Meet Ellen, Our Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Fellow

Ellen Kerchner is working at Palmer Land Trust this winter as the Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Fellow.

The Colorado Springs native recently graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in conservation biology. Since then, she has been living and working on Venetucci Farm, while also holding down a job at Mountain Chalet and working at Palmer.

The daughter of two science teachers and outdoor educators, Ellen has always had an appreciation for the outdoors and open spaces. She grew up white-water rafting, backpacking and competing in rodeo events like barrel racing, goat tying, calf roping and team roping. Her love of horses continues to this day.

"I made an intuitive decision and recognition of the importance of open space," said Ellen. "I'm so excited to do something I feel is making a difference. You have to take action."

Ellen has been helping Palmer staff prepare GIS data that will be used for future region-wide conservation planning and assisting with a data entry backlog. Her experience and passion for conservation make for an excellent addition to the office.

In March, Ellen will move to Paicines, Calif., where she will work for Paicines Ranch, which focuses on regenerative and holistic approaches to agriculture.

About the Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Fellowship

Heather Campbell Chaney dreamed of devoting her energy to creatively using environmental education to make the world a more sustainable place in which to live. Following her death in 2001, her family established the Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Fellowship (HCCEF) to promote her passion for bringing a strong environmental ethic to our region's young people.

HCCEF provides funds to support undergraduate or graduate fellowships at impactful environmental nonprofit organizations working in the Pikes Peak region. Fellows are provided with meaningful, career-building opportunities focused on conservation leadership and legacy.