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2018 CMG Conference Workshops: Presenter Biographies   Arrow divider image - marks separation between nested pages that are listed as breadcrumbs.

Keynote Speakers

Opening Session: Nolan Doesken, Colorado Water Center at CSU

Nolan Doesken was born and raised in rural Illinois and grew up with a passion for watching and talking about the weather. After getting degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois in the mid 1970s, Nolan headed West. He began work as “Assistant State Climatologist” at Colorado State University in 1977. He was appointed “State Climatologist” in 2006 helping Colorado navigate floods, drought and an apparent warming trend. Along the way, Nolan helped create and develop the “Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow” network (CoCoRaHS) engaging volunteers of all ages in tracking and mapping precipitation. Nolan retired in 2017 and now works part time for the Colorado Water Center at CSU sharing his knowledge of Colorado’s amazing and variable climate.

Nolan will discuss with us the factors that influence climate, climate trends and variability, what the climate future holds and how it all impacts the work we do.

Plenary Session: Patrick Byrne, CSU Department of Soil and Crop Sciences

Dr. Patrick Byrne is a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University, where he teaches and conducts research in plant breeding, genetics, and biotechnology. His research focuses on the genetics of drought tolerance and agronomic traits in wheat and disease resistance in dry beans. He has done extensive outreach on the benefits and risks of genetically engineered crops. Before coming to CSU in 1997, Dr. Byrne worked for USDA-ARS in Columbia, Missouri, and for agricultural development agencies in Mexico, West Africa, and Nepal.

Dr. Byrne will present GMO Crops: What Are They; How Are They Regulated; and Should I Be Concerned? Confusion and misinformation abound for GMO (Genetically modified organism) crops. These crops have been a part of the US food and feed supply since 1996, and the scientific consensus is that they are as healthy as non-GMO crops. This talk will review the technology used to develop GMO crops, discuss the types of these crops that are currently being used, and describe future developments such as gene editing. The US regulatory process and potential effects on human health and the natural environment will also be discussed.

Workshop Presenter Information

Cassey Anderson is the Master Gardener Coordinator in Adams County. She has been working for CSU Extension since 2013 having started in Boulder County. She’s finishing up a Master’s degree working in Horticulture with Dr. Jim Klett at Colorado State University. In her free time she wrangles 1.5 acres and tries to find some time to hike, ski, and bike around this wonderful state.

Dr. Tamla Blunt is a Plant Pathologist/Research Associate at Colorado State University in the Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management Department. Dr. Blunt is familiar with a variety of plants that include greenhouse, forest, landscape, turf, and cropping situations and the associated disorders that accompany many of these plants. Dr. Blunt also teaches Landscape Plant Health Care, Plant Propagation and Pesticide Safety and Use at Front Range Community College campuses in Westminster and Fort Collins, CO. At Colorado State University, she teaches Online Horticulture Pathology classes and assists with Elements of Plant Pathology (BSPM361), as well as Apprentice Master Gardener Plant Pathology training and Advanced Master Gardener Diagnostics Training.

Greg Brown has been the supervisor of the Routt County Weed program since 2009. Prior to that Greg was in the sheep business near Clark, Colorado for 25 years, producing both lambs and wool. He was a partner in Routt County Woolens, designing and producing premium wool blankets from local wool for 12 years. Greg is a fourth generation Coloradan and received his BS in Botany from Colorado State University, after which he emigrated to Montana to attend graduate school, receiving his MS in Agronomy and working for Montana State University and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. Greg and his wife Martha reside on a ranch near Clark with assorted dogs, horses and gardens.

Deryn Davidson holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Colorado State University and a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona. While in Arizona she worked designing rainwater harvesting systems and educating the public on rainwater harvesting strategies. She has a passion for native plants and pollinators that grew during her time as a horticulturist at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX. Currently, Deryn is the CSU Horticulture Extension Agent for Boulder County, a position in which she is able to help educate the public about the importance of pollinators and their habitat, good design, and responsible horticulture practices.

Ryan Dennison is the Recreation Manager for Craig Parks & Recreation Department in Craig, Colorado. He found his career passion for Parks & Recreation early in his life and has been in this field since his college days, working and learning in each field; from horticulture, forestry, sports turf to where he is today. He finds it very rewarding to be a part of something which brings communities enjoyment by connecting people to numerous programs, activities, events as well as to nature. He is also an outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with his family every chance he gets. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, Certified Turf Manager, and Certified Park and Recreational Professional.

Tina Evans earned her Ph.D. in Sustainability Education from Prescott College and her Permaculture Design Certification at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt, Colorado. She is a long-time Colorado resident with extensive experience in gardening, beekeeping, and growing/maintaining fruit trees. Her extensive academic and community work in sustainability also provides a strong platform for her teaching about the social aspects of permaculture.

Barbara Flowers is a Routt County Master Gardener, a Certified Botanical Illustrator, and a retired Interior Designer.

Mike Kintgen has a BS in Landscape Horticulture from CSU, and is working on a Master’s in Alpine Ecology at Regis University. He is the curator of Alpine Collections at Denver Botanic Gardens where he has been formally involved for almost 14 years and involved as a volunteer for 26 years.   Mike’s family has a residence near Steamboat Lake where he has spent most of his life going back and forth between the Yampa Valley and the Front Range on weekends and holidays. His first garden was built at age 7 at Steamboat Lake and he has expanded it over the years to hold hundreds of species of alpines and well adapted plants to the high and challenging site.

Jim Klett is Professor of Landscape Horticulture and an Extension Landscape Horticulturist for Colorado State University. He has been at CSU for over thirty years and teaches in the areas of herbaceous and woody plant materials and in nursery production and management. He works directly with the green industry of Colorado, especially the nursery, arboriculture, garden center and landscape contractor industries. His research deals with landscape plant evaluation and introduction water requirements of landscape plants, green roofs, and other culturally related concerns with landscape plants.

Tony Koski has been the Extension Turf Specialist and a professor at Colorado State University since 1988. He teaches turf grass management and advises turf management students in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. As Extension Specialist, he works with all facets of Colorado’s professional turf management industry, including golf courses, sports turf, professional lawn care, and sod production. He is also an instructor in the Colorado Master Gardener program. His favorite areas of research include turf irrigation management and water use efficiency, turf weed control, turf fertility and soil management and the development and evaluation of turf species and cultivars for adaptation to the Rocky Mountain region. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State University.

Carolina Manriquez is a forester for the Colorado State Forest Service. She has served in that capacity for almost 10 years, ever since moving to Steamboat Springs from Santiago, Chile, where she is originally from. Carolina is passionate about people and the environment and loves her job and the people she gets to work with every day. Her current position allows her to be a steward of northwest Colorado’s forest resources while also doing outreach and environmental education with adults and youth. She has a M.S. in Silviculture and Restoration Ecology and recently finished a Master’s in Agriculture. Carolina has had the opportunity to travel and work all over the world, focusing in natural resources conservation and sustainable development in rural areas of Africa and South/Central America. She feels lucky to call the Yampa Valley home and enjoys the outdoors with her family and pups.

Darrin Parmenter is the Extension Director for La Plata County. His Extension education efforts focus on home and commercial horticulture – leading the Master Gardener Program and working with the area’s new and established farming and agricultural enterprises. Darrin graduated from Montana State University in 1999 with a B.S. in Horticulture. In 2003, he graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York with an M.S. in Horticulture and a minor in Soil and Crop Science. Prior to working with Colorado State University, Darrin was an Extension Agent in Palm Beach County, Florida, and primarily worked with the county’s vegetable production industry. Along with other duties, Darrin is active with local food systems, agricultural awareness, regional food distribution networks, and backyard food production. His long-range goals focus on improving the quality and quantity of local food used in our community and promoting local and sustainable agriculture. Darrin works closely with the Durango Botanical Society, The Garden Project of Southwest CO, and is a steering committee member with the Regional Food Recovery Hub. He is a Durango native and has two children.

Irene Shonle is the Director of CSU Extension in Gilpin County. She teaches and writes about native plants all across the state, is very involved with the Native Plant Master Program, and is past Vice-President of the Colorado Native Plant Society. She gardens mostly with natives in the mountains at both her home and in demonstration gardens outside the Extension Office.

Jo Smith has been a Routt County Master Gardener since 2013. She has overseen the Junior Master Gardener program in Steamboat Springs for four years, a continuation of 30 years as a science educator in Colorado.

John Twitchell has been an SAF member since 1984, and has worked as the district forester for the CSFS Steamboat Springs District since 2005. In his more than 30 years as a forester, Twitchell has owned his own logging company, worked as a private forest industry consultant, and managed the 72,000-acre Colorado State Forest timber program, among many other endeavors and accomplishments.

Curtis Utley is a Colorado native who grew up in Northglenn, Colorado. Interested in the world outdoors, Curtis found gardening rewarding at a young age. An alumnus of Colorado State University’s Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management Department and Extension Horticulture Agent and Research Associate since 2001, Curtis has been an informative friend and partner of the green industry. He has recently accepted a new appointment as the Extension Director for Jackson County in Walden, Colorado.

Karen Vail a Steamboat Springs native, is the “go to” local resource for information on the area’s native plants. She has authored two books on the local area and co-authored a book on edible and medicinal plants. Vail owns and runs Karen’s Growing Ideas, a landscaping business, leads local wildflower walks, and teaches through a local environmental educational organization.

Megan Walker is a local beekeeper with a BA in Sustainability Studies from CMC. She’s a Routt County Master Food Safety Advisor and active in the local agriculture scene and youth education. She’s a producer on the CAA marketplace, a Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union representative and completed a fellowship with Real Food Challenge promoting food justice. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Western State Colorado University.