Dorothy Whalen, Chair. Dorothy has fond memories of being a “free-range” child while spending summers with her grandmother in northern Michigan. The nearby woods and lake provided the background for many day-long adventures. Because of Wild Bear, Dorothy’s granddaughters get to enjoy some of the same joys of exploring the great outdoors, just a little more supervised. Today, one of Dorothy’s greatest joys is to watch the elk as they walk behind her house, moving between the meadows along Magnolia Road. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Masters’ in human development and family studies from Colorado State University. She last worked as an adjunct instructor at Front Range Community College teaching sociology and gender courses. She retired at the end of the fall 2014 semester after 16 years of teaching. Dorothy now volunteers as a docent at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and as a Wild Bear board members. She also enjoys traveling with her husband.
Amber Erickson, Vice Chair & Secretary. Amber joined Wild Bear’s board in 2014 out of a desire to give back to the community and passion for environmental education. By day, Amber is a content marketer and freelance writer. She believes her life purpose is to share information that helps people live their happiest and healthiest life possible. Amber has a B.A. in journalism from Boise State University and M.A. in holistic health studies with a focus on environmental health from St. Catherine University. Born and raised in MN – with a 2-year stint in Idaho – Amber moved to Nederland in 2012 with the intention of trying something new, living more intentional lives and surrounding themselves with the great outdoors. She now lives in Arvada, but heads to the mountains whenever possible. For fun, Amber enjoys teaching yin yoga, mountain biking, hiking with her puppies, identifying wildflowers and relaxing in the sunshine.
Laura Wilkins, Treasurer. Living in Illinois her whole life, and with her only daughter Alexandra in college, Laura and her husband made the move to Nederland. Always wanting to get involved in an organization like Wild Bear, she decided to become a part of it in 2016. Laura has always had a passion for fostering education through animals and nature. That’s probably why her work life is such a zoo, literally. She has been a part of Brookfield Zoo (located in Brookfield Illinois) since 2002 in their financial department. Now working for the zoo as their Manager of Budgeting, Forecasting, and Grant Administration from her home in Nederland, she can always catch a glimpse of the wildlife passing through and spectacular mountain views. She graduated with a B.A in accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration both from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. Laura is also a Certified Public Accountant. She is a proud of being a member of such a wonderful organization and hopes to connect both the young and the old to nature.
Dave McElvain. Dave joined Wild Bear in 2017, shortly after moving to Nederland. He was looking for a way to combine his love of the outdoors with community involvement. Dave got a B.A. in Economics from Penn State. He has spent much of his career working in the housing and IT industries. First as a carpenter, then working for a builder. As a switch, he moved into information technology, and worked as a network consultant with several companies for a number of years. He then moved back into housing as a Realtor for Long and Foster in the Mid-Atlantic. He grew up and spent much of his life in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania. David and his wife came to Colorado looking for more adventure and better opportunities to be outdoors. He enjoys travel, motorcycling, skiing, hiking, brewing, and photography.
Sally Brady. Sally has lived in the Nederland area for over 20 years. Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, her late Father was an ornithologist who influenced her interest of bird watching and the environment. Summers were spent by the ocean in Cape May Point, NJ, where migratory birds are historically counted. She has traveled with her Father on many birding trips from Maine to Brazil, building an avian glossary. Sally’s family business in PA was a retail art and photo supplies store. It was the local artist’s hub of a thriving art community. There, she experimented with many art mediums. She earned a fine art degree, and uses many mediums to express her art, recently creating paper mache songbirds as found at Wild Bear. For the past 20 years, Sally has worked for a local service company learning the HVAC trade. Working with the Boulder County community as a customer service representative where many customers have become friends.
Retiring in July, she will dedicate her role as a board member of Wild Bear to enrich our mission statement. Through her creativity, communication skills, and devotion to the study of wildlife, Sally will be a great asset to the building of a new incredible facility.
Brian Curtis. Brian is a few months shy of being a native Coloradan, having moved to the state just before his first birthday. Since then, he’s gotten around … including stints in Maine, Scotland, Sweden, Washington (both the state and DC), Vietnam, France and Australia. With an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Economics, an MA in Cultural Studies, and an MBA, Brian has – perhaps overzealously – pursued his passion for learning. It is due to this dedication to the power of education, along with his love for the outdoors, that Brian joined the board of Wild Bear in 2018. Having returned to Colorado, Brian wanted to be a more active member of the community in his new/old home, and Wild Bear seemed like the perfect opportunity to apply his professional management experience with his desire to contribute the next generation’s love of nature. When the sun is shining, Brian can usually be found with his wife and dog, doing all the usual things that Coloradans enjoy: skiing, biking, hiking, climbing, paddling, and drinking good beer.
Hillary Katz. Both of Hillary’s children (now ages 11 & 9) have attended Wild Bear since age 5. Hillary joined Wild Bear’s board in 2019 in order to give back to the community and programs that have supported her family for the past number of years. Hillary grew up in Western Massachusetts and from a young age always had a penchant for travel and exploration. By the time that she was 21, Hillary had visited 5 continents. In each place that she has traveled, she always explores the wild lands and natural spaces in order to learn about the ecology of each. Hillary went on to attend Prescott College in Arizona with a focus in Natural History and Sustainable Communities. After Prescott, Hillary moved to Colorado and has been here for more than 15 years. When not working, volunteering, or mothering Hillary can be found adventuring in the wilds outside of Nederland. She enjoys, hiking, wild crafting, birding, snowboarding, cross-country ski touring, high altitude gardening, and kayaking.
Jacob R. Harmon. Jacob’s love of the mountains began growing up in rural, north Georgia. After high school, Jacob explored the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Then, after living in the Sierra Nevada for nearly a decade, Jacob and his family moved to Colorado, and finally to Nederland in 2019. Shortly after arriving in town, Jacob joined the board of Wild Bear in the hopes of sharing his passion for outdoor education and the appreciation of wild places!
Jacob brings more than 15 years of non-profit leadership experience to the Board of Directors, and is currently serving as the Executive Director of Voices for Children, a child-welfare organization in Boulder. Jacob earned his B.A. in Literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and his Master’s Degree in Literature and Environment from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is currently working to earn an MBA from the University of Colorado.
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