Melanie Erquiaga
Melanie was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico and moved with her family to Idaho where she spent most of her childhood growing up on the family farm; she is the youngest of five children. She moved to Winnemucca in 1983 and spent all four high school years at Lowry High School. She moved to Boise, Idaho after graduation where she attended ITT Technical Institute. She worked for a while in the Boise area and moved back to Winnemucca to marry and raise a family. She has been married for 25 years to Mike Erquiaga, who is a Winnemucca native; they have two children together - both grown men now. She enjoys spending time in the great outdoors with her family, whether is in rural Nevada or beyond. Her favorite vacations are spent camping and white water rafting. She has spent time rafting the Salmon, Snake, Green and Rouge rivers here in the Northwest. She also enjoys reading and cooking. Melanie is excited to take over the reins as Executive Director and use her years of non-profit management experience to lead Nevada Outdoor School into the next decade of expanding our programs across the state and continuing to work and live in this great rural Nevada community.

Jessica Snaman
Outreach Director

Jessica was born in Kansas, but grew up on the east coast outside of Washington, DC. Her love for the mountains took her to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina where she majored in Elementary Education. Jessie first came to the amazing state of Nevada as an AmeriCorps Naturalist in 2009. After her year of service, she moved back east and taught fifth grade. However, the beauty, adventurous spirit and vastness of the west soon brought her back. She has been on staff with NOS since February 2012 and thinks this is the best job ever!


Zulma Mayorga
AmeriCorps Program Director
Zulma was born in Colima, Mexico but has lived in Winnemucca most of her life. She is married and has two wonderful girls. She enjoys hiking, and cooking with her family. She loves to travel and explore, Lake Tahoe being one of her favorite places. Her love for community service and adventure brought her to Nevada Outdoor School. She is passionate about strengthening non-profit organizations through the AmeriCorps program and helping their committed AmeriCorps members in Northern Nevada and Las Vegas.
Rebecca Gray
Director of Finance

Rebecca was born in Roseburg Oregon, but grew up and worked alongside her mom, dad, and 3 other siblings on Cattle and Hay ranches in the small towns of Cedarville California, Paisley Oregon, and Prineville Oregon, before moving back to Roseburg Oregon where she graduated from high school. Rebecca moved to Winnemucca in 1995, where she worked for Newmont in production. She enjoys rodeo and currently volunteers her time as Vice President of the Miss Winnemucca High Desert Queen Association. Rebecca has 2 beautiful children and enjoys every minute of motherhood. She loves the outdoors, where she and her family spend a lot of time hunting, fishing for brook trout, riding horses and exploring new areas. Fishing for Salmon, and crabbing on the Oregon Coast with family is also high on her list of favorites! Riding her 3 horses gives her so much peace and joy, and she feels inspired and blessed to live in a place as expansive and wild as Nevada where she can enjoy the wide open spaces with the beautiful, rugged mountains ranges as well. Rebecca is very enthusiastic about being a part of the NOS family, and loves her job as Director of Finance for Nevada Outdoor School.

Jackie Lucero
Director of Programming

Jackie grew up in the wild state of Montana. She studied botany in college and then set out to be of service. She got her foot in the door serving as an AmeriCorps member with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and then continued to work for the SCA in many capacities over the next 15 years, mentoring volunteers teaching environmental education, providing conservation stewardship, and engaging in community service. During that time, she also took a brief sojourn away from SCA spending two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and earning a Master’s degree in Environmental Education from the Audubon Expedition Institute. She enjoys cross-country skiing, backpacking, gardening, and just about any activity that will allow her to play in the outdoors. Recently, Jackie relocated to Elko, Nevada where she is excited to start a new adventure serving with the Nevada Outdoor School.

Katy Contreras
Education Coordinator
KatyKaty grew up in the mountains of western Wyoming hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and all around loving the great outdoors. Her family moved to northern Nevada when she was about to begin the 7th grade and she has since referred to Nevada as her home state. Katy moved away in 2002 to attend Southern Oregon University and adventure throughout the Pacific Northwest. Missing the raw beauty and wide open spaces of Nevada, she moved home in 2010 to work for the gold mining corporations as an environmental engineer. Although she loved her co-workers and the mining community, she felt unfulfilled. Katy’s husband Juan encouraged her to follow her heart. Katy did just that and she has since coached track at Lowry High School and taught Kindergarten at Sonoma Heights Elementary School. Having always wanted to couple her love of the outdoors with education, she just could not pass up the opportunity to work for Nevada Outdoor School. As the education coordinator Katy is extremely excited to connect local kids with the amazing outdoor areas we have in Northern Nevada and build them into future leaders and stewards of our community.
Tim Burns
Education Program Technician, California Trail Interpretive Center

Tim has spent most of his life in northern Nevada, and enjoys hiking and exploring whenever and wherever he can. In his spare time, he is a writer, stage actor, and amateur carpenter, but one of his main interests is history. He has always thought the past makes an excellent map for the future, showing which paths to follow and which to avoid. Now, he is excited to work at the California Trail Interpretive Center, a job which lets him research the rich history of the West and pass those lessons on to future generations.

Kathryn Fithian
AmeriCorps Naturalist
Katie grew up in a small town in the foothills of Colorado. She spent most of her childhood hiking and exploring the outdoors with her friends and family. Katie studied at Colorado State University, but ultimately pursued a career as a hairstylist. After spending several years working in the beauty industry in Denver, Katie and her husband relocated to Winnemucca, NV. After a year in Nevada, Katie felt she could provide the community with a more meaningful service. In August of 2016, Katie sought out the AmeriCorps Naturalist position at the Nevada Outdoor School and has so far, enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the community and share her love and appreciation of the outdoors. In her free time, Katie enjoys exploring the vast wilderness of Nevada with her husband Matt and their two dogs.
Brandolyn Thran
AmeriCorps Elko Spring Naturalist
 Brandolyn grew up in Alaska, first in Bethel which is 300 air-miles from Anchorage, no roads will get you there. Here, she and her family learned about survival, both outside in an extreme environments and in a place where a gussuk (white) was the minority.   In 6th grade her family moved to Palmer, Alaska where her Dad was the Superintendent of the University of Alaska Experimental Farm, which meant she had 1,000 acres to roam and giant cabbages to appreciate. The only rule in the summer was that she and her big brother had to check in once-a-day, at dinner time, because with so much light and land to explore why would a kid be inside? Her senior year they moved to Lemoore, California and she attended Cal Poly for 2-years but fell I love with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) when she accompanied her mom on an investigation of a doctoral program. In 1992 Brandolyn transferred and then had an 11-year stint at UNR earning a BS in Biology, a Masters in Cell and Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Health.  While in grad school she met her hubby of 19-years, Robby. He is a Civil Engineer. They have an 11-year old son who keeps them hopping with baseball, trap shooting, and dirt bike riding.  She joins NOS as an Americorp Naturalist after a 15-year career with the US Army as a Microbiologist and Brandolyn is excited to be out of cube-land and serving in the great outdoors of Nevada!!

 Brody Goucher
AmeriCorps Winnemucca Spring Naturalist