NOS Staff:

Melanie Erquiaga
Execitve Director

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.

Sarah Welsh
Director of Finance 

Sarah was born in California, but was raised in Winnemucca, NV.  After graduation she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.  After a short move to Boston and back, she began a career in the Corporate World of Finance in San Francisco.  After nearly 20 years away from home she and her husband relocated back to Nevada to be closer to family.  She enjoys eating good food, traveling, camping, hunting and fishing.

Jackie Lucero
Director of Progamming - Elko

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.

Brandon Allen
Director of Programming - Winnemucca

Brandon grew up in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois, where he was raised in the outdoors and grew up hunting, fishing, camping, and kayaking. This led him to pursue a degree in Game Preserve Management, after which he worked for a short time as a hunting guide and shooting instructor. He then went on to receive his degree in history along with his teaching certification. After working for a few years in the traditional education field, Brandon began to focus more on environmental/outdoor education after working a few seasons teaching outdoor education in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and with Southern Illinois University in the Shawnee Forest. These experiences led him to begin a new and exciting career with Nevada Outdoor School.

Katie Fithian
Outdoor Ethics Program Coordinator

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.

Tim Burns
Education Program Technician
Califonia Trail Interpretive Center - Elko
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.

Our Amazing AmeriCorps Service Members:

Allana Havernick
AmeriCorps Naturalist - Winnemucca

Allana grew up in a rural community outside of Buffalo, NY. She is a recent graduate from Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. She also has an Associate’s Degree in Environmental Technology. Both degrees have allowed her to get more interaction with nature as well as how we humans affect the environment. She got her love for nature from not only growing up in a rural community but also having a camper in Northern Pennsylvania. This is where she spent her childhood going on hikes, catching insects and salamanders, watching the black bears walk through the woods, and riding four-wheelers on trails with her friends every weekend during the summer. Most recently, she had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica as a study abroad program where she experienced different regions, climates, and species. From these experiences, she knew she wanted to be able to show others why the environment is so cool and important to preserve. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, traveling, stand-up paddle boarding, and   reading. Allana wants to provide an outdoor experience to kids similar to what she got growing up as a child and believes NOS is the place where that will happen.

Ale Cruz
AmeriCorps Spring Naturalist - Winnemucca
Ale was born in Long Beach, California but has been living in Winnemucca most of her life. Ale is a recent high school graduate, and is currently in her Freshman year of college as a Criminal Justice Major at Great Basin College. Ale is very passionate about agriculture, and the outdoors which is why she plans on becoming an Agriculture Lawyer in the future. Ale is very excited to be serving with Nevada Outdoor School and getting to teach kids in the community about the outdoors.
Kelsey Keema
AmeriCorps Spring Naturalist - Elko

Kelsey was born in Winnemucca, Nevada. At a young age, she moved to Spring Creek, Nevada, where she attended k-12th grade. Upon graduating high school, she moved to Reno where she studied social work at the University of Nevada, Reno. Having an interest in social service and her home state, Kelsey takes great pride in her naturalist position at the Nevada Outdoor School. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs, Blue and Mohawk, camping with friends, and spending time with her family.

Jessica Thomas
AmeriCorps Spring Naturalist - Elko

Jessica was born and raised in Winnemucca, NV and spent her childhood exploring Nevada with her family. She is attending Great Basin College for her Bachelors degree in elementary education. Jessica just recently left her job as a paraprofessional at an elementary school to move to Elko and help educate children on our environment and get them excited about the outdoors. Jessica enjoys deer shed hunting and hiking with her mom and dogs on the weekends. She loves to conquer tricky trails and climb to the top of every mountain she can.