John G. profile pic

John Giordanengo, M.S., CERP

John brings more than 24 years of experience in ecological restoration to AloTerra’s clients, and more than 200 completed projects in grassland, riparian, wetland, alpine, forest, and sagebrush ecosystems throughout Colorado, Wyoming, California, and Washington. His restoration strategies are driven not simply from a passion for accomplishing successful ecological results, but also from a deep understanding of soils, ecology, botany, hydrology, and the integration of these disciplines in a restoration setting. John’s dedication to excellence earned him the Colorado Riparian Association Excellence in Riparian Management Award in 2010.

John has developed native seed mixes and plant palettes for federal and state projects, as well as for numerous municipalities and private clients whose interest in the best ecological outcomes continues to press John to refine his knowledge and skills, as well as the skills of AloTerra’s staff. In addition to creating seeding BMP’s for Colorado State Parks and developing 157 seed mixes for all of Colorado’s State Parks, John also managed a team of Federal and local practitioners and scientists to implement a Stream Visual Assessment Protocol for 45 miles of the Big Thompson River and North Fork Big Thompson following the flood.

John has worked with regional, state, and local agencies to develop training curricula for willow restoration and riparian restoration, ecological restoration for the Colorado Outdoor Training Initiative and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, and an Alpine Restoration Manual for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. In 2016, in support of Rocky Mountain Flycasters and the Colorado Conservation Board, John lead a team of authors and a Technical Advisory Committee to develop Living Streambanks, a Manual to Bioengineering Treatments for Colorado Streams.

Education, Certification, and Training

M.S. Rangeland Ecosystem Science, with emphasis in ecological restoration and soil surface hydrology, Colorado State University, 2000

· Mine Safety and Health Administration Training (MSHA – surface, coal, metal, nonmetal) – Current

· Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (SER, 2017)

· Post-flood and Post-fire River Restoration  (2013-2014, D. Rosgen)

· Riparian revegetation (2006, NRCS)

· Wetland Delineation (2002, USACE)

· Functional Assessment of Colorado Wetlands (FACWet), 2015

· Rangeland restoration (1999, HAR)

Cheryl Giordanengo Profile PictureCheryl Giordanengo, Controller

Cheryl is highly detail-oriented, analytical, and a systems thinker. She “runs in the background” at AloTerra, making sure all the systems are functioning smoothly, from payroll, human resources, bonding, financing, and insurance to payables and receivables. She brings over 20 years of experience in accounting for small locally owned companies and publicly traded companies and a depth of accounting knowledge to AloTerra. Because of her, AloTerra has the ability to manage well a variety of federal (FEMA and other federal financial tracking requirements), state (CPW, CWCB, and others), and local (County, City, and Private) financial accounting needs to ensure important details are handled right the first time.

Cheryl has served as Accounting Manager for a company with 80 employees and $6 million in annual sales and as a Senior General Ledger Accountant responsible for the international division and the corporate office accounting for a company with $1 billion in annual sales.  From this experience, as well as from her experience in accounting with several local and regional companies,  All of these skills and innate abilities make her a great accountant for a small business, as she leverages her top notch corporate accounting principles and practices to bear upon a local business environment in which she thrives. Her role with AloTerra also includes payroll, human resources, bonding, financing, and insurance.

Sarah J. Smith, M.Sc., Restoration Ecologist II

For over 10 years, Sarah has worked across the United States as a botanist and ecologist. In the Rocky Mountains, she has implemented a wide range of vegetation monitoring, habitat delineation, regulatory compliance, and restoration design work. Sarah’s extensive experience includes: stakeholder engagement, working with land managers evaluating restoration efforts, completing wetland delineations to USACE and NPS standards, conducting rare plant surveys and wetland mitigation monitoring, leading and training field crews in identification of hydric soil indicators and plant species ID, experience with NRCS Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring protocols, line point intercept, rapid assessment protocols, and research design and implementation. Since joining AloTerra, Sarah’s role has included designing wetland mitigation and restoration plans for a diverse array of projects throughout Colorado. Sarah manages AloTerra’s design, assessments, and regulatory compliance programs. This includes revegetation design, plan set development, data analysis and synthesis, GIS, typicals development, and a variety of other design elements for a wide range of projects. Sarah’s wide range of experience gives her a thorough understanding of the dynamic and nuanced plant communities across the U.S., and the efforts required to maintain and increase structural and functional biodiversity.  Additionally, Sarah has a passion for education and volunteer management, including leading volunteer and providing public education on the importance ecological diversity within urban landscapes.

Education, Certification, and Training

MSc. Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University, 2019

B.Sc. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, 2011

-Project Management and Supervision

-Construction Oversight

-Operational Leadership Training

-Aquatic Invasive Species Training

-Herbicide Application Training

-Plant identification across the US

-Use of R and GIS for data analysis

-Use of AutoCAD for design

-Experiment design and implementation

-Restoration and mitigation design

-Technical reporting, manuscript preparation, published in peer reviewed journals

-CPR/First Aid Certified

-Top Con survey grade GPS

Connor Thornton, B.Sc., Construction & Maintenance Branch Director

Connor’s passion for restoring natural landscapes steams from his lifelong experiences spent in the outdoors. After graduating college in 2016, he has worked for AloTerra Restoration Services as a crew member, and worked his way up to crew leader and then restoration project manager. During that time, he gained experience with revegetation, erosion control, bio engineering, forest thinning, heavy equipment operating, integrated weed management, surveying, grading, crew leadership, project site management, project development, site safety, and environmental compliance. He has worked with various government agencies and private landowners developing weed management plans and managing restoration projects on the Colorado Front Range. Connor has also led projects involving the use of heavy equipment to re-grade wetland benches and riparian banks, and in skidding and chipping timber. He has experience in felling, bucking, limbing and chipping of tress in some of Colorado’s mountainous terrain using everything from chainsaws to heavy equipment. Connor has completed restoration projects from Colorado’s Front Range up to alpine ecosystems, developing vast experience in multiple life zones and the challenges of restoring a great variety of plant communities in these zones. This experience has provided him with a unique understanding of hundreds of species that survive in all of Colorado’s life zones, and the detail necessary to ensure their successful establishment in a restoration setting.

Education, Certification, and Training

B.S Natural Resource Management, Ecological Restoration Minor, Conservation Biology Minor, Colorado State University, 2016

· Light and Heavy equipment operation (Excavator, skid loader, ATV)

· Weed management (chemical & mechanical)

· Restoration planning, crew training and supervision

· Forest thinning and chipping

· Education/Training

· Qualified Supervisor, Certified Operator, Herbicide Application, Colorado Department of Agriculture

· Mine Safety and Health Administration Training (MSHA – surface, coal, metal, nonmetal)

Lyz Bender, B.Sc., Construction Branch Manager

Lyz studied and worked with stream restoration and wildlife habitat restoration for the past ten years in Colorado. Following the 2012 Colorado Front Range floods, Lyz was involved with dozens of erosion control and stream restoration projects, where she managed construction and revegetation crews, completed Habitat Suitability Assessments, researched critical habitats of endangered species, and installed various erosion control and bioengineering treatments. As a Project Manager for AloTerra, Lyz provides construction oversight for a variety of ecological restoration projects, implements design plans and construction ready documents, trains and leads restoration crews, operates equipment, conducts on-site surveys with Topcon equipment, manages weeds, performs and oversees floodplain grading, implements a variety of revegetation and bioengineering treatments, and implements storm water management plans. Lyz also conducts wildlife reviews and completes reports associated with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. She holds two B.S. degrees from Colorado State University in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and Natural Resources Management. Through her position at AloTerra she enjoys working every day to improve wildlife habitats across Colorado and Wyoming.

Education, Certification, and Training

B.Sc. Natural Resource Management, Conservation Biology Minor, Colorado State University, 2018

• MSHA (surface, metal, coal, nonmental), current

• Field data collection

• Top Con survey grade GPS

• Wildlife Reviews and Section 7 ESA reporting

• Plant and wildlife identification

• Biological surveys and Habitat Suitability Assessments

• Project Management and Supervision

• Equipment operation (ATV, skidloader, excavator, loader, tractor)

• Weed Management

Shaun Linnihan, B.A., Restoration Maintenance Supervisor, Qualified Weed Supervisor

Shaun joined the AloTerra team in 2019, after moving from Minnesota to enjoy the outdoor recreation opportunities Colorado offers. Shaun is an avid hiker and camper and enjoys identifying plant species wherever he goes. His love for the outdoors has developed into a passion for learning about the components of natural systems and how they function. Since joining AloTerra, Shaun has implemented a variety of ecological restoration and research projects across the front range and beyond, working as both a crew member and a crew leader. This includes excavation, bioengineering, and revegetation. Shaun has also supervised multiple streambank stabilization projects and most recently supervised a wetland excavation and revegetation project near Grand Teton National Park. Shaun leads AloTerra’s restoration site maintenance branch, coordinating and implementing weed management plans and irrigation systems along with other treatments to ensure the continued success of dozens of restoration projects across Colorado and Wyoming.

Education, Certifications and Training

B.A. Art History, University of Minnesota, 2004

• Class A Commercial Driver’s License

• Light and heavy equipment operation (Skid steer, Excavator, ATV)

• Weed management (Chemical, Mechanical)

• Qualified Supervisor, Certified Operator, Herbicide Application, Colorado Department of Agriculture

• Crew training and supervision

• Forest thinning and chipping

• CPR and First Aid

Mitch Meyer, B.Sc.,  Construction Program Manager & Lead Equipment Operator

Mitch is a Fort Collins native, born and raised fishing in the Poudre River, hiking local natural areas, and working with the community. His passion for restoration stems from his close bond with the outdoors and his determination to help migitate climate change. Before working at AloTerra, Mitch spent his summers with Fort Collins Parks and Recreation, becoming a crew member for Fort Collins Natural Areas. After graduating from CSU in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resource Management and a minor in Ecological Restoration, he started working for AloTerra as a crew member. Mitch worked his way to a crew lead position, and is now our Construction Program Manager, Lead Equipment Operator, and Fleet/Yard Manager. His experience includes channel and pond improvement projects, including riffle & pool construction, bioswales, biologs and vegetated soil lifts, toe wood installation, floodplain grading, and construction surveying. When Mitch is not in the field, he is managing AloTerra’s Equipment Service and Maintenance Program, ensuring highly functional yard for a fleet of vehicles, equipment, tools, and trailers, restoration materials, etc. He also assists in the project planning/bidding processes, and is a supervisor/foreman on a variety of stream and wetland projects. Through his work at AloTerra, Mitch has gained the experience and skills necessary to ensure effective installation of complex restoration designs, which lead to increased biodiversity and functions for a variety of Rocky Mountain ecosystems.

Education, Certifications, and Training

B.Sc. Natural Resource Management, Ecological Restoration Minor, Colorado State University, 2018

• Light and Heavy equipment operation (excavator, front-end loader, skid loader, ATV)

• Project planning

• Project Supervisor

• Forest thinning and chipping

• Plant and Wildlife Identification

• Mine Safety and Health Administration Training (MSHA – surface, coal, metal, nonmetal)

• CPR and First Aid Certified

• Class A Commercial Driver’s License

John Whiteman, B.Sc., GIS and Restoration Technician

After graduating from James Madison University with a B.S. in Geology, concentrating in Environmental Engineering, John has continued his education as a field technician, environmental scientist, and now through design and construction contributions for Aloterra.  John focused on the Geotechnical applications of soil science, materials testing, and plan-set development while working with various entities as a Field Technician throughout the state of Virginia.  While still in Virginia, he spent more than a year as an Environmental Scientist working directly with the Virginia DEQ utilizing GIS and CAD software to develop corrective action plans to mitigate subsurface/surface contamination and restore the surrounding habitat.  John was managing a field crew throughout the abatement process (investigation, excavation, carbon sequestration, etc.) while actively collecting and utilizing on-going survey data to accurately create and update maps. Throughout these experiences soil classification and geomorphologic principles were regularly utilized.  His experience at AloTerra includes:  GIS map generation, wetland delineations, botanical surveys, noxious weed mitigation, and crew work as both a member and leader to directly implement ecological restoration designs.  John has also been leading sustainability protocols within the company to ensure that AloTerra not addresses carbon emissions and sequestration, materials use efficiency, minimize social impacts, and other aspects of sustainability.

Education, Certifications, and Training

B.Sc. Geology, James Madison University, 2018

• Data analysis and map generation with GIS

• Use of AutoCAD for design

• Restoration and mitigation design

• Project Supervision and Management

• Plant identification

• USCS and USDA Soil Classification

• Technical report writing


• Equipment Operation (ATV, skid loader, excavator)

• Top Con survey grade GPS

Ellen Bergly, B.Sc., Project Supervisor & Outreach Coordinator

Ellen grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has always had a passion for environmental stewardship.  Spending most of her time outdoors, Ellen is an advocate for climate action and conservation.  In the past, Ellen has worked with YMCA of the Rockies teaching outdoor education classes to middle school students.  She taught plant and wildlife identification in various ecosystems in Colorado, from low elevation wetland ecosystems to alpine ecosystems.  She then went on to be the Outdoor Education Coordinator at Avid4 Adventure Mt. Evans camp, running their outdoor programs and supervising staff as they taught students ecology.  Ellen has a strong passion for connecting people to nature. She has worked with several volunteer organizations in the past and has led planting projects across the Front Range and the Western Slope.  She believes that to effectively combat climate change, it is important to engage local communities in restoration efforts through volunteer programs and education.

Ellen started working at AloTerra in 2018 as a crew member, worked her way up to crew lead and then into a supervisory role as a Restoration Project Supervisor and Outreach Coordinator. While working at AloTerra, Ellen supervises ecological restoration projects involving revegetation, willow harvesting and installation, erosion control, bioengineering, weed management, forestry work and more.  Through her experience working at AloTerra, Ellen has gained the knowledge and abilities to successfully lead a restoration crew and improve riparian ecosystems across Colorado.

Education, Certification and Training

B.Sc. Natural Resource Management, Conservation Biology Minor, Colorado State University, 2018

• Plant and wildlife identification

• Supervision of restoration projects in riparian and wetland habitats

• CPR and First Aid – current

• Wilderness First Responder (WFR) – current

• Mine Safety and Health Administration Training (MSHA – surface, coal, metal, nonmetal) – current

• Equipment Operation (ATV, skid loader, excavator)

• Outdoor Education Training, knowledge of Leave No Trace Principles

Preston Bashir, B.A., Restoration Intern

Preston grew up in Indiana and studied Jazz Guitar at Ball State University before moving to Colorado in 2019. One year after moving to Colorado, he decided to go back to school and pursue his passions for the outdoors and the environment at Colorado State University. During his first year at CSU, he quickly became enthralled with the field of Ecology and the seemingly endless interconnections in ecosystems. Preston has decided to devote his studies to Restoration Ecology and hopes to work as a Restoration Ecologist after graduating. Preston has worked for AloTerra since April of 2021, focusing most of his time researching crop species that are adapted to arid environments and developing the Agricultural Restoration branch.  At AloTerra, he is also gaining experience in GIS, project design, research methods, assessment, botany, stakeholder engagement, and technical writing and proposals.

Education, Certification and Training

B.Sc. Restoration Ecology, Colorado State University- Expected Spring 2023

“I have found AloTerra to be an excellent collaborator and partner, producing high quality and technically sound projects in an efficient and 100% reliable manner”

~ Heather Knight, The Nature Conservancy of Colorado, Project Collaborator

AloTerra Restoration