Our Team

Amanda Godbold Payne
Amanda Godbold Payne
Executive Director
(804) 836-6713 Email Amanda Godbold Payne
Amanda moved to Richmond from the Pacific Northwest in 2011 and quickly got connected to Blue Sky Fund as a volunteer before joining the staff full time in 2012. Amanda graduated from Rhodes College with a BA in Economics and Business Administration. She then spent several years working at year-round camps and outdoor adventure outfitters in Oregon and Colorado, gaining valuable skills in the "behind the scenes" operations of the outdoor recreation industry along with staff management and development experience. Over the past decade plus at Blue Sky, Amanda has enjoyed combining these skill sets while supporting a mission that aligns so closely to her own growth and development. When she is not working she enjoys exploring the James River Park System with her family, gardening, and taking art classes. Amanda lives in Union Hill with her husband, two children, and dog.
Josh Bearman
Josh Bearman
Programs Director
(804) 554-2207 Email Josh Bearman

Josh grew up in rural Loudoun County VA, pursuing simultaneous fascinations with the outside world of rivers, streams, and woods and the inside world of amplifiers and drum sets. In 2000, he began his career in education with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), moving into the world of formal education in 2012 (after a 6 year hiatus as a touring bluegrass musician), teaching middle school science for Richmond Public Schools (RPS). Josh moved to the VDOE as a Science Curriculum Specialist in 2018, returning to RPS in 2019 as the K-12 Science Curriculum and Instructional Specialist, helping to systemize a constructivist approach to science education.

Josh joined BSF in October 2022 and holds a Bachelors in Geology from Brown University, a M.Sc from the VA Institute of Marine Science, and a M.Ed from VCU. Josh plays music on a regular basis, and lives and frolics near the river in Richmond with his partner who designs and builds custom upholstered furniture and a precocious daughter who is obsessed with spiders and ukuleles.

Diane Brown
Diane Brown
Development and Communications Director
(804) 410-4265‬ Email Diane Brown
Diane moved to Richmond in 2009 to attend the University of Richmond where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration/Marketing. She fell in love with the city after exploring the park systems and local restaurants during summer internships. Diane's love for the outdoors and passion for environmental education led her to first volunteer with Blue Sky Fund in 2015 with the OAC Rock Climbing program. From taking courses like Landscape Ecology in college to completing her Virginia Master Naturalist training in 2018; Diane has always been passionate about continuing education and sharing the outdoors with others. She is excited to combine her professional skill set and passion in her role at Blue Sky Fund. When not in the office, you will find her adventuring outdoors (rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking, etc), at home reading, or playing tabletop games with friends. Diane lives in Churchill with her husband, two cats, four turtles, and many fish.
David Buenrostro
David Buenrostro
Adventure Programs Manager
(804) 495-1413 Email David Buenrostro

David joined Blue Sky Fund in 2016 and fell in love with the mission to get as many people outside as possible and show them why he appreciates the outdoors so much. David’s appreciation for the outdoors began while growing up in Europe and being able to see all the wonders of nature from the tops of mountains.

David has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership both from Virginia Commonwealth University, Go Rams Go! David credits his admiration for the nature of Virginia to a summer course he took during his senior year of college where he was part of a crew that paddled 300 miles of the James River and camped along the banks of the river for a month. David loves helping students connect with the outdoors and seeing their confidence grow when they excel at an outdoor activity!

Izzy Guerrero
Izzy Guerrero
Development and Volunteer Coordinator
(804) 213-2464 Email Izzy Guerrero

Hailing from Yuba City, California (home to the world’s smallest mountain range), Izzy relocated to Portsmouth, Virginia at seven years old. Izzy then moved to Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a BFA in Sculpture and Extended Media.

In November 2023, Izzy joined Blue Sky Fund as an Explorers Educator and quickly felt inspired by the mission. Taking part in Blue Sky’s work transformed his interest in the outdoors and emboldened him to spend more and more time in green and blue spaces.

Outside of the office, you can find Izzy listening to music, napping by the river, reading mythology or taking winding walks through the city.

Jacob Minnick
Jacob Minnick
Explorers Program Coordinator
(276) 492-9558 Email Jacob Minnick

Jacob was born and raised in Southwest Virginia, where he grew up developing a love for the outdoors while surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. He attended Virginia Tech as a Spanish major, and spent his final year studying abroad and exploring the beautiful country of Ecuador. Jacob moved to Richmond in 2011, and began to develop his passion for working with others through teaching elementary school Spanish, volunteering with a middle school extracurricular program, and obtaining his real estate license.

Along the way, Jacob learned about Blue Sky and its mission and purpose. He was initially involved as a supporter and volunteer and then joined the Explorers team in 2018. When Jacob is not working, you can find him playing disc golf and spending time with his wife Christine, son Eli, and two rescue pups.

Payton Palmerton
Payton Palmerton
Explorers Program Coordinator
(804) 402-3283 Email Payton Palmerton

Payton grew up in the suburbs of Richmond and is currently enjoying discovering the hidden gems and joys of moving into the city. As a camp counselor, Payton fostered his love for nature and working in youth development, as well as a passion for pedagogy. He also had the opportunity to teach outdoor education in the San Bernardino mountains of California, and visit many of the state’s breathtaking National Parks.

Despite loving all aspects of naturalism, his first love will always be birdwatching and bird identification. Payton joined Blue Sky in the fall of 2021. When not working, you can find Payton birding, foraging for edible mushrooms, or simply listening to music and enjoying the scenery.

“Nature offers healing for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood. It serves as a blank slate upon which a child draws and reinterprets the culture’s fantasies. Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.”

- Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder