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Luanne has always been an avid outdoors enthusiast. In her past life, she was a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Currently, she's a potter and the coordinator for an environmental research/education program on the Caribbean island of Saba.
According to Luanne, "I have so much enjoyed both the kids and the staff at DNS; they have all helped me grow by helping them grow!"



Born in Indianapolis, IN, grad of Indiana University in Bloomington in 1977. Came out West to attend law school in Eugene, OR--very proud Oregon Duck alum--1980. After practicing law for 17 yrs in the Portland area, I made a major career transition in 1997 and moved to the SW, beginning in Santa Fe, NM. Wanted to pursue a career more closely aligned with my passion for the natural world and especially the night sky, and to share that with others. I owned three very different and successful businesses in educational services and tourism and recreation over the next 13 yrs in NM, AZ and CO and have been working as a "professional volunteer" since 2010. I currently am volunteering for seven non-profits in the Durango area and spend most of my time hopefully inspiring kids to get excited about nature and science, and of course my work with DNS is a big part of that. I've found my service and volunteer work to be as rewarding as anything I did professionally, and consider myself very blessed to live in a community as rich in those opportunities as Durango and SW CO. I've also been presenting night sky astronomy programs at state and national parks and monuments, and numerous other dark sky venues throughout much of the West for almost 30 yrs now, including DNS of course. Was very much honored to be named "Volunteer of the Year" for DNS in 2014 for my efforts there and look forward to continuing to be part of my favorite non-profit for MANY years to come.


In her role with DNS, Karen combines two of her favorite ways to spend her time - teaching children and being outdoors.  She started as a DNS volunteer naturalist in 1995 with her youngest in a backpack. She is now also a classroom contract educator with DNS as well.

Karen's love of nature and teaching comes from her time exploring the woods along Lake Michigan as a child. Those experiences have served Karen well and she is passionate that every child has an opportunity to connect with nature. "I feel privileged to share a special part of the Four Corners with our students," said Karen. "The best part about what I do is spending the whole day in wonder."

Karen has a background that includes camp counselor, teacher, ski instructor, river guide, and master gardener. She holds a Colorado teaching certificate and a Masters in Education.



Lori is a recent graduate of Fort Lewis College who has fallen in love with Durango.  She has been working with Durango Nature Studies as a volunteer for close to a year and has enjoyed working with the creativity of kids in nature.  
Her future plans are to receive a masters in education in order to enjoy teaching children.



Bio to Come


Gail might say she is simply a retired educator with just a bit more than 25 years of experience in the education field, but that would hardly suffice. An active community volunteer, she is the co-founder of the Durango Early Learning Center as well as a member of the Durango Choral Society and Heartwood Co-Housing Community. Gail is a current DNS Volunteer Naturalist and certified Project WILD facilitator.

In January 2006, Gail retired from the DNS Board of Directors after serving more than six years. Her roles and responsibilities spanned the breadth of the organization including Board President. She continues to lend her expertise to DNS as as an educator and volunteer.



Carol is an educational consultant to schools on community and student support programs.  In her 35-year career in education, she has worked as a teacher, dorm head, learning specialist, minority student advisor, dean, counselor, and associate head of school. Carol is currently the director of the Durango Institute for Co-Curricular Education in Durango, Colorado. Carol is also the co-director of the nationally recognized Human Development Institute and has been on the teaching faculty of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) for eighteen years. Carol has gone through all three of the DNS naturalist trainings and is a wonderful addition to our program. She is also on our board of directors.



Stephanie’s sparked interest for the natural world was fueled at an early age. At age three, her family moved from Idaho to Afognak Island located in Southeast Alaska. She spent her childhood years among the rugged Alaskan coastline where she explored diverse tidal pools, observed Kodiak brown bears, and feasted on fresh-picked salmon berries. Six years later, her family returned to the lower forty-eight relocating to a small mountain town in Idaho. It was here that she built forts in aspen groves with her younger sister, walked the outline of dirt roads, and swam in mountain lakes. As years passed, Stephanie developed a strong connection with the simple yet intricate patterns of the natural environment. Upon completion of high school in Oregon, she was driven to discover the unseen sectors of the west. Stephanie has spent a handful of seasons working in various National Parks and is currently in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology. As a volunteer naturalist, Stephanie aims to provide students the opportunity to discover the immense patterns intertwined within nature and develop a spark of their own.


Orien moved to Durango in 2007.  Prior to that she lived in Flagstaff Arizona.  She loves hiking, skiing, biking, and being on the river with her family.  She holds an MBA and works in Institutional Research at Fort Lewis College.  She voulunteers at Durango Nature Studies because she wants to share her love of nature with the area children, and because her children are now thanking her for all the forced marches she took them on.  

Sandhya is a California native who moved to Colorado six years ago to attend Colorado College. There she received her Bachelors in Environmental Science and began her lifelong love of Colorado. She is passionate about environmental issues and currently works for the Four Corners Office of Resource Efficiency in Durango. She is a senior naturalist with Durango Nature Studies and has volunteered with a rural development nonprofit in India that built wells. Sandhya loves riding her bike, trail running, rock climbing, and exploring the vast wilderness that makes up Durango's backyard.

 Photo coming soon
Originally from Angel Fire, NM, Chris relocated to Washington State where he lived with his wife, Kim for 20 years. After his two boys, Ethan and Sam, were born, Chris decided to take a hiatus from his engineering job to participate in developing a local independent elementary school (The Bridge School) in Burien, Washington. Chris served as a board chair for the school and worked in the classroom as a substitute teacher. But his true passion was developing and teaching the weekly outdoor education program which covered everything from environmental awareness to navigation. As their children grew older, Chris and his wife decided to return to the Southwest, and they are happy to have found a home and community in Durango. In addition to being on the board at Durango Nature Studies, Chris volunteers as a naturalist in the Children Discovering Nature program. Chris is also proud to be a part of the accountability committee at Sunnyside Elementary School and is the owner of Yeargin Civil & Structural Engineering.

© 2013 Durango Nature Studies
(970) 382-9244

Main Office:
1309 E. Third Ave, #27
Durango, CO 81301
CO Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 3808
Durango, CO 81302