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 MPEC’s Resident Naturalist along with coordinating special projects.  Dave’s love of Nature education has led him to his work at MPEC 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 nearly 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 for 35+ years, 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 

Ashley creates and provides the community with life-changing Nature education and outdoor recreation programming. She also leads and inspires a dynamic team of environmental educators in fulfilling our mission.                                    Contact: ashley@hikeandlearn.org


 Steve Juergenson, Park Maintenance Technician


Stephen spent much of his childhood living in a variety of places including Washington, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Oregon, and eventually settling in Pueblo West, Colorado.  Stephen first connected with nature as a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.  Stephen’s fascination with the outdoors only increased as he enrolled in the Outdoor Leadership/Recreation Program at Colorado State University-Pueblo, graduating in 2012.  He has worked as a Park Ranger with Colorado  Parks & Wildlife at four  Colorado State Parks.  After spending a few winters in Steamboat Springs and accumulating as many powder days as possible, Stephen came to work at MPEC and is currently furthering his interests in natural resource management, parks operations, and forest stewardship.  Stephen enjoys leading on-trail service projects and keeping the park safe and enjoyable for all who wish to connect with nature.  When Stephen is not in the park, he can often be seen at the Pueblo City Park disc golf course, as he someday hopes to par the course.

Contact:  steve@hikeandlearn.org


Ranger Henry, Park Caretaker

Originally from Maryland, Henry has lived and worked in the mountains of Southern Colorado for over 30 years. He studied art education at CSU-Pueblo. His love of the outdoors stems from his youth, spending time in the fields and forests, learning the skills of hunting and fishing from his father. Henry enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing and mushroom hunting. He can often be found walking his black lab, Cuan, in the park.

Contact:  caretaker@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 MPEC. 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


Hollyn Stephens, Lodge Sales Manager

Hollyn Stephens comes to MPEC from South Louisiana and with her she brings ten years of customer service and sales experience, along with her genuine southern hospitality. She goes above and beyond to ensure that each guest has a wonderful experience at the Horseshoe Lodge and is always ready to cater to their needs. When she is not working, Hollyn can be found exploring the local trails, taking in the views, and soaking up the fresh mountain air. Give her a call to book your next adventure here at the Horseshoe Lodge.

Contact: guestrelations@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 MPEC. She and her husband Jay, live on a Beulah family ranch and together they enjoy hunting, fishing and camping.

Contact: loriyoungren@hikeandlearn.org


Patty Kester, Development Director

Donald Sotomayor-Seuer, Park Maintenance Technician

Diana Miller, Raptor Center Manager

Bill Glenfield, Wildlife Rehabilitation Technician

Jasmine Shepard, Media Marketing Coordinator/Volunteer Coordinator

Emily Briggs, Marketing Manager


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