April serves as Director of Operations for Conservation Legacy’s Individual Placement Program, BRIDGE Network. 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.
Rob Spath is the Executive Director of Stewards Individual Placement Program. Rob joined Conservation Legacy in 2012 as the Executive Director of the SW Conservation Corps – Sonoran Desert which became the Arizona Conservation Corps in 2014. Rob also served as the Interim CEO and President and Chief Operating Officer of The Corps Network (The national association for service and conservation corps) in Washington DC and as the Executive Director of the Washington Conservation Corps.
After receiving a Bachelors degree in Accounting/Business from Central Washington University, Rob worked three years for a CPA firm and the Washington State Auditor's Office. He then began a twenty year career working for the lead environmental agency for Washington State - the Department of Ecology as the Director of the Washington Conservation Corps.
Rob’s passion has always been in working with youth and the outdoors. In addition to his career work, he was a volunteer youth coach in several sports for 17 years and also served as a commissioner for 17 years with the Washington State Commission for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps) and Arizona Governor’s Office for Service and Volunteerism.
Beckley, West Virginia Office Staff
Erin comes to Beckley, West Virginia from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in December 2004; and her Master’s degree in Parks and Resource Management from Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania in December 2015. Erin has recently worked as a seasonal Park Ranger at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, North Carolina; and as an SCA intern at Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Erin served as a VISTA in Great Falls, Montana in 2005 – 2006; working on suicide prevention and domestic violence education. During her year as a VISTA Leader, she is hoping to help facilitate successful terms for the VISTAs she’ll be working with; and develop and strengthen her skills in grants, outreach and community building. After this year with OSMRE, Erin is hoping to get a permanent job with the National Park Service. In her spare time, Erin likes to read, watch movies, collect rose quartz, and spend time with her family and friends.
Having previously served as Special Projects Manager and Program Administrator, Erica joined the Network in 2010 as Summer Programs Coordinator, serving organizations throughout the East and West. A native of Beckley, WV, Erica graduated from Mountain State University with degrees in Business Management and Business Marketing.
Katie joined Stewards Individual Placement Program in March of 2017. She serves as Program Coordinator for the Office or Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSMRE) AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA Programs. Originally from Upstate New York, Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University. After college, she moved around a bit for work which included a non-profit home improvement association in Indiana and an environmental remediation company in California. She recently moved to West Virginia and in her free time she enjoys hiking with her dog Ripley, backpacking, and whitewater rafting, skiing and traveling.
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.
Sam is the AmeriCorps VISTA in Beckley West Virginia. He has an undergrad degree in environmental studies with a concentration in wildlife management and a geography minor. He's worked with AmeriCorps in the past, first as the head of visitor services at the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge in Northwestern Vermont and then post graduation as the volunteer coordinator for Agate Fossil Beds National Monument located in Northwest Nebraska.
Caroline Smith joins BRIDGE Network as the Community Stewards Program Coordinator. Although she originates from Northern Ohio, Caroline has made her way from the Rockies of Colorado to the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Throughout that time, Caroline has worked in outdoor recreation, marketing and graphic design, and most recently in public health. These experiences in diverse environments, industries, and with all sorts of community members, drove Caroline to pursue her passion for community outreach and development. Caroline believes in the power of change and the capacity to create it, in communities far and wide.
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, swimmer, and historical site visitor.
Amy Showalter is the Program Director of Community Stewards. Amy brings energy for effective communication and administration, holistic approaches, and service learning to this role. Amy’s previous experience includes coordinating the OSMRE/VISTA Team, managing home repair projects as an AmeriCorps member in Tucson, Arizona, working in 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.
Durango, Colorado Office Staff
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.
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.
Rebecca joined Stewards Individual Placement Program in November 2017. Right after college, she completed two terms of service with AmeriCorps NCCC’s Southeast Region, one as a Corps Member with traditional NCCC and the other as a Team Leader with NCCC-FEMA Corps. Rebecca recently completed her Masters in Public Administration and looks forward to using it to continue making positive changes and giving back to communities throughout our country.
Born and raised in South Jersey, she has also lived in Philadelphia and Burlington, VT. In her free time Rebecca loves exploring the outdoors with her husband and 2 awesome dogs. Whenever they can, all 4 of them cram into her CRV for epic road trips anywhere the road takes them.
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.
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.
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.
Ellie joined Conservation Legacy in February 2018 following a year of traveling around the West by car and by foot. Since graduating from college she has worked in a variety of roles for non profit organizations with missions ranging from youth workforce development to preventive health education, sparked by a term as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Raised in a family where vacation time meant a camping trip, she has always had a special place in her heart for the natural world and is excited to merge this personal love of the outdoors with her professional work for the Stewards Program. In her free time she enjoys hiking, running, experimenting in the kitchen, discovering new favorite places, and reading a good book with her cat in her lap.
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.
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.