Science team work

Starting in summer of 2019, a Western Colorado University-affiliated science team began monitoring conditions in Taylor Park. The science team supports the adaptive management group and Forest Service by completing on-the-ground fieldwork relevant to questions about the project as well as cultivating an in-depth understanding of the forest structure, age class, health, and use by wildlife in Taylor Park.

First year monitoring includes sapling and seedling counts, tree coring, mistletoe presence and absence data collection, camera traps set for big game, small mammal trapping, and breeding bird point counts to name a few. In time,  researchers will provide scientific information to support the Gunnison District in assessing if vegetation management practices are moving the landscape towards desired forest conditions.

These efforts will be integral to keep the AMG and agency staff informed on Taylor Park’s forests’ status as it is treated in accordance with the Taylor Park project.

Click here to deep diver into the resources the science team is utilizing for the development of their monitoring efforts.


Dr. Jonathan Coop’s teaching and research interests revolve around the ecology, dynamics, conservation, and restoration of plant communities and landscapes in the southern Rocky Mountains. He teaches introductory and advanced courses in biology and environmental studies and leads many field trips to wild places near and far. He works with undergraduates in Biology and ENVS, and graduate students in the Master of Environmental Management Program, to explore how disturbance regimes, climate, and spatially-structured abiotic gradients interact to shape diversity, community composition, and landscape dynamics, human influences on ecological systems, and management for a future of certain change but of a less than certain direction and magnitude.

Amy Eaton has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Environmental Management degree with an emphasis on public lands management at Western Colorado University. Amy’s work is centered around landscape scale natural resource management. Specific interests include exploring human-nature interactions, particularly as they relate to Wilderness management, forest health, and sustainable recreation. Amy has broad experience working with a diverse range of organizations from local non-profits to federal agencies, including: The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, The Headwaters Alliance, Coldharbour Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency, Gunnison County, the Sustainable Development Strategies Group, The Society for Wilderness Stewardship, and the U.S. Forest Service. Amy is currently working with Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the U.S. Forest Service to develop an innovative vegetation management plan that aims to balance silvicultural and recreational needs to ensure CBMR maintains a healthy, vigorous, natural resource base into the future. Amy will be leading the Taylor Park science field team during the summer of 2019.

Noah Hellmund is pursuing a B.A. in Environment and Sustainability and Master’s in Environmental Management degree with an emphasis on public lands management at Western Colorado University. Noah’s work is centered on forest management and adapting management practices to increase resilience to wildfire. Noah has a diverse skill set built on a foundation of Wildland Firefighting and Environmental Education. He has worked in natural resource management for federal, private, and nonprofit entities across 7 different states. Noah is currently working to digitize U.S. Forest Service silviculture data going back to the 80’s including forest regeneration, prescriptions, disturbances, and GIS files. Using the historic records for Taylor park as an indicator for effective management practices in response to environmental disturbances. For the 2019 field season he will be working on the U.S. Forest Service Timber crew on the Gunnison National Forest, in addition to involvement in the Taylor Park science field team.

Gabriela Zaldumbide earned her Bachelor of Science degree at University of Wisconsin - Madison where she majored in Wildlife Ecology and received an Environmental Studies Certificate. Today, she is a student in the Master of Environmental Management Program at Western Colorado University where she studies integrative and public land management. In the past, she has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, actively volunteered for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and interned for the Wildlife Management Institute. Currently, she is an intern for the Hunting, Trapping, and Conservation Working Group of The Wildlife Society, an ambassador for the Wild Rockies Field Institute, and an active Backcountry Hunters and Anglers member working towards being a Colorado Chapter Leader. As a U.S. Forest Service graduate research fellow, Gabby is administering a survey to Taylor Park residents to gauge their knowledge of the Taylor Park environmental assessment and writing a comprehensive monitoring plan for the Taylor Park forests affected by the assessment. She is looking forward to being a part of the Taylor Park science field team this upcoming summer.

Antonio Zermano (high school intern)