Our Staff

Beth LaShellBeth LaShell

Beth brings many years of experience in agriculture to the Old Fort at Hesperus. After serving as an instructor in the FLC Agriculture and Biology Department for 17 years and a researcher for a Colorado State University Agriculture Experiment Station, she became the Coordinator of the Old Fort at Hesperus in 2010. Her current duties include day to day operations; financial management of cattle, hay and sustainable agriculture enterprises; coordinating FLC and community uses; conducting research projects and identifying new activities for the property.

The Old Fort Market Garden Incubator program began in 2012 as the first one in Colorado. With the assistance of National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI), the Old Fort developed a trial incubator program. Because technical assistance was so critical to the early success of our program, Beth offers expertise to regional programs who are interested in duplicating our incubator and farmer training model.

Contact Beth
970-247-7189- Campus office
970-385-4574- Hesperus office
Email Beth

Elicia WhittleseyElicia Whittlesey
Farmer Training Program Coordinator

Elicia began her farming journey at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California over 10 years ago and has been at the Old Fort since 2015. “I farm because I love the sense of power in doing physical tasks together. In a world where so much work happens digitally, it’s refreshing and important to help people experience the power of their own bodies transforming the ground and coaxing food from the fields. Growing at 7600 feet is challenging, but I love the creativity involved in adjusting the farm plan every year in order to grow as much diverse and delicious food as possible for the community.” Elicia holds a bachelor’s in Environmental Analysis from Pomona College and a master’s in Geography from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Mancos with her daughter and husband, where they let dandelions take over their yard alongside a few apple trees, herbs and flowers.

Contact Elicia
Email Elicia

Dan Selzer Dan Selzer
Property caretaker; Cattle and Hay Manager

After graduating from Cortez High School, Dan attended Fort Lewis College where he received an AA in Agriculture. He worked for Colorado State University as a Research Associate until 2010, when he became Fort Lewis College staff. In addition to his duties at the Old Fort at Hesperus, Dan owns a ranch in Mancos where he runs 80 cows.

970-385-4574 - Hesperus office

Duke JacksonDuke Jackson
Production Manager

Duke grew up in Taos, New Mexico and moved to Durango, CO in 2012 to attend Fort Lewis College, where he gained a BA in Environmental Studies. In 2015, Duke began volunteering at the small vegetable garden and orchard on FLC’s campus. This experience sparked his passion for agriculture, which has only grown since then. Duke has been consistently involved in food and farming in the Southwest over the past five years. He has worked on multiple farms in the region, designed and managed the campus Food Forest at FLC, participated in the incubator program at the Old Fort, and currently is the owner of Sol Vista Farm LLC, located in Mancos, CO. Apart from farming, you may find him rambling through thick alpine forests while searching for edible mushrooms, taking sunset ski laps at Hesperus, or compiling playlists of eclectic music and sharing them with friends.

Email Duke

Quinn Riesenman Quinn Riesenman
Education Garden Manager

Quinn grew up in Denver, CO. He started gardening in college thanks to the inspiration of wise friends, and despite the discouragement from equally wise friends. After teaching natural history to elementary school students and travelling for a few years in California, he spent a year at Pie Ranch in Pescadero, CA participating in their apprenticeship program. In early 2020 he moved back to Colorado to take part in the Old Fort's Farmer in Training program. In 2021, he started his incubator farm Amphora Farm in addition to helping out the FIT program. He is excited to continue his education as a plant person as the garden manager in 2022, while continuing his project with Amphora Farm.

Autumn RaaschAutumn Raasch

Autumn is an Indigenous farmer, originally from Wisconsin. She is Menominee, Oneida, and Stockbridge-Munsee. Autumn moved to Colorado in 2016 to attend Fort Lewis College for Environmental Studies. She grew up near farms in the Midwest, but never thought she would become a farmer. Autumn fell in love with farming as an Old Fort intern in 2019. In 2020, she traveled and worked on farms along the way. In 2021, she helped start Tatras Farm, a local veggie operation. This growing season we have her back as a Field Assistant and the Market Manager for our stand at Durango Farmer's Market.

Ana HenryAna Henry

Ana is an Indigenous farmer and our youngest field assistant ever! She is returning to the Old Fort for her second season of farming. After spending summer 2021 working in the soil as a farmer-in-training, she's prepared (and pumped) to do it all again before graduating from Fort Lewis this fall. She'll be graduating with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies, with a Biology minor, and regenerative food certificate. Off the farm, Ana is filling her last summer in Durango with skateboarding, sunbathing, and silliness.

Leah CoeLeah Coe

After getting a degree in Environmental Studies and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at CU Boulder, Leah fell in love with the Southwest. While working with the Southwest Conservation Corps, Leah volunteered in the Education Garden at the Old Fort for the first time. She joined the Peace Corps as an agriculture volunteer in the spring of 2020, a pursuit which was cut short by the pandemic. Leah finally joined the Farmer Training program in 2021. These days, she splits her time between farming for her community as a Field Assistant and working for La Plata Open Space Conservancy, using knowledge gained from her GIS Certificate. When she’s not working, Leah can be found riding bikes with friends or taking naps in the sun.