In order to promote innovation and accountability within RRAFT, our organization is proud to hold a diverse Board of Directors with a wide range of experience in different aspects of restoration and non-profit management.


Photo Credit: Breanna Draxler

Photo Credit: Breanna Draxler

John McKenzie

John McKenzie is a generational farmer, who's family has owned land in Boulder County since 1893.  John received a Masters in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University and a J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School.

John currently serves as the Executive Director for the Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance and is an expert in agricultural water use and economics.  His organization is currently involved in the development of the 2014 Colorado Water Plan.


Photo Credit: Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Photo Credit: Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Merrill Warren

Merrill Warren grew up near Auburn, California, playing in the Sierra Nevada and the American River Canyon. Her adventures have since taken her around the world, including time living and studying in Spain.

Merrill graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012, with a B.A. in Anthropology. She has worked as a horse packer in the Sierra, a dog handler on the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, and as an intern for the US Forest Service, Range Department, in Gunnison, Colorado. 

Since 2013, she has worked with clean water initiatives in Zambia. She is an active director on the board of The Kensington Conservancy, a land trust that works to protect lands and waters in northern Ontario. A two-time NOLS grad and a Wilderness EMT, Merrill lives in Bozeman, and works for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.


Kristen Hartel

Kristen graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Minor in Geology. She holds certifications by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED Green Associate, LEED AP+ for Homes, LEED for Homes Green Rater, LEED for Homes QAD, is a RESNET-certified HERS rater, and holds a Building Science Principles Certificate of Knowledge from BPI. Kristen focuses on energy performance testing for new and existing homes
and buildings, helping new construction projects meet updated energy codes, and supporting homeowners and contractors through the LEED for Homes process. Kristen brings a wide array of passion and experience to RRAFT. She is an active boater and supports the organization through her commitment to experiential education and sustainability practices.


Photo Credit: Matt Beck

Photo Credit: Matt Beck

Leo Malloy

Leo is the high-school Outdoor Education teacher at Gunnison High School. Over the years he has developed a rich and comprehensive program for young students based on experiential learning and field based education in the outdoor playground of the Gunnison Valley. Throughout his courses, Leo always makes a point of including leave-no-trace ethics in the curriculum and works to instill a sense of place, often doing community service work as an addition to the recreational aspect of a trip. His experience comes from many backgrounds, including time as an Outward Bound instructor, AMGA certification, and his work as an author of the Gunnison Valley's complete rock climbing guide, Gunnison Rock, amidst a long list of other grand accomplishments.


Photo Credit: Jennie Noreen

Photo Credit: Jennie Noreen

Tim Leishman- Board Chair

Tim graduated from Black Hills State University in 2010.  He received his Bachelors of Science in Environmental History and a Minor in Outdoor Education.  Tim worked seasonally for 8 years with the United States Forest Service on the Black Hills NF and the Gunnison NF.  His seasonal work focused around timber management, timber stand improvement, timber sale administration, NEPA planning and implementation, and silviculture.  In the Fall of 2014, Tim took a permanent Forester position on the San Juan National Forest based out of the Pagosa Ranger District and has been appointed as the field representative on the San Juan Forest Leadership Team. 

Tim brings a strong background in inter-agency networking, monitoring, ecosystem analysis, project management, and habitat conservation to the RRAFT team.  His passion and love for rivers and their ecosystems is contagious.  Tim is the Board Chairman for the 2015 fiscal year and could not be more excited! Tim also has a strong environmental education background; he is a certified instructor in Project Wild, Project WET, Project Aquatic, Project Learning Tree, and the Aldo Leopold Land Ethic.


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Mike Wight

Mike spent five seasons with the Forest Service in Arizona while working towards
his B.S. in Ecology and Natural History at Prescott College. His final studies
included conducting Wild and Scenic river research in the Grand Canyon. Mike has
directed small corps programs, served as Project Coordinator for RMYC (CO) and
spent five years as Academic Director for an alternative high school focused on
service learning and outdoor experience. Throughout this time he became more
passionate about the Southwest’s amazing rivers and was also a river instructor
with Outward Bound. Joining SCC as River Restoration Director was a culmination
of Mike’s varied experiences. Four-years after beginning the position, he finds
great value in engaging young adults in riparian restoration, while supporting watershed length, collaborative habitat restoration initiatives on the Dolores, Verde, Escalante and Gila rivers with five conservation corps programs and a wide host of partners.


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Dan Omasta

Email: dan@rraft.org

Dan graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a Political Science degree focused on Environmental Policy and Land Management. He has extensive experience working with various environmental programs and non-profit organizations, including: the CU Environmental Center, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, and the Crested Butte Land Trust. In addition to raft-guiding, Dan is also the Grassroots Coordinator for Colorado Trout Unlimited. His devotion to environmental conservation is infectious and unmistakable!