Our Team and Supporters


Heather Schinkel is a resource management professional with extensive experience managing multiple, complex programs and projects. As the Director of the Peaks to People Water Fund, she is responsible for overseeing operations and collaborating with our Working Group to ensure Science and Monitoring, Landowner Engagement, Fundraising and Investor Development, and Operational Excellence.

Growing up in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Heather took a keen interest in the natural environment at an early age. She received a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Lafayette College in Easton, PA and a Masters in Forestry from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in Durham, NC. Before joining Peaks to People, Heather held a variety of environmental leadership and policy management roles with the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Forest Stewardship Council and the U.S. Army.

Working Group

Upon completion of our Feasibility Analysis in early 2014, Peaks to People established a Working Group to help progress the outcomes identified in the study. This group consisted of a variety of Northern Colorado businesses, organizations, landowners, and interested parties committed to protecting our forests and watersheds. Our Working Group met several times a year between 2014 and 2017 to help guide the development of Peaks to People. The group was comprised of four teams:

  • The Fundraising and Outreach Team: Focused on identifying potential investors and grant opportunities to fund the future work of Peaks to People.
  • The Landowner Advisory Group: Represented landowners’ viewpoints on program design elements, contracts and payment systems to ensure Peaks to People is a viable option for area land stewards.
  • The Operations Team: Responsible for researching, designing, and creating the operational procedures that mandate Peaks to People.
  • The Science and Monitoring Team: Ensured current and future demonstration sites are completed using a science-based methodology and that all data collected is used to aid in the ongoing development of the Watershed Investment Tool and inform future projects.

Peaks to People continues to work with several members from our working group as well as some new participants as part of our Stakeholders Committee. Like our Working Group, this group also consists of numerous local businesses, organizations, landowners, and interested parties committed to protecting the Big Thompson and Cache la Poudre watersheds. This committee was formed in 2018 to ensure continued input from a diverse group so that the Peaks to People Water Fund functions successfully into perpetuity.

Founding Supporters

The Peaks to People Water Fund’s proof of concept phase, was jointly sponsored by the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University and The Nature Conservancy. This phase was supported by an important group of funders who believe in the viability and potential of our cause. Upon completion of this period, Peaks to People intends to be self-sustaining through investments in the fund. Proof of Concept Phase funders included:

  • The US Endowment for Forestry and Communities/EPA Healthy Watershed Consortium
    (The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit corporation that works collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities.)
  • A Private Foundation
  • New Belgium Brewing
  • Odell Brewing
  • The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University
  • Ed Warner

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 83590301 to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.