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2013-14 Rockies Project Team

For a PDF version of our 2013-14 Project Research Team click here.

Jessica Badgeley

Jessica Badgeley is the GIS Specialist for the 2013-14 Rockies Project. Originally from Seattle, Washington, she will graduate in May 2015 with a Geology major and Mathematics minor. During the school year, Jessica works in Colorado College’s GIS lab helping students learn to navigate GIS. One of her recent projects included assembling an informative poster about the ins-and-outs of digital elevation models. Jessica also has a great interest in the outdoors and conservation that fuels her enthusiasm for working with the Rockies Project.


Brendan Boepple

Brendan Boepple is the Assistant Project Director for the State of the Rockies Project. In his fourth year with the Project, Brendan previously held the position of Project Program Coordinator from 2011 to 2013. Prior to that, he was a Student Researcher during the summer of 2010 and researched the Eastern Plains region of the Rocky Mountain States. Originally from Wilton, Connecticut, Brendan graduated from Colorado College in May of 2011 with a Political Science major and an Environmental Issues minor. While growing up Brendan developed a love for the outdoors and the environment, and he later worked with environmental organizations like Trout Unlimited and his local conservation land trust. In the future, Brendan hopes to further his education in natural resource policy and management, and later pursue a career in that field. His interests include skiing and fly-fishing, two activities that drew him to the Rocky Mountain region.

Aaron Chin

Aaron Chin is a Student Researcher for the 2013-2014 Rockies Project. Originally from Northern California, he is a 2014 Environmental Policy Major. After he graduates, Aaron wants to pursue a career in either social or environmental development. Aaron spent much of his childhood snowboarding, hiking, and camping in the areas around Redding, California which provided him with a great appreciation for the natural world. His other interests include reading, sports, cooking, and biking.

Sawyer Connelly

Sawyer Connelly is a Student Researcher for the 2013-2014 Rockies Project. Originally from Hardwick, Vermont he will graduate in the Fall of 2014 with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in English. His interest in the natural world developed from exploring the forests of New England and the beautiful coast of Cape Cod to Maine as a child. Upon graduating he hopes to spend some time traveling before he plans to attend graduate school and then answer the call of the ocean in northern New England, his home. In his free time he enjoys fly-fishing, climbing, his Siberian Huskies, and writing.

Matthew C. Gottfried

Matthew C. Gottfried is the GIS Technical Director at Colorado College and the 2013-14 Technical Liaison for the State of the Rockies Project, overseeing tasks including data assimilation, GIS analysis, and logistics management. He received his B.S. (1999) in Field Biology and Environmental Studies from Ohio Northern University and his M.A. (2005) in Geography and Planning from the University of Toledo where his focus was on land use planning and GIS. Matt’s regional research focus includes studying the biogeography of critical species, land use planning, and conservation management practices of local natural resources.

Walter E. Hecox

Walter E. Hecox is professor of economics and environmental science, and Project Director for the State of the Rockies Project at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Walt received his B.A. degree from Colorado College (1964) and an M.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1970) from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. He teaches courses in ecological economics and sustainable development. He has conducted research and taken leave to work for the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Energy, and Colorado Department of Natural Resources. He is author of Charting the Colorado Plateau: an Economic and Demographic Exploration (The Grand Canyon Trust, 1996), co-author of Beyond the Boundaries: the Human and Natural Communities of the Greater Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon Trust, 1997), and co-editor of the Colorado College State of the Rockies Report Cards.

Patrick Hughes

Patrick Hughes is an Expedition Assistant for the 2013-2014 State of the Rockies Project.  An east coast native, he grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Colorado College in 2013 majoring in Environmental Science.  Pat has held a variety of jobs from positions at UBS Financial to a farm apprentice at The Hickories: A CSA Farm.  With a passion for environmental issues, Pat came out to the West to experience the outdoors on a larger scale.  He has extensive backpacking experience but some of his other hobbies include climbing, fly-fishing, skiing, and reading.

Halsey Landon

Halsey Landon is an Expedition Assistant for the 2013-2014 State of the Rockies Project. He hails from Norwell, MA and graduated from Colorado College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Policy. He grew up an avid skier and backpacker and moved to Colorado in 2009 where he has expanded on his outdoor interests, particularly backcountry skiing. He has worked for several environmental policy organizations and an oyster farm on the Massachusetts coast. Halsey joined the Project’s expedition crew to follow his love for the outdoors and to pursue work in land and natural resource management. Some of Halsey’s interests include skiing, fishing, mountain biking, and photography.

Zak Podmore

Zak Podmore is an Expedition Manager for the 2013-2014 State of the Rockies Project. He grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where he came to appreciate the waters of the Rocky Mountains over the course of a childhood shaped by winters skiing on mountain slopes and summers floating through the arid sandstone canyons of the San Juan, Dolores, Green, and Colorado Rivers.  A long-time kayaker and rafter, Zak’s love of wilderness rivers has taken him to Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, and throughout the American West.  He graduated from CC in May of 2011 with a degree in Philosophy and a minor in Psychoanalysis. Zak returns to the Project’s expedition crew after leading the previous Source to Sea, and Down the Colorado Expeditions.


Breton Schwarzenbach

Breton Schwarzenbach is a Student Researcher for the 2013-2014 State of the Rockies Project. He hails from Putney, Vermont and will graduate from Colorado College in 2014 with a Major in Political Science and a Minor in Fine Art. Breton is a passionate photographer and journalist interested in understanding human-land relationships. In 2012 he received the Edith Kinney Gaylord Prize in Asian Studies to shoot a story on the livelihoods of nomadic herders living along the Indo-Tibetan border in Ladakh, India. Prior to his time at CC, he developed a strong appreciation for land use and stewardship through farming and maple sugaring in Vermont. He is an avid fly-fisherman and enjoys exploring Colorado’s rivers and mountains. His photography can be viewed at:

David Spiegel

David Spiegel is an Expedition Manager for the 2013-2014 State of the Rockies Project. He grew up in Woodinville, Washington and graduated from Colorado College in 2012 with a degree in International Political Economy. David grew up in a family of river runners and experienced the rivers of the west coast from a young age. David was an Expedition Assistant for the Project’s 2012 Down the Colorado Expedition and again joins the 2013-14 Rockies Project to lead the expedition team, hoping to utilize his passion for photography and social media to share conservation issues with communities throughout the Rocky Mountain West.


Alex Suber

Alex Suber is the State of the Rockies Project Videographer and a member of the Colorado College class of 2015. He was born and raised in the hills of Northern California and later moved to Highland Park, Illinois. Alex has interned for Bitter Jester Creative, a documentary film company, while also working on his own documentary. Alex has no idea what he will major in, but has a strong passion for environmentalism and cinematography. These two interests have led him to become involved with State of the Rockies. When he’s not making a movie, Alex enjoys playing the banjo, hiking, and working at CC’s farm.


Samuel Williams

Samuel Williams is a 2013-2014 Student Researcher for the Rockies Project from Simsbury, Connecticut. Drawn into environmental issues by his love of the outdoors, he is set to complete an Environmental Policy Major at Colorado College in the spring of 2014. With this major, and the opportunity presented by State of the Rockies, he looks forward to gaining deeper insights into the state of conservation in the Rocky Mountain West. He spends his spare time backcountry skiing, climbing, slack-lining, and practicing yoga.