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This season, four wonderful 2023 DUG Corps members are here to support DUG gardens and host Micro Network events. Please help us welcome Rayanna, Kourtnie, Christina, and Sarah – and look for them in a garden near you!

Meet Christina

My name is Christina Highsmith. I’m one of the four DUG Corps members this season and am loving every moment of it! It’s a dream of mine to be a part of such an incredible organization.
I’m a backyard gardener and houseplant mom. I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, and have since worn many hats in my professional life, mainly in the field of education, but also finance, dog training, and baking! It’s all about the journey!
My love for nature started when I was a kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a kid with anxiety, I remember feeling grounded in the outdoors, whether it was cloud watching for hours, listening to waves at the beach, or getting muddy out in my own backyard.
I’m a huge believer in the therapeutic qualities of nature and hope to incorporate this into my professional life down the road!
When I’m not doing DUG Corps activities, you can find me wandering barefoot around the yard with my three burly rescue dogs, glass of wine in hand, and scheming my next big gardening idea.

Meet Sarah

Sarah came to Colorado, from the San Francisco Bay Area, to earn her bachelor’s degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology from Colorado College. She holds a deeply rooted interest in ecology and earth stewardship and has pursed this in a diversity of ways.

Sarah has studied flammulated owls in the ponderosa pine forests of Colorado and common nighthawks in the sand hill ecosystem of Florida. She has contributed to both longitudinal and short term demographic studies of threatened bird populations with a focus on the impacts of climate change.

Most recently, Sarah worked for Sprout City Farms, growing organic produce on an urban farm in Lakewood Colorado, where she focused, instead, on the ways in which our changing climate is impacting our food systems. She is excited to be member of the DUG team, working to build community around food and earth stewardship.

Meet Kourtnie

My name is kourtnie burse, I’m from New Orleans Louisiana. I enjoy the outdoors especially spring and summer. I love that everything seems to be rejuvenating and coming alive again, which I find to be beautiful.

My education background is in environmental science/Geography, from the University of Colorado.

I absolutely love animals of all kinds and currently have a small backyard flock of chickens . I love to farm, ride horses and grow crops of all kinds and enjoy times with my family and friends.


Meet Rayanna

Hello, my name is Rayanna Schutt. I grew up in Commerce City, Colorado, with lovely views of the Purina Dog food factory and the Suncore Refinery. As beautiful as the surrounding views were – something was missing.

As an early teen, my close friends and I set out on a journey to “re-wild” our blocks, introducing native pollinator plants, and learning about food deserts and the issues that creates in the inner cities.

It is a humble honor to be surrounded by so many like minded individuals, here at DUG – and to share our passions for food justice, Earth Care and heirloom tomatoes!