Connor Schake joined the GOCO team as a data intern in 2014. Connor was integral in creating our new Projects By County map feature - make sure to check it out to find GOCO-funded projects near you! 

What did you major in at college? What are some of your goals for your career?

I attended Grinnell College, a small liberal-arts school in Iowa, where I designed an “independent major” in American Studies – a combination of U.S. history, literature, and sociology. I wanted to study the overarching themes, systems, and ideas in the history of the country and its inhabitants, and in particular, the relationship of Americans to the land they live on. Professionally, I hope to put myself in a position to contribute to the next great effort in conservation: crafting a land ethic for a growing and increasingly technological United States.

What brought you to GOCO? 

As a native Coloradan, I was eager to return to return from the Midwest to the more “stimulating topography” of the Rockies. Hoping to translate my humanities background into a job in conservation or ecology, I began researching opportunities in data management and environmental grant-writing. GOCO offered me the best of both worlds – a chance to hone my technical skills while gaining exposure to the day-to-day workings of a high-impact conservation organization.

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

I have enjoyed getting to know the team – GOCO has a friendly and entrepreneurial work culture that, despite the fast pace and workload, encourages a healthy balance in life. The volume of accumulated knowledge in this office about Colorado’s outdoor opportunities staggers me.

What is your typical day like?

In my part-time internship, the schedule changes week-to-week depending on the workload and the travel schedule of my supervisors. On the average day, I spend about two to three hours cleaning up and updating GOCO’s geodatabase in ArcMap. Depending on the needs of the communication team, my afternoon might be spent gathering different datasets or making maps of GOCO projects.

What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors?

I’m working my way back into trail running, a long-lost hobby from high school. I always enjoy getting into the backcountry for a few days via any means – I hope to take up horseback riding this summer.

Where are your favorite places to get outdoors in Colorado? 

Lost Creek Wilderness in Jefferson and Park counties will always hold a special place in my heart – I’ve spent many a backpacking trip on the loops above Tarryall Road.