Leah joined the GOCO team in September 2022 as a grants officer.

Leah Kahler RiverWhat did you do before you came to GOCO?

I was just down the street from GOCO, working at Trust for Public Land (TPL) as the Sr. Philanthropy Associate. For four years, I was fortunate to support the philanthropy and program teams who created parks, trails & open spaces for communities across the four corner states.

What brought you to GOCO?

I became familiar with GOCO as a funder of TPL and learned about the team’s incredible statewide impact. The common thread across my professional experiences is helping people, and paired with my passion for environmental conservation, I jumped at the opportunity to help entities facilitate critical work to protect and enhance Colorado’s outdoor spaces.

What has been your favorite part of working here so far?

I have instantly felt at home and welcomed onto this fun & dedicated team.

LKWhat are some of your favorite things to do outdoors?

Hiking, camping, petting people’s dogs at off-leash dog parks - the usual.

Where is your favorite place to get outdoors in Colorado? 

The Table Mountains in Golden are my favorite – during my senior year of high school my backyard abutted South Table Mountain, so I was always on it, enjoying the solitude and being up high. Later, when I lived in the Highlands, I was super excited to discover that I could take the street I lived on (W 32nd Ave) all the way to South Table Mountain.

Another outdoor space that makes me smile is the Highline Canal. This is a fantastic resource that is easy for me to jump on when I can’t make the trek out of Denver and want to connect with nature – I feel transported out of the city being around the meadows, wetlands, and animals.

What is your most memorable/entertaining/humorous outdoors mishap?

Camping at the South Rim Campground at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison a few years ago, I took a drive down the main road along the rim during a late-night lightning storm. It felt like my own private, silent show. The sky and canyon were so dramatic as lightning bolt after lightning bolt lit everything up for at least an hour.

What is the coolest wildlife you have spotted while outdoors in Colorado?

For me, the coolest would be the rattlesnake - I’ve always been a fan of reptiles. I appreciate when I see the occasional one on the Table Mountains. I hope to catch the tail end of the tarantula migration when I make a visit to Southeast Colorado next month.