Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

Staff Spotlight: Nikki Maline

Posted by Walking Mountains Science Center on Nov 15, 2019 10:00:00 AM
Walking Mountains Science Center

Meet our staff! Walking Mountains staff is full of brilliant, interesting and funny individuals. We want the community that might not have a chance to work with them or participate in their program to get to know our staff. Trust us-- our staff makes all the difference! Join us Fridays for a new blog post. Click the tag at the bottom for more spotlights!


Staff Spotlight: Nikki Maline
- What is your position at Walking Mountains? What is your primary responsibility?
Energy Programs Director, Sustainability Programs Department. 
My responsibility-everything related to Energy Programs, and then some.
Within Energy Programs I have two amazing employees that help me run the Energy Smart Colorado program locally, which provides home energy assessments and rebates for energy improvements for homes and businesses. We also promote Radon Awareness year-around, and have free radon test kits for local homes available at the front desk here at Walking Mountains in Avon. We promote locally and provide education for CARE, an income-qualified program (Colorado's Affordable Residential Energy Program) which provides free energy efficiency upgrades for households that are 80% AMI (Average Median Income) or less. And, we do various workshops and trainings for contractors, Realtors, and businesses.   
- How long have you been at Walking Mountains?
About 5 years... I started out as an intern in 2013 with the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability (which merged into WMSC, creating the Sustainability Programs department). After a short break, in 2014 I worked with WMSC doing outreach for the Town of Vail when they implemented a recycling ordinance - I shared with residents and businesses in the town details about how to recycle. Then, in 2015 I became the Energy Programs Coordinator at Walking Mountains and over the years was promoted to Energy Programs Manager, and now am the Energy Programs Director. 

- How long have you lived in Eagle County? Where did you live before?
I have lived in the valley for over 22 years now (from Vail to Eagle and everywhere in between), and I moved here in the summer - it was so amazing I knew I would stay. Before that I lived in and went to college in Kearney, Nebraska, and before that I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in North Platte, Nebraska, with a couple year stint in middle school in Peachtree City, Georgia.

- What inspires you, in regards to your job?
Sustainability! Helping people. Making a difference. Teaching others. And, learning from my colleagues every day!
- Do you have a favorite program or event that Walking Mountain hosts?
Not to copy Megan... (haha), but like her, and as she too knows, I also love the SUSTAINABLE FILM SERIES (Meet Megan!). This is an amazing event that brings community members from all backgrounds and ideals together, not only to learn from others (often scientists in the films), but to also discuss topics as a community, with varied interests and commitments. It is quite amazing to see the passion in people in our community!! And, it welcomes all points of views.

- Where else in the community do you work or volunteer?

Well, I do a little food service work still, serving and bartending for some local events and private dinner parties. I also still volunteer occasionally for zero waste and other sustainability events locally. I love to participate and give back in the community. Often my "other" things are also about helping people in some way. 

- Whats your favorite way to spend time in the outdoors?
A long stroll on the beach before sunset.... oh, never mind, my head was someplace else (maybe I wasn't ready for zero degree weather yet, in October). I love snowboarding and I love our mountains! Hiking & walking... in the woods or the city, BBQ's or meals with friends, outdoor summer concerts, camping, going places I've never been, seeing amazing natural wonders & beautiful views - it all makes me smile.

- What is your favorite food?
La Bottega's Chicken Cheesesteak

- What is your favorite animal?
Tiger - absolutely beautiful creatures! They love the water, protect their young and are found in amazing diverse habitats. They are vulnerable to extinction - around 4,000 tigers roam today - 93% of historical tiger lands have disappeared primarily because of expanding human activity - saving tigers means saving forests that are vital to the health of the planet. The tiger is important to the health and diversity of the ecosystems in which they live, as they are a top predator, meaning they maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed; the tiger's presence in the forest is an indicator of the health of the ecosystem.

- What is your favorite science or nature fact?
The first law of thermodynamics: energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.  - WOW! The possibilities are endless!

- What is a fun or interesting fact about yourself?
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainability Studies exactly 20 years after I received my Associate of Arts degree. I wish Sustainability would have been as prominent as it is today 20 years ago, then it may not have taken me so long to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. ;)

View Nikki's Staff Page: HERE
Learn more about The Sustainable Film Series: HERE

Topics: Staff Spotlight

Walking Mountains Science Center

Written by Walking Mountains Science Center

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.