Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Familiar Face--Lauren Riegler

 

February 8, 2019

Lauren Riegler

Your kids may be more familiar with Lauren Riegler’s face than you are, unless you’re part of the rather large diving community living in our magnificent landlocked paradise. If you’re not, the Left Hand Valley Courier would like to introduce you to Niwot resident Lauren Riegler as this month’s Familiar Face.

Riegler is the director of outreach for the Ocean First Institute(OFI), a Boulder-based non-profit dedicated to ocean conservation through research and education. She and her husband, Andrew Hunt, are newlyweds, and have lived in Colorado for about four years. Having spent most of her life near a coast, this conservation biologist has fallen in love with the Centennial State.

Left Hand Valley Courier (LHVC) How long have you lived in Colorado?

Lauren Riegler (LR) Almost four years.

LHVC Where did you grow up?

LR I grew up in Texas, in Houston and San Antonio. Then I moved to Florida and lived there for eight years. I had a bunch of different research jobs, so although Orlando was sort of my base, I moved around Florida a lot. At one point, I lived in a lighthouse, off and on, while studying horseshoe crabs.

LHVC How long have you been diving?

LR Eleven years.

LHVC What prompted the move to Colorado?

LR Love! I was finishing grad school in Florida and my now-husband got a job in Colorado, so we moved here. I miss the ocean all the time, but this is such a wonderful place to live.

LHVC How long have you worked with the OFI?

LR Almost four years. Originally, I worked for another non-profit when I came to Colorado, but I began volunteering at OFI almost immediately. Within six months, I got hired on. I feel so lucky!

LHVC What’s your role at OFI?

LR I specialize in outreach and science communication. I do outreach for schools and adults, too. OFI does research, but a major focus for us is education about how to protect the ocean. My favorite thing to do is to empower local youth and show them that even though they don’t live next to the ocean, they have a voice and they can also protect the ocean, too. I was really surprised at the large ocean community in a place so landlocked. There’s a lot of divers here.

LHVC Why do you think that is?

LR People here love being outdoors, being adventurous and exploring things. They don’t just love the mountains, I think they love the oceans, too. This community of divers has taken the time to get certified, and then they take these very special trips to a part of the world that not everybody gets to see.

LHVC Tell me about the dive community out here.

LR I think the dive community here is pretty close. OFI has monthly socials, and we get a pretty good turnout. Colorado divers go on great trips, and then they encourage their children to become divers. I’m a conservation biologist, so it’s been great for me to be out here in Colorado and see people protecting the environment so fiercely. I think divers love exploring, and they know they need to protect it, too.

LHVC What’s your favorite thing about Niwot?

LR I love everything about it, our little home, our little family (her husband and their mutt, Bailey); we love spending time out in our little garden. We really used to like to go to Powder Keg, and we really miss that.

LHVC So you moved out here to be landlocked with your boyfriend, who is now your husband?

Familiar Face--Lauren Riegler

LR We got married in September. My husband just got scuba certified last summer so that we could also have a diving honeymoon. We went to Fiji and Tonga and went diving together for the first time. It was amazing. We promised each other we’d try to see the ocean once a year.

LHVC What’s your favorite thing about Colorado?

LR The amount of time I can spend outdoors, even though it’s a lot colder here than where I grew up in Texas, which was no snow. When I came out here, it was the first time I’ve ever driven through snow. But as many field jobs as I’ve had, I feel like here I’ve been outside more than ever.

 

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