Alison Holloran is the executive director of Audubon Rockies and a vice president of the National Audubon Society. She was hired in 2001 as the Important Bird Area coordinator and has since played many roles in implementing Audubon’s conservation strategies. Before Audubon Alison was a research scientist for the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming. She received her master's degree in zoology and physiology from the University of Wyoming and her B.S. in wildlife management from the University of West Virginia. Alison enjoys any activity that takes her outdoors, including hiking, birdwatching, hunting, skiing, and running.
John Kloster-Prew is the deputy director for Audubon Rockies. He joined us with a strong background as the executive director of the Energy Efficiency Business Coalition and as the director of development and community support for Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful. John’s passion is protecting the environment and wildlife that calls it home, especially birds due to his love of flying. What he enjoys most about Audubon is bringing like-minded people together to provide a voice for birds. John is also an IFR certified private pilot who served 17 years in the U.S. Army. Outside the office, he enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, volleyball, ballroom dancing, and theater.
Daly Edmunds is the policy and outreach director for Audubon Rockies. Daly is responsible for furthering the Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative on a regional scale, working with government representatives, conservation organizations, and community leaders. She also serves as liaison to the 21 independent Audubon chapters in Audubon Rockies’ three states. Daly received her master's in zoology and physiology from the University of Wyoming, on pronghorn research. Prior to joining Audubon in 2009, she worked for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, National Wildlife Federation, and Wyoming Wildlife Federation. In her spare time, Daly enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, paddle boarding, and camping with family and friends. She is a board member of the Central Mountains and Plains Section of The Wildlife Society, which encourages science-based wildlife management across five states.
Abby Burk brings a lifetime love of rivers, particularly of the Colorado River and its tributaries. As the western rivers regional program manager for Audubon Rockies, Abby promotes cultural change in water use and river conservation through interacting with government representatives, state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, businesses, and by recruiting and training community leaders. She has deep ecological management experience and is committed to advancing riparian habitat and stream resiliency through advocacy and action. She is passionate about (re)connecting people to their rivers. Abby most recently taught college courses in biology and environmental science and previous to that was an environmental consultant for eight years. She is an awarded educator and environmental steward. Abby holds a B.S. in biology and an interdisciplinary Master of Education, with ecology and hydrology concentrations. As an avid whitewater kayaker Abby enjoys time on western rivers as often as possible.
Samantha Grant is the western rivers senior coordinator. She comes to Audubon Rockies with a strong background in environmental conservation, Colorado's Water Plan, and western agricultural water management practices. Samantha partners her dedication to environmental conservation with a focus on building a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient water future for Colorado. She holds a master's degree in sustainability planning and management from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she focused her work on environmental policy and water resource management. Outside of work, she enjoys all forms of outdoor fun and baking up tasty treats.
Jamie Weiss is the Habitat Hero coordinator. Along with her B.S. in marine biology and chemistry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Jamie is a certified interpretive guide through the National Association for Interpretation. She previously worked at Boyd Lake State Park and the Georgia Aquarium as an educational interpreter, raising conservation awareness. When not working, she is often leading an active lifestyle trying to keep up with her two dogs. She enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, and long-distance running.
Dusty Downey is the Conservation Ranching program lead for Audubon Rockies and a Community Naturalist. He was born and currently lives with his wife and two daughters on a working cattle ranch in Northeast Wyoming. Dusty has extensive experience with cattle production, supply chain development, and animal husbandry. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in biology. Before returning to the family ranch to work for Audubon in 2005, Dusty was involved with the direction and coordination of education programs at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and served as the education coordinator of the Cache Creek Nature Preserve in Woodland, CA. Today he serves on the Wyoming Association for Environmental Education board, is an advisor for the University of Wyoming's WYOBIO program, and is a member of the North American Association for Environmental Education. Dusty is also a Wilderness EMT and certified interpretive guide through the National Association for Interpretation.
Aaron Maier is a range ecologist for Audubon's Conservation Ranching Initiative serving Audubon Rockies' region. He is a certified ecologist with the Ecological Society of America. Aaron brings more than 20 years of experience as a field ecologist in the Rocky Mountain region and is a certified mediator with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and past secretary/treasurer of the Wyoming section of the Society for Range Management. Aaron has a B.S. in forestry/rangeland resources from the University of Montana and a M.S. in rangeland ecology from the University of Wyoming. Aaron has worked on several ranches in Wyoming and Montana and is passionate about synthesizing ecological principles with regenerative agriculture to preserve and enhance avian habitat throughout the West.
Jacelyn Downey—our education programs manager—began her career as a marine science educator and aquarist but began working for Audubon Rockies as a Community Naturalist in 2006 when she moved to northeast Wyoming with her husband to live and work on the family ranch. Once in Wyoming, Jacelyn focused on sagebrush conservation and getting youth and families to explore the natural wonders of the Rocky Mountain West. In 2015 she won Audubon's highest education award, the Tamar Chotzen Award. Jacelyn serves as a board member for Wyoming's Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund, the Barnyards & Backyards team, and Wyoming Project Learning Tree. Jacelyn enjoys any excuse to be outside with her husband and two daughters, traveling, and cooking for family and friends.
Zach Hutchinson is a Community Naturalist and our community science coordinator. Prior to Audubon he graduated with a B.S. in zoology from NMSU; operated programs combining science, art, and kayaks; served as an alligator conservation biologist; and was a museum operations director. Zach authored The Great Wyoming Bird Trail, an app guiding bird enthusiasts to finding birds in Wyoming. His passion with Audubon is focused on engaging students and adults with experiential learning through his various bird banding projects. Zach’s passion for conservation was started from birth and his personal life greatly reflects his work life. However, he has a passion for international travel!
Keith Bruno is our Community Naturalist serving southwest Colorado, where he runs ecology programs at the Hershey Foundation’s Four Mile Ranch located near Pagosa Springs. He enjoys teaching about birds, native plants, pollinators, food security, snow science, and generally anything that gets him outdoors. Before Audubon, Keith received a master’s degree in natural resources with an environmental education certificate from the University of Idaho. He spent most of his 20s and 30s roaming around the west working wildlife and plant technician jobs with some forays into mountain guiding and market farming. He enjoys skiing, gardening, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, and exploring Puebloan dwellings of the desert Southwest. Now he gets to do it with his young daughter!
Evan Barrientos is the communications and marketing coordinator of Audubon Rockies. His passion is using photography, videography, and writing to inspire people to explore and care for nature. He began birdwatching and photography as a child at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Wisconsin and studied Natural Resources at Cornell University. In addition to communications, he has worked in the fields of environmental education, volunteer coordination, land restoration and management, and ecology.
Ella Sorensen is the Gillmor Sanctuary manager. She has worked on land and water acquisition, planning, and restoration for Gillmor Sanctuary on Great Salt Lake since 1992. She has a degree in chemistry and medical laboratory science from the University of Utah. With her scientific expertise, Ella has consulted on major wetland projects, leads bird tours, and serves on the Conservation Committee at Tracy Aviary. As a long-time bird enthusiast, she has taught bird identification and ecology at Utah Museum of Natural Science, co-authored A Revised Checklist of Utah Birds, and founded and chaired the Utah Rare Birds Committee for ten years. Ella is also a prolific writer and her articles have appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birding, and Audubon, as well as numerous local publications. For fifteen years she authored an award-winning monthly bird feature in Salt Lake Tribune. When she’s not studying or conserving birds, she enjoys international travel and spending time with her family.
Heidi Hoven is the assistant Gillmor Sanctuary manager. She is a wetland ecologist and earned her Ph.D. and MS with a special interest in saline systems and plant physiology from the University of New Hampshire and her BS from the University of Rhode Island. After moving to Utah, she founded a non-profit research group to inform policy to safeguard wetland quality for the birds and other wildlife of Great Salt Lake. She developed strategies to improve managed, impounded wetlands of Great Salt Lake that are still used by managers today and spearheaded the development of a wildlife functional assessment of the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City, which provided scientific rationale behind conservation of lands to buffer globally important wetlands of Great Salt Lake for birds. She has also taught at Weber State University. When not working for birds at Gillmor, she mentors data analysis on her daughter’s robotics team; roots for her son at his ski races and soccer games; plays in the mountains, water, and desert, and helps run her family’s biodynamic produce farm in the summer.
Julie Dillon is the office manager for Audubon Rockies. She is responsible for the daily operations of our regional office and supports Rockies staff in a variety of ways. Julie’s background includes management of the operations and outreach services of a mobile public library, administrative support for a nonprofit university, and she received a Master of Business Administration from Regis University. Julie is passionate about the environment and helped support the launch and operations of a rural mobile recycling program in Missouri and has helped plant community habitat gardens. Julie enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploring new places.
Ashley Meadows is the digital engagement assistant for Audubon Rockies. A Colorado native, she has always had a love for wildlife and a passion for conservation. Ashley has previously worked in wildlife rehabilitation, small business marketing and administration, and currently serves on the board of directors for Colorado Native Bird Care and Conservation. She is also a student at the University of Colorado studying communication and ecology. When she is not at work or in class, Ashley enjoys gardening, hiking, fishing, live music, and spending time with her friends, family, and pets.
Seasonal Community Naturalist Educators at Four Mile Ranch
Laura Dollar grew up with a love of the outdoors and service to others has directed her life path. She first became familiar with Four Mile Ranch in 2008 while working with the Southwest Land Alliance and began volunteering with the program in 2017 to reconnect with her community and share her knowledge of the San Juans with its youth. Since 2003, she has owned and operated her own graphic design company where she has designed brand ecosystems for a long list of talented entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, and non-profits. When she's not working or camping and exploring with her husband and dog in their classic '58 Volkswagen bus, Laura may be found tinkering with new creative projects like knitting or picking the mandolin.
Dottie George is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, and received a master’s degree in education from the University of Redlands. Backpacking and skiing in the Sierras inspired her love for the mountains. During her career as an elementary school teacher in San Juan Capistrano, California, she began writing curricula for her district’s environmental education program, Project Earth, and eventually became the project’s director. One of her objectives for retirement was to continue sharing her love of the natural world with students. She has been a part of the Four Mile Ranch program since 2008.
Gloria Alderete Bissmeyer was born in Reserve, New Mexico. Her Spanish and Native American heritage has brought about many specialized skills. Gloria holds her bachelors in child development and a Masters in Education from San Diego State College. She earned her second masters in elementary school counseling from Adams State College in Colorado. Gloria commonly finds herself working with children with special needs and community projects that include sharing different cultures. As a counselor, Gloria has been involved in many activities that promote children and their parents. Gloria is a weaver, ceramist, and artist. She has served as an interpreter for the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association.