Who We Are


Kim Yuan-Farrell, Executive Director - Master's degree in Environmental Management (Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies), bachelor's in Anthropology and Environmental Studies (Santa Clara University).  Kim has worked at a number of nonprofits in Colorado, California, and Connecticut.  Kim serves on the Board of Directors of Community Shares and is an alum of the 2010 Denver Community Leadership Forum.  Kim raises funds for The Park People's programs and capital projects, oversees the management of the Gates Tennis Center, and works with our board on strategic organizational development.  Prior to becoming Executive Director, Kim served as our Program Manager for four years, overseeing The Park People's urban forestry programs.  In addition to her passion for urban forestry, Kim cares deeply about parks, the environment, civic engagement, and our communities.


Leah Jean Shafer, Program Manager - Master's degree in Landscape Architecture (University of Colorado Denver), bachelor's in Environmental Studies (University of Colorado Boulder).  Leah's strong interdisciplinary background includes local and international experience in park management, resource conservation, arboriculture, landscape design, and civic planning. Having worked in both non-profit and commercial settings, she maintains USGBC LEED accreditation as well as her Master Gardener Certificate. Dedicated to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and community development, she is particularly passionate about civic well-being and increasing our urban tree canopy.  Leah is delighted to manage the Denver Digs Trees program, facilitate the Community Forester program, and serve as a devoted advocate of Denver's urban forest. A life-long outdoor enthusiast and Colorado native, she enjoys hiking, travelling, skiing, homebrewing, gardening, tree-gazing, and exploring our beautiful planet.


Mike Haaf, Program Coordinator - Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (University of Florida).  Mike has experience in the public and private sectors of planning, design and construction of parks, retail centers, corporate campuses, sports complexes and residential communities.  He believes in building healthy communities with sustainable practices that can ensure our future generations will be able to appreciate our surrounding natural environment.  He is a Colorado registered Landscape Architect, and in 2012 received his Arborist certification from the International Society of Arboriculture, Rocky Mountain Chapter.  Ultimately it was Mike's growing passion for trees and community service that brought him onto The Park People team.  As the Program Coordinator he works to increase community engagement and broaden the reach of our programs in support of our city trees.  Mike relishes the opportunity to involve the Denver community in the benefit of trees, to preserve ansd enhance canopy in the built environment, and inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.


Spencer Roberts, Program Organizer - Bachelor's in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (University of Colorado).  Although he has experience in botany from cacti to kelp, Spencer's passion for plants is rooted in his fascination with trees.  He believes that although trees clean air, cool homes, and increase property values, the most important benefits that trees bring to communities are the ones that can't be measured.  When our neighborhoods have healthy urban forests, kids grow up with tire swings and hammocks, caterpillars and robin's nests.  That's what Denver Digs Trees is all about.  He is excited and honored to be back for a fourth season and hopes that whether by planting your own tree or by volunteering to help a neighbor, you will join us in building not only a forest, but a future on the streets of our city.


Max Nardo, Outreach Organizer - Master's degree in Public Policy (University of Denver - in progress), bachelor's in Public Health (Portland State University). Max believes that nature has a great impact on mental health and happiness that is not yet fully recognized by policymakers, and as urbanization and technology keep us from spending more time outside, bringing nature into the city is one of the smartest investments a community can make. Max works to get community partners involved with our work, drawing from his experience as the Citizen Outreach Director for Environment Colorado and CoPIRG and current work with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. 



Executive Committee

  • Mark Bailey
  • Tim Buchanan
  • Laurie Chahbandour, President
  • Sally Hooks
  • Mark Lauriha
  • Caroline Rassenfoss
  • Andy Shopneck

Board (2016-2017)

  • Jackie Burghardt
  • Laurie Choi-Brochu
  • Bill Cook
  • Allegra "Happy" Haynes, Ex Officio
  • Johanna Kelly
  • Randy Moore
  • Ward Phelps
  • Sherry Reese
  • Scott Robson
  • Kathleen Rust
  • Charles (Chuck) Warren
  • John L. (Larry) Wiberg, MD
  • Claudia Winkler