Kirstin Copeland

Ridgway State Park - Colorado Parks and Wildlife

2022 Outstanding Retiring Environmental Educator Recognition Recipient

Kirstin Copeland

Kirstin has had a long and impactful career touching many different aspects of public service, natural resources management, and environmental education throughout her time with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Kirstin is retiring this spring from a 25-year career at Ridgway State Park. She was hired in 1998 as the notable first female State Park Ranger on the Western Slope, and she served as Park Manager for the last 16 years.

Early in her role, Kirstin championed a new program called ‘Park in Education’ (PIE) which brought together a team of interpreters and volunteers to present a series of field trips with investigative stations for local elementary students. Since then, thousands of students and teachers have experienced PIE at Ridgway, a legacy that instills young interest and engagement in outdoor learning which continues onward in its impact. Kirstin was also instrumental in bringing the TAPS (Teachers in Parks) mission to life, bringing elementary to high school teachers to the Park each summer for a professional development opportunity to bridge environmental education and classroom learning.

Finally, she has firmly recognized the role and importance of EE in pushing CPW forward in its mission. In reflection of this, she promoted a Master Plan for Interpretation for the park to identify the programs, goals/objectives, and stakeholders to guide both current and future generations in their journey to become curious stewards of the natural world.