CCA’s Executive Director since 2011, Joe has helped CCA become a nationally recognized and highly effective organization. Joe holds a B.A. from the University of Maine and an M.A. from Naropa University with a focus on organizational leadership and conservation. He brings over 15 years of director-level nonprofit experience to his work and in his spare time he volunteers for several boards in the community, along with enjoying our National Conservation Areas by foot, boat and bike.
Rob Gay - Education Director
Rob Gay digs up dead animals and tells the world about it. As a paleontologist, he has taken citizen scientists out and uncovered fossils hundreds of millions of years old. He's using that experience now at CCA as Education Director to educate the future about the scientific and historic values of our shared public lands. In his free time you can find him hiking, kayaking, or camping across the Colorado Plateau.
DAWN COOPER - RIVER PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Dawn brings over 15 years of experience in experiential education, curriculum design, and classroom teaching to Colorado Canyons Association. She has developed, coordinated, and taught field-based programs throughout the western United States, South America, and British Columbia. She is excited to use her dynamic background to help develop meaningful, place-based river programs. In her free time, you can find Dawn mountain biking, traveling, cooking, fly-fishing, or exploring in her VW Westfalia with her dog, Charley.
KILLIAN RUSH - DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Killian is a Colorado native with a passion for public lands and philanthropic work in our community. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Colorado Mesa University and has spent the last two and a half years working with the team at CCA as our AmeriCorps VISTA. As a key leader on our development team, she works on CCA’s membership program, communications, and major donor event planning. In her free time, Killian enjoys hiking, mountain biking, rafting, skiing, and traveling.
MERIL WALLACE - RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
Born in the Grand Valley, Meril started rafting on the Colorado River before he learned to walk. He earned his B.F.A from Colorado Mesa University and holds an M.F.A. from the University of Oregon where his work focused on how to help people form connections with nature. Meril has worked as an expedition river guide around the Colorado Plateau, as well as a student travel instructor in the Western United States and Southeast Asia. When not on the river, you can find Meril hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and loving the outdoors.
DENNIS LYTLE - RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
Dennis grew up in Port Townsend, Washington but has lived in the desert southwest for most of the decision-making time of his life. Dennis' nearly 10,000 river miles come mostly from the Colorado river system. He has lived overseas for several years and has traveled to over thirty countries. He has held many different jobs, from being a summer camp director for outdoor adventure camps to an English Language Instructor in Japan to being a National Park Service Ranger in various parks. Dennis has a Fine Arts degree from CSU and works as an artist in the Grand Valley. During the winter season Dennis is a ski patroller at Powderhorn where he is a back country specialist. When he is not busy with work, Dennis spends time with his wife and dog going hiking, biking, and boating.
JESS UGLESICH - PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Jess grew up in southern California and received her B.S. in Earth Science from the University of California, Long Beach. She has spent the past several years working as a public lands educator with the BLM and several non-profits on the Colorado Plateau. In 2017, she worked with the Museums of Western Colorado and Colorado Canyons Association to develop paleontology education materials for on-site education in the local fossil-rich National Conservation Areas. She is stoked to be back in the Grand Valley working with the CCA team to get kids out in our NCAs.
TATYANA SUKHARNIKOVA - AMERICORPS VISTA
Tatyana is originally from Russia and migrated with her family to the states back in 2002. She earned her B.A. from Grinnell College in 2012, majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience. Since then, she has dabbled in being a researcher and a scientist, an early preschool teacher, an after-school teacher (K-6), and even a professional dog walker! She landed in western Colorado after trekking across public lands and finding a passion and inspiration for the outdoors. Having experienced firsthand the beauty and capacity of our national public lands, she is looking forward to raising awareness towards National Conservation Areas AND to helping bring more kids outdoors to learn from nature! In her free time, she loves playing with her dog Bailey, hiking, camping, cycling, and trying new things!
ALEX MARTIN - AMERICORPS VISTA
Alex grew up in Grand Junction and earned a BA from Colorado Mesa University. The outdoors have always been a passion of hers, growing up hiking, kayaking, and visiting as many National Parks as she could. She has spent the past seven years as a seasonal with the Bureau of Land Management working with the recreation program. In her free time you can find her hiking, camping or on the water with her family.