2017 U-CAN FACULTY AND SPEAKERS
Born and raised in Maunalua Bay, Oahu, Austin Kino is a voyager and entrepreneur.
Kino has been a crew member aboard Hokule’a since 2006, sailing around the world in the Malama Honua voyage as an apprentice navigator.
Co-founder of Huli the Movement, an environmental education program that provides students with field days Kino aims to reconnect young people to their aina. Drawing on his paddling and voyaging roots he started Holokino Hawaii which offers canoe sailing experiences to customers seeking adventure and an understanding of traditional way finding.
Yudith Nieto was born in Mexico and grew up in the fence-line refining community of Manchester in Houston, TX.
Out of necessity to help protect her community, Yudith became a part of the environmental justice movement. Yudith works with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services and has also collaborated with other environmental, immigration, LGBTQ, and social justice groups.
Yudith works with other youth to build an inter-generational movement to learn how the Chican@, Mexican American, and Indigenous cultures are intrinsically linked to the struggle of environmental justice through culture, art, music and poetry.
Rafael Salgado is the Executive Director of Cal-Wood Education Center, a 1,200-acre residential outdoor education center located west of Boulder, Colorado.
Originally from Mexico, Rafael grew up immersed in the natural environment, and participated in hunting and fishing. As a range scientist and wildlife biologist in Mexico at Antonio Narro University, Rafael was involved in wildlife research projects on whitetail deer, black bears, small mammals, and a variety of birds.
Today, after years of developing environmental education curriculum, and training teachers in its implementation, in both Mexico and Colorado, he has become a catalyst for helping under-served populations, including low-income students and their families, to discover how beautiful and accessible the outdoors can be.
Rafael is a true professional as well, contributing his knowledge and expertise to many other local and national initiatives and programs as well as serving on several Boards. He has been recognized and honored with numerous awards for his outstanding contributions in environmental and outdoor education.
Dana Coelho - Forestry & Conservation
Dana is Urban & Community Forestry program lead for the Rocky Mountain Region and a lover of connection and collaboration with community advocates, artists, and scientists alike.
She lives in Golden, CO.
Jorge Figueroa - Forestry & Conservation
As a Senior Water Policy Analyst for Western Resource Advocates, Jorge works closely with water providers, decision-makers, and partner organizations in the Mountain West to ensure communities can meet their long-term water needs while sustaining healthy rivers and robust outdoor recreation economies.
His current work focuses on the use of innovation processes to advance water conservation at regional scales, the design and implementation of market-based policies and strategies to accelerate water conservation in the municipal sector, and facilitation of community-based collaboration to increase streamflows in local communities. He has worked in the area of climate markets as a Research Faculty member for the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force at the University of Colorado Law School, and as climate and innovation Fulbright Scholar with the India Institute of Science. Jorge is also the chair of the Steering Committee of the Water Efficiency Action Network of the Colorado River Basin States (WEAN-CRB), and a Trustee for the Colorado Foundation for Water Education. Mr. Figueroa has a Master’s Degree in Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, and a Juris Doctor with certificates in environmental law and international law from Elisabeth Haub School of Law.
JoseLuis "Louie" Ocaranza - Forestry & Conservation
Louie grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and fell in love with nature from his exposure to the Angeles National Forest from a very young age. He grew a passion for animals and ended up dedicating his life to the conservation of North American wildlife. Louie graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara and before working for the federal government; he worked as a Habitat Restoration Ecologist for a non-profit called Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration where he worked conserving land and leading educational programs for groups of 5th graders throughout the school year. Along the way he has had the opportunity to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at three national wildlife refuges in California, Colorado, and New Mexico, and he has also had the opportunity to work with several species of wildlife including endangered species such as the California Condor, the Black Footed Ferret, and the Pallid Sturgeon.
Louie currently works for the USFWS as a Youth Programs Biologist under the Division of Education and Outreach at the National Conservation Training Center. He works with diverse youth on a national scale, and focuses on building future conservation leaders through engagement, education, and employment through various Service programs and partnerships.
Shawna Crocker - Project Learning Tree
Alfonso Piloto Nieves Ruiz - Visual Arts
Alfonso “Piloto” Nieves Ruiz is a self-taught artist from Querétaro, Mexico who moved to Chicago in 1997.
Piloto is a skilled sculptor who works primarily with clay and recycled materials to create dramatic, surreal pieces that deal with social issues. While Nieves draws upon his Mexican upbringing for many of his sculptures, the themes he explores are universal to all of humanity.
Piloto is also an art teacher and has been sharing his knowledge with youth and adults through workshops in community centers, parks, and schools around Chicago and its suburbs since 2004. Most recently he exhibited his work in Cabeza de Barro, one of the most successful shows at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Yashira Jordán - Visual Arts
Yashira Jordán was born in La Paz (Bolivia) in 1985. She lives in NYC writting her second movie DIAMANTE.
Yashira is Talents alumni of the Berlinale and Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires; two-time Winner of the Ibermedia scholarship; Director and Producer of the film Durazno, with which she has participated in various festivals and other film events around the world, such as the European Film Market of the Berlin Film Festival, Reconstres de Toulose, Guadalajara, Morelia, Visions du Reel, Doc, Hot Docs, Network of Producers - Marche du Film de Cannes.
Director and co-founder of CELESTE animation studio and the Taller Latinoamericano of Stop Motion.
Bianca Mikahn - Sound Arts
Bianca Mikahn rocks the highest energy stages and fortifies the deepest learning spaces.
Drawing from years as a celebrated facilitator of therapeutic arts and mental wellness workshops, Mikahn knows what it takes to connect to any and all populations through the joys and tribulations of the human experience.
With noted lyrical dexterity and live production as primary tools, this daughter of the Mile High demolishes perceived boundaries of the so called “femcee”.
Kaiwi Crabb - Community Circles
Kaiwi Crabb was born and raised on the Island of Oahu in Honolulu Hawaii. He is part Native Hawaiian, one of only two Native Ethnicities recognized by the United States as an indigenous people. Kaiwi is the youngest of three, with an older brother and sister, while also having three nephews ages 17, 10, and 18 months old.
While growing up in Hawaii, Kaiwi attended Punahou Schools. He lettered in Four Varsity Sports and was awarded the President's Award for outstanding Student Athlete. After graduating from Punahou in Summer of 2010 Kaiwi accepted a full athletic scholarship to the University of Colorado at Boulder to play Football. Kaiwi majored in Communication and received a minor in Education with a focus in Elementary Education. During his senior year, Kaiwi was hired by a local competitive sports organization to coach the top level 18 and Under Women’s volleyball team. From Winter of 2013 through Summer of 2017 Kaiwi has coached Women’s volleyball at many different ages and levels, his highest level being the University of Colorado Women’s Varsity team.
After his coaching stint at the University, Kaiwi started his own competitive volleyball club in the Boulder area, with student athletes ages 10 through 17. After one year of business, the organization has tripled in size and is on track for a very successful year. He also started a second business in the Sports Performance industry called Pure Performance Academy. His focus is teaching young athletes how to train their bodies at an elite level to maintain the rigorous work load of high school and club sport demands.
One of Kaiwi’s biggest strengths is working with young ambitious men and women, finding fun, adventurous ways of exploring topics not always taught in classrooms, including subjects such as, problem solving, teamwork, communication skills, confidence, leadership and critical thinking.
FACULTY Assistants-Special Guests
Bob Caine - Forestry & Conservation
Bob has been the USFS Rocky Mountain Region’s Regional Entomologist since 2005 where he works cooperatively with Forest Health Protection (FHP) field offices, State forestry agency partners and other federal land management agencies.
Bob also served three years as an entomologist for the USFS Lakewood FHP field office serving the central Colorado and southern Wyoming. Prior to joining the USFS, Bob was the Forest Health Specialist for the State of New Mexico Forestry Division and NMSU Cooperative Extension Service from 1987 – 2002.
He is a contributor and assisted editing Region 2’s Field Guide to Diseases and Insects of the Rocky Mountain Region. Bob received a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan Technological University (1982) and a M.S. in Forest Entomology from University of Michigan (1985).
Micaela Truslove - Forestry & Conservation
Micaela Truslove is the Broomfield County Extension Horticulture Agent and a graduate student at CSU in the Department of Forestry and Rangeland Stewardship. She also works as an Urban Forestry Technician for the City of Boulder’s Forestry Division where she focuses primarily on education and outreach around emerald ash borer.
Micaela is a member of the Colorado EAB Response Team and the Colorado Tree Coalition’s Emerging Pests in Colorado Committee, and was the State EAB Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Agriculture from 2013 to 2014.
As part of her thesis project, she is working on an accurate way to measure ash wood biomass to help municipalities create comprehensive ash wood utilization plans in response to emerald ash borer.
Tara Costanzo - Forestry & Conservation
Tara started working for Wyoming State Forestry Division in June 2016. Her primary projects include: serving on the steering committee for Wyoming Project Learning Tree, attending Arbor Day celebrations and presenting Tree City/Campus USA awards, processing and confirming Champion Tree nominations, organizing, planning, and facilitating workshops including the Northern Rockies Tree School, Community Tree Managers Focus Group, and other various workshops/meetings.
Tara is an ISA certified arborist, has a Masters of Science degree in Forest Science and a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Horticulture, both from Colorado State University.
Her previous work experience includes working as a Geographic Information Systems technician, event planning and organization, biological science technician, and has been a volunteer for Colorado State Forest Service since 2006. Tara is also involved as a member of the Society of American Foresters and the International Society of Arboriculture.
Christina Burri - Forestry & Conservation
Christina Burri works for Denver Water as their Watershed Scientist to inventory, protect, and improve the 2.5 million acres of watershed area in Denver Water’s Collection System. Christina is leading Denver Water’s innovative watershed management and planning efforts, including forest health investments.
Christina manages the From Forests to Faucets Partnership, which has been a $33 million investment between Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service to improve the health of our forests and watersheds.
Christina serves as the Treasurer of the South Platte Enhancement Board, and serves on the Board for the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. She is involved in several watershed and forest health collaborative groups, such as the Upper South Platte Partnership, the Fraser Source Water Protection Planning group, the Front Range Roundtable, the High Country Forest Collaborative, and the South Platte Urban Headwaters Partnership. In her spare time, she enjoys weekends spent at her cabin on Storm Mountain in Drake and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Claire Harper - Forestry & Conservation
Claire Harper is a program manager for the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region in State & Private Forestry. She oversees watershed partnerships and private land conservation grant programs.
Claire joined the Forest Service in 2002 as a Presidential Management Fellow and since then has served in a variety of roles at both the national and regional levels.
Other experience includes helping manage a family forestry and sawmill business in southern Colorado.
Claire received a Master’s in natural resource policy & economics from Duke University and a Bachelor's in biology from the University of Colorado.
She enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, backpacking, skiing, and kayaking with her husband and two kids (ages 8 and 11).
Alie Mayes - Forestry & Conservation
Alie Mayes grew up in central Missouri, graduating from the University of Central Missouri in 2011.
Alie discovered a passion for birds during a post-grad internship in the San Francisco Bay. She followed this passion around the country, learning about bird banding and environmental education. She started with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies in 2014, where she works as the Outreach Coordinator.
She is currently completing her Master's through a partnership between Miami University and the Denver Zoo.
Allison Fowle - Forestry & Conservation
Allison Fowle was born and raised in New York City, but the call of the wild led her to Maine, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree from Colby College.
For several years, Allison coordinated and taught for a variety of environmental education programs across the country. In 2016, she graduated with her Master of Science Degree in natural resources and environmental education from the University of Idaho, where she wrote her thesis from the middle of the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48.
Allison joined Bird Conservancy of the Rockies in 2017, where she leads summer camps and year-round family programs.
Robert Laranga - Forestry & Conservation
David Manzanares - Visual Arts
David Manzanares is a sculptor; his indigenous roots and his desire to show the world the richness of Mexican culture shapes his artistic expression.
In developing his professional work, the artist in question has learned to look at art through different eyes, through a process that aims to share his art with diverse communities.
Throughout his career, David has had many teachers, who have taught him various disciplines, enriching his artistic development. In 2005, he started modeling and bronze casting in Mexico City. Later, at the University of Guanajuato he studied ceramics, wood, and stone carving as well as restoration, working with religious art.
In 2009, he began his Bachelor’s of Visual Arts degree at the University of Querétaro, where he received a grant (Special Projects Funds 2013), to teach indigenous children basic artistic principles.
Recently, David has participated in marble carving workshops, ceramics courses, and other courses in pedagogy and art history.
Matías Paradela - Visual Arts
Matías Paradela was born in 1989 in Argentina; he is a painter, illustrator & art director.
Matías lives between Bolivia and New York. In Bolivia, he works with artist Keiko Gonzalez.
He is now preparing his second art exhibition to happen in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in September 2017.
He worked with Alex Juhasz (The Little Prince, The Babadook) setting his art exhibition in La Paz, Bolivia. He also worked with Francesca Maxwell (Fantastic Mr.Fox) in Cochabamba, Bolivia and in Guadalajara Mexico, in the Art Department of Inzomnia the film of Luis Tellez.
He is now the art director of DIAMANTE the new film of Yashira Jordán.
Javier Luna Cook - Visual Arts
STUDEND LEADER MENTORS
Anna DeGolier is a student at Oberlin College where she is studying Environmental Studies, Hispanic Studies, and Geology. She has lived in Boulder, CO her whole life and absolutely loves to be outdoors, especially if it involves hiking.
Anna has volunteered at America’s Latino Eco Festival in years past, and this summer she is an Education and Conservation Intern with AFC+A, where she worked to launch the Journey for Climate Justice initiative.
To kick off the this program, she went on a month-long trek across Spain to challenge herself with becoming a global advocate of climate justice by interacting with the people she met and taking pictures to document her journey.
Now that she is back, she is excited to be a mentor at AFC+A's UCAN program this coming August, and to continue learning from her peers on the AFC+A team.
Marissa DeGolier is freshly off the assembly line of public high school and is now working as an artist intern for AFC+A.
Most of her work is political, utilizing cartoons as well as an endless list of mixed media materials. She also regularly creates jewelry from copper wire and minerals.
Recently, Marissa has had her work featured in the Capitol tunnel of Washington DC as well as the downtown Boulder Pearl Street Mall.
This year, Marissa will be embarking on an adventure to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba where she will be apprenticing under professional artists and working to create climate justice-informed art.
Nalleli Hidalgo is a Texas native, born and raised in Houston. Her journey as a conservation steward began in 2011 as a volunteer with The Friends of the National Forest and Grasslands in Texas.
She is now a core leader of the Woodsy Owl Conservation Corps and an active team member for the Texas A&M Forest Service.
As an aspiring architect at the University of Houston she hopes to apply her skills throughout the City of Houston for the prosperity of this planet.
Cinthia Cantu is a rising college freshman at Houston Community College and is a College Green Ambassador with the Houston Green Belt.
Cinthia is a community leader that has been taking action in some of the Environmental and Health issues that her community at the East End faces. She is focused more in the Health and Wellness aspect of the program were they do outreach and inform people of how they can take healthier options and how they could stay active yet have fun as they do these changes in their lifestyle.
She plans on becoming a Nutritionist and having her own business of a local smoothie/ juice bar as well as teaching Nutrition and Zumba Fitness classes.
Cinthia is a Zumba Instructor and promotes fitness by giving classes in different houston community centers and volunteers at Furr High School as a Zumba Instructor.
My name is Katye Lester. This year I will be a Junior at Indiana University, studying Spanish, International Studies, and Political Science.
This summer I was in intern in Washington D.C. at Benitez Strategies. There, we worked a lot with environmental agencies like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Forest Service to come up with strategic communications plans to engage a Hispanic and Latino audience on environmental issues and conservation.
After graduation I hope to join the Peace Corps.
Farjana Islam is a public health advocate and a Brooklyn native. She is currently a Conservation Education Intern with the U.S. Forest Service through the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership program.
Farjana recently graduated from Hunter College at the City University of New York with a BA in Psychology with a Certificate in Public Policy and concentrations in Human Rights and Asian American Studies.
She first became interested in the intersection between the environment and human health during a summer at the National Park Service as a "Your Park! Your Health!" Intern, where she led kayaking, biking and camping events at Gateway National Recreation Area for diverse communities in New York City. She is excited to explore Denver and the different connections between forest health and human health.