Staff

The staff’s patience and concern for everyone’s needs and knowledge made the experience very empowering. It was great that they modeled all the skills they were teaching us, because it helped me remember that if they could do it, I could do it!
~ Sally, age 28

The Women’s Wilderness Institute StaffMeet the women who make it all happen at Women’s Wilderness Institute!

Office Staff
Field Staff

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    Shari Leach, Executive Director
    Shari Leach has worked in outdoor and adventure education for around 20 years, starting as an assistant counselor in the Panda Bear Cabin. She has since worked in a wide variety of capacities for organizations such as OB, NOLS, the United World College, Prescott College and the Wilderness Medicine Institute. She is pleased to be carrying a lighter backpack these days, although she still enjoys working field rock climbing and backpacking courses. Shari continues to work with graduate students of Prescott's Master of Arts program, having been the former chair of the Adventure Education MA program there. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and lived in Honduras while serving in the Peace Corps. Shari has a BA in environmental conservation, an MA in humanities, and an interdisciplinary PhD focused on culture and identity. When she isn't writing grant proposals or watching ravens from her office window Shari can be found basking in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, their orange dog and sometimes even her two step-sons! Send Shari an email!
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    Suza Bedient, Program Director
    Suza's roots tap deeply into wild places. Her skills in engaging earth energies began as a child exploring the Appalachian Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay. As an adult she broadened her explorations, including becoming a senior field instructor for the National Outdoor leadership Schools (NOLS) with over 300 weeks in wild places. She has spent much of her adult life living overseas, embracing mountains, rivers, and oceans.
    Suza majored in biology at the College of Wooster in Ohio then began her studies of the body-mind connection as a student, then as a teacher at the Port Townsend School of Massage in Washington. She became interested in human potential, listening deeply to the body's intelligence and its link to the soul's path. This inquiry spiraled her back to the power of landscapes and the callings of our wild selves. Looking for deeper access to the wisdom of the earth, she is honored to have worked with traditional shamans in Peru and Tuva. She is excited to join with wonderful team of wild women.Send Suza an email!
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    Lori Mathews, Marketing Coordinator
    Lori shines with enthusiasm for working with youth, dedication to promoting wilderness exploration, and brings to TWWI previous experience in the nonprofit industry. As a young camper at an all-girls horseback riding camp in Michigan, Lori became inspired by the strong and confident women surrounding her and ultimately became a counselor, dedicated to helping help other girls build confidence and have fun in the wilderness. Lori worked for Outward Bound Wilderness advising students on courses and participating in outreach events to promote the importance of wilderness travel and environmental stewardship. She has volunteered with organizations such as Colorado 14ers Initiative and Wilderness Restoration Volunteers to help keep our Colorado mountains beautiful and sustainable for years to come. An avid climber and backcountry skier, Lori also enjoys photography, spending time with her friends and finds solace in quiet mountain mornings watching the first crease of sun cresting the horizon.Send Lori an email!
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    Yuri Shane, Community and Development Liaison
    Yuri considers herself truly privileged to have spent a good part of her life abroad because she got to see our slogan in action: Strong Girls. Strong Women. Better World. Yuri was a United Nations kid and, as an adult, launched international programs for Columbia University and managed consulting projects for universities overseas. In addition to learning from the women and men in the communities she became part of, Yuri's travels gave her even more appreciation for the wild and quiet places left in the US. She came to Women's Wilderness Institute to make these places even more accessible to more people, and is particularly passionate about the scholarships available for our Girls' Wilderness Adventures so that all girls can get outside.

    Yuri came to Boulder from New York City, where she also earned her BA and MA as a student at Columbia. She and her husband are happily raising a little girl who has taken great naps on most of the beautiful trails in and around Boulder. Send Yuri an email and say hello!


Field StaffTWWI field staff are seasoned, professional outdoor educators who are carefully selected for their exceptional outdoor skills, warmth and ability to help groups develop a fun, supportive atmosphere. Your course will be led by two women with a wide range of life experience and many years of leading wilderness courses and doing their own backcountry adventures.

Our staff are more than guides, they are educators, experts and all-around inspirational women. All Wilderness Field Staff are certified as Wilderness First Responders, an extensive training in backcountry medicine, and have previous experience guiding wilderness trips. Each woman on our staff has a genuine passion for teaching, love for bringing groups together authentically and special skill for bringing forth the best in everyone. 

Girls’ Wilderness Program staff members also bring specific experience working with teenagers and radiate an exceptional sense of playfulness, humor, and genuine way of relating with girls.

Read on and get to know just a few of the amazing women who lead our Women's and Girls' courses.

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    Tara Marcilla, Field Staff/Girls
    Tara started with Women's Wilderness as a participant in 1999 when she was 15 and came back for our Leadership course when she was 17. Growing up around Boulder, she continued working with Women's Wilderness as a volunteer, packing gear and food. She returned as an intern in 2011 and is now leading Girls' Wilderness trips. She currently lives up in Leadville where she just completed her associates in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership, as well as becoming a certified EMT-B. She is on the Lake County Search and Rescue team and has a strong role in her community. Tara's certifications include swift water rescue, Avalanche 1, EMT-B, and high angle rope rescue. Rafting is her true passion, and she just lived her childhood dream to row her own boat down the Grand Canyon. Tara has spent over 160 days on the water of the Colorado River and hopes to spend many more days exploring the canyons. In the summer you can find Tara up in Leadville climbing, kayaking, hiking, and swimming in mountain lakes with her amazing dog, Zhula! During the winter she snowboards, ice climbs, and enjoys evenings by the fire with Zhula and her kitties. Tara's love for the outdoors was inspired by what she learned at Women's Wilderness, and by her amazing instructors and she continues to share that passion with the girls.
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    Sandy Chervenak, Field Staff/Girls
    Sandy was so inspired by the 8-day TWWI course she took at the age of 18, that ever since then she has followed the path to becoming a TWWI field staff. After getting a B.A. in Environmental Studies, she went on to work in wilderness therapy in Utah and teach dance and outdoor education and in her hometown of Boulder. She has been to 20 countries where she backpacked diverse terrain, worked with diverse populations, learned Spanish, and gained valuable insight, which she now brings to her work with all age groups and backgrounds. She plays several musical instruments and is trained as a yoga teacher, both of which she loves to bring to her work in the outdoors.
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    Morgan Moore, Field Staff/Girls
    Morgan Moore grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado in the town of Grand Junction. She currently resides in Summit County, Colorado using her B.S. in the field of environmental science by playing cowgirl in the summers, and posing as a ski bum in the winters. She has spent time leading groups of students and peers through various outdoor trips and activities working with the National Outdoor Leadership School, her college's outdoor program, Gore Range Outfitters, and several different ski areas in Colorado and California. She is presently working towards an anusara yoga teacher certification, toying with the idea of graduate school in the environmental education realm, and, with much enthusiasm and positive energy, is excited to begin her second season with TWWI!
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    Meghan Mosher, Field Staff/Girls
    Over the past 10 years, Meghan has had the opportunity to work with youth in a variety of outdoor settings, through leading wilderness trips, teaching environmental education, directing a challenge course, and running an environmental stewardship program. Meghan has lead backpacking, canoeing and kayaking trips ranging from 5-45 days in length across the midwest, Wyoming, and Alaska and is excited to further explore the Rockies! Meghan grew up in Ontario, Canada and moved to Boulder two years ago where she is currently earning her Master's degree in Science Education at CU. When not exploring, Meghan enjoys playing hockey and board games, learning the mandolin, eating dessert, and sleeping in.
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    Lela Henderson, Field Staff/Girls
    Lela has been working with children and youth of all ages for over 10 years in a wide variety of capacities, including leading programs in the wilderness both nationally and internationally. Lela loves to weave her passion for nature, expressive arts, community, and play into her work with young people. In addition to creating and facilitating programs for youth, Lela works as a professional artist and musician. Lela holds a B.A. in Expressive arts and Multi-Cultural Spirituality from Prescott College. Learn more about Lela at www.LoveLifeDesigns.org
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    Julia Forbes, Field Staff/Girls
    Julia has been leading wilderness trips for nine years, and is psyched to work with girls again with TWWI! She started out leading girls through the Canadian wilderness on long canoe expeditions. She is a NOLS Australia graduate and certified NOLS instructor. Her passion for the outdoors has taken her guiding around the world to such places as: the Grand Canyon, Malaysia, and China. She loves easing people out of their comfort zones and into hers. One of her favorite things about leading wilderness trips is facilitating the bonding and formation of a cohesive group. When not working for TWWI, you will find Julia rock climbing, backpacking, biking around Fort Collins, CO, where she lives, and making her own hot sauce.
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    Jenni Buzcko, Field Staff/Girls & Rock Tech
    Jenni has currently settled in Boulder to earn her master's degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology. She is fascinated and dedicated to this holistic approach of integrating the body and the mind to gain insight, grow, and change in dynamic ways. Previously, she spent four years as a park ranger in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite and its climbing became her Utopia and she's been climbing ever since! In previous off seasons from her job, she has traveled, explored, and/or climbed in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, India, Greece, Ireland, Spain, and England. Falling in love with New Zealand, she moved there and worked as an outdoor instructor on the South Island. She loves getting out into the world and experiencing the outdoors in creative ways. She also enjoys art, yoga, rafting, hammocks, the sun, and meeting new people. Jenni is looking forward to a wonderful season with Women's Wilderness!
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    Heather Irmiger, Field Staff/Women
    Heather Irmiger grew up riding mountain bikes with her family on incredible Colorado singletrack and has competed at the World Cup level since 2005, first as a member of the Subaru Trek Team. She is a diverse and talented athlete with results including multiple U.S. National Championships, a Single Speed World Championship, and has stood on podiums the world over. After years at the Elite XC level, Heather's 2013 schedule takes her back to the roots of the sport as a member of Trek Factory Racing's newly created Enduro race program. She'll get back to focusing on improving her own skills and speed - and can't wait to share this enthusiasm and knowledge with others.
    When not competing Heather has a passion for teaching and sharing her love for two wheels. She strives to witness that "ah-ha" moment in every rider and has years of coaching experience doing just that. Whether coaching juniors for seven seasons with Single Track Mountain Bike Adventures in Boulder, or guiding numerous women's and junior clinics Heather always looks forward to exposing people to the elements of mountain biking that have brought her so much.
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    Gretchen Leezer, Field Staff/Girls
    Gretchen has been facilitating adventure and personal growth in an outdoor setting for nearly ten years. She has worked in a variety of outdoor, experiential education and wilderness therapy programs. Gretchen has a B.S. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Missouri. She is currently completing her Masters at Naropa University in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology with a concentration in wilderness therapy. When she is not playing outdoors professionally she can be found hiking, biking, running, climbing, jumping on trampolines or playing with her two dogs, Louie Beans and Avi Noodles.
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    Erica Cohen, Field Intern
    Erica is very excited to be interning with Women's Wilderness starting in 2013! She brings compassion, creativity and vibrance while focusing on issues involving self-esteem, body image, empowerment and confidence. Erica holds a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Naropa University and loves working with women and girls. Her enthusiasm for the outdoors is apparent as she is often out trail running, hiking, or backpacking. Erica's compassionate, silly and care-free nature is an asset to any adventure she joins.
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    Deb Kulcsar, MS Education, Field Staff/Girls
    Deb has worked in the education field for 35 years and her teaching experience spans kindergarten science through graduate level instruction and mentoring. She loves working with people and excels at youth and leadership development programming. Her passions include connecting youth with the natural world through wilderness experiences and developing environmental and experiential education programs for all ages. Deb began working as a field instructor with Women's Wilderness in 2012 and is excited to stay connected with an organization devoted to such important work in the world! Currently, Deb runs Experiential Learning Associates LLC. Spending time in the outdoors is always her number one priority whether it be hiking, snowshoeing, road-tripping, biking, boating or sitting.
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    Deb Matlock, Field Staff Women
    Deb Matlock grew up in Colorado and spent her childhood hiking and camping in the Rockies. She is deeply committed to nurturing the connection between people and the earth and has spent fifteen years working as a professional environmental educator and naturalist. Her work includes teaching indoors and out, offering trainings and presentations, and designing and evaluating EE programs. Deb's research on the connection between spirituality and environmental education has been presented nationally and internationally and continues to be a strong focus for her.
    She is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Education at Antioch University and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and for Boulder Rights of Nature. More about her can be found at www.wildrhythms.org
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    Catherine Coe, Field Staff/Girls & Rock Tech
    2013 is Catherine Coe's first season as rock climbing specialist for Women's Wilderness and brings many years of experience practicing and teaching yoga. Her passions include rock climbing, yoga, photography, health sciences, traveling...and more. Catherine graduated from the University of Georgia, where she majored in Photojournalism & English and minored in French. The west was calling and over the last 10 years, Catherine has worked as a horse packing guide in the Tetons, a photography teacher in France, and a backpacking guide in Norway. Catherine is currently a NOLS rock climbing and backpacking instructor, a WEMT-B and MPIC, and is Avalanche Level 1 certified. When not guiding, Catherine does freelance creative media work in Jackson, Wyoming.
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    Annie Miller, Field Staff/Girls
    Annie came to Women's Wilderness in 2009 and is so excited to spend another season out in the field on our courses! She brings with her ten years of experience leading youth on backcountry wilderness adventures in and around Colorado and several years working with groups on various educational farming projects. She speaks fluent Spanish and most recently, has started leading international trips to Latin America. Annie is passionate about getting youth into the outdoors to connect with themselves and each other. Additionally, she teaches yoga and loves to incorporate it with students on outdoor courses.
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    ALyson Swett, PA & Field Intern
    Born on Boulder, Alyson has been hiking and back packing since she can remember! Alsyon worked all through college at the climbing wall and Outdoor pursuits center, while attaining a BFA in ceramics. Alyson hase guided trips for YMCA in NJ backpacking parts of the AT and canoeing on the Delaware water Gap and also interned with on trips in the Snowy Range and Medicine Bow Wilderness areas. Personal trips include climbing around Boulder canyon,Climbing on Tonsai and Railay in Thailand, backpacking trips in the Rockies, parts of the Appalachian Trail and Kaalau Trail on Kauai. No matter where she is, Alyson loves the opportunity to connect to nature and people in all ways; cycling, surfing, hiking, climbing, yoga.
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    Katie Asmus, MA, LPC Field Staff Women
    Katie describes her life purpose as "bringing forth the innate wisdom within every-BODY," and "opening people's minds and hearts to greater possibilities." Katie incorporates present-moment awareness, creative arts, relationship to the natural world, and body-mind connection to support people in connecting to themselves, others, and life more deeply. Katie leads trips for The Women's Wilderness Institute and Outward Bound, is on the faculty at Naropa University and Prescott College, and has a private coaching and psychotherapy practice in Boulder, CO. More about Katie at namastehealers.com.
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    Jody Radtke, MA, LPC: Field Staff/Women
    A full-time outdoor professional since the late ‘80s, Jody brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm and know-how to The Women's Wilderness. With more than 1,000 days in the field during her career as a field instructor, Jody is passionate about the wilderness, group dynamics, authentic expression and the many ways in which a wilderness experience can encourage positive growth within an individual, a community and our larger global society. After years of working with Outward Bound and holding positions of course director, associate program director and staffing manager, Jody served as the Institute's Program Director from 2005-2012. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology from Naropa University and also teaches in their wilderness therapy program. 
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    Kelly Brown, Field Staff/Women
    Kelly has been working for TWWI since 2004 and instructing with NOLS since 2002. A Jill of all trades, and master of many, Kelly brings a joyful balance of instruction wizardry and personal passion to every course that she leads.
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    Danika Gilbert, MA Field Staff/Women
    Danika joined the Women's Wilderness staff in 2004 and specializes in rock and ice climbing, but leads trips in all areas. She is passionate about sharing her love of the outdoors with women, whatever the activity. Her personal climbing resume includes summits in Peru, Bolivia, Nepal, and the U.S., including first ascents in Rocky Mountain National Park and Wyoming's Snowy Range. Danika is a "science geek" with a Masters in Botany, specializing in alpine and desert plants, and did Ph.D studies in Biogeochemistry. She loves to travel, with climbing as an excuse to explore other mountains and mountain cultures. Danika lives in Ridgway, CO with her sweet dog Avellana who is a constant companion on runs, bike rides and ski adventures in the San Juan Mountains.

  • Cathy Greenwald, Field Staff/Women
    Cathy has been working for TWWI since 2006 as one of our lead fly-fishing instructors. A certified Orvis Guide, Cathy brings incredible passion, wisdom and experience to our fly-fishing courses.
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    Zoe Katsulos, Field Staff/Girls and Women
    Zoe has been on staff with TWWI since 2006 and has been teaching outdoor skills for the past 12 years. A multi-talented staff working a variety TWWI courses, Zoe especially enjoys helping women discover their own world-view and the practical applications of climbing and other outdoor activities that stretch our abilities in our everyday lives. Outside of working for The Women's Wilderness, Zoe has been developing and promoting an original concept called "humanitourism," combining meaningful humanitarian work with active adventure travel, through her organization called inside/out. She also runs the Team In Training for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society as well as her own health & wellness business.
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    Lindsay Miller, Field Staff/Women and Girls
    A Boulder native, Lindsay graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Women and Gender Studies. Lindsay's passion for working with girls, combined with her love of the wilderness makes her a great fit for TWWI and she has led courses with Women's Wilderness since 2005. She loves combining her outdoor skills with dance, yoga and expressive arts to help girls build positive body images and feel great about themselves. Her travels have taken her backpacking through the vast desert and slot canyons of southern Utah, backcountry skiing and winter camping in the snowy Absorka mountain range, crack climbing in southern Colorado and swimming under waterfalls in the jungles of Venezuela. Lindsay is also a Spanish Interpreter, salsa teacher, and jewelry designer.
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    Lizzy Slatt, MSW Field Staff/Girls and Women
    Lizzy grew up climbing on rocks in Central Park and discovered that her taste for the outdoors was better suited in the mountains rather than the city. Lizzy has her masters degree in social work and has been employed in the outdoor industry for over a decade. Lizzy currently facilitates junior high girls groups in the Ft. Collins school system. Her addiction to TWWI is the result of loving to see how each group of girls is different but how each group comes together. In her free time, Lizzy enjoys rock climbing, hiking and backpacking with friends. Lizzy has also taught herself guitar and “nose-flute” and has a deep respect for chocolate and cheese.
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    Ashley Woods, Field Staff/Women
    Ashley started climbing with her family when she was six, and while some teenagers might look forward to getting their first car when they turn sixteen, she was delighted to receive her dad’s climbing gear. Since then, her love for the sport has been a driving force in her life. Ashley is an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor and an AMGA provider of the Climbing Wall Instructor course. She is a co-owner of the Spot Bouldering Gym and has served for 7 years as the Director of The Spot's Climbing School. She has completed numerous technical alpine ascents around the world, and broke the world record for the longest "dyno" (the act of dynamically leaping to a hold) on her way to a second place finish in the 2005 World Cup competition. A Women's Wilderness staff member since 2002, Ashley is a truly incredible teacher who loves sharing her passion for climbing with other women.
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    Joanne Yankovich, Field Staff/Women
    A professional outdoor educator of the highest degree, Joanne has led wilderness trips for TWWI and Outward Bound for many years. A professional ski instructor at Vail during the winter seasons, Joanne brings humor, dedication and humility to all of her endeavors.


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