Director of Natural Resource Programs
Gretchen is the original forester of LCD’s Healthy Forest Initiative. Hired as the Forestry Program Director in 2017, Gretchen grew the roots for what our forestry program is today. Since starting, she has implemented and overseen over 4,000 acres of forest restoration treatments in Larimer County.
Growing up in a musical family in Ithaca, NY, Gretchen quickly learned that music is great, but not what she wanted to spend her life doing. She has always been a nature lover and wanted to be outside as much as possible, which led her to pursue a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Principia College. The program focused on job-relevant skills and hands-on experiences which taught her a lot about forest management from silvicultural prescriptions to chainsaw safety. She also holds an M.S. in Plant Ecophysiology from Colorado State University and has worked in natural resource management and forestry in Colorado, Illinois, California, and New Zealand. All of these experiences have helped broaden her knowledge of forestry, ecology, and natural resource management.
Aside from being a wealth of knowledge on front-range ecology and a great collaborator, Gretchen can ride a mountain bike faster than you and bake the best loaf of sourdough you’ve ever had.
Auston began working for LCD in the summer of 2018 as a Forestry Intern. LCD realized how valuable Auston was to the team and decided to keep him on part-time. After graduating from CSU with a BS in Natural Resource Management in 2020, Auston joined the LCD forestry team full-time. Auston brought his knowledge of silviculture and noxious weed management, as well as his contagious optimistic attitude.
Auston’s childhood was largely spent in various degrees of hooliganry – mostly in the mountains on his trusty skis. Though Auston might be the most laid-back human you’ve ever met (have you seen his astroturf flip-flops?), he’s no slouch when it comes to ecological knowledge, forest management expertise, and data analysis.
In the true spirit of LCD, Auston knows how to play as hard as he works. His love of essentially every sport, and his natural athletic ability keep him busy on his weekends and vacations.
Debi is every bit the team mom we all need. She even brings us snacks! Born and raised in Colorado, she owns a cattle and hay operation outside of Greeley. She is well-connected in the agricultural community in Larimer and Weld Counties and seems to know EVERYONE.
Debi brings a strong background in management, marketing and bookkeeping to LCD, which makes her a clutch member of the team. Although her job doesn’t get her into the forest much (sadly), she keeps the gears turning at the district and is always open to lending a helping hand.
When she’s not at the office, Debi is taking care of two teenage daughters and chasing after five dog children. Debi enjoys reading about history, trying new wine, doing puzzles, and refinishing antique furniture.
Growing up outside of Denver, the front range has always held a special place Amy’s heart. Amy made a move to Florida for a marketing intern position, but after a summer spent across the United States, she was drawn back to Colorado to finish her degree and start her professional career. She earned her bachelors in Business Marketing and started as an HR assistant at Coors Field. Eventually, she made it all the way to Director of Community Partnerships where she organized all the nonprofit organizations that operated within the Coors Field, Empower Field, Pepsi Center, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, First Bank Center, and the Fiddlers Green.
After moving to Fort Collins, Amy started working for the USDA Farm Service Agency, which happens to be in the very same office at LCD. We saw how awesome she is, and just HAD to steal her!
Amy brings a consistent smile and can-do mentality to any task that is put in front of her. With a background in marketing, project management, volunteer organization, administration, and landowner outreach, Amy continues to prove herself to be a crucial member of the team.
Forestry Program Director
Matt grew up in western Pennsylvania with a strong love and admiration for the outdoors. He discovered his love of ethical hunting and fishing early in life, which undoubtedly helped spark his passion for conservation. After graduating from Penn State University with a BS in Forest Management, Matt worked as a forester for the state of Pennsylvania. In 2018, Matt made the trek out west and joined the LCD team.
Matt has been crucial in growing the Healthy Forest Initiative and has enabled a landscape-scale impact on forest health, wildlife habitat, wildfire risk reduction, and protection of critical water supplies. He has also contributed to the local development of new logging contractors and wood product markets as well as leading LCD through new programs and partnerships.
When Matt’s not marking trees or talking to contractors in the woods, you can find him fishing, hiking, or foraging in the Poudre Canyon, playing fetch with his dogs (Argo and Twiggy), or traveling across Colorado in search of the elusive public lands elk and deer during hunting season.
Dylan hails from Wisconsin where he grew up in the woods doing everything a young Wisconsinite ought to. He completed his B.S. in Forest Management and Restoration Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point in 2018, but he spent time before that doing forestry work across the country. Dylan joined the LCD team in 2020 after forestry stints in Wisconsin, California, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Since his start, Dylan has been an invaluable member of the team; always looking to take on new projects and challenges. He loves long days in the field, marking and inventorying project sites, and building relationships with landowners and logging contractors.
Dylan likes to go fast and so does George, his dog. Mountain biking, running, and cross country skiing are all things you can find him doing throughout the year. If you’re paying attention, you might be able to catch a glimpse of his luscious mane on the trail as he hollers “on your left!” with George hot on his tail.
Education Program Specialist
Sarah loves kids and it shows. That’s why she’s our Education Program Specialist! A fourth-generation Colorado native, Sarah grew up on a farm only a few miles from where her family homesteaded for many generations. Her upbringing instilled a strong love for agriculture and a sense of responsibility to pass on her passion to others.
Sarah's professional career is a reflection of her passion for education. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and taught for many years. She’s mentored college students and has been involved in various community outreach programs and event planning.
Sarah joined the LCD team in late 2019 and immediately went to work building Expedition Colorado, an educational event for fourth graders in the Poudre School District. Guest speakers and subject matter experts from around the state come and teach the kids about agriculture, wildlife, conservation, and natural resource management. Since its inception, the event has grown from a few hundred students to 1,400 students in 2022!