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 is available Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm. Staff can be reached by phone or email, contact information can be found on the Staff tab below.
Suggested $5 donation per person.
1258 Center Drive
Park City, Utah 84098
Take the Kimball Junction exit 145, off I-80. Take 224 South. At the 2nd traffic light, Newpark Blvd, turn left. Follow the road all the way down and go under the Newpark sign that goes across the road. Our building is straight ahead. Parking can be found in front of and to the right of the building. Short term (2 hr max) outside and long term in the garage behind the Lunchbox Wax Salon.
Nell Larson Executive Director
Nell.Larson@usu.edu | 435-797-8941
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!
Katherine Veeder Director of Education
Katherine.Veeder@usu.edu | 435-797-8942
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.
Brianna Cencak Youth Programs Coordinator
Brianna.Cencak@usu.edu | 435-797-8938
Brianna joined the Swaner team as Youth Programs Coordinator in June of 2019. After completing her BS in Environmental Studies at Westminster College in 2014, she dove right into the nonprofit world. With five years of school programs experience, Brianna loves to ignite curiosity of the natural landscape in students of all ages. Recently, she has completed a Master Recyclers program and enjoys sharing her passion for sustainability with others. As a Southern Utah native, Brianna spends her time in the sunny weather hiking, searching for bugs with her nephews, and cruising mountain roads on her Dad’s Harley.
Gretchen Haller Staff Assistant/Office Manager
Gretchen.Haller@usu.edu | 435-797-8940
Gretchen joined the Swaner team in early 2021. Her love of nature began as a child growing up by the beach in Northern Florida. In 2016 the mountains were calling, and she relocated to Utah from Cincinnati, Ohio. While in Ohio, she spent many successful years working in Corporate America at a large Fortune 500 company, supporting executives, producing events and training employees and customers. After moving to Utah, she longed to do work that was meaningful and to be a part of an organization where she could make a difference. She welcomed the opportunity to support the Swaner mission and team. In her free time, Gretchen enjoys hiking, kayaking, golfing, and snowshoeing.
Rhea Cone Conservation Coordinator
Rhea.Cone@usu.edu | 435-797-8956
- Rhea joined the Swaner team in 2017. As a born and raised Parkite, Rhea loves being involved in conservation projects in her hometown and working with both locals and visitors alike. Rhea finished her BS in Ecology at the University of Utah in 2016. You can find her on the Preserve leading volunteers, working on restoration projects, and watching for native bees. Outside of work, Rhea enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and gardening.
Hunter Klingensmith Visitor Experience and Exhibit Manager
Hunter.Klingensmith@usu.edu | 435-797-8943
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.
Katie Ercanbrack Special Projects Coordinator
Katie.Ercanbrack@usu.edu | 435-649-1767
Katie joined the Swaner EcoCenter team in June 2019 as an Ecohost. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Arts & Communication from Brigham Young University in December 2012. Since graduating, she has had opportunities to live, work, and explore the outdoors as far North as Alaska and South as New Zealand. A Utah native, Katie will always have a special passion for the conservation of natural lands in her home state. You can find her leading nature walks, producing Swaner videos and helping with various events and projects. In her free time Katie enjoys hiking, mountain biking, skiing, camping, and spending as much time as possible in the presence of dogs.
Janna Coulter Community Engagement Manager
Janna.Coulter@usu.edu | 435-797-8939
Janna joined the Swaner team in March 2021. She enjoys creating opportunities for everyone to enjoy nature and believes in the transformative power of the outdoors. Janna grew up in the Carolinas where she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before heading to Colorado State University for her MS in Conservation Leadership. She has seized opportunities to travel and work around the United States, study ecology in the Galapagos Islands, and complete graduate research in central Kenya. Outside of the office, you might find her mountain biking or running with her husband and hound dog, playing ultimate frisbee, riding horses, skiing, paddle boarding, and eating delicious food.
Emma Lowe Marketing Assistant
Emma.Lowe@usu.edu | 435-797-8937
Emma joined the Swaner team in July 2021. She graduated with Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and International Studies from
the University of Utah in May 2021. Since she was young, Emma has had a passion for both the outdoors and visual media,
and she loves any opportunity to combine the two. At work, you can find her filming and photographing various events and activities, while outside the office you might see her cooking, gardening, crafting, or out
exploring the natural world.
Denice Heidorn EcoHost/Naturalist
Denice.Heidorn@usu.edu | 435-797-8955
Denice joined the Swaner team in June 2021. Originally from Michigan, she moved to Utah in 1995. With a love for the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and Greater Park City area, she has found her latest adventure a perfect fit. In 2002, Denice earned her Bachelor's degree in Marketing Management. She devoted her skills to the hotel and event industry. In her spare time, Denice exhibits her artistic skills working with stained glass. She also enjoys dancing, hiking, entertaining, cooking and traveling. In her new role, she is excited to learn more about the surrounding environment and wildlife of Utah.
Jess Oveson EcoHost/Naturalist
Jess.Oveson@usu.edu | 435-797-8955
Jess joined the Swaner team in 2021. Spending ten years as a guide across the mountain west, Jess developed her love of wild spaces, environmental education, and conservation. After learning to ski, she decided Utah was the place for her and made it her permanent home in 2015. She graduated from Utah Valley University in 2018 with a degree in Political Science. When she isn't at Swaner or buried in a book, you can find her trail running, volunteering, skiing, or out on a road trip with her family.
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.
David Kizer, Vice Chair
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 an MBA from the University of Utah.
Andy Fletcher, Board Secretary
Andy Fletcher currently leads Backcountry’s Owned Brands apparel business, overseeing design, development, production, and marketing strategy for several brands including Stoic, Basin & Range, and the Backcountry brand. Prior to joining Backcountry, Andy led corporate strategy and business development for VF Corporation’s Sportswear Coalition. His career also spans roles at Nordstrom, in private equity, and in management consulting. Andy holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Stephanie holds a degree from Yale University in Political Science and a Masters of Environmental Science & Management from University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a long history of work in the field of sustainability, serving as the Sustainability Manager for Cushman & Wakefield and the University of Utah. In 2017 and 2018, She dedicated herself to politics once again in her role as Campaign Manager for Shireen Gorbani’s congressional campaign. Stephanie currently lead’s Adobe’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting as their Senior Corporate Social Responsibility Program Manager. She joined the Swaner Advisory Board so that she could continue to encourage a culture of conservation from kids to adults and work alongside employees and Board members who are passionate about this land and environmental education.
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 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.
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.
Sallie holds a BA in Biology from Scripps College and trained as a Medical Technologist at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. She serves as a board member of The Newcomers Club of Greater Park City and The Friends of the Park City Library. She participates in the preservation of Park City history with Friends of Ski Mountain History and enjoys all things Recycle Utah. She and her husband Rod have participated in many educational and volunteer opportunities at Swaner.
Pauline Sargetakis was born and raised here in Salt Lake City. She grew up enjoying all the beautiful outdoor experiences this state has to offer. She spent 3 years in Los Angeles pursuing a degree in Fashion Marketing. She then spent several years working in Utah’s fashion industry before moving into the wine industry. She now works at Vine Lore as a wine broker for Utah. She loves her job as it marries my passion for wine and spreadsheets! Pauline also loves to hike with her dog and travel as much as possible. Through Vine Lore, she serves on the committee for the Natural History Museum Gala and plans a food and wine festival that benefits 3 local nonprofits every year. The Swaner EcoCenter has been a part of her childhood, and she feels honored to continue to support the Swaner EcoCenter and continue to grow the legacy of conservation for future generations.
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.
Meg studied Natural Resources Management at Michigan State University and continues to love the outdoors. Meg served on the RAP Tax Recreation Committee and organized the Running of the Balls event for the Park City Rotary Club. She helps the Park City Community Foundation organize Live PC Give PC and direct funds for the Women's Giving Fund Grant. Meg is also a member and volunteer of Camber Outdoors. At her job as an IT Business Analyst for Park City Mountain - Vail Resorts, she participates in the Epic Promise Day volunteer projects and serves on the Epic Promise Grants Committee and the Park City Mountain Green Team. Meg has served on the Summit Land Conservancy Board, acting as Treasurer for part of her tenure.
Dave is the Director of Business Intelligence at Traeger. He is committed to nature and conservation, and an enthusiastic recreationalist.
Youth Education Assistant
This position will be employed by Little Rays Nature Centres, but will work closely with the Swaner team at the EcoCenter during the duration of the Survival of the Slowest exhibit.