FACULTY
AND STAFF

Tucker Szymkowicz – Executive Director
Lia Cristadoro – Watershed Education Program Director
Pam Lifton-Zoline  – Clute Science Fiction Library Program Director
Dr. Britt Bunyard – Telluride Mushroom Festival Program Director
Ashley Smith – Development Support and Telluride Mushroom Festival Co-Operations Manager
Madeline Gonzalez Allen – Climate and Culture Consultant, UN Mountain Partnership Summit, TI Indigenous Programs
Art Goodtimes – Talking Gourds Program Co-Director
Dr. Galaxy Stardancer – Talking Gourds Program Administrator
Emma Youngquist – Talking Gourds Program Co-Director
Rosemerry Trommer – Talking Gourds Advisory Committee
Dr. Dan Collins – Chief Investigator SCAPE
Richard Lowenberg – Special Projects Director, Mountain InfoZone Program
Evan Iverson – Interim Director of Science and Research

Tucker Szymkowicz

Executive Director

Tucker Szymkowicz has worked in non-profit management and experiential education for over 20 years. He has worked with a variety of outdoor education programs including, Outward Bound, the Boojum Institute, A Living Library and Islandwood. After graduating from University of Washington with his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction, Tucker went on to co-found an environmental and sustainability center called CIRENAS (Centro de Investigacion de Recursos Naturales y Sociales) located on Playa Ario, on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Tucker moved to Telluride in 2014 and worked for the Telluride Mountain School as their Director of Experiential Education. Art Goodtimes originally brought Tucker into the Telluride Institute to work on the Prospect Basin Fens Project in 2018 and as time progressed he began to take on more responsibilities. This November 2020 Tucker officially became the Executive Director of Telluride Institute. Tucker looks forward to helping Telluride Institute continue to address critical issues facing people, place and planet.

tucker@tellurideinstitute.org

Lia Cristadoro

Watershed Education Program Director

Lia completed her undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Since, she has been inspired to promote sustainable community development through scientific and cultural efforts. One of her passions is entomology, specifically the relationships between insect health, climate change, social implications, and modern agricultural practices. Additionally, Lia is incredibly motivated to integrate Indigenous voices and perspectives into creating environmental management strategies. She has been working to create a graduate school project that considers all of these elements, while addressing the distinct needs of Telluride and the surrounding region. Away from school, she spends her time coaching gymnastics, climbing, and skiing. Working with children and devoting her time to exploring outdoor spaces has enhanced her appreciation for community and the value it holds in addressing environmental problems. Beyond this, she recognizes that providing environmental education to children from a young age is the recipe for generating a healthy, resilient, and climate-friendly world. She plans to pursue her future endeavors with a dedication to progressive science, sustainability, environmental justice, and unity.

Lia@tellurideinstitute.org

Pamela Lifton-Zoline

Clute Science Fiction Library Program Director

Pam is a writer and environmental educator who has a long history of projects created at the intersection of speculative fiction, environmental education, and politics. Zoline is admired for her experimental approach to both the form of the short story and the genre of science fiction, especially for using the language of science to interrogate the scientific world view. Her 1967 novel, Heat Death of the Universe, is structured in a loosely encyclopedic style, with 54 numbered paragraphs narrated in a deliberately matter-of-fact third-person voice. As the narrative veers back and forth among scientific explanations, descriptions of household events, and philosophical speculation, the cumulative effect is of a mind and a culture on the verge of collapse. Zoline has also written a children’s book (Annika and the Wolves), libretti for two operas (Harry Houdini and the False and True Occult, The Forbidden Experiment), and original science fiction radio plays for the Telluride Science Fiction Project.

Dr. Britt Bunyard

Telluride Mushroom Festival Program Director

Britt Bunyard, PhD, is the founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of the mycology journal Fungi. Britt has worked academically as a mycologist his entire career, teaching a number of university courses and writing scientifically for many research journals and popular science magazines. He has served as an editor for mycological and entomological research journals, and mushroom guide books. A popular evangelizer on all things fungal, Britt has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, PBS’s NOVA and Wisconsin Foodie television programs, and in The Atlantic, Vogue, Forbes, Saveur, Women’s World, and others. He serves as Executive Director of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. He co-authored Amanitas of North America (2020; The FUNGI Press), Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and Midwestern States (2012; The Ohio State University Press), and the forthcoming The Beginner’s Guide to Mushrooms (coming November 2020; Quarry Books).

Ashley Smith

Telluride Mushroom Festival Operations Manager

Ashley Smith, founder of Sage Advice Telluride, and former Program Director of the Telluride Academy, joins the Telluride Mushroom Festival management team as Festival Manager in 2019 to provide oversight and support to the many logistical objectives that come along with creating a successful Mushroom Festival. Smith has worked in nonprofit management and marketing for over 10 years. Before that, Smith worked as a veterinary technologist after studying animal science and veterinary technology at St. Petersburg College where she received her bachelor’s degree in 2006. Smith lives in Telluride with her husband, Nate Smith, and their two Labradors who like to ride mountain bikes, go for hikes and mushroom hunt during the rainy summer months in and around San Juans.

Art Goodtimes

Talking Gourds Program Director

Art retired in 2017 after serving for 20 years on the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners, the first Green Party county commissioner in Colorado. A co-founder of the local enviro group, the Sheep Mountain Alliance, he has won numerous awards and been a member of dozens of boards and commissions on the local, regional, state and even national levels. Twice director of the local arts council in Telluride, he has also worked as a pre-school teacher and as a director in California, as well as a journalist, editor, and now op-ed columnist for Telluride’s The Watch, Cortez’s monthly Four Corners Free Press and the on-line weekly MontroseMirror.com.

Former Institute president and long-time trustee, Art helps run the Telluride Mushroom Festival as advisor to the director and poet-in-residence (1981-present). Currently he is involved as director of three Institute initiatives: the Talking Gourds poetry program, which includes a monthly Poetry Club, an annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, and the national Fischer Prize for poetry; the Ute Reconciliation program, which includes the annual Indigenous Peoples Day and cultural outreach to the Western Slope’s dispossessed owners, the Ute Nation; and the Fen Advisory project — to continue a longitudinal study by Colorado State University’s Dr. David Cooper in the Prospect Basin fens within the Telluride ski area. Former poetry editor for Twin Peaks, Earth First! Journal, Wild Earth, Mountain Gazette, and other zines, he currently is poetry editor for Fungi magazine and the on-line Sage Green Journal. He served as the first Western Slope Poet Laureate (2011-12). His latest poetry books are As If the World Really Mattered (La Alameda Press, Albuquerque, 2007) and Looking South to Lone Cone (Western Eye Press, Sedona, 2013). He performs his poetry widely in the region.

shroompa@gmail.com

Dr. Galaxy Stardancer

Talking Gourds Program Administrator

Bio coming soon!

Emma Youngquist

Talking Gourds Program Director

Emma is a first-year master student at Western Colorado University. She is studying in the Integrative Public Lands tract in the Clark Family School of Environmental Sustainability. She moved to Telluride in 2019 after graduating from the University of California, San Diego where she received a B.S in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution. Emma is currently working with Dr. Garrett Smith of Telluride Institute on an elk monitoring project along the valley floor of Telluride. Dr. Smith is studying wildlife movement along the valley floor to better understand how increased recreation and tourism affects land and wildlife management decisions. Emma is passionate about wildlife biology, habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture, and creative writing. She grew up in Dolores Colorado, and found her way back to the mountains to pursue passions in skiing, biking, fishing, and everything outdoors.

Emma@tellurideinstitute.org

Rosemerry Trommer

Talking Gourds Co-Director

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives with her husband and two children in Placerville, Colorado, on the banks of the wild and undammed San Miguel River. She served as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate (2007-2011) and as Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015-2017). In 2019 she was a finalist for Colorado Poet Laureate.

Devoted to helping others explore their creative potential, Rosemerry is the co-host of Emerging Form, a podcast on creative process (with Christie Aschwanden), co-director of Telluride’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club (with Art Goodtimes) and co-founder of Secret Agents of Change (with Sherry Richert Belul). She also directed the Telluride Writers Guild for ten years.

She teaches and performs poetry for addiction recovery programs, hospice, mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats, teachers and more. Past clients include Camp Coca Cola, Craig Hospital, Business & Professional Women, Deepak Chopra, Think 360, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Desert Dharma, Wilkinson Public Library, Telluride Literary Burlesque and Colorado Mesa State University.

She performs as a storyteller, including shows in Aspen at the Wheeler Opera House, at the Taos Storytelling Festival and the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Her TEDx talk explores changing our outdated metaphors.

She believes in the power of practice and has been writing a poem a day since 2006. Her daily poems can be found at https://ahundredfallingveils.com/. Favorite themes in her poems include parenting, gardening, the natural world, love, science, thriving/failure and daily life.

Dr. Dan Collins

Chief Investigator SCAPE

As president of the Board of Trustees of the Telluride Institute in Colorado, he has helped to develop and administer a number of environmentally-based curricula in the Colorado River Basin. His recent work, “The Colorado River Re-Storied,” focuses on locative media, participatory research methods, and documentary video with an environmental focus. Dan holds an MA from Stanford in Education, an MFA in Sculpture/New Forms from UCLA, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Arizona State University. Dan is the founding Co-Director of the PRISM lab (a 3D visualization and prototyping facility) and heads the first-year art program in the School of Art (artCORE) at Arizona State University. As a member of the Intermedia faculty at ASU, Dan teaches courses in the School of Art and the new Digital Culture program in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA). Over the past two decades, Dan has collaborated on a variety of discipline-based research projects that harness digital media for 3D visualization, prototyping, and archiving.

dan@tellurideinstitute.org

Richard Lowenberg

Special Projects Director, Mountain InfoZone Program

Richard Lowenberg has been actively involved in architecture, telecommunications, new media arts and theater, rural community networking and regional ecosystems planning since the 1970s, setting examples for ecological understandings and relationships in the information environment.

Richard was a founding Programs Director of the Telluride Institute from 1984-96, and led its InfoZone project (the first rural Internet PoP (1992) and wireless community WAN (1995).

He was thereafter Executive Director of the Davis Community Network for ten years, while also being Adjunct Professor of Technoculture Studies, and Artist in Bioregional Residence at UC Davis, 1996-2006.

Richard’s writings have been widely published and artworks have been exhibited internationally, including at the Whitney Museum, San Francisco MoMA, NTT Tokyo and the Venice Biennale. In the 1970s he established and led a number of NASA-Arts Collaborations and has continued to be involved in arts/sciences/society initiatives over more than 50 years.

In a renewed working relationship, Richard is now Special Projects Director, Telluride Institute, establishing and leading the Mountain InfoZone Program.

richard@tellurideinstitute.org

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