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

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.

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.

Xixi qin

Colorado College Public Interest Fellow
Xixi recently graduated from Colorado College with a degree in environmental science and a minor in education. Being a global citizen, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge of the world with people. She’s excited to continue her journey as an educator and inspire care for self, others, and the environment from future stewards. In her free time, Xixi likes to make various crafts, play soccer with her friends, and chill under the sun.

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.

Susan Janzer

Susan was born and raised in North Dakota, after living in California and New Jersey she moved to Colorado in 1996 and fell in love with all that Colorado has to offer. In her role of Finance and Office Manager she brings many talents from previous roles, most recently with Penrose-St.Francis and the YMCA In Susan's free time she loves to spend time with her husband, children and grandchildren, hiking, exploring, traveling or golfing.

Spencer Kessinger

Environmental Educator
Born and raised in Maryland, Spencer received her Bachelor's in Environmental Studies, Education, and Biology at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She left the brackish shores of the Chesapeake Bay looking to explore a new part of the country and experience mountain life! Outside of work, Spencer enjoys hiking with her dog, doing yoga, and spending time near water. She is excited to continue exploring Colorado while having fun and hands-on environmental learning experiences alongside the kiddos she teaches!

Autumn Mcmullen

Environmental Educator
Autumn is a 2022 graduate from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and pursued a B.A. in Inclusive Elementary Education. Autumn spent most of her childhood with mountains in her backyard, both the Rockies and Appalachians, fueling her love for the outdoors. Teaching others about different places became a passion at a young age. Throughout her career she has brought a passion for learning to students of all ages from zealous preschoolers to reluctant high schoolers in and out of a classroom. Autumn is enthralled to take her teaching to a rain or shine outdoor environment and learn alongside eager students. When Autumn is not at work you will find her in the local thrift stores flipping through books and clothing racks, playing games with her friends, and dancing in the rain (whenever she can)!

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!

Katie Martins

Manger of Operations
She is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a degree in geography and environmental studies and a certificate in geospatial information science. Katie grew up in Colorado hiking, biking, and climbing with a strong passion for sustainable food systems and recreation. Katie is excited to share in educational experiences with youth to foster confidence, respect, and care for environmental stewardship.

Grace Mullins

AmeriCorps Service Member:
Environmental Educator
Grace is an AmeriCorps member serving at the Catamount Institute as an Environmental Educator. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio and has always had a passion for the outdoors. She recently moved from the Adirondack mountains of New York to Colorado Springs to explore the higher mountains. In her spare time, you can find her cuddled up with her dog, or searching for a good swimming spot. Grace is looking forward to helping the youth of Colorado build a connection with nature, and learning alongside them.

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.

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