April serves as Interim Executive Director for Stewards Individual Placement Program. A native of southern West Virginia, April brings over 15 years on nonprofit and organizational development experience to her work. After organizing the only college preparatory high school in southern West Virginia, April began her career with the VISTA program in 2007 with the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team, now known as the OSMRE/VISTA Team. Over the last eight years, April assisted in the development of the Western Hardrock Watershed Team, the OSMRE AmeriCorps Program and the DOI/VISTA Team. These developments created what is now known as BRIDGE Network.
April holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership, a BS in Organizational Leadership Management and Development. In 2012 the West Virginia State Journal recognized April as a Forty Under Forty award recipient for her work with the Coal Country Team. This award acknowledges young professionals in WV that are making a difference for the State. Most recently she was inducted in to her High School’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
In addition to serving as the Director of Operations, April is an active member of the Beckley Rotary Club where she has served as club secretary for the last three years.
Joey Ruehrwein has been a part of the conservation service movement since 2002 and has over 20 years of professional experience working with youth and natural resources. Joey holds a MS in Recreation Resources Management from Utah State University and has a background in non-profit leadership, state and federal partnerships, diversity focused programming, and social and aquatic ecological research.
Joey came to Environmental Stewards from the Student Conservation Association where he worked in various roles over 12 years. Joey began his career at SCA as the director of the organizations largest national corps (Fire), he transitioned into the Partnership Development Department 4 years later, and he spent his last 4 years at SCA as the inaugural Director of Partnership Service and Development where he lead the organizational transition from a centralized to a regional service department. While at SCA Joey worked in partnership with federal land managers to create thousands of meaningful experiences for youth including the National Park Service SCA Academy and the Salmon and Challis National Forest AmeriCorps Training Center.
Lisa Elkins is the Business Manager of Stewards Individual Placement Program. A native of southern WV, Lisa graduated from Concord University with a degree in Business Management with a concentration in Accounting. Previously Lisa was a business owner that serviced a diversity of businesses with accounting needs in the local and surrounding areas. She has two children that are involved in a number extracurricular activities that keeps her busy outside of the office and enjoys working with the youth in her church.
Trina joined Conservation Legacy in October 2018 as the Administrative Assistant to the Business Manager. A native of Southern WV, she brings over 13 years of a financial and non-profit background with her. For the past 6 years Trina has been working as the Controller of the local YMCA of Southern WV. Before that she worked in higher education at Mountain State University were she held many different roles, which were Director of Human Resources, Director of Payroll, and Director of Budgeting. Trina holds a Master Degree in Strategic Leadership and a BS in Organizational Leadership. She has served on the board at the Women’s Resource Center since 2007. Where she serves as the treasurer and Chair of the Finance committee. In her free time she enjoys watching her son wrestle for the WVU Tech Golden Bears, hiking and spending time with her family.
Beckley, West Virginia Office Staff
Amy Showalter is the Special Initiatives and Compliance Coordinator for Stewards. Amy brings energy for effective communication and administration, holistic approaches, and service learning to this role. Amy’s previous experience includes leadership within the Stewards AmeriCorps VISTA Team, managing home repair projects as an AmeriCorps member in Tucson, Arizona, providing residential care in her hometown of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and teaching environmental education through hiking-based programs in New Hampshire’s White Mountains with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Amy graduated from Goshen College with a degree in Bible, Religion & Philosophy, and a minor in International Studies.
Caroline Smith is the VISTA Development Coordinator of Stewards. Previously, she served as Program Coordinator for both Tribal and Department of the Interior VISTA projects, as well as supporting AmeriCorps interns serving Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Water Resource Technical Training (WaterCorps) Program.
Caroline settled in southern West Virginia by way of Northern Ohio and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Throughout her travels, she has worked in outdoor recreation, marketing and graphic design, and most recently in public health. These experiences in diverse environments, industries, and communities, have driven Caroline to pursue her passion for community outreach and development. She believes in the power of change and the capacity to create it, in communities big and small.
Caroline holds a BFA in Art Education from Ohio University and an MA in Public Administration from West Virginia University. She is happiest when outdoors, but is also an avid reader, podcast listener, and historic site visitor.
Shanna joined Conservation Legacy in May 2017 as a Program Coordinator with Stewards Individual Placement Program. In September 2017, she accepted a new position as Operations Coordinator with Stewards. Shanna grew up in Southern Illinois where she earned her undergraduate degrees: B.A. in International Trade, B.A. in Spanish, B.S. in Business Administration. She has a lot of international experience from attending a university in Costa Rica and backpacking across Europe to working in the governmental sector of Valencia, Spain and teaching English in South America. Her extensive travels have offered diverse perspectives on global and national issues. Shanna shares a passion for preserving our planet’s waterways and boasts an optimism for positive ecological developments. If she’s not at home tending to her small farm, you can find her hiking with her foster dogs, whitewater rafting, or skiing with her husband.
Ryan is a Program Coordinator with the Stewards Individual Placement program in West Virginia. He has worked in non-profit since 2015 and completed two full year AmeriCorps terms with the Minnesota and Iowa Conservation Corps. He has also worked as a Crew Leader at the Great Appalachian Valley Conservation Corps. Ryan is a Maryland local and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Salisbury University. When he is not in the office, he is usually off the grid, hiking some new trail or relaxing at the beach.
Patricia is a Program Coordinator with the Stewards Individual Placement Program in the Beckley, WV office. She is a Concord University graduate with a background in research in the Biology field. She went to graduate school in Toronto, Canada where she lived in for 8 years. Patricia has traveled extensively around the world but has now settled in Beckley with her husband. She has a passion for anything Science related specifically NASA, and had dreams of becoming an astronaut growing up but found herself in the research world. She enjoys hiking trips to exotic islands, Science Fiction, and Old Hollywood movies from the 1930s and 1940s. She can cook anything you ask her to but she specially loves cooking holiday feasts all-year-round. Patricia believes that you should stay afraid but do it anyways.
Beatrice is our new VISTA Leader in the Beckley West Virginia office. She previously served one term as an Americorps VISTA member, at the National Wildlife Refuge at Cabo Rojo, working with agricultural education program with individuals with Down Syndrome. She comes all the way from Puerto Rico, and is currently working on her bachelor degree in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. AS a VISTA Leader, Beatrice hopes to expand her professional career skill set. In her free time she loves going to the movies and her favorite place on earth is Disney World.
Lilibeth Fuentes joined Stewards in January of 2019. She began her National Service as a VISTA with The Hazleton Integration Project that is in Hazleton Pennsylvania, her hometown. In this role, she wore many hats, mainly focused on revamping their social media presence and strengthening communication within the community. Her contributions throughout her VISTA service year provided rooted community members and those immigrating to the area, the opportunity to connect and envision Haselton's future.
Lilibeth holds a Business and Marketing degree from Pennsylvania State University, from which she hopes to pursue a career within the federal government. She is Salvadorian by blood and stomach, noting she loves to travel, explore, and taste new foods, loves to read, and watch TV. Lilibeth is forward to working with Stewards staff, VISTA member, and with AmeriCorps VISTA in general. She hopes to bring change, follow traditions, and become a step for future generations!
Durango, Colorado Office Staff
Krista joined the Stewards Program in January 2016. She has a B.A. in Geology from Mount Holyoke College, and grew up living in Maine State Parks where her respect for the environment grew alongside her love of playing in it. She began working for parks in 2005, interacting with visitors, running interpretive programs, and building mountain bike trails.
Krista began her journey into National Service programs in 2010 with two AmeriCorps terms with the Maine Conservation Corps, and enjoyed romping throughout Maine leading trail crews. In 2013, she was hired as a staff member with MCC, working with their individual placement programs. Since moving to Colorado, she has enjoyed learning about the desert, skiing the western mountains, and spending hours on her bike in the wildnerness.
Adrian Uzunian is the Stewards Program Director based in Durango, Colorado. Prior to this position Adrian was the Research and Development Coordinator. He also previously served as the OSMRE Program Coordinator, OSM/VISTA Leader in both Colorado and New Mexico and OSM/VISTA with the Appalachian Coal Country Team. Following several years of service Adrian moved to New Orleans and finished a M.S. in Environmental Sociology at Utah State University, focusing on perceptions of hydraulic fracturing in South Texas. Adrian is excited to live in the Southwest, establish new connections, and strives to apply new perspectives while serving disparate communities around the country.
Emma joined the Environmental Stewards Program in May 2015. She has a B.S. in Ecology and Field Biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Her love of the environment was spawned at a young age. She grew up building forts with her brother and running around in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of North Carolina.
Her desire to make a positive difference in the environmental community has led her to hold a variety of jobs from being an animal keeper to leading naturalist hikes for kids to being a museum exhibit educator. She looks forward to exploring the next avenue of her environmental adventure with the Environmental Stewards Program.
She is the most content when she is mountain biking, hiking, birding, doing yoga & spending time with her family and her dogs.
Danny joined Environmental Stewards in January of 2017. Danny grew up with the white pines and sugar maples of Minnesota’s North Woods, but has spent most of his working life out west. He was a Corpsmember and crew leader with the Southwest Conservation Corps and, interning with the Student Conservation Association in Death Valley National Park, CA, spent countless hours tromping through sand dunes. Between stints wandering in in the wilds, Danny spent four years living, practicing, and pruning apple trees at two Zen centers in California. He has a BA in Geography and Anthropology and earned his Master's in Geography from the University of Minnesota studying mountain pine beetle outbreaks in Montana. Pursuing his love for connecting young adults with public lands, Danny spent the last two years teaching field-based environmental studies and natural history courses in Montana, the Canadian Rockies, and the Colorado Plateau with the Wild Rockies Field Institute. Danny lives with his farmer wife just outside of Durango.
Christy is a native of the great state of Montana, and has worked in the conservation field since age 16. Her varied jobs have included working for a recycling non-profit, a stint with the Montana Conservation Corps, exploring the backcountry of Montana and Wyoming in the name of botany, forestry, and wilderness research, outdoor education on Washington's Puget Sound, and most recently, she served as an Americorps VISTA in New Mexico, developing a community partnership program along the Continental Divide Trail. She is excited to help other young conservation advocates get a "foot in the door" through the Stewards program.
If she's not in the office, she's probably running trails, cooking, traveling, backpacking, or exploring the Four Corners.
Hilary joined the Stewards Program in September 2017 as Program Coordinator. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Dalton State College, Hilary spent a summer on a trail crew in Salida, Colorado with the Southwest Conservation Corps. Once the summer ended, she headed back to the southeast and settled in Knoxville, TN where she worked in customer service and outdoor instruction for REI. Most recently she was the Program Manager for Onsight Rock Gym where she managed a range of programs and created community partnerships while also running the day to day operations of the gym. During her time in Knoxville she volunteered for several local climbing advocacy groups and a National Park Service Program that introduced outdoor rock climbing to youth in a rural county of Eastern TN. In her free time, Hilary enjoys climbing, hiking, biking, and exploring other forms of outdoor recreation.
Katie joined the Stewards program in December of 2017. Born and raised just south of Buffalo, in Hamburg, NY, Katie’s love of the outdoors and the environment stems from the preschool she attended where they had a strong focus on outdoor and nature based learning. Her interest in the conservation field truly blossomed after she spent a summer in Maine living and working in the outdoors on a Maine Conservation Corps trail crew. Katie served two other AmeriCorps terms with MCC which led to several staff positions with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. Her positions with BPL included administrative support, federal recreational grant management, and helping to develop several map and guide brochures for Maine’s public lands. In 2016, she spent 10 weeks traveling across the US, visiting many awe inspiring National Parks and public lands. This trip further emphasized her desire to spend some extended time out west. In fall of 2017, she took the plunge, drove out to Colorado, and completed one final AmeriCorps term with the Southwest Conservation Corps, working as a sawyer on a sustainable forestry crew before joining the Stewards team.
When she’s not in the office Katie is probably cooking up a delicious meal or out exploring the beautiful Southwest.