NOS Staff and AmeriCorps Members

Melanie Erquiaga
Executive 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.

Dr. Brandolyn Thran
Associate Director & Science Advisor

Brandolyn grew up in Alaska, and moved to Nevada to attend University of Nevada, Reno. She loves to laugh, take the back roads, and discover fun things along any route she happens upon. Brandolyn first served as an AmeriCorps Naturalist at Nevada Outdoor School in 2017, and later joined as staff in 2019.  She holds advanced degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology and Environmental Science. Her passion is melding science, brain research and spirituality to encourage and empower others to discover their awesome potential. Brandolyn loves wildflowers, hiking, backpacking, and kayaking in the summer, and simply survives the winter by snowshoeing her way through it. She is almost always cold so she is sometimes mistaken for the abominable snowman.   She plays the piano and ukulele.   Brandolyn has been married to Robby for 20+ years and they have a teenaged son who loves cars and baseball.

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.

Jessica Snaman Myers
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 with NOS 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 as Director of Programming, Associate Director and now, part time as Outreach Director.  Jessie currently lives back on the east coast with her husband, Zoey Cat and beautiful baby daughter, Scarlett.

Jacklyn Orr
Communications and Marketing Specialist

As a lifetime Nevadan I began my enjoyment of the outdoors by spending much of my early childhood with my grandparents and great grandparents in the garden and on hunting trips. Spending time outside never stopped when I moved away from Fallon to Elko. During college I studied to have a degree in Soil Management. Also during college, I was a part of the Great Basin Aggies Club where I met my Husband. Even when I moved to Winnemucca from Elko, the outdoors were never far away and in fact I got closer. From working at the Community Garden as an AmeriCorps Member to Winnemucca Farms as an Agronomist to helping my husband sub guide and trap, Nature is something I am part of. I now have 2 sons, Ridge (6) and Remi (3) who we take out on hunts, fishing trips and the trapline. I am so excited to be a part of the Nevada Outdoor School team again!


Allana Havernick
Programs Coordinator - Winnemucca

Allana grew up in a rural community outside of Buffalo, NY. She graduated from Binghamton University where she majored in Environmental Studies. 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 completed two years of AmeriCorps service here at Nevada Outdoor School! She is excited to continue her career with NOS and is ready for any challenges in this new positon. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and traveling with her dog and boyfriend.

Meghan Rich
Programs Coordinator - Elko

Meghan was born and raised in Elko, Nevada where she spent her childhood and now her adult years exploring all the beauty Nevada has to offer. She loves to camp, hunt, hike and discover new things along this crazy adventure called life. Meghan graduated from Elko High School and then attended Great Basin College to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. In her spare time she enjoys reading, archery, fishing and caring for all of her many plants! She is passionate about learning and the love of the great outdoors and can’t wait to share that passion here at Nevada Outdoor School!


Macy Rohr
2nd Year AmeriCorps Naturalist - Elko

Macy was raised in Greensburg, Indiana. In her free time, she enjoyed soaking up the sunshine, hiking through the woods, and admiring flora. This fascination led her to study Energy, Geology, and Natural Resources at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. After graduating college, Macy began her journey to become a Naturalist. She found it important to get youth interested and knowledgeable of the outdoors, as she felt Indiana needed more programs that do this. Macy and her cat moved to Elko, Nevada after being offered a Naturalist position at Nevada Outdoor School. She loves to learn, laugh, and explore Earth! 

Gretchen Westhoff
AmeriCorps Naturalist - Elko

Gretchen spent most of her childhood growing up in Montana hiking around the Beartooth mountains. She attended MSU-Billings and earned a bachelor's degree in Biology and started to work at an environmental testing laboratory. In her early 20’s she moved to Rapid City in the Black Hills of South Dakota and lived there for a few fun years. Then her husband took a job in Winnemucca which brought them to Nevada. Nevada has now become home for her and her family. As her family grew older she went back to school and earned another degree in Natural Resources. Having had wonderful experiences with NOS as a parent, she jumped at the opportunity to join NOS as a naturalist.


Johnny Cooper
AmeriCorps Naturalist - Winnemucca

Johnny was born in northern California and moved to Winnemucca at 13 years of age. He's made many friends and many memories as he lived up in the high desert, from the mountains, the valleys, and history of the area here and throughout the southwest. He was drawn to Nevada outdoor school as a way to expand his horizons and to get in touch with the world as it grows. He enjoys renaissance faires, camping, hiking, learning ancient skills, and learning about the history of everywhere he goes, that includes the natural, historic, and prehistoric. And recently he has come to enjoy passing the knowledge he's learned on to others. He's currently attending Southwest Institute of Healing Arts to become an Integrative healing arts practitioner. To quote Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain; "There are two days that really matter to a person, the day they are born, and the day they find out why." He looks forward to working with Nevada outdoor school as he believes NOS will help him in this fulfillment.


Kaci Mahtapene
AmeriCorps Naturalist - Elko

Born and raised in northeastern Nevada, Kaci has dedicated most of her life to learning and enjoying life in the outdoors with her family.  She has a passion for Nevada’s native plants and wildflowers. She has been married for 5 years to a wonderful man and has two girls, whom Kaci enjoys teaching about the outdoors and everything that it can offer them. She has three main passions: cooking, camping and reading.  When she isn’t camping and hiking with her family, she is usually in the kitchen testing new recipes.

Michelle Rookstool
AmeriCorps Outdoor Ethics Specialist - Winnemucca

Michelle was born and raised in Winnemucca, NV. Michelle is a recent high school graduate. She spent most of her time when she was younger outdoors. She enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, and going on ATV rides with her family. In her spare time, she likes to take pictures and capture the moments. Michelle also enjoys spending time with her two dogs and traveling with her family.



Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.


Winnemucca Office:
655 Anderson Street
Winnemucca, NV 89445
(775) 623-5656

Elko Office:
2363 N. 5th Street, Unit 102
Elko, NV 89801
(775)  777-0814