The staff at the Rome-Floyd E.C.O. Center are unified in their mission and vision of working together to provide the best possible educational opportunities for all who visit.  The various backgrounds, experiences, and strengths of the team members are what make them a dynamic group.  Each is passionate about wildlife, natural resources, education, and the overall success of the Center as an asset to the community.

Ben Winkelman


Ben's passion for wildlife began in high school when he volunteered for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources which led to a permanent position where he quickly excelled to State Conservation Officer/Game Warden.  He was fortunate to work on conservation projects from the late wildlife biologist Ted Touchstone and retired biologist Jerry Bearden among others.  He was also deputized as a Deputy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent by the U.S. Department of Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife and has worked diligently with the Department of Defense within the Defense Intelligence Agency.  These experiences gave Ben a foundation for public service and grew his passion for conservation, and in 2004 he began his career with the City of Rome enforcing water quality laws and codes.  He joined the Rome-Floyd E.C.O. Center early on and was instrumental in developing natural resource education programs that evolved from teaching 2,500 students annually to 10,000.  Ben is an avid sportsman who loves to fish and hunt, and his heart is for students to learn and develop an appreciation for the diverse abundance of our wonderful natural resources. 


Jason Hosford


A native of Florida, Jason grew up catching alligators and exploring the coastal marsh surrounding his parents' home. Although Jason has an academic background in environmental policy, his childhood led to a strong interest in working directly in the field of natural resource management. His 20 year career includes a significant history in captive wildlife management and volunteer administration in addition to employment with multiple state natural resource management agencies.  Jason oversees the care and growth of the E.C.O. Center's animal collection, the development of new exhibits, and the management of the Center’s volunteer program.  While not at the E.C.O. Center, he enjoys hiking, tinkering in his shop, sharing time with family and friends, and being a part of the State of Georgia’s prescribed fire community.


Sarah Grimes

Environmental Educator

Sarah joined the E.C.O. Center in 2019 but made Rome her home in 2011 after graduating from Berry College.  In the Center you can find her scheduling groups, planning events, greeting visitors, managing the Roman Holiday, and more.  Her love and energy for teaching about local ecology paired with her ability to relate to and connect with kids and students of all ages make leading programs her favorite aspect of her job.  Sarah looks forward to continuing to be a part of the expansion of the E.C.O. Center as it continues to grow as a quality natural resource education center for the community.   

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Emma Wells

Program Coordinator, KRFB

Emma is an Ellijay, GA native and a Berry College graduate. She graduated from Berry in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After taking a field botany class her senior year of college, Emma discovered a passion for environmental education that led her to work for a year at the Barrier Island Environmental Education Center in Charleston, SC. That same fervor for environmental education led her to pursue a position at the Rome-Floyd E.C.O. Center. She worked as a Biologist and Environmental Educator for the Center from June 2017-October 2018. Delving deeper into her passion for sustainability and education, Emma began serving as the Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful Program Director in October 2018. She is passionate about making our community a cleaner, greener, and more beautiful place to live.

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Visit KRFB website HERE