High Plains Environmental Center Staff

IMG_7933Jim Tolstrup – is the Executive Director of the High Plains Environmental Center in Loveland, CO, a unique model for preserving native bio-diversity in midst of development.  Jim works to promote the conservation, restoration and landscape use of native plants and is the State Horticulture and Restoration Chair for the Colorado Native Plant Society.  His past work experience includes serving as Land Stewardship Director of Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, CO and running his own landscape design business in Kennebunkport, Maine where he installed gardens at George and Barbara Bush’s “Summer White House.”

Jim holds a Certificate in Gardening Arts from the Landscape Institute of Harvard University and the Arnold Arboretum, he has written numerous articles on gardening and environmental stewardship for various publications, and is a past recipient of Denver Water’s Xeriscape Award, ALCC’s Excellence in Landscaping Merit Award, ASLA Land Stewardship Award and the Sustainable Living Association’s Sustainable Contribution Award.

Growing up in an urban environment near Boston, MA, Jim had to “look hard to find nature.” This background has led to a strong sense of empathy for people, and children in particular, who don’t have access to the restorative qualities of nature in their daily lives.

Jim is personally committed to bringing together people with diverse points of view; environmentalists, business people and other community members in an inclusive dialogue about preserving the natural world for future generations.

As a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant Jim has received extensive training in crafting personal ceremonies; weddings, memorials, and other services specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals, couples and families. Jim has gained a perspective through life-long friendships with Native Americans living on reservations in South Dakota and elsewhere, that the land we live on is much more than a commodity, it is a community of which mankind is an integral part. Read Jim’s Blog Here

EricEric Blewitt – is the Natural Areas Manager at the High Plains Environmental Center. Eric’s love for the outdoors began at early age with many family camping and hiking trips. Eric is an avid skier and mountain biker. Enthusiasm for nature led Eric to a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University. He began with the High Plains Environmental Center as an intern in the spring of 2011, gaining experience and responsibility. His work is best seen on the 275 acre open space in the form of invasive species management and restoration of degraded areas.

kelleyKelley Driscoll, is the Community Services Coordinator at HPEC. Kelley graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology with minors in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies and Environmental Studies. Attracted by Colorado’s active outdoor lifestyle Kelley moved to Colorado in 2013 and feels that HPEC’s mission aligns with her own personal goal to leave the world better than when you found it.