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2017-18 Rockies Project Team


Walt Hecox


Walt Hecox is the founder of the State of the Rockies Project and served as Director from the project's genesis in 2004 until his retirement in 2014. He will serve as Interim Director for the duration of the 2017 Summer Research Session. Walt is a Professor Emeritus of Economics in the Environmental Program at Colorado College has been named the recipient of the 2013 Stuart P. Dodge Award for lifetime achievement in conservation by the Palmer Land Trust. Outside of Colorado College, Walt also works closely with the El Pomar Foundation's Pikes Peak Heritage Series.

Jonah Seifer

Jonah Seifer is the Paraprofessional for Research and Community Engagement and is engaged in projects with the Office of Sustainability, the State of the Rockies Project, and Innovation @ CC. Growing up in Massachusetts and Vermont, Jonah’s interest in environmental science was the result of many years spent skiing and hiking in New England. A semester spent wandering the beautiful islands of New Zealand and exploring Indigenous water comanagement inspired Jonah to apply for the State of the Rockies Student Fellowship. 

As a Student Fellow for the 2015-2016 Rockies Project, he investigated legal mechanisms which Native American tribes can pursue to assume regulatory authority over water quality, thereby enhancing tribal sovereignty and catalyzing water infrastructure development. Today, Jonah priorities include managing the Rockies Project’s research and publications, administering the Green Office Certification Program through Campus Sustainability Council, leading a study of the history and management of Monument Creek, and collaborating with partners throughout the Fountain Creek Watershed to advance public understanding of our local waterways.

Jonah graduated from Colorado College in 2016 with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Physics. He spends the bulk of his free time rock climbing, backcountry skiing, woodworking, and perfecting his recipes for pizza dough, jerky, and buffalo sauce. Jonah’s favorite places to explore include North Cheyenne Cañon, the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, the San Luis Valley, and Bears Ears National Monument. 

Matthew C. Gottfried

Matthew C. Gottfried is the Director of Innovative Technology at Colorado College and the 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.

Student Research Fellows 

Alex Harros


Alex Harros is a 2017-18 State of the Rockies Student Fellow. Growing up in Los Angeles, California, Alex found solace in the forests and wilderness areas of Central California’s Eastern Sierra Mountains. During summer months, Alex is investigating how the natural and inevitable role of fire in western forests is changing due to a warming climate. Alex will graduate from Colorado College in 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science.

Hannah Rider 


Hannah Rider is a Student Fellow for the 2017-18 State of the Rockies Project. From Carmel Valley, California, she developed an appreciation for the outdoors growing up in the coastal mountains of Big Sur, California, which has influenced her academic interest in environmental issues. She will graduate in 2018 with an Environmental Policy degree and a minor in Philosophy. After graduating, Hannah hopes to continue working in environmental policy, particularly public land management and conservation issues.

Hannah's research is focused on multi-use recreation management on Pikes Peak. With increasing visitation to the region, as well as the nearly completed Ring the Peak Trail which will draw even more recreationalists to the peak, the area is in danger of overuse. Using the models of other successfully managed recreation complexes, Hannah will propose a management plan for the Pikes Peak recreation complex that maintains the recreational opportunities of the peak while protecting the natural resource from unsustainable use and degradation.

Matt Valido


Matt Valido, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a 2017-18 Student Fellow. Matt is majoring in Environmental Science with a Chemistry concentration and will graduate in May of 2018. His academic interests include studying land and natural resource management, the impacts of climate change in the West, snow science, and atmospheric science. Matt's recreational hobbies include backcountry skiing, fly fishing, and exploring local breweries and restaurants. Outside of the State of the Rockies Project, Matt has previously spent a summer in Nepal where he explored the issue of montane agriculture in a changing climate.

Wileen Genz


Wileen Genz is a Student Fellow researcher for the 2017-18 State of the Rockies Project. Born and raised in New York City, she came to Colorado College with limited outdoor experience from family road trips, but an unlimited interest in addressing environmental issues in urban areas. Currently majoring in Environmental Science: Chemistry Concentration and minoring in French, Wileen will graduate from Colorado College in May of 2019. This summer, she plans to investigate efforts required to complete the Ring the Peak trail building process by examining the development experiences of other trails around the nation. In her spare time, she has a passion for formulating natural products, kayaking, playing the trombone and squash.

Nate Goodman


Nate Goodman is a Student Fellow for the 2017-18 State of the Rockies Projects and is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Majoring in Southwest Studies and minoring in Latin American Studies/Environmental Issues, Nate is most interested in exploring how interlocking webs of landscapes, identity, and society change and reshape each other over time. Adopting an approach based in political ecology and ethnographic fieldwork, Nate is researching the impacts of public lands management on Indigenous peoples in the Pikes Peak Region, particularly as it pertains to the identification and protection of cultural sites. In his spare time, Nate enjoys playing outside, practicing Zen meditation, and writing bad poetry.

2013-14 Rockies Project Team

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