Friday, September 21, 2018

Our Staff & Board


The Park People's work is a team effort of residents, volunteers, supporters, and community partners. Leading the charge, our staff works tirelessly every day to support and improve our parks, city trees, and neighborhoods, and a dedicated Board of Trustees guides our organization's strategy and development.

Kim Yuan-Farrell, Executive Director

Kim has a master's degree in Environmental Management (Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies) and a bachelor's in Anthropology and Environmental Studies (Santa Clara University).  She was Colorado-raised and has worked at a number of nonprofits in Colorado, California, and Connecticut.  Kim serves on the Board of Directors of Community Shares, on the national Arbor Day Foundation’s Alliance for Community Trees Advisory Committee, on Trust for Public Land's Climate Smart Cities Denver Technical Advisory Team, on the City of Denver’s Emerald Ash Borer Steering Committee, 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

Leah earned her master's degree in Landscape Architecture (University of Colorado Denver) and bachelor's in Environmental Studies (University of Colorado Boulder).  Her 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.

Lauren Abram, Program Associate

Lauren has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science (The College of William and Mary). A Virginia native, Lauren became fascinated with the natural world at a young age while exploring the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the beaches of the Virginia coast. Lauren has experience in education and conservation, having spent time teaching in Spain and working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She is passionate about education, human-environment sustainability, and community-based problem solving. She supports the rest of The Park People team through different programs, such as the Westwood Planting Project, Denver Digs Trees, and the Greener, Healthier Globeville/Elyria Swansea Project. Despite being a Colorado transplant, Lauren has quickly fallen in love with her new home and is excited to help grow Denver’s urban forest.

Catherine Wiersma, Urban Forestry Intern

Catherine holds a bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science, Field Biology, and Botany (Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida) and a Master's degree in Sustainable Natural Resource Management (University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica). She is a Denver native and is passionate about protecting and promoting the city's beautiful public spaces. Having served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Catherine loves working with communities and is excited to be working on the Greener, Healthier Globeville/Elyria Swansea project. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, salsa dancing, cooking (eating), and bird watching.

Max Nardo, Outreach Organizer

Max has a master's degree in Public Policy (University of Denver - in progress) and a 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.


Board of Trustees

Executive Committee
Mark Bailey, Vice President
Tim Buchanan
Laurie Chahbandour, President
Sally Hooks
Mark Lauriha, Past President
Caroline Rassenfoss, Secretary
Andy Shopneck, Treasurer

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


Individual donors are the single most important contributors to The Park People. They are at the root of each tree we plant and every project we undertake. The more you can give, the more The Park People can do. Plus, your contributions are tax deductible. 

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