Tucker Szymkowicz Executive Director
Garrett Smith, PhD Chief Scientist & Watershed Education Program Director
Pam Lifton-Zoline Clute Science Fiction Library Program Director
Dr. Britt Bunyard Telluride Mushroom Festival Program Director
Ashley Smith Telluride Mushroom Festival Operations Manager
Mandy White Ute Reconciliation Program Director
Art Goodtimes Talking Gourds Program Director
Dr. Galaxy Stardancer Talking Gourds Program Administrator
Rosemerry Trommer Talking Gourds Co-Director
Dr. Dan Collins Chief Investigator SCAPE
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.
Garrett Smith, PhD
Garrett moved to Telluride after completing his PhD at the University of Arizona. He spent his graduate career researching natural resource use and public land management issues. He conducted research related to the spatial modeling and evaluation of wildlife habitats and migration corridors. He also developed innovative methods to conduct research related to impacts, crowding, conflict, spatial dispersion, and carrying capacity in recreational settings. All culminating in conducting social research as it relates to wildlife and recreation management issues for his dissertation. Garrett was introduced to the field of outdoor education as a Graduate Fellow with the UofA Science Sky School, a place- and inquiry-based science education program using the Sonoran Desert and Catalina Mountains outside of Tucson as the classroom. This experience was pivotal in convincing Garrett that teaching science to students was best done outside of the classroom in the field. Garrett is an avid ultra runner who finds peace and balance by partaking in long journeys through the mountains, allowing him to interact with his classroom on a daily basis.
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.
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, 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.
In September of 2016, I decided to go to Standing Rock to help the Lakota stand up for their treaty rights shortly after seeing the video of hired security forces sick attack dogs on indigenous men, women, and children who were praying to protect their water and ancestral homelands from industrial destruction. I was shocked that this was happening in my country. I believed these atrocities were a thing of the past. I was taught through our public education system that our country, the liberty and justice for all country, had learned from our mistakes in the past, and that we are a good people. The events in Standing Rock opened my eyes to the fact that we still have a lot of work to do. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
Over the next month I started fundraising and gathering donations to help protect the water and to defend the treaty rights of the Lakota. I attended a ceremony in San Miguel County, Colorado, of the official apology to the Ute People, the Nuchu, for our terrible shared history. The Ute tribes were removed from their homelands to make way for the mining industry. During the ceremony, I became aware of the grace of an accepted apology. The moment of shared acknowledgement of the harm done, the deep regret, the sadness, the vulnerability of all present, opened my heart to the silent presence of possibility. That we must join together, hand in hand into the future. After returning from Standing Rock, I started volunteering for Telluride Institute’s Ute Reconciliation Program. Our apology with the Ute People is an ongoing process that requires apt attention to building relationships between our communities. This program is an important part of our nations healing and I am honored to help.
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.
Bio coming soon!
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.
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.