Nicole Croft

croftExecutive Director

As a sixth-generation Utahan, Nicole grew up exploring the beauty of public lands in Utah and the West.  Southern Utah had a particularly strong pull for her, and in 2007, she and her family moved to Escalante, Utah.  In her time here, she has been involved in community-driven efforts as a volunteer for the Escalante Canyons Arts Festival and the launch of the Escalante Farmers Market in 2008.  Working as an educator and administrator in the non-profit sector since 2007, she completed a Master’s Degree in Community Leadership from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2015 where her focus was on rural sustainability and understanding the perspectives of stakeholders living around the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  She loves exploring the canyons with her husband, Jacob, spending time with her two grown children, and nurturing gardens.

Sherry Robinson


Operations Manager

admin@gsenm.org | (435) 644-1308

Sherry joins Partners with more than 20 years of experience in administration, bookkeeping, and managing office operations, primarily in public schools.  Sherry has lived most of her life in the small town of Monticello, Utah, known for its mountainous skyline and mining history. Recently married to a native of Kanab, where she now resides, Sherry is excited to explore the region where her husband grew up, from its red rock cliffs and slot canyons to the forested high country. During her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, off-roading, and any kind of adventure with her family.

Jeff Frey

Jeff Frey1Site Steward Coordinator

jefffrey@gsenm.org | (435) 644-1306

An avid hiker drawn to red rock country, Jeff has been exploring southern Utah since moving from Colorado 35 years ago. His intimacy with the region’s backcountry, including its prehistoric archeological sites, has long inspired his photography. A member of the Rock Art Research Association, he became a Partners’ volunteer five years ago and now heads up our Site Stewards program. Since retiring from a 30-year career in nursing, Jeff has worked seasonally in wide-ranging positions in service of public lands, including Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Pipe Spring National Monument, and Navajo Bridge and Lees Ferry in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. As coordinator of Site Stewards, Jeff is thrilled to share his knowledge of the area and help others preserve what remains of the past.

Katja Knoll

Paleontology Lab Manager

katja@gsenm.org | (435) 644-1262

Since her 2014 GeoCorps internship as a paleontology technician for the Monument, Katja has not only been enchanted by the striking beauty of southern Utah, but has also developed a serious fascination with ancient, back-boned critters. In 2015, she finished her M.S. in Geology with an emphasis on Invertebrate Paleontology at Brooklyn College. As a research assistant at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, she worked extensively on the reconstruction of marine invertebrate paleoecology immediately prior to the massive end-Cretaceous extinction event. Now, as the Monument’s Paleontology Lab Manager on behalf of Partners, Katja is helping to raise dinosaurs from the dead. Aside from working with volunteers, excavating, brushing, and gluing bones, she loves murder mysteries, her native Berlin, and hiking adventures.

Emily Schrepf


Media/Outreach Coordinator

emily@gsenm.org | (435) 644-1314

Emily has worked for various nonprofit organizations over the last 15 years, specializing in program management, fundraising media and outreach. Currently, she manages communications, media and education for Partners. Prior to this, Emily spent more than six years with the National Parks Conservation Association, working to protect such iconic places as Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and was heavily involved in the designation of Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene, California.

Stephanie Minnaert

Public Lands Program Coordinator – Escalante River Watershed Partnership

stephanie@gsenm.org | 435-826-5613

Stephanie decided to move from a rural farming community in northwestern Illinois for the west to attend school and start her career in 2008. In 2014, Stephanie received her Master’s Degree from the University of Denver in Environmental Policy & Management. Throughout her career, which has varied from corporate business and environmental consultancy to startup nonprofit, she has gained experiences that have moved her into this chosen career path. Although she is a relatively new permanent resident to southern Utah, she has visited many times for canyoneering, backpacking, and hiking, returning year after year. Stephanie believes being surrounded by public lands is one of the most freeing experiences of her entire life, which is why she moved her partner and two dogs here in 2016. For Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, Stephanie is the Public Lands Program Coordinator for the Escalante River Watershed Partnership. She works with federal, state, and conservation corp project partners to oversee work on the Escalante Watershed Project on public lands.

Alex Engel


Field Staff Assistant – Escalante River Watershed Partnership

akjengel@gmail.com | (435) 826-5613

Alex received a civil engineering degree from UW-Milwaukee in 2011, but couldn’t handle the thought of being stuck behind a desk for the rest of his life. Instead, he joined a conservation corps so that he could work outdoors. Alex first came to Escalante in 2013 with Arizona Conservation Corps to cut down Russian olive forERWP. He is very happy to be working in such beautiful country.

 Sue Fearon

Private Lands Project Coordinator – Escalante River Watershed Partnership

sue@gsenm.org | (435) 826-5613

Sue grew up on the beach in Connecticut and first discovered the West on a six-week trip with classmates, and then in 1980 moved to Tempe to attend Arizona State University. After earning a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education, she found her way to southern Utah, where, since 1985, she has lived outside of Boulder with her husband, Grant, and daughter, Claire. She and her husband ran a full-service guide business in the Escalante canyons for 22 years. Today, Sue loves to garden, hang out with her cows, and farm on the edge of wilderness. And as part of the Escalante River Watershed Partnership, she assists private landowners with Russian olive removal and other stewardship projects.

Tabitha Kelly

Tabitha 1

Field Staff Assistant – Escalante River Watershed Partnership

tabitha.kelly@gmail.com | (435) 826-5613

Tabitha has roots in South Carolina where she attended Clemson University. There she obtained her B.S. in Natural Resource Management and focused heavily on her Nonprofit Leadership minor. Post-graduation she has worked with conservation corps to complete an array of project work, including trail construction, fuels reduction and habitat restoration. Tabitha initially began working with GSEP as an intern with the Utah Conservation Corps in 2014. Now on her third season in southern Utah, she is working as part of the Field Staff and has developed a passion for removing Russian olive on the Escalante River. In her free time she likes going deep into the backcountry, running, and seeing live music. During the off-season, Tabitha enjoys instructing at ski resorts where she can ski and snowboard all winter long.

Kristina Waggoner

Communications Coordinator – Escalante River Watershed Partnership

kris@gsenm.org | (435) 826-5613

After her first visit to the Monument in 2002, Kris dreamed of living in the small town of Escalante, surrounded by wild lands. Years later, she made it a reality after receiving her bachelor degree in American Studies from Utah State University and landing a seasonal position under the Monument’s lead botanist. She helped remove Russian olive and other invasive plants along the Escalante River. Then, in 2009, the Escalante River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) was formed, bringing together federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, local communities, and private citizens to continue restoring the Escalante and its meandering network of tributaries. Today, on behalf of Partners, Kris works closely with public lands managers to oversee the ERWP’s Escalante River Restoration Project. On her days off, she and her husband, Nate, spend time with their young son, Gus, sharing the wonders of the great outdoors.