KACF Board of Directors

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Board Chairwoman

Dr. Michelle Szydlowski is an experienced researcher, conservationist and educator who brings her passion for animals to the KACF board. After decades teaching in museums, zoos and public schools, she followed her heart on a winding journey through veterinary medicine, wild bird rehabilitation, and into conservation and ecology.

Michelle completed her master’s degree research with a study of the impact of ecotourism groups on rhinoceros conservation within Nepal. Michelle’s PhD fieldwork again led her to Nepal, this time to study captive elephant health and welfare. This fieldwork also examined the interplay between NGOs, local stakeholders and elephants, and how these relationships help or hinder elephant welfare. She returns to Nepal regularly (when pandemics allow) to continue supporting elephants, mahouts, owners and advocates as they navigate attempts to create positive health and welfare changes.

Michelle is proud to serve on the Anthrozoology faculty of Beacon College, where she is inspired by the next generation of conservationists, advocates and animal caregivers. When she isn’t teaching or researching, Michelle co-hosts The Anthrozoology Podcast, a platform for discussing complex species relationships.

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Justin Raynor

Board Member

Justin Raynor is a passionate and multi-faceted conservation and technology advocate who served as a faculty member for three years in the Department of Computer and Cyber Sciences at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In addition to his work in academia, he served two terms as a Cultural and Scientific Commissioner and Committee Chair of Art in Public Places for the Town of Parker, Colorado and five years as a volunteer working with African elephants and black rhinoceros at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

He is an active duty Major and Computer Engineer with over ten years of service in the United States Air Force and previous assignments at the Air Force Research Laboratory and Electronic Systems Center in Boston, Massachusetts and the National Reconnaissance Office in Aurora, Colorado.  He earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle and a Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston.

Justin traveled with the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund to Nepal in 2016 and visited Bardia and Chitwan National Parks to support current KACF projects and explore potential new conservation partnerships in the area.

He is currently back in Boston where he received full funding to pursue a PhD in Computer Science and Cyber Security. As part of the Visualization Research Group at Northeastern University, Justin is researching cutting edge task abstraction, and data visualization methodologies and ways in which he can blend his passion and love of worldwide conservation efforts with his background in research, operations, engineering and academia.



Board Member

I am a Commercial Title Officer at Stewart Title by day, but at night I turn into Wonder Woman, keeper of the faith, champion of truth and all around good gal.

Reality is I’m a Mom of a very dedicated animal-loving daughter, Tara.  She has spent her life doing her very best for the animals she cares for.  Whether she was working at a South Carolina zoo or Evergreen veterinary practice.

She introduced me to Zookeeper, Dave Johnson, eons ago – when Tara and Katie Adamson were Scout Explorers together at the zoo in Denver.  Through Dave and the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund, I’ve discovered the unquestionable importance of conservation and more importantly how the average person can help and be involved.  I’ve experienced eco-tourism in Nepal, the thrill of riding elephants and the joy of seeing a baby rhino, all vicariously through my daughter, Tara.  One day I hope to experience all of this first-hand.

I plan to use the best qualities I’ve acquired as a professional in the business community and commercial real estate world, including every Mom skill, to contribute to the protection of Earth’s endangered species.


wesley stagg

Board Member

Wesley Stagg is an IT professional and volunteer firefighter with a passion for nature and conservation. He currently resides in Denver CO with his wife and spends most of his free time enjoying everything Colorado has to offer.

Wesley attended college at the University of Memphis and studied graphic design before finding a passion for Information Technology. He has been in the IT field for over 25 years and has worked for several large companies including Citrix and Dell specializing in virtualization, security and cloud first technologies.

He has been involved with KACF for several years and has traveled with groups to Nepal and Costa Rica. These trips solidified his passion for conservation and education and led to his drive to be more involved with the organization. In his last trip to Costa Rica, he was married to his wife Heather by a very special officiant named Dave Johnson, Co-founder and Executive Director of the KACF!

Wesley brings a love of nature, conservation and education to the KACF board. His goal is to use his unique talents and skills to further the mission of KACF and be an advocate for conservation around the world.


heather stanley

Board Member

Heather Stanley is the sister of Katie Adamson and currently a stay at home mother of three children.  She attended Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO studying early childhood education.  At young ages, both Heather and Katie began riding, training and caring for horses in the Westernaires mounted drill team organization where their passion for animals began.  

When Katie was diagnosed with cancer, Heather was by her side taking her to appointments and even frequent visits to the zoo.  Katie had an infectious personality and her passion for animals rubbed off greatly on Heather.  While in remission from cancer they both went on an eco-tourism trip to Alaska where Katie showed Heather the importance of animal conservation through the unforgettable experiences of seeing them in the wild.  

Heather brings her sister's passion and drive for animal preservation to the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund Board of Directors.  Her intent is to spread awareness and solicit the involvement and help from people everywhere.  In doing so she hopes to honor her sister's memory by positively impacting the world and the animals we share it with.


Management Team



KACF Co-founder,

Executive Director



KACF Co-founder,

Assistant Director

Social Media & Education

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heather schwartz

Social Media Director

Heather is an Environmental Educator for Evergreen Audubon. She has a Master’s degree in conservation biology and her experience includes: environmental education, zero waste, sustainability, field work, conservation, nature play and program development.


She loves travel, nature and animals!

Her unique talents and first-hand understanding of the KACF mission lend themselves perfectly to the role of our social media media director.  Heather will keep you informed through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and her analysis of the metrics will tell us if we are doing a good job keeping you engaged with our conservation news and initiatives around the world. 

Reach out to Heather on your favorite social media platform and let her know what you want to see.  She'll love you for it and so will all of us here at KACF.

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Patrick falk

Education Director

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Pat currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he works as an academic advisor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Pat has over 10 years of education experience. He taught high school science for 6 years and is currently in his 5th year of higher education as an advisor, where he works specifically with undergraduate students majoring in the biological sciences

Ever since he was young, Pat has always had an interest in wildlife conservation. Within the past few years, he has taken his passion for wildlife conservation more seriously. He has traveled to South Africa twice, most recently in 2018, where he completed a 6 week volunteer internship at a private game reserve, studying the local cheetah population.

With his education experience and background, Pat brings a strong skillset, most notably in curriculum instruction, implementation, and presentation delivery. He traveled with KACF to Nepal in February 2020.