Our People

We take the time to listen to you and to consider your wants and needs. We believe in our mission and values, and we care about your experience. We make things happen with a positive attitude toward action. We sweat the details, but also consider the big picture. We have very little turnover with our employees, which translates to a seamless professional experience with everything we do. We define customer service as a relentless pursuit of excellence in communication, follow-through, and in exceeding expectations.

Rob Jolly is the director of The Nature Place. He has a BA in Geology, and he led several small entrepreneurial endeavors before joining the Colorado Outdoor Education Center and The Nature Place in 1987. Rob has been instrumental in creating and adapting the innovative team and leadership development programs, some of which consider natural and human systems to expand participant's capacities. As the director he continues to actively study social, economic, and global business and environmental trends. He is also passionate about designing and facilitating programs for corporate clients, sharing his knowledge about local geology and natural history, and providing astronomy sessions at the observatory. He likes to telemark ski, sail, and travel.

Samantha Kruper Peck is the assistant director of The Nature Place. After seven years as a military aviation officer she and her family made Colorado their home. Sam graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York in 2004. She has a BS in comparative politics, and has completed several military courses including the Military Intelligence Career Course, UH-60 flight training, SERE, Airborne, and winter survival training. She enjoys hunting, fishing, and hiking with her three boys. Sam is Level II trained on our high rope challenge course, completed the American Climbing Institute's Climbing Instructor course and gets rave results as our lead facilitator.

Shelley Churchill joined The Nature Place in 2001 as the office manager. She has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and guest services. She studied business and accounting at the Community College of Aurora. Shelley's friendliness, organizational skills, and enthusiasm contribute greatly to those around her. She loves spending time with her family, and animals, and enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing.

Tristan Hales is the technology manager and tech guru at the Colorado Outdoor Education Center and The Nature Place. Tristan was born in Texas, raised in Alaska, and has lived in many places since. He has been studying and practicing organizational and management technologies, web design, robotics, and programing for many years. Tristan enjoys hiking, watching the chipmunks in his yard, driving the back roads, viewing the dark night sky and is an active volunteer wildland firefighter.

Connor Smith started working at The Nature Place in September of 2016. He has a background in experiential education obtaining a degree in Outdoor Education at Georgia College. Coming from the southeast Connor spent his years exploring the Appalachian Mountains and rocky crags of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. His passion is to allow the beauty of the outdoors to spark change in individuals and to help guide them through that process. Connor facilitates programs and performs a myriad of other tasks here. In his free time Connor enjoys climbing, skiing, unexpected adventures and songwriting.

Kitchen staff. Our experienced kitchen staff works hard to accommodate special dietary requests, and they take pride in their cooking. Guests regularly comment on how delicious the meals are, and they joke about how much weight they’ve gained while here!

Housekeeping. Our housekeeping staff ensures that our guests are comfortable by accommodating and anticipating needs in a prompt and courteous manner. They perform daily touch-ups in addition to cleaning, making beds, and caring for the rooms and other facilities.

Maintenance. Our maintenance staff is passionate about caring for our buildings and related systems. The team works hard to keep things up-to-date and shipshape.

Staff naturalist biographies

Bud Wobus (PhD, Stanford; MA, Harvard; BA Washington University).

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Chuck Olmsted (PhD, University of Colorado; MS, University of Oklahoma; BA, Earlham College).

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Sam Johnson (MS, University of Colorado; BS Dominican College).

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