Three Colorado Small Acreage Management Specialists/Coordinators come together to teach in their areas of expertise in the Land Stewardship Mastery Badge Program.
John Rizza is the Small Acreage Management Specialist on the Western Slope of Colorado, working in a partnership position between CSU Extension and USDA-NRCS. John helps private landowners and land managers be better stewards of their lands by addressing their resource concerns, such as controlling invasive weeds, managing grazing, and addressing forest health issues. His desire to help private landowners in Colorado to sustainably manage their land has been a rewarding experience during the past several years.
John achieved a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management with a minor in forestry at Colorado State University. Shortly after graduating college, he earned an ISA Certified Arborist license. He then earned a Master of Science in Forestry from the University of Tennessee. After graduating, John spent a few years working in the inland northwest as a consulting forester helping private landowners manage their resources. He has also been a forester on the Colorado State Forest, helping manage 72,000 acres with a multitude of interests in consideration.
Kara Harders is the Small Acreage Coordinator for the southeast portion of the state, based out of Cañon City, Colorado, and the facilitator for the wildlife course of the Land Stewardship Program. Kara holds a master's in agricultural education and communications from the University of Florida, and a bachelor's in agricultural education from Colorado State University.
Jennifer Cook is the Small Acreage Management Coordinator in Colorado's Front Range, working in a partnership position with Colorado State University Extension and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). She consults with small acreage landowners on land stewardship practices such as weed management, grazing strategies, and reseeding. Her goal is to teach land managers about natural resources and practical land management options to improve the environment, protect water quality, promote soil health, and increase production.
Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Agriculture from Colorado State University. Prior to her current job, she worked with NRCS helping farmers with conservation on their farm land. Jennifer and her husband also spent a year in New Zealand, traveling, working on organic farms, and volunteering with the New Zealand Department of Conservation. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and yoga.