Sylvester is a retired Biology Professor from Northern Arizona University. His belief is that our future lies with an understanding of science and how this understanding leads to problem solving. Children and young adults need to be involved in hands on science. Durango Nature Studies provides many opportunities for this to occur and as a board member I become involved in the decisions that will be implemented by DNS’ enthusiastic team. His research on tassel-eared squirrels began in 1985. All his my years of studies and observations on these obligate herbivores in the ponderosa pines forests of the southwest led to writing and publishing with the University of New Mexico Press, The Natural History of Tassel-Eared Squirrels in 2010. He has written 6 other books for children, who are our planet’s future. He and his wife moved to Durango and built a house. Sylvester continue to write, photograph, and hike in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.
Tom Barney served until mid-2016 as CEO of Osprey Packs in Cortez, Colorado. Tom led Osprey for 15 years, growing Osprey into a strong supplier to the outdoor, travel and cycling markets. Prior to Osprey Tom held various leadership roles at several companies after graduating from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 1987. Tom’s commitment to nature and outdoor adventure was founded during many summers attending and counseling at Camp Manito-Wish in Boulder Junction, WI. During his camp experience and a career in the outdoor industry afterward, Tom realized the essential need for the study and preservation of nature, environmental stewardship and getting youth into the outdoors. Tom is a committed cyclist, hiker, paddler and golfer who loves living in Durango and enjoying life in Colorado. The Barney’s together have six children from high school to medical school.
Mike has been a financial advisor for 31 years specializing in institutional level money management, and he currently works for UBS Financial Services. He actively participated in his son’s school — Burgundy Farm Country Day School and Burgundy Wildlife Studies program — for 9 years. He also founded, ran, and self-funded a climbing and outdoor adventure program for Special Needs children, and he served as a Board member for the National Symphony Orchestra’s chamber music group. In addition, he’s an avid mountain biker and has been an
IMBA Trail Liaison, developing and advocating for open space and sustainable multi-use trails.
Ross believes that connecting kids with the natural world gives them a great advantage in life. When his own kids came back from DNS summer camp covered in dirt with huge smiles, he knew it was an organization he wanted to support. Ross operates Grenadier Financial, specializing in retirement planning and investment management. In a past life, he served as a commercial airline captain flying Dash 8s. In his free time he enjoys everyday life in Durango with his wife and two girls, riding bikes, skiing, fishing and playing music.
Sandy is the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fort Lewis College. She has a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from The George Washington University. A lifelong educator, she currently oversees various programs aimed at helping first and second year college students succeed. Sandy is a Colorado Native who has lived in Durango since 2004. An avid trail runner, hiker and road biker (who is trying to learn the ways of mountain biking), she loves spending time outdoors. She is a passionate believer that children should spend as much time outside with nature as they can—both in structured activities and in more free types of play and exploration. Children who spend time outside and understand some of the issues impacting our natural world are more likely to grow up respecting it and wanting to protect it. Sandy and her husband Doug are the proud parents of twin daughters who have been involved in Durango Nature Studies camps and after school programs since they were able to.
Andy is a firm believer in the benefit to children of outdoor, experiential learning. Kids learn the most when they are given the chance to put into action the scientific and educational concepts that are taught in the classroom. He is a member of the Durango Nature Studies Board of Directors because DNS provides local kids with the opportunity to apply science in action and to develop a love of the outdoors and our native landscapes. Andy is a Field Environmental Coordinator for BP and oversees the management of several large environmental compliance programs. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his wife, Heather, and their two children, Oren and Emelia. Andy is an avid cyclist, snowboarder, and gardener and spends a fair bit of time hiking and exploring the region with his family.
Paul’s first experience with DNS was approximately 10 years ago, when he and his lovely wife, Renee, took a fly-fishing workshop at the Nature Center. Since then, two awesome kids have joined the family and his fishing skills remain limited. However, the kids have allowed him to learn about and appreciate all of DNS’s educational programs. During his initial term on the Board, he is highly impressed with the collaboration between DNS and 9-R, as well as the summer opportunities for kids. He is excited to continue to help DNS fill its niche in the community and support staff in accomplishing DNS’s mission. Professionally, Paul is a lawyer. He and his law partner, Duke, assist clients with real estate, development and business transactions, as well as related matters. When he is not working or driving kids around, Paul enjoys spending time with the family outside, pedaling anything with two wheels, and slapping on skins in the backcountry.
Leah grew up in Montana, but has called Durango home since 2010. She now hopes to never leave the San Juans. Leah has worked as a Loan Assistant at Alpine Bank for 3 years. Most evenings and weekends, you can find her hiking, rock climbing, or camping. She also enjoys contributing to volunteer trailwork projects through Trails2000 and the Colorado Trail Foundation. She joined the Durango Nature Studies Board in order to contribute to the protection of the mountains and deserts she loves. She believes that providing opportunities for outdoor education and experience leads to a robust group of citizens who are interested in protecting all the beautiful spaces around us.
Bio to come.
Brian is the Sr. Vice President for Alpine Bank, Durango, CO. Brian grew up in New York and pursued his love of the outdoors and the mountains by moving to Buena Vista, Colorado in 1997. He graduated with a degree in Marketing and Management from Siena College in Loudonville, NY. Employment prior to Alpine Bank includes GE Capital (retail credit), Gentiva Health Services (accounts receivable), and High Country Bank (Chief Lending Officer). Brian has been a member and volunteer with the Lion’s Club, Collegiate Peaks Music Festival, Paddle-Fest, and is currently a member of the Durango High-Noon Rotary Club. Brian and his wife, Tiffany (currently working at Summit Psychology), have two children in the R-9 School District. As a family they enjoy mountain biking, skiing, four wheeling, camping, and exploring the mountain wilderness.