Nicole Croft, Executive Director
Nicole is a sixth generation Utahn living in Escalante, Utah since 2007. She has been involved in community organizing projects from launching a charity thrift store to founding the Escalante Farmers Market in 2008. After completing a master’s degree in Community Leadership from Westminster College in Salt Lake City with a focus on rural sustainability and understanding the perspectives of various stakeholders living in the gateway communities of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, she has served as the Executive Director for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners since 2016.
Sherry Robinson, Operations Manager
Sherry has been with Partners since 2015. She joined us 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, at the base of the Abajo Mountains and at the center of the Colorado Plateau. Her family has lived in the Four Corners area for nearly 100 years. During her free time, she enjoys gardening, hiking, cool mountain air, and any kind of adventure with her family.
Dave Bastian, Development and Marketing Director
Dave Bastian spent the past ten years as the Projects and Partnerships Coordinator for the Utah Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps program based at Utah State University that conducts conservation projects on public lands all over the state of Utah. Prior to that, he was the Outreach Coordinator for the Utah Rivers Council and Director of Operations at the Citizens Committee to Save Our Canyons. When not working Dave enjoys skiing, mountain biking, exploring desert rivers and building things out of wood. He also is having a great time introducing his daughter to the beauty of her public lands. He makes his home with his daughter and pup in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Danica Loucks, Education Coordinator
Danica is a cultural anthropologist and educator hailing from Montana, with interludes in Maine and southern California for her undergraduate and graduate education. She enjoys working with youth and facilitating their growth as learners and as people, whether in the classroom or on the archery range. Her approach to teaching is guided by an eclectic mix of experiences like rock climbing and archery coach, 4-H volunteer leader, K-8 ecology educator, and university teaching assistant. In her spare time, Danica can be found running, biking, swimming, climbing, hiking with her dog, or searching for new activities that involve sweating outside.
Andrea Latimer, Communications Assistant
Andrea has lived in Salt Lake City her entire life. She was first introduced to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 2005 while on a weekend trip to Capitol Reef National Park that ended on a scenic tour of Highway 12. She quickly fell in love with the area and has been coming back every year since then. She lives in Salt Lake City and spends her free time hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding and adventuring with her dog Barley. Andrea joined the GSEP team in Spring 2019.
Jonathan Paklaian, Restoration Program Coordinator
For over 10 years, Jonathan has conducted fieldwork and managed environmental resource work across the Southwest. This interdisciplinary experience includes working for multiple consulting firms, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the USGS. Jonathan was fortunate to work in southern Utah, with two seasons at Bryce Canyon NP, and one at Grand Staircase-Escalante NM. His graduate research was also on the Colorado Plateau, where he studied long-term environmental change in the Chuska Mountains of the Navajo Nation. His role at Partners offers exciting opportunities for public and private land restoration and watershed-wide conservation.
In his free time, Jonathan can often be found exploring public lands, fishing, hunting, backpacking, cycling, or relaxing with some good fiction. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Northern Arizona University.
Alex Engel, Restoration Field Staff Supervisor
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 treat Russian olive with ERWP. He is very happy to be working in such a beautiful country.
Taylor Sanchez, Restoration Field Staff Coordinator
Taylor was born and raised in Virginia. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geosciences from Virginia Tech in 2017. Promptly after graduating, she moved to Utah to start a 6-month term with Utah Conservation Corps where she was first introduced to the Escalante River Russian Olive project. After UCC, Taylor worked as a Geomorphology Research Assistant with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, where she studied Catskill Mountain streams in Upstate NY. Taylor moved back to Utah and joined the GSEP team in 2019.
Brian Storm, Site Steward Coordinator
Brian is trained as an archaeologist with a BA in Anthropology and a lot of graduate coursework in prehistoric and historic archaeology. He has worked as an archaeological technician for various federal agencies since 2003, starting at Ashley National Forest in NE Utah, then worked for Grand Staircase-Escalante from 2007 through 2011 and 2016 through 2018. He has also worked for BLM Utah in Moab and Fillmore and for the NPS at Amistad National Recreation Area in TX and the Midwest Archaeological Center in Lincoln, NE. During his free time, he attempts to maintain a 40-acre horse ranch, grows vegetables for home-made salsa, and probably does a few other things as well.