AMITY VARGAS – INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Amity has a diverse background with over 15 years’ experience that includes work in business development, organizational management, and the entire spectrum of non-profit operations. Some of her previous positions have included working as the Executive Director and Director of Operations for the Mountain Post Historical Association and the Assistant Director at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center.
Her professional achievements include being selected as one of Colorado Springs Business Journal’s ’40 Under 40 Rising Stars’. This award honors Colorado Springs area’s best and brightest young professionals based on an individual’s professional accomplishment and community involvement. Amity spent several years serving on AUSA’s National Young Professionals panel and has also been featured as a Colorado Springs ‘Mover and Shaker’ within the Gazette publication.
She has dedicated herself to giving back to the community and spends an extensive amount of time volunteering for organizations like Blue Star Recyclers that employs ethical recycling practices while creating employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. She is also a community advocate for sustainable community gardens and curbside compost programs. Amity has served on the Board of Directors for Women in Defense (WID) Rocky Mountain Chapter, The Mural Project of Colorado Springs, and Women Mentoring Women. She has previously served as a Chairperson for planning events like the annual Pow Wow event for One Nation Walking Together that hosts over 5,000 attendees and the USO’s annual gala.
Amity is the proud mother of four children, grandma to one, and wife to her husband Jorge Vargas. She enjoys painting, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family.
KRISTIN BARRETT – PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Kristin grew up among the aspens and pines on a cattle and hay ranch in the mountains of Idaho, where she developed her love of the land and the environment. Her family raised dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, and a goat. She carried water from a spring, collected eggs, churned her own butter, and rode horseback though miles of mountain forests, enjoying a rustic lifestyle in her early years.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Idaho in Agribusiness and spent several years in the ranching, veterinary, and dairy industries before completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho.
Seeking adventure and a warmer climate, she took a job on a remote atoll in the Pacific. She developed a love of the ocean and its inhabitants, so she took a break from the corporate world and became a SCUBA instructor in St. Lucia. She also attended massage therapy school in Santa Fe, New Mexico and ran her own massage therapy business in Santa Fe for several years.
She took a job with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2001, which provided great experience in sustainability, pollution prevention, and energy conservation. She worked with engineers and architects to incorporate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles into standard construction documents for the lab and worked to help the lab become more sustainable through recycling, energy conservation, pollution prevention, and green purchasing programs.
In 2010, she met the love of her life at a music festival in Alma, Colorado. They were married and now live in the house they built together on Mosquito Creek at 10,600 feet. They are musicians and play at some local events.
She was amazed and impressed from day one with Beaver Ponds’ beauty and mission. She is honored to be part of the Beaver Ponds family and looks forward to assisting in the many fascinating plans and activities the organization is pursuing. She is also an instructor at Colorado Mountain College, teaching environmental science and sustainability studies, as well as a volunteer for Colorado River Watch, helping to ensure the water quality of Colorado’s surface waters.
ERIC CHATT – SITE MANAGER
Eric has been fascinated by sustainable technology and medicine since he was 8 years old. He began learning about medicine by shadowing chiropractors in Omaha, Nebraska as a fourth grader through high school. His old sketchbooks from fourth grade show a solar sports car design and chiropractic manipulation. Healing pain and helping the environment have been Eric’s primary curiosity and motivation.
As a seventh grader he read “The Healer Within.” This was a book about psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI, which was unbelievably fascinating for him. In undergraduate studies he conducted two years of research on the placebo response and pain. Through his studies, he discovered John Kabat-Zinn, known for his work on mindfulness meditation and the effects on pain. Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Coming To Our Senses,” links the idea of mindfulness with environmental health, as well as our individual health.
Sustainable agriculture became a passion for Eric in graduate school at Bastyr University in Seattle. In his practice as a naturopathic doctor, he has focused on pain management and organic methods of medicinal herb production and has owned and operated a healing art center and medicinal herb production company for 5 years in Alma, Colorado. He has been a registered massage therapist since 2001, and is now a registered naturopathic doctor in the state of Colorado (2014 was the first year Colorado accepted registrations for N.D.s).
He has been an adjunct professor at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge for 10 years, teaching Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Capoeira, a martial art dance. He also tutors in the biology and disability student tutoring programs. “Docere” is the Latin term meaning “doctor as teacher,” and Eric firmly believes in transcending the self and helping others in this way.
To Eric, the two naturopathic philosophical principles of Docere (doctor as teacher), and Tolle Causam (treat the cause), are crucial for biodiversity and environmental health, as we know it.
He believes that the goals of inspiring stewardship of the Earth and teaching people about sustainability are the challenges of our time. As a biologist and a doctor, Eric is thrilled and honored to care for the plants and animals in this stunningly gorgeous natural setting in Park County Colorado, while teaching others about sustainable ways of living.
FOUNDERS – AL & TERRY HERSHEY
Al and Terry Hershey are the founders of Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center at Sacramento Creek Ranch. Although not their career, their long-term passion and full-time focus after business careers revolves around the environment and education.
After moving full-time to Colorado, they spent several years looking for just the right piece of property to combine those two passions. When they saw the land that is now Sacramento Creek Ranch, they knew it needed to be preserved, explored, and shared.
They developed the property and now invite others interested in environmental preservation, livestock, horticulture, and alternative energy systems to visit and learn about what we are doing on the property and how the features of the Ranch and Center can be used to enhance environmental and other learning experiences.
Al and Terry both graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduating with a degree in accounting, Al started his career in public accounting and then moved into the medical device industry, where he spent 40 years. Terry graduated with a degree in international relations and spent her entire business career in the media industry, with the last 25 years focused on electronic media and business strategy.
Today they focus on maximizing the educational impact of Sacramento Creek Ranch, and when time permits, they enjoy biking, hiking, skiing, cooking, and their dogs. In addition, Terry is the chairperson of a new charter school, the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, which opened in August 2013.
Events & Programs
There's always something fun to do at Beaver Ponds this summer.
Here are some upcoming programs and events.
Plant Walks - The 30th of each month
August 30, 10am - 12pm
Contact Eric Chatt for more information at (719) 838-0143
Plein Air Artists
September 5, 9am - 3pm
Contact Julie Bullock for more information at (719) 836-2622
Fiber Workshop Series - Felting Insoles
September 9, 1pm - 4pm
Contact Krissy Barrett for more information at (719) 838-0143
Click here for more information!
Downtown Denver Expeditionary School Fall Campers
September 12-14, 11am - 1pm
For more information visit http://ddeschools.org/
The beautiful Penstemon is another plant that can be utilized topically in homemade salves. The whole plant is used by chopping it into fine pieces, using a food processor, juicer, or a blender. One recipe from herbalist, Michael Moore, suggests using equal parts...read more
With perfect weather for a week of outdoor activities, Science Nature Week was held at Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center June 25th through June 29thread more
A refreshing, summertime, flavorful, and easy to prepare gazpacho…read more
We embrace biodiversity at Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center. In Germany a common slogan is “Im wasser ist heil”read more
- PO Box 995
2234 Busch Run Road
Fairplay, CO 80440
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