.

Billy Kinn

Director of Education
Billy has helped professionals and children teach and study the natural world since 2011. He has dipped toes in everything environmental science-related from researching leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica to taking soil samples in the Arctic Circle. When he isn't exploring the front range with Catamount kids, he can be found getting sunburnt running trails or climbing rocks.

Tarin hill

Environmental Educator
When Tarin moved to Colorado and got a glimpse of the snow-capped mountain peaks and beautiful ice-covered rivers, she knew many adventures outside lay ahead. Tarin received her Bachelor's in Wildlife Conservation and Science at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2019. When she is not getting lost enjoying the outdoors and trying new foods, she can be found learning how to crochet and play the guitar. She looks forward to helping strengthen the bonds between people and the natural world!

Adriana Aboitiz

Colorado College Public Interest Fellow
Adriana the PIFP at the Catamount Institute. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Colorado to study education and environmental science at Colorado College. She loves being outside teaching students about science and creating art. Adriana loves to read, draw and bake gingersnap cookies during her free time.

Alex Collopy

Director of School Programs
A born and raised Coloradoan, Alex studied Natural Resources at Colorado State University where she discovered her path educating youth outside. Alex has been an educator at the Environmental Learning Center, Teton Science Schools, Denver Audubon and Big Brother Big Sisters. Alex is thrilled to be connecting students to the outdoors through science and adventure with Catamount Institute!

Abbey Johnson

AmeriCorps Service Member:
Environmental Educator
Abbey is an AmeriCorps member serving at Catamount Institute as an Environmental Educator. Being a third generation Coloradoan she has grown up among the wildflowers and wildlife of this great state. As a child you could always find her in the yard, leaving no stone unturned, looking for any critter she could find. She is slightly bigger now, wanting to share that passion of exploration and life with those around her. Abbey is committed to helping cultivate and expand kids' interest in the outdoors, teaching and learning alongside them.

Chesney Thompson

Environmental Educator
Chesney received a bachelor's degree in Environmental Public Health in 2018 and is now working towards a masters degree in Natural Resources. She has always been passionate about conservation of our planet’s resources and sharing that with others to encourage stewardship to the environment. She loves hiking, crossword puzzles, and being outside whenever she can!

Board of directors

Partners & Sponsors

We're hiring!

Want to join our team of nature lovers? From summer positions to part-time and full-time employment, visit our open position page to see what we have available.