Who we are and what we do:
Our advisory committee is a formally organized collection of citizens and leaders selected from the Denver community to provide expert advice and assistance to CSU Denver Extension programs.
The advisory committee serves as an ongoing partnership between CSU Denver Extension and community leadership. It is designed to ensure that the knowledge and skills propagated by extension programs are current with those needed in the community.
Our advisory committee is an important resource used to help CSU Denver Extension make wise decisions and efficiently utilize resources, resulting in the best education programs for the residents of the City and County of Denver. Learn more about our advisory committee members below:
2021 CSU Denver Extension Advisory Committee:
Chandi Aldena is the Project Manager of the Colorado Parks for People Program at The Trust for Public Land. Raised in Denver, Colorado Chandi learned to love nature at a young age; she spent her summers outdoors playing in city parks and camping in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Her love of art and nature led her to pursue a career in landscape architecture and she receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Colorado Denver. Her enthusiasm for park design and community engagement brought her to The Trust for Public Land in 2014 where she uses her expertise in participatory design to engage communities in hands-on workshops to create the vision and design for their neighborhood parks and trails.
Chandi is passionate about making the community engagement process equitable for the diverse communities she works with throughout Colorado. She enjoys building relationships with the community and values the expertise residents bring to every project. One of her favorite parts of the work is bringing residents and artists together in creative placemaking to incorporate artwork that celebrates the community into park designs and public spaces.
Alisha Hammett is an urban planner with Norris Design. Prior to her planning career, Alisha spent nearly a decade coordinating complex civic projects for various prominent architecture firms. She is passionate about inclusive public places and community engagement. She also serves as Co-Chair for ASLA Colorado’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
Josie Hart – Manager of Farm Programs. Josie is inspired to connect people with Chatfield farms, especially at CSA distributions and markets–which are like a weekly mini-celebration of fresh food and families enjoying it. Josie manages the Farm Programs at Chatfield farms which includes the Veterans farm Program, Outreach and food equity program and the CSA which is the cornerstone of the food and farm programming at Denver Botanic Gardens.
From recipes to new tomato varieties to edible flowers, all things grown at Chatfield contribute to a delicious season each time. Josie produces the flowers for the CSA shares, markets and events held onsite. Beauty from nature is just as vital as food! Coming from an education background, Josie has worked with food access, farming and education for ten years. Many generations ago, Josie’s great-grand parents in the 1920’s had a farm in Lakewood Colorado, so it must run in her veins!
Leander Lacy is the found and owner of Lacy Consulting Services. His company focuses on helping environmental organizations and sustainability-minded business meet their goal of improving human and community wellbeing through conservation action. Leander has worked on projects such as dam removal, deer management, building trust between fishers, law enforcement, and conservation groups, five-state collaborative to protect the U.S. shortgrass prairie, assessing discrimination in U.S. farming and ranching, and updating the Conservation Standards with a focus on how to include Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into conservation programming.
He is trained traditionally as a wildlife ecologist and received his M.S. in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources where he did his thesis work on how to improve the quality of life of the urban poor through environmental action. Prior to starting his company he worked on global teams with The Nature Conservancy and has been an advocate for increased social science in conservation projects.
Julie Lehman manages the Horticulture program for the City of Denver and the Citywide Median Renovation team, as well as sixteen greenhouses in City Park. She has a passion for promoting sustainable, local Colorado plant material through her work and leads by example, illustrated by her recent Green Infrastructure certification through NRPA. Julie focuses on redesigning spaces by creating plant palettes that are resilient, water-wise, functional, and attractive, whether it is a planting bed in a park, green infrastructure, or one of the 30+ miles of medians throughout Denver.
Julie has developed the City Park Greenhouse as a horticultural hub for both internal staff and external partners and is committed to using this venue to promote continuing education. Partnerships with other organizations such as Plant Select, Front Range Growers, and Denver Botanic Gardens help grow this educational core.
Julie received her degree in Floriculture and Spanish at Colorado State University. Prior to public sector work she grew perennials and bedding plants for a large scale local operation, as well as spending 12+ years in the landscape install/maintenance field. When not at work Julie is an avid reader, loves backpacking and hiking, coaching Rugby, and spending time with her family.
Nicole Marie Ortiz serves as the Director of Programs at The GrowHaus. She recently completed her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Leadership in Educational Equity from the University of Colorado Denver with an emphasis in Latin@ Learners and Communities. She is also part of the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Network.
Nicole has a passion for developing leadership capacity, both her own and that of those around her. She believes that collective transformation happens when individuals see themselves as capable and valuable change agents for and with their communities.
She knows that every person comes with unique gifts and strengths and that each person has the potential to cultivate positive impact for the greatest good. When she is not reading books or listening to podcasts, you can find her in her vegetable garden with her family, friends, chickens, and her dog Pax.
For more information about our advisory committee and how to get involved contact Parker McMullen Bushman.