Dave Van Manen, Founder/Special Projects Coordinator

Dave Van ManenDave Van Manen is the founder of the Mountain Park Environmental Center, which he began in 1998. He currently serves at NWDC’s Resident Naturalist along with coordinating special projects.  Dave’s love of Nature education has led him to his work at NWDC including program development, fundraising, grant writing, and public speaking. Ranger Dave has been working in the field of education, with both children and adults, for over forty years. His background includes being a nationally known children’s musician, performer, and recording artist with a specialty in environmental music and storytelling. He is the author of Plants of Pueblo Mountain Park, a field guide to the flora of the park and surrounding areas. Dave is a recipient of the Enos Mills Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education. Dave has been a resident of the town of Beulah since 1976, where he and his wife Helene raised their two children and now spend much time with their grandchildren.  He is an avid hiker and can often be found hiking the trails of Pueblo Mountain Park and beyond.

Contact: mpec@hikeandlearn.org


Ashley Nestman, Program Director 

A California native, seeking adventure, Ashley found herself in Colorful Colorado inspired by the wonders and challenges of the great outdoors! Inspired by her own life-changing outdoor experiences,  she is empowered to share similar impactful, human-nature connections with others. Ashley holds a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership from Colorado State University- Pueblo, and has over a decade of experience leading outdoor education and recreation programs serving many diverse populations. Ashley leads a dynamic team of educators in carrying out the NWDC mission by serving the community with quality nature education and outdoor recreation programming.  Contact: ashley@hikeandlearn.org






Lynette Gerow, Office Manager

Lynette.jpg.2Lynette is a native Texan and moved to Colorado In 2014 to be close to her grandchildren. She discovered the park while attending one of the Zuke’s Dog Hikes and fell in love with it. Being an avid gardener and lover of nature, Lynette feels right at home working for NWDC. Lynette brings over 30 years of accounting experience  to her position. You can find her in the office at the Horseshoe Lodge, or you may bump into her along one of the many hiking trails with her husband and one of her five poodles. Regardless, she will always greet you with a warm welcome and a big Texas smile.

Contact:  office@hikeandlearn.org



Lori Youngren, Kitchen and Housekeeping Manager

Lori Youngren Staff Mountain Park Environmental CenterLori Youngren is a Pueblo,Colorado native and has been a Beulah resident for 18 years. Lori’s creative interests include sewing and quilting and her formal education included a degree in business administration. Taking time from her career to mother her four children full time, Lori now brings her high work ethic to NWDC. She and her husband Jay, live on a Beulah family ranch and together they enjoy hunting, fishing and camping.

Contact: loriyoungren@hikeandlearn.org



Tami Montoya, Earthkeeper Nature School Director/Lead Teacher

Tami brings a love of Nature, education and children, plus nearly 20 years experience as a preschool teacher in both local public school districts, to her position with NWDC.
She is a Colorado native and currently resides in Pueblo West. Tami has an AA in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Elementary Education, with an emphasis on Literacy. Teaching in a “Nature School” has been Tami’s dream for many years, as she is a strong advocate of outdoor-based, play-based education for the young child.

Contact: tami@hikeandlearn.org



Gia Montoya, Earthkeeper Nature School Teacher

Gia brings a strong background in teaching sports and promoting appreciation for health and wellness through physical activity to young children to her position at NWDC. With a BA in Exercise Science and experience as a camp counselor at youth camps, Gia’s skills and enthusiasm are a perfect match for the energy and eagerness of our Nature School students.

Contact: gia.montoya09@gmail.com




Patty Kester, Executive Director 

Jasmine Shepherd, Sales & Marketing Coordinator



Tony Pemberton, Park Maintenance Specialist

Ken Krause, Park Maintenance Technician

Micah Donnelly, River Campus Caretaker


Raptor Center:

Diana Miller, Raptor Center Director

Bill Glenfield, Wildlife Rehabilitation Technician


A team is more than a collection of people. It is a process of give and take. ~ Barbara Glace