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Get to know Elena!

We are so excited to introduce Elena Costa-Smith, our newest instructor! We sat down for a Q&A for y'all to get to know her better. Learn even more about Elena here!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where did you grow up? Where have you lived? What made you move to Denver?

I grew up in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, with the exception of ages 7-9, which I spent living in Oaxaca, Mexico with my family. I went to college in Santa Barbara, California, and decided to move out to Denver after graduation to pursue a career in outdoor education and meet more similar-minded people! 

What made you want to work in outdoor education?

Getting a degree in environmental science made me realize how disconnected the environmental movement is from the majority of the population. Working as an outdoor guide has highlighted for me the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry, as well as the privilege required to take part in so many of the amazing outdoor opportunities that exist. The mainstream environmental movement excludes so many communities, and I believe that education is an essential way of helping empower these communities to advocate for their environmental needs and human rights. 

Did you grow up spending time outside? Or what made you get into the outdoors? 

Honestly I didn’t spend very much time hiking or camping as a kid, I really started to get involved in outdoor recreation while studying at UC Santa Barbara. I started guiding my freshman year and fell in love with it! I’ve tried to spend as much time travelling and outside as I can ever since! 

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I love anything where I can be on the water! I’m trying to train my dog to ride on my paddle board, and I’ve finally gotten her to stop escaping to shore every chance she gets! 

Best quote from a student? 

“Teamwork is the dreamwork!”

What do you like to do when you’re not playing or working outside? 

If I’m not outside I’m probably hanging out with my dog, Charlie (the girl Charlie not the boy Charlie!!). 

What makes you stoked about working for New Treks? 

I’m excited to feel every day as though I am contributing to something important, and to meet all the amazing students I get to teach this year! 


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