Rebecca Avera

Finance Manager

Rebecca began working with High Country News in 2014, moving to Paonia from the Front Range of Colorado. If you don't see her behind a computer screen working hard on our books, she's probably traveling to some exotic location.

emailravera at

Emily Benson

Editorial Intern

Emily’s lifelong love of the outdoors was sparked by a childhood spend swimming and paddling the lakes and rivers of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Colgate University in central New York, a master’s degree in biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a graduate certificate from the University of California Santa Cruz’s Science Communication Program. She spends most of her free time cross-country skiing or cooling off in the nearest lake, depending on the season. 

email: emilyb at

Paige Blankenbuehler

Assistant Editor

Paige is a Colorado native and loves to write about changes in recreation in the West. She began covering regional and environmental issues at newspapers in the state and went on to pursue a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri. After her short stint in the Midwest, she returned to the West for the six-month HCN internship during the summer of 2015. When she's not writing, she likes to get swallowed by the wilderness on long backpacking trips.

email: paigeb at

Brian Calvert


Brian, a fourth-generation Wyoming native, grew up in Pinedale and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1994 with a BA in English liberal arts and minors in writing and media studies. He has worked as a foreign correspondent, writer, audio journalist, and most recently, a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado. He is currently earning an MFA in poetry.

email: brianc at

Cally Carswell

Contributing Editor

Cally got her start in public radio before taking the print plunge as an HCN intern and editorial fellow in 2009. New Mexico-born, Chicago-raised, Cally spent her pre-HCN decades plotting her return to the Southwest. Happy to once again be a tiny dot in a big landscape, she writes and edit news and features for the magazine, mentors (and drinks beer with) interns, produces multimedia, and reads. A lot.

email: callyc at

Sarah Gilman

Contributing Editor

Sarah has covered the West’s natural resources, politics and people since 2006. Before moving to Portland, Oregon, to write features, shorts and blogs and continue editing cover stories and news, she spent six and a half years flogging writers and managing the intern program as High Country News' in-house associate editor. She grew up in Boulder, Colorado and has spent most of her adult life in small towns in the Rockies, studying white-crowned sparrows, reporting at a daily newspaper and working on a trail crew. Her favorite tool — from her days building steps and retaining walls on the slopes of Mount Massive outside Leadville — is the double jack. These days, she’s also especially partial to her 8-lb. maul.

email: sarah at

Ruxandra Guidi

Contributing Editor

Ruxandra Guidi, a native of Venezuela, has reported throughout the United States and Latin America for both magazines and public radio, and in both English and Spanish. She has worked extensively as an independent journalist, and has also worked for PRI’s The World, NPR’s Latino USA, and as a U.S.-Mexico border reporter for the Fronteras Desk initiative. Her work has been published by Orion Magazine, National Geographic NewsWatch, The Atlantic, and others. She’s a board member for the award-winning nonprofit journalism collaborative, Homelands Productions, and she regularly collaborates with husband, photographer Bear Guerra, under the name Fonografia Collective.

email: ru at

Jan Hoffman

Finance Assistant

Jan comes to HCN from nearby Crawford where she manages a huge garden when she isn’t helping with our finances.

emailjanh at

Kati Johnson

Circulation Assistant

Since November 2011, our new circulation assistant, Kati Johnson, has been helping to fill the caverns of HCN’s databases with information. She’s also one of the friendly voices you may hear when you call our headquarters. The comforts of family and fast food from her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, tug at her heartstrings from time to time, but as a Paonia resident since 2004, she loves the small-town convenience of living close to everything she needs. On a typical weekend, she’s playing cards and dice with her two teenage boys, Jonas and Noah, humiliating her husband, Ryan, at cribbage or reading a book.

email: katij at

JoAnn Kalenak

Marketing and Promotions Manager

Since 2002, JoAnn has worn several hats at High Country News, first in production, then advertising, and finally in marketing. She earned her Professional Marketer Certificate in 2014, realizing the culmination of a 40-year career in publishing that combined graphic design, creative copy writing, data and response analysis, direct mail and digital strategy, and a host of other multi-channel publishing experiences. 

Behind the scenes, she volunteered (retired in 2016) for a local animal rescue organization acting on the board of directors for ten years, and directing operations at the organizations' animal shelter for four years. Favorite rescue story: "One of the many dogs that my husband and I fostered was both deaf and blind (Double Blue Merle Aussie). We called him Will...for the "will" to live. While visiting, my brother introduced Will to a dog whistle via his iPhone. We all stood stunned to see Will's ear turn upward at just below 19mhz. We could not hear the sound, but he could. The world opened for him...and became a bit bigger for us, too."

email: joann at

Maya L. Kapoor

Associate Editor

Maya is a science and environmental writer with more than a decade’s experience as a field biologist and environmental educator in the western United States and Latin America. Maya holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Williams College, a master’s degree in biology from Arizona State University, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. In her free time she likes to backpack.

email: mayak at

Gretchen King 

Director of Engagement

Gretchen is excited to hear from HCN readers and help them forge a stronger connection to the stories of the West. Her work here focuses on social media and website engagement, providing oversight to marketing, advertising and IT. With a B.S. in journalism and Master's in professional communications, Gretchen has worked in the web world since 1992 (and knows this dates her to admit). Raised on the Western Slope of Colorado, Gretchen has lived in Boulder, Indiana, Oregon and, most recently, Fairbanks, Alaska. Now living in Paonia since 2007, she loves any mountain experience, chocolate, yoga and spending time with her husband, Mike, and 10-year-old son, Riley.

email: gretchenk at

Krista Langlois


After years of transience, Krista Langlois started out as an HCN intern in 2013 and has stuck around western Colorado ever since. Now a correspondent for the magazine, she writes from her home outside Durango. She's also written for Slate, Alaska magazine, Adventure Journal and elsewhere. When not glued to a computer screen, she can usually be found upsidedown in a river somewhere, attempting to kayak. 

email: kristal at

Paul Larmer

Executive Director/Publisher

After completing his internship in 1984, Paul went on to hold almost every possible position at High Country News. He is now responsible for working with the board of directors, drumming up funding and generally making sure the magazine is sailing in the right direction. He holds a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Policy and worked for years at the Sierra Club. Every summer he plants a few crops on his small ranch in Western Colorado and pretends to be a farmer.

email: plarmer at

Christine List

Development Assistant

Development assistant Christine List says the decision to move to Paonia, Colo., HCN’s hometown, was a family affair. A Chicago native and longtime Northern California resident, Christine wanted to live in the same town as her daughter, Keaton, and her grandchildren. She brings years of experience as an education and litigation secretary, along with an unusual hobby: making glass beads. “I love playing with fire,” admits Christine, who once belonged to a group of bead-makers called the Flame Dames. She’s excited about helping HCN grow by encouraging reader contributions, especially via our monthly giving program, and she’s looking forward to teaching her grandkids bead-making – as soon as she can get her hands on a torch.

email: christinel at

Betsy Marston

Writers on the Range Editor

She may have edited High Country News for 19 years – longer than anyone else in the history of the publication – but Betsy insists the experience did not make her crazy. She currently edits Writers on the Range and writes the column “Heard Around the West.” She also delights in collecting quirky photos from readers and sharing them on the back page of the magazine. She describes herself as a “volunteeraholic,” and in no particular order, loves Paonia, biking back roads, reading the Sunday New York Times, and her grandchildren Maude, Bruno and Sorcha.

email: betsym at

Kathy Martinez

Circulation Systems Administrator

Since 1995 Kathy has worked her way up the ranks of the HCN Circulation Department from part-time office staff (applying labels to the newspaper when it was mailed from our Paonia office) to Circulation Manager. Kathy now concentrates on the various ways to crunch numbers needed to support HCN’s many endeavors. When not at HCN you can find her fishing and camping in the great outdoors or staying close to home gardening, cooking and being a grandma.

email: kathy at

Laurie Milford

Director of Development

Laurie Milford brings 16 years of experience in senior nonprofit and education management to High Country News. Previously, she was executive director at the Wyoming Outdoor Council, where she played a role in establishing the first state laws to regulate the flaring of methane in natural gas drilling operations and to require oil and gas companies to determine baseline water quality before using hydraulic fracturing. She was involved in the long-term protection of more than 3 million acres of BLM and Forest Service lands, including the landmark Wyoming Range Legacy Act and was instrumental in raising funds to achieve these successes. Laurie served as a production editor for Westview Press in Boulder, Colorado, and holds a bachelors and a master’s degree in English from the University of Iowa and the University of Wyoming respectively. She graduated from the Institute for Conservation Leadership in 2008; in 2010 the institute recognized her as an exemplary leader in the conservation movement. Laurie lives in Paonia with her husband and son.

email: lauriem at

Michelle Nijhuis

Contributing Editor

Michelle began her journalism career in 1998, as a High Country News intern, and has written for High Country News ever since. Michelle has also written for Smithsonian, National Geographic and Audubon, and won several national honors including an AAAS Science Journalism Award and inclusion in the anthology Best American Science Writing. A lapsed biologist, Michelle was once paid to chase tortoises through the Sonoran Desert; the tortoises usually won.

email: michelle at

Pam Peters

Circulation Assistant

Pam moved to Colorado with her family in 1992 when they built their own home, which is totally off the grid and passive solar. Her four children are all grown, and she spends her free time with her husband and lots of livestock - horses, goats, turkeys and chickens. Pam enjoys spending her time with her children, four grandchildren and traveling. She also works part time at the front desk at Paonia Dental. She is very happy to be working with the circulation department at High Country News

email: ppeters at

Jodi Peterson

Senior Editor

Jodi grew up on Colorado’s Front Range and attended Colorado State University, earning a BA in English and an MA in Communication Development. She spent 16 years working as a technical communicator with computer company Hewlett-Packard, then made a career shift to journalism. Shortly after completing an internship with High Country News, in 2004, she was hired as the organization’s News Editor; she served as Managing Editor for five years and is now a Senior Editor. Under Jodi’s leadership, HCN’s journalism received the Hillman Prize, two Utne Reader Independent Media awards for best environmental coverage, special citations from the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism, and several awards from the National Association of Science Writers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Jodi now oversees the news stories and book reviews for each issue of the magazine, and writes about public lands, wildlife management and other topics.

email: jodi at

Alyssa Pinkerton

Major Gift Adviser

Alyssa was born in Florida, but don’t hold that against her. She has worked for High Country News in the development department since October 2008. She enjoys building relationships with the remarkable readership, staff and board of directors. When she’s not working with donors, you can find her romping out in the wild lands, painting pictures, dancing, or soaking in hot springs - with her two darling towheads.

email: alyssap at

Kate Schimel

Deputy Editor, digital 

Kate is a Colorado native and a lifelong High Country News reader. She got her start covering education in Denver and around the state at Chalkbeat, a start-up education news site. She has a degree in biology at Reed. She spent six months as an intern at HCN during the spring of 2015. Since then she's worked as a freelance education and environment reporter, a Seattle-based correspondent for HCN, and now works from our Paonia headquarters as the deputy editor, digital.  

email: kateschimel at

Elizabeth Shogren

D.C. Correspondent 

Based in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth Shogren covers how major Western issues play out on the national stage. Her stories explore and explain the many ways that politicians, federal agencies, government policies and nonprofit groups affect Westerners' daily lives.

As a Moscow correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth was pressed into the tank that Russian President Boris Yeltsin famously climbed on top of during a 1991 coup. Later, when she was a White House correspondent, President Clinton told her how it felt to be impeached:"Not bad." Elizabeth was lured to the environment beat for the LA Times Washington bureau because of her infatuation with the landscapes she encountered hiking and skiing in Utah and Wyoming. For the past decade, she was NPR's environment correspondent. She covered the 2010 BP oil spill, climate change and endangered species. She examined toxic air pollution --impact on communities and the impacts of air pollution from the US drilling boom.

When she's not reporting, Elizabeth enjoys cross country and telemark skiing, especially in the backcountry in places like like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Teton Range and the Canadian Rockies. Her weekend wilderness getaway is in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, where she hikes up riverbeds with her son and entertains family and friends in their 250-year-old log cabin.

email: shogren at

Anna Smith

Editorial Fellow

Anna V. Smith has spent the majority of her life in the Pacific Northwest, from growing up in rural Oregon to becoming a news reporter on a small cluster of islands in northern Washington. Anna majored in environmental studies and journalism at the University of Oregon, where she helped start the campus’ first environmentally focused publication, Envision. An internship with the Smithsonian Institute’s Gabon Biodiversity Program in Central Africa confirmed that she preferred writing about science rather than conducting it, and Anna has gone on to cover native bee decline in the Willamette Valley, the social struggles of wolf reintroduction to Eastern Oregon, and marine science in the Puget Sound. She joined the HCN team in Paonia as our editorial intern in July 2016 and is now our editorial fellow.

email: annasmith at

Eric Strebel

Website Developer/IT Manager

Eric Strebel has been working with computers since 1978, when he got his first personal computer, and soon thereafter learned to create custom programs as a hobby. Eric eventually developed his programming hobby into a livelihood. Prior to joining us, he freelanced, managed local websites, and managed a call center IT department over the course of two decades. Eric enjoys fishing, hiking in the mountains and perfecting his different salsa recipes. He lives in nearby Hotchkiss with his wife Barbara.

email: erics at

Diane Sylvain

Copy Editor

Diane splits her time between painting – she’s an accomplished artist who sells her art all over Western Colorado – and making our prose sparkle. She sometimes draws illustrations for the magazine, too. She’s worked at High Country News since 1990. Her dad and brother have followed her to Paonia, where she lives in a century-old house with her exceptionally large cat, Gumbo.

email: diane at

Doris Teel

Fulfillment Worker

Doris is part of the High Country News mail team and helps to distribute issues of the magazine and other direct mailings to our readers. Doris loves reading HCN, as well as knitting, crocheting, and visiting her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who live nearby. Before coming to HCN, Doris worked at the Paonia Home Care Center, and she’s been a Delta County, Colorado, resident since 1960.

Jonathan Thompson

Senior Editor

Jonathan Thompson is a native Westerner with deep roots in southwestern Colorado. He owned and edited the Silverton Standard & the Miner newspaper in the tiny town of Silverton, Colo., and was the editor-in-chief of High Country News from 2007 to 2010.  He was a 2011-12 Ted Scripps fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Now he lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, with his wife and two daughters and is writing a book about the Gold King Mine disaster. 

email: jonathan at

Sarah Tory


Growing up in Toronto, Sarah Tory devoured books on mountaineering, learned to ski on the modest yet icy slopes several hours away and became an avid rock climber and runner. The summers after her high school graduation in New Hampshire and freshman year at Williams College in Massachusetts, she returned to the Canadian Rockies, where she cleaned cabins at a lodge – and encountered grizzly bears.

Sarah, who recently completed her MFA from Columbia University in New York, has covered environmental issues for the English-language Santiago Times in Chile and worked on a documentary about mining in Peru. She and a friend once biked 5,000 kilometers through Argentina and Chile, ending in Argentina's Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. "Ramona," her trusty touring bike, accompanied her to Paonia, but her interest in a mountain bike is growing daily. 

email: sarahtory at

Brooke Warren

Associate Designer

Brooke grew up in the mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado, learning to love wild places and adventures, which have taken her to Vietnam to research catfish trade, through Chile photographing cafes, and most recently as a guide in Peru. She graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, with a degree in visual journalism and applies her visual finesse to each issue of High Country News. While not in the office, she can be found rock climbing, rafting, running, biking or dancing in beautiful landscapes, and usually with camera in-hand.

email: brookewarren at

Cindy Wehling

Art Director

Cindy has been responsible for making High Country News look its best since 1990, including shepherding its transition from newspaper to magazine and from black and white to full color. A former newspaper reporter and editor, she works with photographers and artists and heads up the design and production of the magazine. Cindy and her husband, Don Olsen, also work on the family farm and are continuing to add on to the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Usonian house they built overlooking their hayfields.

email: cindy at

Alan Wells

Database Administrator and IT Assistant

Alan is a Colorado native who has always been entranced by the beauty and uniqueness that is the state, whether building trails during his time with the Youth Open Space program or mountain biking through the Rockies. Alan's fascination with technology began at a young age when he deconstructed the family computer and eventually learned to put it back together in working order.

Alan graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Colorado. Prior to joining High Country News, Alan refurbished and recycled personal and enterprise IT equipment, helping to complete the end stages of the hardware life-cycle in an ethical and sustainable manner. He continues to pursue a connection with the natural beauty of Colorado and the West, and researches digital logistics and the impact of ubiquitous technology on individuals and societies.

email: alanw at

Tay Wiles

Associate Editor

email: taywiles at

Rebecca Worby

Editorial Intern

emailbeccaw at

Joshua Zaffos


Josh has been writing for HCN since his internship in 2002, reporting from nearly every Western state along the way. His work has also appeared in numerous print and online publications, and can be viewed at Josh holds a master's degree from Yale School Forestry and Environmental Studies. He lives in Fort Collins, Colo., where he also teaches natural resources communications at Colorado State University.

email: joshuazaffos at