The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter is a 1,200 acre nature Preserve and a 10,000 square foot LEED Platinum building with interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. We offer weekly nature tours, wildlife viewing opportunities, summer camps, environmental education for children and adults, evening lecture series, a gift shop with local and ecofriendly art. Visit the EcoCenter to learn more about our wetland ecosystem and the 10 miles of trails to explore!
EcoCenter Public Open Hours
Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Monday & Tuesday Closed
Administrative Staff Hours
Swaner staff can be found in their offices on the second floor of the EcoCenter Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Please use the white phone box to the left of our front doors to call up to our offices so we know you are there!
FREE. Although, a suggested donation of $5.00 per person is appreciated.
1258 Center Drive
Park City, Utah 84098
Google Map Link
Nell Larson Executive Director
Nell became the Executive Director in December 2013. She works closely with Swaner staff, Advisory and Advancement Board members, and Utah State University administration to develop Swaner's strategic direction and the financial and material resources needed to operate the organization. Prior to her role as director, Nell acted as Conservation Director, where she focused on the restoration and management of the 1,200 acre nature preserve, implementing projects geared toward stream restoration, water quality, wildlife habitat, and trails. Nell grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. She completed her undergraduate degree at Yale as well as her Master of Environmental Management with a focus in ecology at the Yale School of Forestry. Outside of work, Nell loves to ski - both nordic and alpine, sail, hike, travel, play kickball, and generally take advantage of Utah's great outdoors!
Peregrine Bosler Director of Development
Peregrine joined the Swaner EcoCenter team in September of 2016. She is responsible for matching donors' passions for education, conservation, and community with Swaner's mission and programs. Peregrine holds a long career in client services. Most recently, she led fundraising efforts as the Development Manager for Park City Community Foundation, where she was most proud to have built the Park City Women's Giving Fund. Peregrine holds a BA in Sociology from Indiana University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Systems from Presidio-Pinchot University. She lives in Park City with her husband, Matt. Outside of work she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and traveling.
Katherine Veeder Director of Education
Katherine joined the Swaner team in January 2012 as an Education intern during her last semester at the University of Utah. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science, and a brief break to gain valuable experience at other nonprofits, she rejoined the Swaner staff in 2013 and assumed her role as Education Director in May 2014. Katherine said “my job is always an adventure, but my very favorite part is working with youth one-on-one in the field to guide them to make their own scientific discoveries and connections with the natural world. There’s nothing better than seeing a child leave the Preserve with a new passion to explore our planet,” when asked about her favorite experiences with the organization. When she’s not at work, Katherine can typically be found hiking, climbing, playing ultimate frisbee, and taking advantage of all Utah has to offer.
Drew Potter Conservation Coordinator
Drew Potter joined the Swaner EcoCenter team in October of 2017. He is responsible for planning and implementing restoration and land management projects on the Preserve, as well as creating Swaner’s adult education programs. Drew holds a long career in ecological restoration, research and teaching. Since completing his MS in Ecology at San Francisco State University, Drew has contributed to Sierra Nevada forest ecology research at UC Berkeley, and Great Basin pollinator ecology research at the University of Utah. Most recently he supervised a 460-acre bioregional habitat restoration project, developing and implementing a strategy to plant and irrigate 21,000 plants of 44 species via direct-seeding and rhizome-division propagation during drought conditions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Drew and his wife and dogs recently relocated to Utah, drawn by their love of the diverse landscape and proximity to excellent rock climbing and snowboarding.
Natalie McHale Education Assistant
Natalie started her role as Education Assistant at Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter in June 2014. She is responsible for assisting with summer camps, field trips, and other various education programs at Swaner. Natalie grew up in Michigan where her love for wildlife and the outdoors encouraged her receive a BS in Zoology from Michigan State University. She has decided to take her education a step further and is currently working towards an MA in Biology through Miami University’s Global Field Program, focusing on inquiry and environmental education. Natalie feels lucky to have a position at Swaner where she can build on her formal education as well as share her knowledge with locals and visitors of Park City. Outside of work and school, Natalie enjoys taking her dog on hikes, trailing running, yoga, traveling, and trying new experiences that Utah has to offer!
Leslie Roberts Staff Assistant
Leslie joined the Swaner team in 2016. A Utah native, her love for the outdoors brought her to Park City where she discovered the Swaner Preserve and began volunteering. She brings with her decades of experience in project management, print production and customer service. She is responsible for parts of marketing, accounting, building rentals, facilities, and keeping things running smoothly. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, skiing and fly fishing.
Rhea Cone EcoHost
Rhea joined the Swaner EcoCenter team in June 2017 as a conservation intern. A native Parkite, Rhea loves being involved in conservation projects and environmental education in her home town. She loves meeting both locals and visitors. Rhea finished her BS in ecology with a minor in chemistry at the University of Utah in the Spring of 2016. You can find her greeting visitors at the EcoCenter, guiding Saturday Nature Walks, and working on projects outdoors. Outside of work, Rhea enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, and plant and insect identification.
Hunter Klingensmith Visitor Experience Coordinator and Gift Shop
Hunter joined the Swaner team in Fall 2014 as a Conservation Intern during her junior year at the University of Utah. After her internship she joined the Swaner staff as an EcoHost, while also completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Business. You can find her leading nature walks on the Preserve, greeting guests at the EcoCenter, assisting with the Swaner EcoClub, and working on the Geocaching course. She loves the variety and continuous influx of new knowledge that comes with being part of the Swaner team. Prior to coming to Utah, Hunter grew up in Pennsylvania and attended the University of Cincinnati for Architecture. In her free time she enjoys hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and adventuring whenever possible.
Ashleigh Hammond EcoHost & Volunteer Coordinator
Ashleigh joined the Swaner team as a Conservation Intern in fall 2015. She is now
an EcoHost and recently became the Volunteer Coordinator. Ashleigh’s focus is on engaging
and educating visitors to the EcoCenter, collaborating and guiding volunteers, leading
nature walks and snowshoe tours and creating interactive touch tables and displays.
Ashleigh holds a degree in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Utah.
Outside of work she enjoys running, hiking and camping with her amazing dog, Nala.
David Moore Board Chair
David has served as President of the Alumni Association, Chair of the Foundation Board, member of the National Advisory Board for Aggie Athletics, and member of the Board of Trustees. In addition, the Moores have financially supported a number of scholarships and programs at Utah State and frequently make time interact with students.
Ted McAleer Board Vice Chair
Ted McAleer is currently the Managing Director of PandoLabs and was previously the 1st Executive Director of USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative). He has also worked for SunGard SCT, Procter and Gamble, PepsiCo. and the US Army. He holds a MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master of Engineering from the University of Virginia and a BS in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He volunteers his time as a Board Member or Trustee w the following organizations: Park City Angel Network, Mountain West Capital Network, Swaner EcoCenter, and PCCAPS.
Originally from Munich, Germany, Stephany Alexander is an entrepreneur, published author of two books, and holds degrees in Public Relations and German Language from the University of Utah. Stephany served as social media and public relations director for VIA Motors, a leading electric vehicle company. She is CEO of a pioneering women’s website and founded the Abuse Prevention Foundation, a charity defending women, children and animal rights. Stephany has lead marketing and fundraising projects for animal and environmental organizations, including Utah’s Ching Farm Animal Rescue. She currently serves on the boards of Ballet West and Recycle Utah. Stephany has been featured on hundreds of media programs including CBS, BBC, E! and in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, USA Today, and Oprah Magazine.
Advocate, Educator, and Outdoor Enthusiast. As a college graduate from Brigham Young University, Kathy has worked in the field of youth education for over 25 years. Her roots began with Utah State University Extension in the early 90's, when the first afterschool grants were awarded to an array of Utah communities. Over the years, Kathy has served on several state boards acting as President for many years in the Youth Programming field. Kathy has also traveled to Washington DC to aid in public policy initiatives that advocate for youth and education. As a National Endorser for Quality Care, she traveled the country and to Japan to evaluate and accredit quality youth programs. Kathy has been involved with Wellesley College and Princeton University as a trainer and public speaker as it applies to best practices in the field of youth programming. Her current position as Director of Youth Programs with Promontory Club, located in Park City offers the community more than 7,000 acres of natural space where Kathy educates and excites young people and their families about the outdoors. Kathy, along with her family, enjoy the simple pleasures of the Utah mountains.
After graduation from high school, Dr. Ember Conley attended Arizona State University and graduated from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences with a Bachelor of Science Degree. After owning her own business for six years, she returned to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and earned her teaching certification in Elementary Education. She then received her Masters of Arts Degree from the University of Colorado, Denver with a degree in Administrative Leadership with an emphasis in Policy Studies. In 2010, she graduated from Argosy University with her doctoral degree, focused upon K-12 Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction. She was awarded the ASA Outstanding Dissertation in 2010 for her research in increasing reading achievement by using natural learning styles of Native American Students. She has served her students as a high school assistant principal, high school principal, and elementary principal, assessment director, deputy superintendent, and superintendent. She currently serves her community as the Park City School District Superintendent in Park City, UT. She has three beautiful children, ages 6, 17, and 22.
Marissa holds a Masters of Arts and Humanities from New York University. She has professional history in communication, and is the Exhibits Director at The Leonardo Museum. Marissa lives in Park City with her husband Matt and many rescued pets. She volunteered as media coordinator for Nuzzles & Co. She serves on the Swaner Advisory Board because she believes that conservation efforts and related education are essential to a healthy community.
Annette has over 25 years’ experience in the health care sector, ranging from patient care as a respiratory therapist, to executive leadership for both hospital and insurance entities. Annette currently serves as the Managing Director for at ThomasArts, an advertising agency. As the former Executive Director of Swaner EcoCenter, Annette returns to the board with new passion for Swaner’s mission and a knowledge of the organization’s history.
Originally from Aspen, Colorado, Julie Hopkins now makes Park City her home. She is a Top 10 Real Estate Agent for the broader Park City area. She spent 25 years of her career as the head of marketing for companies like Mrs. Fields Cookies, The Sharper Image, and Park City Mountain Resort. She currently serves on the Park City Institute Advisory Board and Ballet West Community Leadership Board and was an adjunct professor at the University of Utah MBA program for eight years.
David grew up in Park City along the outskirts of the Swaner Preserve. He is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys helping local organizations as well as larger national level groups. David is also involved in preservation and education efforts with SUWA, Utah Rivers Council, Mountain Trails Foundation and American Whitewater. He currently works in operations and sourcing at Owlet Baby Care. David received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado and a MBA from the University of Utah.
Julie brings a background in both science and business to her service on the board. She held a variety of leadership positions in consulting and sales over her 27-year career with IBM. Much of her work focused on the area of business analytics to help government and education clients leverage their data to support decision-making and drive better outcomes. Julie holds an MBA from the University of Utah and a B.A in Chemistry and Biology from Albion College in Michigan. Julie is a passionate advocate for conservation and animal rights and supports local, national and global organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting habitat and wildlife.
Mike is a recent graduate of Lewis & Clark School of Law where he earned a JD with a certificate in Natural Resource Law. Mike has a long history of working with nonprofit community organizations that started here at the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter over ten years ago. Mike lives in Portland, Oregon where he is a staff member at Pacific Rivers. Mike loves hiking, biking, fishing, and camping with his girlfriend and his dog. Mike received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Utah in Urban Planning in 2011.
Diana Swaner Founding Board Member
Diana Swaner has considerable expertise in education and social science. Diana earned her M.S. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Intercultural and International Education with a specialty in Curriculum Writing from the University of Southern California. She has spent many years doing Teacher Training in Europe and worked in the area of gifted education, teaching students to problem solve and become divergent thinkers. Diana's mantra was always, "Not, how do I get my students to think about my curriculum, but how do I use my curriculum to teach students to think".
Paula Swaner, Ph.D. Founding Board Member
Dr. Paula Swaner has received several degrees from the University of Utah, including a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English Literature, as well as a Masters of Science in educational psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She has also received an M.A. from Pacific Graduate Institute in the Mythological Studies Program and is in the dissertation phase of a Ph.D. program from Pacifica University. In addition to her degrees, Dr. Swaner has certifications in Object Relations Theory and Therapy from the School of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, as well as from the Academy for Guided Imagery. In 1997, Dr. Swaner received a faculty appointment at the International Institute of Object Relations, a position she still holds. In 2003 she established the Rocky Mountain Psychological Center, a Psychotherapist’s Group Practice involving training and community mental health projects. Dr. Swaner has received numerous honors, including the Heart and Hands Award from the Cornerstone Counseling Center (2001), the Norman S. Anderson MD Award for Distinguished Service to Mental Health in Utah (2002), and Emeritus Merit of Honor from the University of Utah (2003)
Susan Poulter, Honorary Board Member
Susan brings a background in both science and law to her service on the board. With a PhD in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, and a law degree from the University of Utah, she practiced environmental law and general corporate law, she then taught environmental law at the S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah where she is currently Professor Emerita. She has written and lectured on topics within the fields of both science and law and has served on various professional boards and committees of the American Bar Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She currently lives with her husband in Park City where her activities have included coordinating the docent program for the Swaner EcoCenter and more recently, serving on the advisory board.