A respected voice in her local community, Ellen L. Bonnifield has earned distinction for her expertise as a weather observer within the humid climate of Northern Colorado. Since 1995, she has served as her local weather observer for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Likewise distinguishing herself as a co-writer of the Valley Voice in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, since 2005, she has also contributed to various industry-related publications since 1989. In 2019, she notably served as a contemporary non-fiction judge for the Western Writers Association of America’s Spur Awards. Prior to her current work, Ms. Bonnifield was a library science teacher at Oklahoma Panhandle State University for one semester and an algebra teacher at a community college in Colorado for five years.
While coming of age, Ms. Bonnifield moved to a Colorado mountain town from Kansas and immediately became fascinated in the difference of the climates from both states. When visiting the local grocery store, she would read old weather records dating back to the 1930s and, when the local weather observer quit, locals were certain that she would excel in the same position. She jokes that she fell into the role “by default,” but it turned out to be the greatest moment of serendipity her life could have offered. Holding the Leckenby and Larsen Award for Community Involvement and Service, Ms. Bonnifield earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Central College in Pella, Iowa, in 1962. She concluded his education at the University of Denver, from which she received a Master of Library Science in 1965.
Ms. Bonnifield is a member of the Western History Association, the Poetry Society of Colorado and the Steamboat Writers Group. She attributes her career success to her persistence and personal interests, as well as her husband and friends who have been consistently supportive and encouraging of her endeavors. Looking toward the future, Ms. Bonnifield aims to continue delivering the weather predictions to local residents, and hopes that she can guide her two grandchildren and support their own intellectual journeys.