Mike Wight

Program Officer, Southwest

Mike is committed to making positive change for people and the environment. Having spent over 20 years at the nexus of conservation, recreation, stewardship, and equity, he is well-versed in nonprofit and foundation operations. He holds a degree in ecology and natural history from Prescott College and brings significant experience as a practitioner and trainer in trails, riparian restoration, and fire mitigation. In his early career, Mike worked seasonally with the Forest Service leading a wilderness trail crew, as program manager with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, as an Outward Bound river instructor, and as academic director with Chinook West High School in Nederland, Colo.

In 2010 Southwest Colorado called Mike’s name. He became river restoration director with Conservation Legacy in Durango, promoting, funding, and implementing collaborative, landscape-scale, riparian restoration on Colorado River tributaries while working to develop the next generation of stewards. Six years later he became the inaugural director of the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, managing nascent programs on Acoma Pueblo and Navajo Nation, while partnering with tribal communities, councils, and agencies to develop and initiate new in-community AmeriCorps programs on Hopi and Zuni Pueblo and in Albuquerque, N.M. As restoration and trails program officer at the Catena Foundation, Mike promoted equity in youth cycling and access to nature through trails development and incorporated Traditional Ecological Knowledge in habitat restoration with communities and tribes in the Colorado River Basin. Mike joined GOCO following his role as associate director with San Juan Mountains Association where he grew and improved stewardship programs while supporting conservation education and visitor information services.

Mike has served on numerous boards including Nederland Parks and Recreation Open Space Advisory, Animas River Days, and the River Management Society. He has been recognized through several awards including The Nature Conservancy’s Phil James Conservation Award, Tamarisk Coalition’s First President’s Award, and the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Collaborative Conservation Award.

Outside work, Mike can be found boating remote river canyons, snow-surfing, riding bikes, making things with wood, and spending QT with his family.