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Faces of GOCO: Meet Courtney Bennett

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 -- GOCO

What did you do before you came to GOCO?

Before joining GOCO, I worked at Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust as part of CCALT’s Conservation Team. I started at CCALT as a Colorado Open Lands Fellow and transitioned into a project management position. During my tenure at CCALT I gained significant experience managing conservation easement transactions and assisted with a wide array of stewardship responsibilities. I loved working with CCALT’s landowners, both prospective and those who had previously conserved their ranches.

What brought you to GOCO? Why did you want to work here?

Joining the GOCO team was an exciting career step for me. I am eager to apply my knowledge, skills, and experience in my new role as the Grants Officer for Land Protection. I have worked in land conservation for over nine years, and I’m elated that my conservation career path has brought me to GOCO!

What has been your favorite part of working here so far?

Without question, my favorite part of working for GOCO so far has been the FY19 Open Space site visits. There’s nothing like traveling all over the state in the middle of September to look at amazing proposed conservation projects. Colorado has an amazing conservation community, and I’m honored to be a part of such great and meaningful work.   

What is your typical day like?

It is hard to pin-point what an “average” day looks like because my first two months have been a whirlwind of traveling and meetings. I have traveled around the state for Open Space site visits, the COSA conference, and our board meeting. Now that the traveling has subsided, I will transition into working with our grantees on completing their conservation transactions and getting their funding awards to closing.

What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors? 

Throughout my life I’ve built up an arsenal of outdoors activities that I love to do. When not working to conserve Colorado’s amazing landscapes, I love hitting our trails! You’ll find me cruising my road bike along the Ralston Creek Trail, Clear Creek Trail, Bear Creek Lake Trail, and Platte River Trails. In the winter I take to the slopes. I grew up skiing Vail and Beaver Creek, but this year I’m venturing out and will explore the resorts on the Ikon Pass. My goal is to get to Banff for some epic runs in the northern Rockies. When not cruising my bike or the slopes, I enjoy hiking, camping, and walking through open space properties around the front range.   

What is your most memorable/entertaining/humorous outdoors mishap? 

I have a lot of memorable, entertaining, and humorous outdoor mishaps. It’s hard to pick just one. After receiving my undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College, I joined the Southwest Conservation Corps Leadership Crew where I spent the better part of six months living and working outdoors doing a wide variety of natural resource conservation work. There were all sorts of silly memorable mishaps during our time in the field (as you can probably imagine), but one of my favorites involved me, three trees, and a chainsaw.

I was a newly certified sawyer and very new to felling trees. We were working on a bark beetle abatement project that involve thinning trees to try to reduce the spread of the beetles. I was a few trees into my my morning and gearing up for the next. I had the benefit of being on a slope, so gravity was helping me lay them down. There was a nice large clearing where I was aiming to land my next tree. On one side of the clearing there were two trees growing very close together. I made a mental note to avoid that area. You can imagine what happened next. Of all the places for my tree to land, of course, was right smack in the middle of the two trees. Luckily, we had a very skilled sawyer on our crew that was able to untangle the hang up – mostly! My time living and working outdoors was amazing but pretty challenging too.

What is the coolest wildlife you have spotted while outdoors in Colorado?

One of my favorite wildlife sightings was watching a beaver gnaw down a cottonwood tree along the Animas River in Durango. Not sure about this tree cutting theme I’ve got going, but it was a pretty amazing site.

 

 

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