Our Roots

Since 1986

The Wildflower Festival began in 1986 through the efforts of a few insightful Crested Butte locals who envisioned a wildflower celebration in one of the most picturesque valleys in Colorado. The Festival has grown into a summer-long season with over 150 events offered by over 40 instructors, tour guides, and volunteers.

Our Mission
To advocate for the preservation and appreciation of wildflowers.
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Instructors, tour guides and volunteers.

Wildflower Preservation

Let it Grow
Please do not pick, cut, or walk on wildflowers or other plants! If you see someone doing this, please give them a friendly reminder not to, and ask them to pass it along to others.
Stay on the Trail
Please stay on the trail. If another trail user needs to pass you, please gently step off the trail and wait for them to pass. Please do not create multiple, parallel trails. If a trail is wet, snowy, or muddy, please do your best to keep to the main trail. This will prevent the creation of parallel trails.
Protect our Pollinators
The fauna in the Valley play an imperative role in our unique ecosystem. While you explore the magic of Crested Butte, if you happen upon one of our many types of pollinators, please give them space and do not disturb their hard work.
Learn & Share
One of the most important tools in preservation is awareness. Take what you learn at the Festival and pollinate the knowledge!

Help Preserve the Wildflowers

Board of Directors

Dr. Chelsea Stangl
President

Chelsea Stangl has been a part of the Crested Butte Community since 2014 and moved here full time in 2017. She and her husband own Crested Butte Dental in CB South, where they also live. Since the first moment she laid eyes on Crested Butte in 2011, she has felt the magic of the town, the mountains, and the community and feels incredibly grateful to call Crested Butte home. Chelsea joined the Wildflower Festival Board in 2023. One of the main reasons she decided to get involved is because she is passionate about the preservation of wildflowers in our valley and helping people get to experience the magic of Crested Butte in the summertime. She hopes to increase the accessibility of the Wildflower Festival so that it can educate and impact a more diverse group of people who may not realize yet that they too are passionate about wildflowers and getting outdoors and exploring our valley.

Shelley Popke
Board Member

Shelley Popke, fundraising and grant management consultant, has over 20 years’ experience working in the non-profit sector with an emphasis in fundraising, communication, leadership, and non-profit management. Shelley first moved to Crested Butte in 1999 and most recently served as the Development Director of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and the Executive Director of the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, where she led the Museum’s Preserve Tony’s capital campaign and two–phased building preservation project. Passionate about Gunnison County and its rich history, Shelley serves on the Gunnison County Historic Preservation Commission, and as a STEP Advisor for the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley. She holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in History both from the University of Colorado and is an MBA candidate at the University of Denver. In her free time, Shelley enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, yoga, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors we get to call home. Shelley is excited to combine her passion for the history and landscape of the Gunnison Valley by leading historical tours for the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival.

Dr. Luke Tembrock
Vice President

Luke Tembrock was born in Delta, Colorado and grew up along the North Fork of the Gunnison where he first began to examine plants and nature on the family orchard west of Hotchkiss. After graduating Hotchkiss High School in 1997 Luke studied at Western State College (now Western Colorado University) in Gunnison, CO for two semesters before traveling and working in Western Europe for a year. Upon returning to the U.S. Luke worked for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife) as a field technician around Durango, CO and then with the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs as a cadastral surveyor around Ignacio, CO. Luke completed his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in geography with a minor in biology in 2005 from the University of Colorado, Boulder and then worked as a tropical horticulturist with the Denver Botanic Gardens until 2008. In 2015 Luke completed his doctoral degree in botany from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO where his work focused on the East African stimulant plant qat (Catha edulis, Celastraceae). From 2015 to the present Luke has worked as a research scientist in the department of Agricultural Biology at Colorado State University and in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he studies invasive insect species.

Peggy Langewisch

Peggy Langewisch
Secretary / Treasurer

Peggy has been visiting since the early 90’s and living full-time in the Gunnison valley since 2000. She began her career at a large management consulting company before founding a consulting partnership focused on strategy development and implementation. After enjoying extensive travel for work, she now relishesstaying home and hiking, biking, and skiing. Peggy joined the Wildflower Festival Board in 2017 and appreciates the opportunity to contribute to sharing and preserving the beauty that surrounds us.

Kristi Bezler
Board Member

Kristi Bezler has lived in Crested Butte since 2017 and fell in love with the community in 2010. She and her husband have two children, and they all greatly enjoy the activities and personal connection the community has to offer. Kristi joined the Wildflower Festival Board in 2024 and is looking forward to deepening her connection to the community through her love of wildflowers. In her spare time, she enjoys trail running, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, reading as well as spending time with family and friends.

Board Vacancies

Meet the Staff

Dr. David Kish
Executive Director

After many years as a Festival participant, Member, Hike Assistant, CBWF Photography Contest winner, and workshop leader, we are pleased to welcome David Kish as our CBWF Executive Director. David has been photographing, hiking, and mountain biking in Crested Butte since 2005, and he brings two decades of non-profit and business experience to the role of Executive Director. David's nature photographs have appeared in the Crested Butte Magazine, Denver Post, and various Colorado State Parks publications. As Professor of Music at Metropolitan State University, David teaches band and music education courses with a strong focus on preparing future educators for the rigor of the teaching profession. He earned the DMA and MM degrees from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and the BM degree from Susquehanna University. In addition to teaching, David is an active author, researcher, and clinician. His textbooks are used by universities throughout the United States and Canada.

Nieset LeFevre
Lead Festival Assistant

Born in Gunnison and raised in Crested Butte, Nieset is a sixth generation Coloradan. Nieset graduated in May of 2023 from The University of Montana with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Sustainability with a focus in Climate Change Studies. The environment around Crested Butte is to thank for her chosen education path. Wildflowers are an influential part of growing up in Crested Butte, but in the last 4 years Nieset has taken to identification and understanding why Crested Butte is such a unique environment for wildflower growth. Last summer was her first time assisting hikes, and she cannot wait for this season to meet new people, spend time outside, and provide insight on the beautiful flowers along the way.

Olivia Murphy-Welconish

Olivia Murphy-Welconish
Assistant Director

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, I have always been one for the outdoors and soaking in the abundant natural Colorado beauty through travel, rock climbing, skiing, and yoga! I first started calling the Gunnison Valley my home in 2017 when I began as a Psychology and Philosophy student at Western Colorado University. Since then, I have made it my mission to give back to the Gunnison Valley particularly through the lenses of community involvement, non-profit service, and event planning. Since 2021, I have loved being a part of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival planning team and helping this incredible event come to fruition for locals and visitors alike!

Kate Kulow
Festival Assistant

I was raised in Houston, Texas and have always loved outdoor activities. I was blessed to move to the Gunnison Valley two years ago to start my first year at Western Colorado University. I am studying psychology with a minor in business and creative writing. I love diving into new experiences, especially in the outdoors! I enjoy hiking, swimming, rock climbing, and biking. I am so excited to take part in the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival to form new connections with members of our valley and to give back to the place that has given so much to me!

Ainsley Kish
Festival Assistant

Ainsley Kish is currently a Kinesiology and music student at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO. She is involved in the marching band as well as the mellophone player in the Mesa Brass Band. Some of her hobbies include hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. One of Ainsley’s favorite wildflowers is the Parry’s primrose which can be found along the Rustler’s Gulch trail, one the classic wildflower hikes here in Crested Butte.

Taylore Lowry
Customer Care Specialist

Born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona which is another beautiful town that allows you to do many activities outdoors. I first moved to the Gunnison Valley in 2020 to finish out my degree at Western Colorado University. I studied business marketing and management and graduated in 2023. Moving to a totally different state away from what you are used to can be super intimidating but as soon as I arrived in beautiful Gunnison Valley, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. During my time with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, I have learned so much and have developed a true passion for helping others. I look forward to getting to meet new faces this year and help with another success wildflower season.

Morgan May
Festival Assistant

As someone who has always had a deep appreciation for the natural world, I have spent countless hours exploring the beautiful landscapes of Colorado. From the Rocky Mountains to the valleys and meadows, I have been fortunate to witness firsthand the incredible diversity of nature in Colorado. In addition to my passion for nature, I'm also pursuing a degree in computer science with an emphasis on information security. I'm eager to explore ways in which we can use technology to better understand and protect the natural world. When I'm not studying, you can usually find me out on the trails, hiking through the mountains, or by the water kayaking on one of our many rivers and lakes. There's nothing quite like the feeling of being surrounded by nature and disconnecting from modern life. I was born and raised in Colorado Springs. However, it wasn't until I moved to the Gunnison Valley that I truly discovered how amazing the nature of Colorado can be and that is why, so I'm thrilled to be part of the upcoming Wildflower Festival!

Employment Opportunities

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CBWF is an equal opportunity service provider and employer and operates under permit from the USDA Forest Service, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest