Bluff Lake Team

OUR TEAM

Many people and organizations contribute to the success of Bluff Lake Nature Center, including:

BLNC Staff

Rachel Hutchens
Executive
Director
email Rachel

Rachel Hutchens (formerly Crouch) is a Colorado native with a mission to make culture and nature accessible to everyone. She has a degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in History and Education. Rachel has worked in the nonprofit field for over 10 years, including spending time at the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Science Center. Rachel has been the Executive Director of BLNC since 2018, and has helped grow the organizations education programs and accessibility to diverse communities. Rachel also serves on the Board of Directors for two partner organizations: Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership and Friends of the Front Range Wildlife Refuges. Her favorite thing about Bluff Lake is finding bones and going on insect hunts with kids!

Heidi Pfeiffer
Education
Manager
email Heidi

Heidi first joined the Bluff Lake team as a summer camp counselor, then took over as Education Manager in December of 2018. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Ph.D. in experimental psychology focused on education and health psychology. The beauty of Colorado’s natural spaces drew her to relocate from her hometown in Wisconsin, but she is still a part-time professor at UW-Milwaukee teaching online psychological statistics. She loves working with kids, hiking, biking, gardening, and bird watching. Her favorite thing about Bluff Lake is seeing kids’ wonder and natural curiosity as they explore and learn about the outdoors.

Erickson Smith
Land Manager
email Erickson

Erickson Smith is the Land Manager for Bluff Lake Nature Center. Originally from New England, he grew up exploring Massachusetts tide pools, canoeing Maine’s lakes, and looking for wild animals wherever he could find them. His work in the natural resource field began at aquariums and natural history museums before graduating from College of the Atlantic with a degree in Human Ecology. He has 8 seasons of experience with the National Park Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife doing a variety of wildlife and vegetation-related work, from collaring moose and improving stream conditions for fish, to managing noxious weeds and protecting nesting birds of prey. Erickson can’t wait to utilize his knowledge to steward Bluff Lake’s diverse resources and share his excitement about all things living with the refuge’s many visitors!

Leila Regan-Porter
Development Manager
email Leila

Leila Regan-Porter has had a profound love of nature ever since her childhood days of hiking the countryside of England, where she was born. Prior to Bluff Lake Nature Center, Leila lived in Macon, Ga. and worked at the Otis Redding Foundation, where she managed everything from marketing and administrative duties to fundraising campaigns and grant writing. She also served as grant writer for the Tubman Museum, and has written for Paste Magazine, Performing Songwriter, the Macon Telegraph, Macon Magazine, and more. She served as president for the boards of Bragg Jam and Main Street Macon. She loves visiting Bluff Lake with her daughter and husband, and seeing her child’s appreciation for the outdoors grow through education and exploration.

Wyatt Ellison
Environmental Educator
email Wyatt

Wyatt is one of Bluff Lake’s Colorado Association for Environmental Education- AmeriCorps program 2021-2022 members. He is a recent graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, where he majored in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Engineering for Community Development. A native of Fort Worth, TX, Wyatt’s interest in protecting the natural world came about through a high school science class and his first job as a grocery store bagger in which he was able to reflect upon the ways humans interact with the planet. He has a strong background working with youth through working at multiple summer camps over the years and serving as an assistant coach for a local youth running team. Wyatt is passionate about increasing accessibility to nature and environmental education in the hopes that future generations will be positive stewards of the environment.

Lauren Godfrey
Environmental Educator
email Lauren

Lauren is one of Bluff Lake’s Colorado Association for Environmental Education- AmeriCorps program 2021-2022 members. She is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Environmental Science and certificate in Sustainability. During her studies, she has worked with kids, families and the general public at the UW-Madison Arboretum, sought to improve composting on campus through a student organization, and enjoyed working in a research based aphid ecology lab. As a Wisconsin native, she looks forward to working with kids, spreading her passion for the environment, and exploring all that beautiful Colorado has to offer!

Craig Jackson
Accountant
email Craig

BLNC Office
Main Phone
720-708-4147

 

Youth Education Volunteers

Greg Ruterbories
Youth Education and Site Stewardship Intern

Greg grew up in Colorado and has also lived in North Carolina. He has been lucky to have opportunities to share experiences with his children in both mountain and ocean environments. Greg is participating in his Internship here at Bluff Lake Nature Center as part of his Outdoor Education degree through Red Rocks Community College. His future aspiration is to inspire the next generation through stewardship and exploration of the natural world.

Sandra Gomez
Youth Educator and Spanish Translator

Sandra is a recent transplant to Colorado but has loved her time as a member of Central Park. Since finding Bluff Lake on her first couple of running routes, she has loved running the 1.03  mile loop trying to make it out there as much as possible.  She is currently a PhD student in Counseling Psychology at Columbia University focusing on Latinx populations’ mental health and career development. Specifically, Sandra has a passion for community and creating inclusive spaces that allow people to thrive, like Bluff Lake.

Kora Flaming
Youth Educator

Kora has been volunteering at Bluff Lake since fall of 2018. Before she retired, she taught fourth and fifth grade in Aurora Public Schools at Montview Elementary and Jewell Elementary for 31 years. She has always loved teaching kids about science and seeing them get excited about learning outdoors. She now spends her time volunteering with several organizations, taking care of with her 3 grandchildren, hiking and walking, cooking and baking, and church activities.

Emily Seddon
Youth Educator

Emily has a Master of Science in Behavior, Evolution, and Conservation. Bluff Lake Nature Center caught her eye because she is passionate about educating youth about the natural world to inspire a new generation to appreciate and care for the environment. She is a curious spirit, fascinated by nature and the great outdoors, and prefers to be in the mountains observing wildlife and studying plants as much as possible.

Sarah Bogdan
Youth Educator

Sarah has been a dedicated volunteer at Bluff Lake since fall of 2017. She has a master’s degree and is an excellent environmental educator. The students and other volunteers love working with Sarah because she is genuine, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and patient.

Barb DeSarro
Youth Educator

Barb first visited Bluff Lake with her son’s class back in 2002 and really enjoyed it.  After recently retiring from CDOT as a roadway designer/project manager she is happy to rekindle her BA in Environmental Conservation by leading field trips.  She loves teaching kids about biology, science, maps and seeing them learn through exploring nature.  In her spare time she enjoys volunteering, hiking, yoga, biking, gardening, traveling and spending time with her two adult kids.

Karen Heaney-Chapman
Youth Educator

Karen Chapman has been enjoying the abundance of water fowl, frogs, deer, red tailed hawks and other creatures as well as the beautiful sunsets at Bluff Lake for many years.  When she found out there was an opportunity to share her love of the park with others, she signed up as a volunteer.  Karen is a retired educator for DPS.

 

Board of Directors

Lisa Pera
President
Eligibility Division Deputy Director, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing-State of Colorado

Jared Luner
Vice President
Public Policy Analyst, Xcel Energy

Luke Galli
Treasurer
Strategic Planning Manager, Wells Fargo

Ginni Dickinson
Secretary
Online Counselor, BetterHelp

Jonathan Fitzpatrick
Member
Director, Project Development, Pivot Energy

Britta Blodgett
Member
Sr. Communications Strategist, Colorado Workforce Development Council

Steve Lundt
Member
Senior Water Quality Scientist, Metro Water Recovery

Dave Santucci
Member
VP Marketing, Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau

Steve Hebert
Member
Planning & Economic Development Manager, Town of Bennett, CO

Katie Robb-Davis
Member
Associate Pastor, Wellshire Presbyterian Church

 

[If you are interested in serving on our Board of Directors, please contact Executive Director Rachel Hutchens at rachel@blufflake.org]

Major Donors