Meet the amazing team of motivated and hard working interns and students who have made semester long commitments to help shape the Flagstaff EcoRanch, promote our mission statement through their independent research and hard work, and integrate themselves into the Flagstaff Community. These individuals have helped us grow and we have learned just as much from them and their projects as they have from us. It’s always reassuring and hopeful to know the future of our society will be influenced by people like these who want to create a better world for others. If you’re interested in hands on, collaborative, hard work and want to take ownership of your own project, then interning with the EcoRanch might be a good fit. Check out our internship application under the “Education at EcoRanch” page.
Madison Ledgerwood – Farm Manager
Madison feels grateful to be raised in the Southwest as the land helped her to feel a sense of belonging to the earth and realize she has something to offer. Watching her grandmother tend to flowers has motivated her to grow food and veggies. Her adult life has been spent coming to better understand how humans can live in thriving and harmonious relationship for the benefit of all life. In part this learning has been through a BA in Environmental Studies, a MA in Sustainable Communities, and dialogue with the more than human world. She is a visionary leader and a creator of beauty.
In addition to instructing on the Wild Rockies Field Institute’s Colorado Plateau course, she is the Farm Manager for the Ecoranch and an Instructor at Northern Arizona University.
Christina Vu – B.S. Biomedical Sciences and a Minor in Chemistry – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2019
Hi! My name is Christina and I’m in my senior year at NAU. I enjoy hiking, fishing, and photography. I’m super excited to be working with Eco Ranch for my capstone because I get to merge my love of health and the human body with my passion for environmental sustainability. Interning at Eco Ranch gives me the opportunity to study the benefits of fresh, locally-grown produce for individuals and also educate the Flagstaff community on healthier eating habits. After graduating, I hope to continue my education with a Masters in Public Health and apply to medical school.
Paris Hoffman – B.S. Environmental and Sustainable Studies with an emphasis on Southwest Environments and Biocultural Diversity – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2019
Hi, my name is Paris and I’m in my 3rd year at NAU. When I’m not at school, I am doing my best to stay outside and connect to the natural world, whether that be finding a new trail to hike or just catching a sunrise with my morning coffee. I am always looking for more of these connections so I am very excited to be working at the Flagstaff EcoRanch. I am looking forward to learning new things about sustainable farming practices as well as the Flagstaff community through the EcoRanch and the Community Shared Agriculture program.
Sydney Nelson – B.S. in Environmental and Sustainability with an emphasis in Global Sustainability – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2019
My name is Sydney and I’m a Junior at NAU. In my free time I love to do yoga, hike, play soccer, and cook! I’m grateful to have the opportunity to intern at the EcoRanch this fall as I have a great interest in local food systems and sustainable communities. I love the rewarding feeling of harvesting, eating, and sharing the plants I’ve grown and cared for with my own hands. I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge and building experience in sustainable agriculture and becoming more in touch with the Earth and with my community.
Isaak Leeke – B.S. in Economics and Natural Resource & Environmental Science – Purdue University – Summer 2019
Hi! My name is Isaak and I am spending my summer working and living at Flagstaff EcoRanch. I plan to apply my education to merge the opposing ideologies of environmental conservatism and economic growth to find unique solutions for today’s tough issues like resource scarcity and environmental degradation.
The EcoRanch provides me an example of a local-scale operation, setting the standard for ecological consciousness here in the Southwest. As the EcoRanch education program grows, I have no doubt it will become a keystone experience for many high school and college interns who will go on to do great work for progressive farming and environmental science.
Haley Phillips – Environmental and Sustainability Studies – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2019
Hi, my name is Haley and I am a third year student at NAU studying Environmental and Sustainability Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability and a minor in Environmental Communications! My hobbies include hiking, yoga, painting, and exploring Flagstaff with my dog. What I’m most looking forward to about my time as an intern at the Eco-Ranch is learning about how to be sustainable while running a greenhouse or garden. I graduate December of 2019 and am looking forward to working in environmental education!
Karsyn Jordan – Environmental Sustainability – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2019
Hello! My name is Karsyn Jordan and I am from Los Angeles county, California. Currently, I am a junior at Northern Arizona University, majoring in Environmental Sustainability with an emphasis of Southwest Environments and Biocultural Diversity. I spent the last semester abroad in Thailand learning about a whole new culture and exploring new landscapes. I love to go hiking and camping as the weather warms and the snow melts. I look forward to learning sustainable farming practices and giving back to the community and the environment.
Hannah Haines – Environmental Sciences and Chemistry – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2019
My name is Hannah and I am a Junior at NAU studying Environmental Sciences and Chemistry. I am excited to get hands-on experience here at Flagstaff EcoRanch and learn how sustainable agriculture can positively affect local communities and keep people healthy. I love working out and finding nutritious foods to fuel my body with and I am looking forward to taking what I learn here and applying it to my lifestyle for years to come.
Sarah Pytleski – Environmental Sustainability with a double minor in French and Spanish – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2019
I am very passionate about all issues related to sustainability and the environment (don’t even get me starting on plastic waste), but I am especially interested in sustainable agriculture because I grew up on ranches in Colorado. I am very lucky because I get to start interning at the EcoRanch during my first year at NAU, where I am majoring in Environmental Sustainability and double minoring in French and Spanish. I also love math, reading, history, art, yoga, and working with animals. I’m so excited to bond with my community and to start doing work in my field! I hope to be able to apply the knowledge and experiences from this internship in my hometown, which is a major agricultural center, in order to help local farmers (like my parents) increase their crop yields in a way that does not harm the earth.
Erin Kaczmarowski – Environmental Studies with a Biology minor – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2018
My name is Erin and I’m a junior in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Biology. I love getting outside, roasting in the sun, hiking and touching rocks. I have always been inspired by sustainable agriculture and food systems, and how they can impact both human and environmental health. Fresh, local produce is such an important aspect to enriching both local communities and global food sovereignty. The Flagstaff EcoRanch has allowed me to learn what it takes to run a farm and explore this passion by getting my hands dirty and connecting with the Earth.
Sydney Shaw – Environmental Studies – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2018
Hi! My name is Sydney and I am a senior at NAU pursuing a major in Environmental Studies. I love to be outside any chance I get, enjoy the climates throughout the world and focus on what I am putting into my body. I became interested in sustainable agriculture my freshman year of college and it is one of my top passions. I want nutritious food going into my body and in everyone’s bodies! I am excited to be taking what I learned at the Flagstaff EcoRanch and continuing to learn through the WWOOF program and hopefully the Peace Corps after graduation. Jeff has started something amazing in the Flagstaff community and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from him.
Casee Scott – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2017
Hi! My name is Casee and I’m a senior in environmental studies with minors in biology and Spanish. I am very keen about mind and body wellness, and a major component of this is food. The EcoRanch allows me to get a hands-on experience connecting with the Earth. This opportunity allows me to gain so much knowledge as well as share what I learn here with people I meet. Casee will be a plant manager, help develop our CSA, and will be experimenting with different growing techniques over the summer.
David Todirita – Environmental Studies – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2017
I grew up partially in Eastern Europe in a country called Romania. In this part of the world, nearly everyone has a garden (especially in the little villages). Growing up I always had access to fresh organic produce right out of the ground, so finding the Flagstaff Ecoranch was ideal. As a senior Environmental studies major at Northern Arizona University I have chosen to spend this semester interning on the EcoRanch with a few other of Flagstaff’s finest agriculture students. David will be a plant manager, help develop our CSA, and will be experimenting with different growing techniques over the summer.
Savannah Rossi – Summer 2017
Hi! My name is Savannah and my purpose in life is to support and inspire others in a way that allows them to live the life of which they dream. I love to explore and share new blueprints for humankind’s relationships with food, work, finances, communities, and with ourselves. Farm-fresh foods, like that of which we grow here at the EcoRanch, contain more nutrients by the time they reach our tables and are grown in nutrient rich soil without chemicals which helps to keep our bodies and minds healthier. I believe crops grown locally, organically, and sustainably play a key role in elevating human consciousness. As we grow more conscious of where our food comes from, I believe our beings will naturally inquire and further question what each of our individual purposes are here, where we are, and what kind of world we want to live in. Savannah will be a plant manager, help develop our CSA, and will be experimenting with different growing techniques over the summer.
Jacqueline Garret – Double major in Sociology and French – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2017
Hi my name is Jacqueline Garrett and I am a graduating senior at NAU with a double major in Sociology and French. These studies have allowed me to explore many interests and opportunities this beautiful planet has to offer. One major passion is sustainable, local organic food being available to all people in the community. Some of my other passions include yoga, hiking, music and art. I am very excited to be working with the Flagstaff EcoRanch this summer to gain more knowledge on what running a non-profit looks like and I am looking forward to cultivating local farming culture into my own life. Jacqueline will be a plant manager, help develop our CSA, and will be experimenting with different growing techniques over the summer.
Ryan James Moku – Environmental Studies major with a minor in Biology – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2017
Aloha, my name is Ryan. I am from Big Island, Hawai’i and my hobbies consist of being outdoors, snowboarding, and cliff diving. My goal with this internship is to become more adept in sustainable agriculture practices as well as learning to create my own sustainable garden in the future. Ryan will be a plant manager, help develop our CSA, and will be experimenting with different growing techniques over the summer.
Logan Garland – Environmental Science with an emphasis in Environmental Management – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2017
Logan Garland is from Southern California. He likes sports and exploring the outdoors. He is currently interning at the EcoRanch to learn about sustainable living and growing techniques. He hopes the gained knowledge will be used in both his professional and personal life. Logan will be a plant manager, help develop our CSA, and will be experimenting with different growing techniques over the summer.
Chaz Walters – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability and a minor in Anthropology – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2017
I am from Buckeye Arizona, which has a deep agricultural heritage. I am passionate about learning new sustainable practices and methods, the most being sustainable agriculture. If a community can grow its own food that means that community has more freedom to determine their lives. Chaz’s internship goal is to improve and replace our current irrigation system with one that increases our irrigation efficiency, accuracy, and data collection in order to increase the amount of locally grown produce integrated into the community (food banks, shelters, businesses, and restaurants). This project will create new hands on learning opportunities for interns, WWOOFers, volunteers, and students and will be used as a demonstration piece to promote water and food sustainability in our K-College educational programs.
Chris Kocay – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability and a minor in Anthropology – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2017
Originally from San Diego, California, Chris spent his internship as a grant writer and secured $2500 in funds. Chris has been to numerous locations on the Colorado Plateau studying ecology and the biotic and abiotic relationships within it. Using GIS software in the field, he has studied areas spanning from the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona to Red Rock State Park in Sedona. When he is not studying environmental issues, he enjoys the outdoors and everything it has to offer with his girlfriend Bre Williams and his rescued American Bulldog/Pitbull mix, Arlo.
Riley Flanigan – Hotel and Restaurant Management with a certificate in Event Planning – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2017
Riley is from Newport Beach, CA. Her internship has been focused on our Airbnb. Riley researched 20 different Airbnbs in Arizona to compare our operations, website design, and communication with guests. She evaluated various parameters to give us feedback on our performance and made recommendations for improvements. She has applied her research in her hospitality classes and to real life scenarios in a smaller scale hospitality industry. Riley has integrated herself into the community by developing an improved activity binder. She researched local restaurants, bars, museums, businesses and other tourist related activities to include into the binder and visited many places to develop partnerships for tourism. In her free time, she loves teaching herself new recipes in the kitchen and being in nature.
Ana Manzano, Dustin Lisiewski, Jackson Lange, Andrew, Lindsay Lucera – Sefl Guided EcoRanch Tour and Nature Walk Team Capstone Project – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2017
This team developed a Self Guided EcoRanch Tour and Nature Walk that visitors and Airbnb guests can use to learn about our nonprofit and the flora, fauna, history, and geology of Flagstaff. The team made a self guided pamphlet that describes information about Ponderosa Pines, collecting rainwater, compost, the Fort Valley area, and the San Francisco Peaks. They even created a virtual tour using Google Earth that you can take on our website.
Micah Mossman – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability and a minor in Sustainable Community Planning – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2016
Originally from Maui, Hawaii, Micah has always been influenced by nature. With his time and experience at the Flagstaff EcoRanch, Micah plans to move back home after graduation in May 2017 so that he can help educate people in sustainable living practices. Micah spent his internship managing our produce production operations, caring for plants and managing pests. He helped turn compost, haul soil, clean the chicken coop, and record harvest data. Micah and his collaborating intern Meaghan took Mike and Gabe’s Growveg plan and made improvements to it based on the years struggles with pests, heat, and overcrowding as well as developed crop rotation plans.
Meaghan Harman-Gardner – Environmental and Sustainability Studies – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2016
Meaghan enjoys hiking, playing music, and spending time with friends and family. She hopes to work in the field of environmental policy and is planning on attending grad school. Meaghan spent her internship managing our produce production operations, caring for plants and managing pests. She helped turn compost, haul soil, clean the chicken coop, and record harvest data. Meaghan and her collaborating intern Micah took Mike and Gabe’s Growveg plan and made improvements to it based on the years struggles with pests, heat, and overcrowding as well as developed crop rotation plans.
Gabe Sam – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2016
Originally from a small town located on the Navajo Nation, Gabe moved to the Flagstaff area in the fall of 2012. He loves the outdoors and appreciates the beauty of the natural world. What he hopes to gain from the internship is to build a foundation to promote sustainable living through agriculture. Gabe spent his internship managing our produce production operations, caring for plants and managing pests. He helped turn compost, haul soil, clean the chicken coop, and record harvest data. He and Mike created a scale model of the EcoRanch on Growveg.com that we have been using to design garden plots and plan for future development. Mike and Gabe set the stage with this scale model and using this program has now become a requirement for all EcoRanch plant manager interns to use and improve upon. As of Spring 2017, Gabe completed his capstone project with five other students researching and developing a Flagstaff Local CSA. His group conducted a feasibility study, researched 20 different CSAs in the southwest, developed what the CSA would look like for the summer 2017 season, and made recommendations for feedback and improvements after the season was completed.
Mike Vaughn – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2016
Michael Vaughn is from Phoenix, AZ, loves sports, movies, and exploring the outdoors. He interned with the EcoRanch to learn organic and sustainable growing techniques. He plans to take knowledge gained at the EcoRanch and implement it into his personal and professional life. Mike spent his internship managing our produce production operations, caring for plants and managing pests. He helped turn compost, haul soil, clean the chicken coop, and record harvest data. He and Gabe Sam created a scale model of the EcoRanch on Growveg.com that we have been using to design garden plots and plan for future development. Mike and Gabe set the stage with this scale model and using this program has now become a requirement for all EcoRanch plant manager interns to use and improve upon.
Jordan Pynes, Andrew DePaoli, Addison Guevara, Eleanor Krueger – Grant Research and Writing Team – Capstone Project – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2016
This team organized ten different grants we are eligible for including submission dates, requirements, and project ideas. They applied for one grant through APS and although not funded, the group learned a lot about grant writing and the EcoRanch learned a lot about the preparation and planning it takes to get awarded.
Madison Corey, Kaeli Frechette, Kelsey Morris, Greg Samaniego – Produce Production and Community Development Team – Capstone Project – Northern Arizona University – Spring 2016
This team increased our community outreach with local restaurants. They started a composting program with Toasted Owl and laid the ground work for a future collaboration with the YMCA. Along with our composting program with Flagstaff Collective Coffee Co., formerly Higher Grounds, we were able to collect over 10,000 lbs of preconsumer food waste and spent coffee grounds, which we turned into valuable compost. That compost has been incorporated into our raised beds, feeding microorganisms, worms, and our crops.
John Christ – Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Sustainability – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2015
John Christ grew up in Cave Creek, AZ outside of Phoenix. He moved to Flagstaff in 2011 to attend NAU. This course of study led him to get involved in the local food movement. His passion for growing and preparing food, being outside, and working hard led him to a career within the farm to fork catering industry. He now owns and operates a catering business called Wil’s Grill based in Flagstaff and is currently working towards building his family farm outside of town. His experiences as in intern at the EcoRanch directly affected his life path and influenced him to follow his passions. John worked collaboratively with Shannon Rivers on our chicken coop adding insulation, upgrading the inside walls and ceilings, and building more functional and secure gates. The coop is now about 15-20 degrees warmer than the outside environment thanks to John and Shannon’s work.
Shannon Rivers – Northern Arizona University – Fall 2015
Shannon worked collaboratively with John Christ on our chicken coop adding insulation, upgrading the inside walls and ceilings, and building more functional and secure gates. The coop is now about 15-20 degrees warmer than the outside environment thanks to John and Shannon’s work.
Kat Timmons – Environmental Studies – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2015
Kat spent the entire summer working as our plant manager intern. While here she made sure our plants stayed healthy and strong, looked up numerous earth friendly pest repellents, planted a strawberry bed, and designed a pocket plant guide that our volunteers and students use when working in the production area. She is currently traveling the world and enjoying life.
Kelsey McCauley – Arizona State University – Barrett Honor’s College – Summer 2014
Kelsey first worked with us as a WWOOFer (volunteer work exchange program) and later worked for us as an intern. She created a planting and weeding guide that we use every season to educate our volunteers and visiting school groups and our interns use her materials as resources while working here. She was extremely helpful in planting, helping in the greenhouse managing our starts, and making sure our crops were healthy and productive. She also frequented the local farmer’s market to sell produce and eggs.
Cedar Nicks – Environmental Studies – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2013
Cedar researched and installed a grey water system from our washing machine which irrigates flowers, shrubs, and trees and reuses approximately 600 gallons of water per month. He also designed and built and a solar shower that runs off our 3000 gallon rainwater catchment system and irrigates various shrubs and flowers.
Alicia Madsen – Environmental Studies and Sam Pesch – Biology – Northern Arizona University – Summer 2013
Alicia and Sam collaborated on a four foot by four foot root cellar. They researched building plans, collaborated with skilled construction workers, and created a pamphlet on how to effectively use the root cellar.
Merintha Pinson – Architecture – Arizona State University – Barrett Honor’s College – Fall 2012
Merintha collaborated with Kara Holzmiller to develop our 5 year permaculture site plan. She incorporated her graphic design and computer skills and was able to learn about permaculture and sustainable architectural design.
Kara Holzmiller – Independent Intern – 2012
Kara Holzmiller was our very first intern. She helped jumpstart the life of the Flagstaff EcoRanch. During her 5 months at the EcoRanch, her biggest projects were planning and designing our permaculture site plan, organizing our planting layout, assisting in the renovation of the basement for our Airbnb, and helping launch a Kickstarter campaign that successfully raised $9,505 for the EcoRanch. Other tasks included researching and ordering supplies, seeds, daily ranch maintenance, chicken care, cooking, cleaning, financials, building raised beds, hauling wood and soil, and just being a great friend. Kara’s involvement with the EcoRanch inspired her to continue pursuing her passions of sustainable, local food production and construction. She has gone on to establish her own business specializing in designing and building highly energy efficient greenhouses.