Board of Directors & Staff

FFRWR Board MembersOur Friends group is one of about 200 across the nation that supports local national wildlife refuges. Our supporters come from all walks of life to enjoy and promote our refuges. Our supporters also have access to training and networking offered through national conferences for friends groups.

Our group is led by a board of directors with diverse environmental, educational, business and community expertise.

Our board members include:

    • Loretta Pineda, President
    • Michelle Suebert, Manager Cherry Creek State Park, Vice President
    • Jack Markovich, Senior Accountant at Denver Zoological Foundation, Treasurer 
    • Rachel Hutchens, Bluff Lake Nature Center, Secretary
    • Maria Carabajal, Public Relations at South Adams County Fire Protection District, Events Committee Chair
    • Susan Noble, Councilmember for Commerce City
    • Rocky Teter, Councilmember for Commerce City
    • Kyli Kehler, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
    • Jennifer Watson, Elephant PR
    • Christopher Urias, Montbello Organizing Committee
    • Vicki Vargas-Madrid, Education & Wildlife Program Manager Denver Parks & Recreation/Denver Mountain Parks

FFRWR Staff:

  • Vanessa Thurk, General Manager
  • Kim Lopez, Volunteer Coordinator
  • Lori, Nature’s Nest Coordinator
  • Kate Kramer, Manager of Generation Wild NEMC

Honoring Outgoing Board Members:

  • Gary Beasley, former Vice President
  • René Bullock, Commerce City Chamber of Commerce, former President
  • James Jacobs, former Treasurer
  • Carolyn Boller, Egli House Advocate, Co-Founder FFRWR
  • David Pocs, Events Committee, LPL Financial Advisor
  • Kate Kramer, former Board Member


Volunteer of the Year Award

Congratulations to our 2023 Volunteer of the Year, Maria Carabajal!

Every year FFRWR board of directors gives the FFRWR Volunteer of the Year award. The award goes to a volunteer from Nature’s Nest or the FFRWR Board of Directors for generous and long-time service. Congratulations to all the honorees!

2015: Carolyn Boller
2016: Betty Pepin
2017: Diane Buell
2017: Reba Drotar
2018: Gary Beasley
2019: Barb Weiss
2020: Bruce Hastings
2021: Bill Marsh
2022: Rene Bullock