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.
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.
Lara Kreuter is a Texas A&M graduate with a double major in Wildlife and Fisheries, and Forestry Science. During her time in college she worked a leadership camp, volunteered with small mammal trapping, and various other animal related projects. She was also lucky enough to attend a study abroad program in Dominica, researching Imperial Parrots. She has loved animals from a young age and was able to peruse that ambition through her studies. After graduating she did an internship in Arizona studying Red Faced Warblers. Since then Lara has had the privilege of teaching in the outdoor education field for three years at different education centers in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
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).
Sam Johnson (MS, University of Colorado; BS Dominican College).
“Mike was an AMAZING facilitator! He listened to everyone and was encouraging in every way. He was great at reading the vibe of the group and adjusting his teaching style to that. I couldn’t have imagined a better facilitator to take me through this journey.”
“Elliott ROCKS!!!! He gave us just enough guidance to get us on our way but he didn’t give us the ‘answer’. He helped us hone our strengths and come together to strengthen our weaknesses. He was amazing and a huge part of the success of the weekend!”
“Sally was really engaging, caring and she knew her material very well.”
“Jim was great, very helpful and understanding. He was able to explain things in multiple ways if we didn’t understand. He encouraged us and pushed us to stretch our limits without seeming demanding.”
“The staff did an outstanding job of providing for all of our needs.”
“I LOVE Jennifer. She displayed the most incredible aspects of leadership and I learned so much from her. She was so patient and tolerant with our fast-paced, challenging group of individuals. I cannot thank Carrie enough for the perspective she offered me throughout this experience in addition to the love and compassion she poured onto a group of strangers so willingly. I miss you Carrie and am so thankful for having the opportunity to share this past experience with you.”
“Sally was amazing. She brought specific insights to various situations and asked good questions to the group so that we could come up with our own personal insights. Her coaching ability for taking someone to the Edge was spot on. She pushed me in a safe manner. Sall provided powerful one-on-one feedback to every single individual where she was able to zone in on strengths and opportunities for growth on the final day.”
“Jenny was an outstanding facilitator because it seemed like she intentionally and appropriately took a minimal role to facilitate our team development and only stepped in when it was absolutely necessary. And yet she guided us wisely into areas where we needed to go.”
“Laura taught me a lot about leadership and my approach to it.”
“Rob, Thank you for all that you and your terrific team do to make Next Level look good. Wow, can you believe we did TWO weeklong programs with you this year? My colleagues and I are grateful to call you teammates. And we do not use that term lightly."
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