Benita is a fifth-generation Colorado native who was born and raised in Pueblo. She brings broad experiences and expertise in public, private and non-profit sectors to the Center, along with her passion for community building and sustainable economic development at local, regional, and international levels. She has managed departments and initiatives in local governments of Denver and Boulder. She was previously a vice president for government affairs for a Colorado engineering firm and a program leader for Denver Public Schools. She is presently a commissioner of the Colorado Economic Development Commission and a member of Energize Colorado’s Gap Fund Executive Committee, focused on economic recovery of small, BIPOC businesses. She is also active on the board of Boulder Community Health and Boulder County Arts Alliance. Benita enjoys a hiking trail whenever she meets one and is a collector of international folk art.

Beth Conover

Executive Director

Beth has spent her entire career working at the intersection of environmental policy and community development. She comes to the Salazar Center from the Gates Family Foundation, where she worked for 8 years, most recently as Senior Vice President for Natural Resources and Community Development. Prior, she worked on community conservation program development in diverse places including Providence, Rhode Island; Zimbabwe, Southern Africa; and the Colorado Plateau. Born in Denver, she was Director of Parks and Environment for the redevelopment of the former Stapleton International Airport and a senior advisor and founder of Greenprint Denver for Mayor John Hickenlooper. She is the editor and co-author of How the West was Warmed: Climate Change in the Rocky Mountain West, a collection of essays published by Fulcrum Press in 2010.

Benita Duran headshot

Benita Duran

Senior Project Manager

Benita is a fifth-generation Colorado native who was born and raised in Pueblo. She brings broad experiences and expertise in public, private and non-profit sectors to the Center, along with her passion for community building and sustainable economic development at local, regional, and international levels. She has managed departments and initiatives in local governments of Denver and Boulder. She was previously a vice president for government affairs for a Colorado engineering firm and a program leader for Denver Public Schools. She is presently a commissioner of the Colorado Economic Development Commission and a member of Energize Colorado’s Gap Fund Executive Committee, focused on economic recovery of small, BIPOC businesses. She is also active on the board of Boulder Community Health and Boulder County Arts Alliance. Benita enjoys a hiking trail whenever she meets one and is a collector of international folk art.

Catie Boehmer

Communications and Engagement Officer

Catie brings a decade of conservation-related communications, fundraising, and engagement experience to the Salazar Center. Prior to joining the Center, she managed the Colorado Water Center’s grantmaking and outreach programs. In 2017, she moved to Colorado from Chicago, where she’d worked for the Field Museum of Natural History and Friends of the Forest Preserves in roles that directly supported landscape-scale conservation, science education and research, and grassroots advocacy. She currently serves as the board vice president of Friends of Lory State Park. Catie holds a master’s degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from CSU and a BA in political science from Northwestern University. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and their three black cats and is an avid backpacker, hunter, and Rockies fan.

Craig Starger

Research Administrator

Craig brings over 20 years of experience in environmental conservation and sustainability as a researcher, policymaker, international development professional, and program manager. As a graduate student and postdoc, he spent over a decade studying the ecology and conservation of coral reefs with a particular focus on Southeast Asia. Craig was then awarded a Science & Technology Policy Fellowship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for which he spent four years working for the Federal government on foreign policy and international development projects related to marine biodiversity conservation and climate change. Craig most recently spent five years at CSU developing Future Earth, a global network for sustainability science. He lives in Fort Collins with his wife and kids.

Courtney Massey

Communications and Operations Coordinator

Courtney originally joined the Center as an intern in 2019, and she graduated from CSU in 2020 with a master’s degree in Conservation Leadership. Originally from Iowa, she moved to the Front Range to further her education while building an understanding of conservation planning and decision making. As an undergraduate, Courtney studied wildlife conservation and genetics, and she has also been involved both domestically and internationally with community-based wildlife conservation initiatives. She has a BS in Biology, BA in Biochemistry, and BA in Environmental Resource Management from the University of Northern Iowa. Courtney currently lives in Fort Collins and enjoys exploring the outdoors of Colorado with her two dogs.

Rosa María Vidal Rodriguez

Micaela Truslove

Micaela is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at CSU and joined the Salazar Center as an intern in 2019. Most recently, she worked as a CSU Extension Agent, where she focused on sustainable horticulture practices and insect and disease issues; specifically, she worked to educate communities and the green industry about, and helped them plan for, the impact of emerald ash borer. Micaela has been involved in urban and community forestry work for the last six years and serves as a board member of the Colorado Tree Coalition. During this time, she developed an interest in the role of urban forests in climate change adaptation planning, as well as issues surrounding equitable access to urban forest benefits. She holds an MS in forest sciences from CSU, an AAS in horticulture from Front Range Community College, and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and getting outside.