Welcome Our New Staff

Please join us in welcoming Brittany Leffel and Kelly Bessem to our wild winter team!

Brittany Leffel

Colorado Policy Coordinator (Durango, CO)

Brittany began a career dedicated to building climate resilience and ensuring equitable access to the outdoors as a high school outdoor education leader with the YMCA of the Rockies. She has since worked for conservation organizations like the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Oregon Natural Desert Association, and Tualatin Riverkeepers; and served as a board member for Friends of Trees. Most recently, she was a legislative assistant for Representative Pam Marsh in the Oregon State Legislature, where she enhanced public engagement and worked on climate resilience, wildfire mitigation, and wildfire recovery. She holds a B.S. in Urban and Public Affairs with a minor in Sustainability from Portland State University. Brittany is excited to be back in Colorado where she can snowshoe, hike, paddle, or camp in her small trailer. She joins WWA in 2024 as a contractor to help with grassroots organizing, winter recreation data collection, and Forest Service engagement as OSV planning gears up in southwest Colorado.

Kelly Bessem

California Stewardship Manager (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

Kelly is a splitboarder and backpacker drawn to the watersheds and granite landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. Raised in Southern CA, she has backpacked across the American Southwest and Europe and spent time living in Costa Rica and New Zealand. She got a job in Yosemite NP at 18 that ultimately set her on the path of environmental management and conservation, completing degrees in Geography, Water Policy, Geospatial Science, and Journalism (Humboldt) and Climate Science & Solutions (Flagstaff). She’s contributed to land management planning and data collection throughout the Sierra, from Sequoia to Tahoe, most recently as a Forest Service Technician in Desolation Wilderness.