Aaron Derwingson is the agricultural coordinator for the Colorado River Program at the Nature Conservancy.
Abby Dresser is a biologist for Ducks Unlimited and has fifteen years of experience working in wetland ecosystems. She currently works with the NRCS to help deliver farm bill programs across Montana and resides in Bozeman, MT.
Abigail Weinberg is the director of conservation research at the Open Space Institute. She develops science-based approaches for landscape-scale conservation for foundations, public agencies, and NGO’s. Her work has informed investments of over $60 million in conservation grants across the eastern U.S. Abby has a master of forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her current work focuses on applying science on water quality and climate change to land protection strategy.
Adam Draper has been Forterra’s staff attorney for nearly six years and is also its vice president of conservation. He has over eleven years of experience including seven-plus years as in-house counsel at two land conservation organizations, having previously served as Director of Land Protection at the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust. Adam specializes in all manner of fee and conservation easement transactions as well as contract drafting and conservation strategy.
Adena Rissman is a social science and policy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focused on conservation policy, its ecological impacts, and social and legal adaptation to environmental change. She published 35 peer-reviewed articles, including 23 on private-land conservation, since 2007. Rissman and collaborators recently completed a survey of over 300 land trusts and governments in the U.S. about maps, GIS, and data sharing. She has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
Alan Davis has been the ALE coordinator for the Montana Association of Land Trusts since 2016. He has served as the Lewis and Clark County Open Space Committee chair and served on the Helena Open Space Advisory Committee, both of which have successfully acquired critical open lands in and around Helena, Montana.
Allan Beezley is a Colorado native who graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1976 and was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1977. Allan represents national, statewide and local land conservation organizations and governmental entities on land conservation and nonprofit matters. Allan has been involved in nearly 2,000 land conservation transactions since 1991 encompassing several million acres of land. Allan is a frequent presenter on land conservation issues at statewide and national land trust conferences. Allan was a peer reviewer for the Land Trust Alliance publication “Acquiring Land and Conservation Easements” (2009). Prior to founding his own firm in 1995, Allan was western regional counsel for The Nature Conservancy (1991-1995), managing shareholder of Dietze, Davis & Porter, P.C., where he represented three national title insurance companies on title claims and focused on real estate and land use issues (1981-1991), an Assistant Boulder County Attorney (1978-1981), and a Judicial Law Clerk for Judge Edwin Ruland, Colorado Court of Appeals (1977-1978). Allan was the recipient of the Boulder County (CO) Bar Association Ron Porter Community Service Award in 1995, the Boulder Homeless Awareness Week Award in 1993, and the City of Boulder Heart of Boulder Award in 1988 for volunteer services to a variety of community organizations.
Allison Handler has nearly 20 years’ experience in land-use planning and conservation. She works with nonprofits and governments on strategy and planning, including extensive stakeholder engagement. Formerly executive director of Portland Community Land Trust, she holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College.
As LWCF coalition manager/Northeast regional coordinator at the Appalachian Mountain Club and a leader within the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, Amy Lindholm coordinates the Coalition’s work with the Alliance and hundreds of land trusts as critical partners, along with conservation and recreation organizations, businesses and stakeholders across the country to advocate for full, permanent and dedicated funding of LWCF. Amy was a staffer for the House Natural Resources Committee for several years before joining The Wilderness Society in 2011, rising to become director of TWS’s LWCF Campaign. She led that organization’s efforts as co-chair of the LWCF Coalition through the fight for reauthorization in 2015, and transferred that work to a new organizational home at the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) this year. AMC is deeply involved in conservation efforts in partnership with local land trusts throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which brings a strong new dimension to Amy’s work with both the Coalition and the Alliance.
Amy Wilson Morris is the associate planning director at The Trust for Public Land. She leads community-based planning projects including park, trail, and conservation plans. Amy specializes in facilitating a wide range of community input and in working with diverse partners to build consensus. She has published peer-reviewed and law review articles on conservation easement oversight and data sharing. Amy has a PhD in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Amy Schwarzbach is the executive director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy. Amy received her bachelor of science in International agriculture and natural resources with a major in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1998. Since then, Amy has worked as a biological technician for the National Park Service at parks across the country, a lands specialist for the US Forest Service in southwest Colorado and a stewardship coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in Texas and Estes Valley Land Trust in northwestern Colorado before becoming the executive director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy in Durango, Colorado.
Amy Stork has spent more than 20 years as a consultant and executive in public and nonprofit organizations. Amy is a trained mediator meeting Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission standards, and works primarily on staff and leadership development. She is currently a consultant with Solid Ground Consulting.
Anais Spitzer grew up working the land in rural Texas. She has extensive experience in developing operational and strategic planning, creating and implementing programming, growing community engagement, and building partnerships. Prior to joining Palmer, she grew TrueSport from a grassroots initiative to a youth program that reached over 1.5 million people.
Andrew James is National Program Manager for USDA, NRCS, Easement Programs Division.
Ane Deister has been a top executive managing public utilities in California for over two decades and as a corporate officer with three highly respected private companies. She has been recruited repeatedly to lead change management processes and enhance organizational capacity, improve delivery, build effective teams, and integrate environmental sustainability as a core organizational value. She joined the California Council of Land Trusts as executive director in January 2017 succeeding the founding executive director to lead the organization into a new chapter of land and water conservation throughout California.
Angel Villalobos is the program manager for the community activation for Prevention Study (CAPs): A Community Gardening Research Study, which is a Randomized Controlled Trial funded by the American Cancer Society. He has worked in health promotion with medically underserved populations for over 7 years focusing on health education for low-resource communities. His experience as a certified culinarian, nutrition educator, group facilitator, and project manager has contributed to the success of community programs throughout Colorado.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Angela’s early experiences hiking rainforest trails, exploring rocky coastlines and swimming in frigid mountain waters helped form her life-long dedication to the protection of the natural environment. For over 20 years, she has been studying and working in the environmental field throughout the U.S.Angela received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, where she designed an individualized dual major in Environmental Science and Economics. Post graduation, she interned at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, Office of Innovation, in Seattle WA. She drew on such experiences in her next position at Columbia University’s Earth Semester at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, where she lectured on topics such as Environmental Economics, Conflict Resolution and The Human Role in Environmental Change. Ultimately, her interests in conservation led her to pursue a law degree in Hawai’i. Since 2001, Angela has called Hawai’i home. In 2004/05, she received her law degree from the University of Hawai’i’s William S. Richardson School of Law with Graduate Certificates in Environmental Law and Conflict Resolution. In 2006, she clerked for Judge Kathleen Watanabe of the Fifth Circuit Court. After which time, she has worked in private practice, specializing in environmental and land use law. For the past decade, Angela has integrated her deep commitment to conservation within her law practice and public service on Kaua’i. Prior to serving as the Kaua’i Island Director, she was an active HILT Kaua’i Island Council member. Since 2013, she has served in the Environmental Seat on the County of Kaua’i Planning Commission. In her downtime, Angela especially enjoys playing outdoors (e.g. hiking, practicing yoga, and kayaking) with her husband and two daughters.
Anita O’Gara has served the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) for more than 30 years, gaining experience in all aspects of development and communications. She built INHF’s system to gain and retain donors with an eye toward efficiency, affordability and long-term relationships.
Ann Taylor Schwing is of counsel for Best, Best & Krieger LLP in Sacramento, California. She has been an attorney and author for 35-years, commissioner and secretary of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission since 2006, and past president, board member and fee/conservation easement donor for the Land Trust of Napa County. (C11)
Anna Drexler-Dreis is the former Interim Director of the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, which works to protect Grand County’s open space, water, wildlife and agricultural values through conservation easements. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University she worked for the Colorado State Forest Service researching the mountain pine beetle epidemic. She has a master’s degree in environmental management from Western State Colorado University and sits on the board for the Colorado Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Anna Fiedler is the director of land conservation at Midcoast Conservancy in Maine, and represents Midcoast Conservancy in the 12 Rivers Initiative, a regional conservation initiative of seven land trusts working together. She engages with landowners to identify new land conservation projects, keeps conservation priorities updated and linked to community needs, and oversees management of conserved lands. Anna enjoys bringing together groups to identify and carry out land conservation and management priorities, as well as partnering with others to get more people connected to the land, and to each other.
Anne is an educator and researcher from Worcester, Massachusetts, who is interested in making educational spaces more participatory, interdisciplinary, and experiential. She served as the Project Manager for the community non-profit, Women Together/ Mujeres Unidas; in particular, Anne oversaw the group’s work on the reclamation of a vacant lot and creation of a neighborhood park. Anne subsequently served as the Project Coordinator for the Greater Worcester Land Trust, overseeing the Trust’s volunteer programs in the community. Anne presently is a faculty member at the Expedition Education Institute and is working on a doctorate in Ecological Teaching and Learning.
Annie Burke is a well-known leader in land conservation in the San Francisco Bay Area. She produced the films ‘Dancing in the Balance’ and ‘Here and Now’ about partnerships between Native Americans and land conservation nonprofits and public agencies. She spent 4 years in Ohio for her undergraduate degree in psychology and has a master’s in organization development from the University of San Francisco.
Annie Larner is a freelance marketing specialist, helping businesses and non-profits to build their brands and win customers through strategic branding, web marketing, and community relations. Prior to freelancing, she worked for various consulting groups and managed accounts such as National Geographic, the Nature Conservancy, Red Bull, a national music tour, community foundations. Her passion is to help brands tell their story with compelling design, the right words, and the latest technologies.
Ashley Greathouse serves as counsel and director of conservation for Bluegrass Land Conservancy. Ashley has over nine years of relevant experience cultivating, preparing, and closing conservation easements for Bluegrass Conservancy. With a juris doctor from the University of Kentucky, Ashley has managed the conservation easement program and stewardship program at Bluegrass Conservancy since 2007.
Austin Quinn-Davidson was raised in a remote timber town in Northern California and now lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where she serves as the legal affairs & land transactions director at Great Land Trust. Before moving to Alaska six years ago, Austin worked at a law firm in San Francisco advising clients on the development of renewable energy projects and served as in-house counsel for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the bi-state agency tasked with protecting Lake Tahoe. She has also worked for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she did research on urban sprawl, and clerked for a federal court judge in Alaska. She is a graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara, with a degree in environmental studies, and the U.C. Davis King Hall School of Law. Austin loves the creativity her position allows and enjoys working on the many different types of projects at Great Land Trust. When not at work, she can be found traveling the world, gardening in her backyard, volunteering, or exploring one of Alaska’s spectacular places with her partner and two dogs.
Rebecca Washburn is the New England program manager for the Land Trust Alliance. Based in Vermont, Becca works to build the strength and sustainability of all volunteer and staffed land trusts in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Prior to joining the Alliance, Becca served as Stowe Land Trust’s assistant director for six years, managing stewardship and outreach programs among many other duties including helping the land trust achieve accreditation. Her earlier career was focused on stewardship and land protection at the Green Mountain Club and the VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. A native of mid-coast Maine, Becca received her bachelor’s in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology from Bard College in 1999.
Ben Hayes is the working lands project director and a conservation finance specialist for the Pinchot Institute. Outside of Working Lands and the Pinchot Institute, Ben is a 6th generation forester and co-owner of the family forest business, Hyla Woods. Ben has a bachelor’s from Whitman College and a master’s from the Yale School of Forestry. When not at work, Ben can be found floating down wild western rivers.
Ben Miles is a conservation consultant with Shire Environmental, the company he founded in 2014 focusing on issues related to land conservation and organizational development. Ben previously served as executive director of Shasta Land Trust, and is a founding board member and current treasurer of the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association. Ben holds an master’s in environmental science, a bachelor’s in philosophy and lives in his hometown of Danville, Kentucky.
Beth Rose Middleton is assistant professor of Native American Studies at University of California, Davis. She authored “Trust in the Land: New Directions in Tribal Conservation,” released in 2011, which discusses the emerging field of Native American land trusts and features 14 case studies about Native-led land conservation efforts.
Bill Bowman began his career with Morgan Stanley as a Financial Advisor in 1995. Bill received his bachelor of business administration from the University of North Texas and also earned his Certified Investment Management Analyst designation (CIMA®) through the Wharton School of Business.
Bill Jones is the executive director of Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (STPAL). A small business owner, he founded STPAL in order to establish natural areas and parks for public recreation. STPAL owns and protects approximately 12,000 acres in the southeast.
Bill Labich is a senior conservationist with Highstead Foundation and coordinator of the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network. With a background in forestry and land use planning, Bill organizes, writes about, and assists others in advancing collaborative approaches to regional conservation. He coordinates the New England Forest Policy Group and co-coordinates the Hudson to Housatonic RCP. Bill is also the author of “The Regional Conservation Partnership Handbook (Highstead 2015).
Billy holds a degree in agricultural systems management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a master’s in natural resources stewardship from Colorado State University. He manages the Sierra Lands Beef cattle enterprise and serves as rangeland manager for SFC, where he leads the rangeland and grazing operations on 6,500 acres of Preserves. As part of the stewardship team since 2011, Billy helps ensure the conservation values are maintained and enhanced on SFC conservation properties.
Blair Fitzsimons serves as the chief executive officer of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), founded in 2007 by the state’s leading agricultural and landowner organizations. Prior to joining TALT as the founding executive director, she worked on behalf of American Farmland Trust to create legislation establishing the Texas Farm & Ranch Lands Conservation Program, a state purchase of development rights program, and to develop the Texas Land Trends Study, which documents trends in rural land use over the past 25 years. Ms. Fitzsimons serves on the Texas Land Trust Council board and on the Members Committee for Terrafirma. She has also in the past been actively involved in the operations of her husband’s cattle and hunting ranch, which was the 2005 regional winner of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s environmental stewardship award. (E13)
Bob Neale is stewardship director at Sonoma Land Trust, where he directs the activities of the stewardship department: working with a team of dedicated professionals to care and manage the trust’s lands and conservation easements. Beginning at Peninsula Open Space Trust, and then moving to Sustainable Conservation, he feels fortunate to work with and learn from some of the most creative people in conservation.
Bob Perkowitz is ecoAmerica’s founder and president. He is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, writer, investor and distance cyclist. Over the past 25 years Bob has been President of direct marketing and manufacturing organizations with revenues reaching $600 million, including Cornerstone Brands, Smith+Noble and Joanna Western Mills. He also launched and was partners in VivaTerra, ecoSalon, and Arqua Equity Partners, LLC. In the non-profit sector, in addition to his work with ecoAmerica, Bob is on the boards of the Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Defense Fund of North Carolina and World Bicycle Relief. He also served a trustee of the Sierra Club Foundation from 2001-2007.
Bob Perschel is executive director of the New England Forestry Foundation which is producing a report (June 2014 release) on the potential of forestry to meet regional sustainability goals in New England. Previously Bob was the Eastern Forest director for the Forest Guild, Land Ethic Program Director for the Wilderness Society and chair of the Northern Forest Alliance. Bob holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Bram Gunther, NAC co-founder, is also director of the Urban Field Station, a joint research facility of NYC Parks, NAC and U.S. Forest Service; has a bachelor’s in American literature (SUNY Purchase); and a master’s in environmental management (Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies).
Brandon Hayes has spent his entire career in non-profit communications. Before Openlands, he was at the youth arts education organization, Marwen, and was a publicist for Goodman Theatre. Additionally, he is a photographer and essayist, chronicling all fifty-nine US National Parks and writing about conservation issues. He has a bachelor’s in Humanities, concentrating in Art History, History, and English, from University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Bray Beltrán is the science coordinator for the Heart of the Rockies Initiative. His primary role is delivering the latest climate adaptation, connectivity, and landscape integrity science to on-the-ground private land conservation practitioners. He leads the landscape conservation design project in the High Divide landscape of Idaho and Montana. Bray was born in the xeric shrublands of the Colombian Atlantic Coast and grew up in the Andean Cloud Forest. Bray is an Spatial Ecologist and has ample expertise communicating with land trusts partners, and merging climate change science with land trust work. One of Bray’s main career goals is to promote conservation at the large landscape scale while allowing compatible and adequate use by people to enhance our quality of life.
Breece Robertson is the vice president and director of planning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at The Trust for Public Land. She joined TPL in 2001 to create a comprehensive, coordinated GIS program. Today she provides leadership for the organization’s national Conservation Vision and GIS service. In 2011, she received a Planning Research Fellowship from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. She is has a master’s degree in geography and planning from Appalachian State University.
Brendan Moriarty is a senior project manager at The Trust for Public Land where he has managed land conservation projects in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2010. Prior to this he managed conservation easement projects for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust in Bozeman, Montana. He holds masters degrees in urban and regional planning and in public policy from the University of Michigan.
Brian has worked in the GIS field for 15 years and has received a GIS Certificate from the University of Denver and his GISP certification. He currently works as a GIS Mapping Specialist for the City of Fort Collins and supports the Natural Areas Department with data collection, map creation and spatial analysis. Some of Brian’s current projects include data organization for easier reporting and use, streamlining data collection workflows using ArcGIS Online and investigating new GIS technologies.
Bridget Fithian is the executive director of Sierra Foothill Conservancy. Bridget has worked in land conservation at Sierra Foothill Conservancy for 9 years and in 2015 was selected as SFC’s executive director. Working with seemingly divergent communities from environmentalists to multi-generation cattle ranchers, to public utility districts, Bridget has helped conserve more than 12,000 acres in the central Sierra. Bridget attended University of California at Santa Cruz, and is honored to be a member of the Land Trust Alliance Leadership & Excellence Program.
Caitrin has served as Stowe Land Trust’s executive director since 2013. Prior to joining SLT, she served as the executive director of Friends of the Mad River. Caitrin holds a bachelor’s in environmental science from the University of Vermont and completed research in International Development through the Community Development and Applied Economics master’s program there. An avid recreationalist, Caitrin enjoys all things outside. Her love of backcountry skiing and off-trail adventuring takes her deep into Vermont’s woods as frequently as possible.
Carly Klein is a landscape designer and planner for Design Workshop, Inc.
Cary Denison is a Colorado native who was raised in the North Fork of the Gunnison valley on a small farm where he gained an appreciation and understanding of water at the end of a shovel. Cary’s water eduction continued by working alongside his father, a water commissioner and irrigation company superindendant and by fishing and recreating in the rivers and streams of western Colorado. Cary worked for ranches in the summers and cleaned and repaired ditches and canals during the spring and fall. After attending Western State College for 1 year Cary transferred to Colorado State University where he gradutaed in 1997. From 2000-2005 Cary was employed by the State of Colorado as a water commissioner in the San Miguel and Upper Gunnison Basins. After working for the State Cary owned and operated a consulting firm that focused on ag water management and habitat improvement projects. Cary has served on the Gunnison Basin Roundtable since 2007 as representative for Ouray County and currently as the Environmental Representative. Over the past 6 years, in his role with Trout Unlimited, Cary has worked with water users throughout the Gunnison Basin on water conservation projects that help address water demands of irrigators while improving cold water fisheries.
Celia Vuocolo began working as the habitat and stewardship specialist in Fall 2015 after spending 2 1/2 years as PEC’s sustainable habitat program assistant. Celia’s experience includes work as a wildlife management consultant for the Appalachian Forestry Service in Newton, NJ. and as an intern for the Stewardship Assistant for Sudbury Valley Trustees in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Cheryl joined Colorado Open Lands as a land steward with over 9 years’ experience with Geographic Information Systems and having worked previously as a rangeland consultant and GIS specialist. Growing up on a small farm in Wisconsin, Cheryl moved to Colorado in 1996 and fell in love with its short-grass prairies. Cheryl has a master’s in rangeland ecosystem science from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s in geography and environmental studies from the University of Colorado. Her graduate research at CSU focused on investigating community-based collaborative resource management processes in northwest Colorado. Her interest in rangeland ecology has also led her to the semi-arid Chaco ecosystem of Argentina where she worked with ecologists and ranchers in developing improved range management strategies for subsistence ranching.
Christopher G. Miller has served as The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) president since 1996. Mr. Miller is responsible for overall management and strategic planning for PEC, including its land conservation program, habitat restoration, rural economics, energy policy, land use policy, smart growth and transportation policies. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Smarter Growth and a founding co-chair and steering committee member of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. Mr. Miller also serves on the boards of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the Virginia Conservation Network, the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership, and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, and is a member of the Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council.
Chris West has been involved in land conservation in Colorado and across the Western US for over twenty years, including two stints as a land trust Executive Director, most recently at Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. Two years ago, he moved to initiate the Rocky Mountain Regional Office for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, including overseeing the Foundation’s Acres for America program. He now reviews land conservation grant proposals rather than seeking funds from foundations.
Christian Freitag was born and raised in northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He attended Northwestern University and then the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, during which time he worked with the Powder River Basin Resource Council in norther Wyoming, and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now Earthjustice) in New Orleans. He later worked as a law clerk for Chief Justice Randall Shepard of the Indiana Supreme Court. He attained a PhD from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2010, where his research focused on the implementation of federal environmental laws in public management agencies like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. He has served as Sycamore Land Trust’s (Bloomington, Indiana) Executive Director since 2000, helping build one of the fastest growing land trusts in the Midwest. He was recognized as Distinguished Hoosier by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2007. He lives in the southern Indiana hills with his wife, Paige, and their two Labrador retrievers.
Christine Cadigan is the director of Northeastern woodland conservation for the American Forest Foundation, leading AFF’s Northeastern conservation program since 2014. Her team is focused on enhancing and promoting wildlife habitat on family-owned woodlands in the 13-state northeastern region. Prior to joining AFF’s Conservation Team, Christine joined AFF in 2011 to focus on family woodland owner federal policy issues. She has her master’s of environmental management and master of forestry from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Christine Wilson, development director for TLC, leads fundraising, membership, communication, and community outreach efforts. Her career is rooted in organizational development with primary focus on leadership and process training with university and for profit corporations. She has led fundraising, event planning and implementation for several nonprofits including Historic Salisbury Foundation, Land Trust for Central NC and several community organizations. She is a graduate of University of North Carolina with a degree in biology.
Chris Dematatis is an architect and a professional member of the Land Trust Alliance and the U.S. Green Building Council. He has thirty five years of custom home design and land planning experience on projects in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Colorado and California. His portfolio includes some of the earliest highly energy efficient passive solar heated homes in Virginia, some designed and built over thirty years ago. Prior to joining the Land Trust of Virginia in 2005, he worked for four years to place more than one thousand acres of mountainside property along the border of Loudoun County and Clarke County, Virginia, into conservation easement with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. In doing so he helped to protect over one and a half miles of the Blue Ridge Mountain ridgeline above Ashby Gap and contributed to the preservation of the viewshed from the Crooked Run Valley in northern Fauquier County and from the valleys in Southwestern Loudoun County and southern Clarke County.
Christy Fischer is the executive director of the Santa Lucia Conservancy, a land trust with 20 years’ experience working to sustain biodiversity in the residential-wildland interface in coastal California. Prior to this position, she spent 11 years with The Nature Conservancy leading policy and land conservation efforts in the Monterey Bay region. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies, she also completed a two-year fellowship with the CA Agricultural Leadership Program.
Dr. Christy Wyckoff is the Santa Lucia Conservancy’s senior wildlife ecologist and is an accomplished field ecologist with expertise that ranges from butterflies and birds to feral pigs and wildlife diseases. In a recent severe and extended wildfire, she also developed skills informally as a ‘dozer-boss,’ contingency line planner, and natural resource advisor to the fire suppression teams. Dr. Wyckoff holds science and wildlife degrees from Stanford University, Texas A&M and Colorado State University.
Clara Nyman is vice president of development for the Land Trust Alliance.
Claudia Browne is the bioregion team leader for Biohabitats’ Denver office–focused on ecological restoration, conservation planning, and regenerative design. She helps land conservation organizations use water planning tools to prioritize protection strategies. Recently, she helped develop a green infrastructure framework for Greater Kansas City. She is also a conservation coach for the Open Standards method. She has her master’s in ecology from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s from Cornell University in natural resources.
Colin Novick is the executive director of the Greater Worcester Land Trust and has been engaged in urban land conservation work since 1996. He was the project assistant for the Massachusetts Statewide Trail and Greenway Plan jointly developed under the direction of the Department of Environmental Management and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Colin served as the chair of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition and was the first executive director of the Bolton Conservation Trust. Colin has presented workshops and seminars at state and national conferences on land conservation. Colin serves as a Catholic Deacon at the Cathedral o Saint Paul in the Diocese of Worcester.
Constance Best is a conservationist, entrepreneur and forest owner. As Co-CEO of thePacific Forest Trust she has lead the organization with Laurie Wayburn since they
founded it together in 1993. Ms. Best is a recognized leader in advancing strategies that
harness the power of commerce to accomplish conservation objectives.
Curt Gleaves joined the Board of Directors of Estes Valley Land Trust (CO) in 2010 and became a member of EVLT’s Legal Committee and Finance Committee. In 2012, he became EVLT’s Treasurer. Curt arrived in Estes Park in 2006 and first served the land trust by being actively involved in monitor activities since 2007. Curt is active on the Legal and Finance Committees. Curt advises individuals and tax exempt organizations on various aspects of finance and risk.
Dan has a background that includes substantial work in legal, business and community issues. On the legal side, Dan spent 10 years in private practice both in New York City and Seattle, where he was a partner with Helsell, Fetterman, Martin, Todd & Hokanson in the 1980s. After leaving the Helsell firm, Dan served as vice president and general counsel with Holland America Line until when he took over responsibility for Fleet Operations at Holland America Line. From 2011 to 2013, his role was expanded to include Seabourn Cruises. Dan has served as a member of the Mercer Island City Council in 1999. His tenure included four years as Deputy Mayor. Dan counts as some of his most significant accomplishments on Mercer Island the addition and preservation of park land and other green spaces. Prior to moving to Mercer Island, Dan served on the Queen Anne Community Council and was involved in the Seattle rezoning that was occurring in the 1980s. Dan has a bachelor’s of science in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s from The Wharton School.
Dan is the executive director of GreenInfo Network and an expert in interactive web mapping strategies and technology.
Dan Winterson manages the Bay Area conservation portfolio at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. During his career, he has focused on conservation finance, in which capacity he has led the foundation’s conservation program-related investment efforts and work related to conservation trust funds. Dan previously served as the program director managing the foundation’s commitment to Conservation International and support to Forever Costa Rica. Prior to joining the foundation, he worked at McKinsey & Company and as vice president at Teach For America. Dan received his bachelor’s from Harvard University and his master’s from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Dave Clutter has worked for local, county, state and national conservation organizations and/or agencies and dedicated his career to protecting land, waters and wildlife for over 25 years. Currently executive director of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy in Dodgeville, Wis., he has grown the staff and land protection efforts, in partnership with the board, by prioritizing communications and community engagement as a key part of fundraising.
Dave was born and raised in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and first moved to Colorado to attend Fort Lewis College in Durango. After completing his undergraduate degree in environmental biology, he worked for the Teton Regional Land Trust in Driggs, Idaho where he gained a deep appreciation for the important work land trusts do. He has also worked as a field biologist and natural resource specialist across the U.S. and in the East African country of Tanzania. He completed a master’s degree in Wildlife science at the University of Arizona and eventually found his way to the Roaring Fork Valley, where his wife is grew up. Dave joined AVLT in January of 2015 and currently lives in Carbondale.
David Allen brings more than 30 years’ experience in conservation fundraising and development. David is a skilled teacher and presenter, particularly in major gift fundraising, and served as a consultant for The Nature Conservancy’s national fundraising program.
David Asbury joined Esri in 2011 after six years as a cartographer and GIS analyst at the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration in Oakland, CA where he worked on atlases depicting the geographic distribution of endangered steelhead trout. He works on the Story Maps team creating easy-to-use templates that combine interactive maps and multimedia into elegant user experiences. He is an active member of the Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) and the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).
David Baker is founder and executive director of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association in Texas, an organization that works locally and regionally to assist landowners and policy makers to conserve land and adopt public policies that protect wildlife habitat, water quality and aquifer recharge. He is also co-founder of the Hill Country Alliance, a nonprofit collaborative that raises public awareness and builds community support for preserving the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.
David spent over 20 years as an executive with the global consumer products company Unilever – maker of Dove, Suave, Hellmann’s, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry’s. Through roles such as divisional CFO, VP of strategy, and Controller, he led the development of many corporate dashboards. He brought that experience to the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust, where he has been on the board since 2014. Currently, David is the co-founder of ANTIDOTE1848, a plant based personal care company and writes an award-winning garden blog – thegoodgarden.com.
David Hartwell is former long-serving board member of the Land Trust Alliance and Accreditation Commission, former president of Bellcomb, Inc. vice-chair of National Audubon, president of Belwin Conservancy, treasurer of Island Conservation and member of numerous other business and non-profit boards. In 2001 he began building a collation to create a long-term vision for land conservation in Minnesota and led the coalition through the passage of a constitutional amendment increasing the sales tax by 3/8%, which now generates $300 million annually for habitat, clean water, parks and arts.
David Montague joined DLLT in summer 2014. He is a Registered Maine Guide and has a bachelor’s in fish, wildlife, and conservation biology from Colorado State University and a master’s in wildlife science from Virginia Tech. He has worked variously as a hunting and fishing guide, horse packer, sailor, outdoor leadership instructor, camp cook, and farm and ranch hand. In addition, he has conducted wildlife research throughout North America and has a strong appreciation for the conservation, economic, recreational, and cultural values the DLLT exemplifies. He is strongly committed to building on Maine’s long tradition of collaboration between working forest landowners and rural communities to conserve and manage natural resources.
David Publicover is a senior staff scientist at the Appalachian Mountain Club, where he has worked since 1992. He oversees AMC’s conservation GIS program and has served on numerous public policy committees and working groups in the areas of sustainable forestry, ecological reserve design and energy facility siting. He oversees forest management planning, carbon project development and FSC certification on AMC’s 75,000 acres of forest land in Maine. Dave holds a bachelor’s from the University of New Hampshire, a master’s from the University of Vermont and a DF from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Deborah has been executive director at Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust since 2006. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a passion for the northeast Wisconsin landscape she has fostered significant growth of the organization and its land preservation work, now protecting over 5,000 acres of land and 30 miles of shoreline. The Land Trust was named Gathering Waters “Land Trust of the Year” in 2016 for its consistent delivery, collaborative approach, and commitment to stewardship. The Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust received accreditation in 2017. Deborah graduated with highest honors from the University of Wisconsin and has previous experience in nonprofit administration, organizational development, fundraising, drafting government easements, environmental policy, program management and public engagement.
Dianne Russell is president of the Institute for Conservation Leadership and has worked with over 2,000 environmental and conservation groups on leadership and organizational development. Dianne earned a double degree in Religion and Sociology (Wittenberg University) and intensive coaching from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.
Doug Hill recently retired from the full time practice of real estate, municipal, and land protection law in NH. He is now a Land protection specialist for Squam Lakes Conservation Society in Holderness, NH.
Dylan Jenkins is vice president of portfolio development for Finite Carbon where he leads client relations with family, corporate, and Native American forest landowners. Previously, Dylan served as director of forest conservation for The Nature Conservancy’s Pennsylvania Chapter where he developed TNC’s Working Woodlands Program and directed the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program at Virginia Tech. He was the SAF National Young Forester of the Year, served on the SAF National Committee on Forest Policy and co-chaired the SAF Certification Review Board. Dylan has been published in Science, the Journal of Forestry, the Journal of Forest Economics, and Forest Landowner. He is an ACF and SAF Certified Forester and earned forestry degrees from Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Edwin Bernbaum, Ph.D., is a lecturer, author, and scholar of comparative religion and mythology. His book Sacred Mountains of the World (University of California Press) won the Commonwealth Club of California’s gold medal for best work of nonfiction and the Giuseppe Mazzotti Special Jury Award in Italy for literature of mountaineering, exploration, and the environment. He is also the author of The Way to Shambhala (Anchor Doubleday), a study of Tibetan myths and legends of hidden valleys resembling the fictional Shangri-La of the novel Lost Horizon. He holds a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He also did graduate work at Harvard in social psychology and social anthropology.Edwin Bernbaum has been a frequent lecturer on the environment, culture, and mountains to audiences such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. He has also done research for the National Geographic Expeditions Council on the links between Mount Olympus and other sacred mountains in Greece and ancient Greek mythology, archeology, and the original Olympics. His articles and photographs have appeared in numerous publications, and a photographic exhibit of his based on his book Sacred Mountains of the World was one of the more popular exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Co-chair of the Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas of the World Commission on Protected Areas of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Senior Fellow at The Mountain Institute, Edwin Bernbaum works on developing ways of taking the cultural and spiritual significance of the natural environment into account in conservation programs in order to make them more sustainable. He has worked on a project at Badrinath, the major Hindu pilgrimage shrine in the Indian Himalayas, in which priests and scientists encouraged pilgrims to replant trees for reasons that come out of their own religious and cultural traditions. As Director of the Sacred Mountains Program at The Mountain Institute, he initiated projects to develop interpretive and educational materials and activities for national parks – such as Yosemite, Hawai’i Volcanoes, and Great Smoky Mountains – based on the evocative spiritual and cultural significance of features of the natural environment in American, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and other cultures around the world. He also started a project that used the cultural values of sacred sites in Central Asia as a basis for developing conservation programs and sustainable livelihoods in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. He is currently working with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on a project to nominate Mount Kailas in Tibet, the most sacred mountain in the world for over a billion people, and the area around pilgrimage routes leading to it from India and Nepal as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. A past president of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, Edwin Bernbaum instructed at the Colorado Outward Bound School and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal. He has traveled, climbed, and done research throughout the world and has led treks and study tours in Nepal, Tibet, China, India, Pakistan, and Bhutan. He designed and has co-led leadership seminar treks to Mt. Everest for mid-career business graduates of various programs at the Wharton School and has done leadership programs in the United States for the Wharton Executive Education Program. He is featured in “Beyond the Mountaintops: Extraordinary Mountaineers, Extraordinary People,” an exhibit at the American Mountaineering Museum on eight climbers who have pioneered advances in climbing and humankind.
Elizabeth Guthrie joined the North Florida Land Trust staff in 2014 and now serves as the organization’s stewardship director. She oversees land and natural resource management, strategic conservation planning, and restoration projects. Prior to joining the North Florida Land Trust, she worked in the fields of natural resource management and environmental education with the Florida Park Service and National Audubon Society. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a certificate in GIS (geographic information systems) from Penn State.
Elizabeth Hagood is the former executive director of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, has served on the board of the Land Trust Alliance among many organizations, and is active in the Episcopal Church.
Ellen Fred is an attorney and mediator practicing law in California and Michigan in the areas of real estate and tax law, focusing primarily on land conservation transactions and nonprofit tax issues. She represents land trusts and landowners on myriad aspects of conservation transactions. Ellen earned her law degree in 2003, summa cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Prior to establishing her solo practice, Ms. Fred was with the San Francisco law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP, where she practiced for four years in its land conservation section, and also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Melvin Brunetti of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Reno, Nevada.
Emily Bateson is Coordinator of the Network for Landscape Conservation. She was previously Conservation Director at the Highstead Foundation and Coordinator of the New England Wildlands and Woodlands Initiative. Emily has worked in landscape conservation for 30 years, including as co-founder and first director of Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest) in the Northern Appalachian region of the US and Canada, land project director of Conservation Law Foundation, and associate director of Sweet Water Trust.
Emily Hague is a land projects manager for Scenic Hudson, a regional, accredited land trust in the Hudson Valley founded in 1936 which protects 40,000 acres of parks and conservation easements in the river corridor between NYC and Troy. Prior to her current position, Emily was director of land protection and Stewardship for the 8,000-acre Mohonk Preserve in NY from 2015-2017 and director of stewardship at the Monadnock Conservancy in NH from 2005-2015. Emily holds a master’s degree in resource management and administration from Antioch University New England.
As the Colorado Parks for People program director, Emily is responsible for oversight and management of The Trust for Public Land’s park planning, design, and construction program in Colorado. Emily works collaboratively with public, non-profit, and community partners to plan, design, fund, and build new parks, trails, and open spaces. She has been with The Trust for Public Land for five years working primarily with lower income communities in the Denver Metro Area to build new parks and renovate existing parks. Emily holds a master’s in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia.
Emy Brawley serves as vice president of conservation for Openlands, managing the land protection, restoration, and stewardship programs for the organization and leading the formulation, coordination and accomplishment of conservation projects of significance across the region.
Eric Alvarez is chief of the Division of Realty for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1991, he began his career with the Fish and Wildlife Service as a Real Estate Appraiser in the Atlanta and Minneapolis Regional Offices. He then transferred to the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Headquarters as a realty specialist. Eric became the realty division chief in 2001 and is responsible for directing the FWS land acquisition program, which includes planning, budgeting, as well as managing the Land and Water Conservation Fund account. Eric also manages the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and Commission as the Secretary to the Commission.
Eric Hallstein is chief economist and director of conservation investments for the Nature Conservancy’s California Program. His work focuses on understanding how to harness financial tools and economic levers to create solutions that are good for people and the environment. He formerly worked as an early stage investor for Omidyar Network, Imprint Capital and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund and as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.
Eric Rowley is a Certified Public Accountant with over 30 years experience. He has served on numerous boards and provides tax, governmental compliance and financial reporting and consulting services to many organizations with special emphasis on land trusts and conservation related entities. He is co-author of the publication “Financial Management of Land Trusts”.
Erik is the executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT). As executive director, Erik oversees the operations of the land trust and works closely with the board of directors and staff to ensure that there is consistent alignment with the mission and strategic plan. Erik has facilitated more than sixty conservation easement transactions. Erik holds a bachelor of science in natural resources management from Colorado State University, a master of resource law studies from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and an executive MBA from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. Erik also serves on the board of directors of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.
Erik is responsible for the leadership and direction of Jefferson Land Trust’s stewardship program. He works directly with landowners, volunteers and other partners to monitor, protect and restore conservation properties in which the Land Trust holds an interest. Erik has been working in land conservation since 1999, and has been the stewardship director with Jefferson Land Trust since 2007. He has been an active leader in the Washington Association of Land Trusts since its founding and was president 2013-2014. With a bachelor’s in environmental education, and a master’s in environmental politics, he also created and annually operates the popular Tidelands to Timberline adult natural history course and supervises other On-The-Land-Learning community engagement programs of the Land Trust. Erik is a really great dad, pretty good naturalist and alright musician.
Erin Heskett is the Land Trust Alliance’s director of national and regional services and oversees its regional offices in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and West. The Alliance’s regional programs develop and implement critical training and capacity building programs to strengthen its 1,000 member land trusts working to conserve land in local communities across the country. Previously, Erin served as the Alliance’s Midwest Director for a 13-state region. He joined the Alliance in 2006 after serving as senior program officer at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, where he developed and led policy campaigns to address threats to terrestrial and marine wildlife habitat. He also held three separate positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-New England in the Superfund Program and Urban Environmental Initiative. Erin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal from 1991-1993, and earned a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University.
Ethan Winter is the New York senior program manager for the Land Trust Alliance. He oversees the Alliance’s Conservation Partnership Program, which invests in major capacity-building grants and technical assistance for New York’s 90+ land trusts. Ethan also administers the Alliance’s state-level policy program in New York. Ethan previously worked with Jackson Hole Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy of California and the National Park Service. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies where he was a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and a Presidential Management Fellowship finalist.
Francisco (Pancho) Solis is a lawyer and conservation advocate who has been working to help protect the biodiversity and natural beauty of his native Chile since 2000. In 2003, he was awarded a Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize while working as part of the Coastal Range Coalition protecting southern Chile temperate forests. Pancho also worked for The Nature Conservancy, where he played a central role in creating the 147,000-acre Valdivian Coastal Reserve, which protects southern Chile’s temperate rainforest. He later became manager of this emblematic project. He was also was instrumental in establishing the the 59,305-acre Alerce Costero National Park. For several years, Pancho worked with legislators and partners in Chile on advancing legislation and incentives for private lands conservation in the country. These efforts were crowded in July 2016, by the passage of the Derecho Real de Conservación bill. Currently, he is a conservation consultant –for both national and international nonprofit organizations- to advance conservation –both marine and terrestrial– in places such as Valdivia, Easter Island and Patagonia. His pre-conservationist career includes working as a baker in a nature preserve, chef in a Japanese restaurant, a government legal advisor, a labor law instructor and a mountaineering guide.
Frank joined New England Forestry Foundation as deputy director in November 2013. He oversees NEFF’s land conservation work, communications and brand. He also leads the organization’s new Center for Forestry and Conservation Innovation, which seeks to develop creative approaches to accelerate the pace of conservation, improve public understanding of forestry and ensure the highest quality of forest management in New England’s woods. Prior to joining NEFF Frank worked for more than 20 years for The Nature Conservancy, leading programs ranging from community-based conservation in the Berkshires to the organization’s global climate adaptation program. He left The Nature Conservancy in 2013 as a senior manager. He is a Switzer Fellow, a former senior fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, the author of three books including most recently Clothed in Bark and adjunct faculty in environmental studies at both Brandeis and Harvard universities.
Frazier Haney has been the conservation director at the Mojave Desert Land Trust since September 2013, where he leads land acquisition, stewardship, and land use policy projects. He grew up hiking, climbing and camping in the Midwest and the California Desert. He attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and received a bachelor of science degree in ecology, and wrote a senior thesis on the speciation in reptile populations. In addition to his work at MDLT, his career in conservation work has involved public access to the outdoors, habitat restoration, and advocacy for stronger protection of public lands. Frazier was recently appointed to the Bureau of Land Management’s Desert Advisory Council where he represents conservation interests. He currently lives in Joshua Tree, CA with his wife Jamie and their daughter Lily.
In his role as land protection program manager for the Colorado Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Galen is responsible for initiating and executing land protection projects throughout the state with a particular emphasis on new preserve and conservation easement acquisitions in the shortgrass prairie of southeast Colorado and the sagebrush sea of northwest Colorado. A native Coloradan, Galen is passionate about implementing landscape-scale conservation in his home state for both nature and people. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Galen worked as an environmental consultant for TRC, where he lead the planning and development of energy projects for utility and generation clients and applied his technical specialties in conservation biology, impact assessment and mitigation. Galen holds a master’s in sustainability from Marlboro College, and a bachelor’s in science, technology & society from Stanford University.
Geoffrey Geupel is the director of the Emerging Program and Partnerships Group for Point Blue Conservation Science. Geoff is a 38-year employee and member of the senior management team at Point Blue Conservation Science. He currently chair of Partners in Flight’s National Steering Committee and of the Sonoran Joint Venture. He works closely with many partners to monitor and assess the impacts of restoration, land-use and climate change on bird populations and ecosystems services with the goal of putting better, more appropriate practices on-the-ground to improve conservation outcomes.
Gil Livingston is president of the Vermont Land Trust, after having served as counsel and vice president for land conservation. Gil’s long record of public service includes having managed Vermont’s statewide land use permit program.
Glenn Marx is executive director of the Montana Association of Land Trusts.Previously, he spent eight years as the publisher of a weekly newspaper in Whitehall, MT. Glenn was also the natural resource advisor and deputy chief of staff for Governor Stan Stephens and the natural resource policy advisor and policy director for Governor Marc Racicot. He also served as campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Marc Racicot and for Congressman Ron Marlenee’s successful re-election effort in 1988.
Gordon Robertson joined Denver Parks and Recreation in 2007 and is the director for the planning, design and construction division, which oversees all capital planning and project management services for the department. Previous to coming to Denver, Gordon worked as the parks planning manager for the City of Arlington, TX (pop. 380,000) for six years and as a senior parks Project manager for the Lower Colorado River Authority in Austin, TX for seven years.
Greg joined the Commission in 2012. As the former executive director of North Olympic Land Trust in Washington, he became familiar with accreditation while leading that organization through the process. He began his land conservation career in 2005 as a Colorado Conservation Fellow, and has education and experience in the fields of environmental science, regional planning, natural resources management, and finance.
Gregory L. Snyder, ARA, is president of Snyder Appraisal Associates, a Lancaster, PA based fee appraisal company founded in 2000, focusing on Conservation Easement appraisals as well as specialized agricultural and rural property valuation. Raised on a family farm in Lehigh County, PA, Greg holds the ARA designation from the ASFMRA. He is currently District 1 President, as well as a certified instructor for the ASFMRA.
Hannah Clark is executive director of the Washington Association of Land Trusts, which represents 27 land conservation nonprofits in Washington state who are working collectively to strengthen private, voluntary land conservation. Throughout her career, Hannah has worked to ensure communities have the resources they need to protect their best outdoor spaces. She also works with the national LWCF Coalition and was previously Federal Policy Director for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. She holds her bachelor’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan Ford School.
Hazel has over 15 years of experience in public policy, conservation and environmental law, grant writing, graphic design, and business administration. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Penn State University’s Schreyer Honors College, and a Masters of Arts in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Hazel has been a part of the Land Trust since 2004, and is honored to have watched the organization grow from its humble beginnings into a nationally-accredited land trust with over 7,000 acres of preserved land in eleven Georgia and South Carolina counties. Outside of her role at the Land Trust, Hazel’s hobbies include outdoor adventure sports, international travel, organic gardening, ballroom dance, and performing arts. She and her husband, Taylor, also run Piccolina Farm, a small organic farm that supplies fresh healthy vegetables to local farmers markets.
Heide has been the stewardship director for the Methow Conservancy for six years. She is responsible for maintaining relationships with a wide variety of conservators, providing landowners with stewardship resources, and actively participating in landscape level stewardship and restoration efforts in the Methow Valley and North Cascades. She spends most of her spare time mountain biking, Nordic and backcountry skiing on the “dry side” of the Cascades with her husband, foster son and two dogs.
Helen Forgione, senior ecologist, oversaw NAC’s assessment of NYC’s natural areas, and holds a master’s in ecology and evolutionary biology (Rutgers University) and a bachelor’s in biology (University of Connecticut).
Henry Tepper is a Boston-based consultant who has spent 25 years as a conservation leader in both the United States and abroad. Among his positions are serving as the president of Mass Audubon, as chief conservation officer and a partner at Patagonia Sur, LLC, and working for 14 years at The Nature Conservancy as the state director in New Hampshire and then in New York State. Henry has worked for the past decade on efforts to advance private lands conservation in Chile, and is a member of the board of the Tierra Austral Land Trust. He has also participated in several initiatives at the Land Trust Alliance, including serving as a member of the independent Land Trust Accreditation Commission, and as a member of the National Land Trust Leadership Council. In addition to his consulting work, he teaches a course on land conservation practice in the US and abroad at the Harvard University Extension School.
As the local government program manager at Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Jake serves as GOCO’s liaison with local governments managing planning, park and trail construction grant programs. He also serves on various steering and advisory committees to further the development of parks and trails across the state of Colorado. Jake has been with GOCO since 2010.
Jacob Newell is the stewardship plannerfor Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. Jacob has 13 years’ experience in all aspects of easement stewardship, including monitoring, baseline documentation, site assessments, use requests, easement amendments, and compliance, as well as landowner relations, data management, and GIS. He has participated in numerous LTA Rallies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara. The District holds 235 easements with 315 ownerships over more than 105,000 acres.
Jeff Appel is a practicing attorney in Salt Lake City. He is also a member of the board of directors of a land trust, and has extensive experience with both water rights and conservation easements.
Jeff Swinehart serves as Lancaster Farmland Trust’s Deputy Director. With 17 years of land trust experience, he focuses upon the preservation of Lancaster County’s agricultural land resources principally through the acquisition and stewardship of conservation easements. During his tenure he has conducted the acquisition of more than 300 conservation easements. He is also responsible for the supervision of the Trust’s Smart Farms and Municipal Outreach programs. Jeff is a member of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Policy Committee and serves as Vice-Chairman of the Manheim Township Planning Commission. Jeff graduated with a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Pennsylvania State University and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography, plus minors in Geology and Regional Planning from Mansfield University.
Jennifer Brady-Connor designs and maintains the systems and materials that ensure accreditation applicants and accredited land trusts have a good user experience and tools needed to promote the accreditation brand. She has reviewed more than 70 applications for first-time and renewal accreditation since joining the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in March 2008. Previously she worked for a local land trust, followed by many years at the Land Trust Alliance where she provided technical assistance to land trusts and aided in Land Trust Standards and Practices revisions.
As manager for the Chesapeake Bay Land and Water Initiative, Jennifer works to accelerate land protection and stewardship that directly and positively impacts water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Initiative make grants to support on the ground projects and partnerships between land conservation and water quality groups, and invests in policy and communications that improve the context for such work. Prior to the Chesapeake Bay Land and Water Initiative, she was Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland Grassroots Manager, developing grassroots advocacy strategy and outreach to advance clean water restoration and policy. Jennifer has led wilderness protection campaigns in southwest and northwest Montana for The Wilderness Society, and she spent a decade at the Seattle-based Wilburforce Foundation, serving as Program Officer for the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Program.
Jennifer Plowden is a senior conservation economist at The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. The Trust for Public Land’s Conservation Economics Program conducts research on the economic benefits and fiscal impacts of land conservation at the local, regional, and state levels.
Jeremy took up residence in the North Fork Valley (Paonia) in 2001, after becoming assistant director and public lands coordinator for the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council. During his tenure with WSERC, he kept tabs on a wide range of conservation issues ranging from underground coal mining, oil and gas development, timber harvesting, and off-road vehicle planning, to wildlife habitat protection, federal reserved water rights, and collaborative engagement in the GMUG Forest Plan revision process. Jeremy is an alum of the Student Conservation Association and a charter member of AmeriCorps. He holds a bachelor of arts in zoology, a master of science in environmental studies and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems. Beyond the passionate pursuit of conservation, Jeremy enjoys escaping into the mountains to chase wild trout with a fly rod and Dusky Grouse with his bird dogs, as well as hiking, camping, photography, birding, and cycling. Jeremy works primarily from his home office in Paonia.
Jeremy Stone is FRPP program manager for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service easement programs division.
Jerome Faulkner is a member of NRCS Easement Programs Division in Washington, D.C. He is the NRCS national grassland reserve program manager and the ACEP-ALE national program manager. He has been working with NRCS easement programs in many aspects including restoration planning, acquisition, and program implementation at the state and national level. He is the Easement Programs Division RCPP point of contact and routinely assists the national RCPP team with easement programs.
Jerome Ryan serves as the conservation investment manager at Conservation Forestry Partners, where he works to enhance eco-asset opportunities and to further the conservation heritage of the firm. Prior to this, Mr. Ryan co-founded two companies to both certify wetland and conservation mitigation banks and to acquire already certified wetland and conservation mitigation banks. Mr. Ryan has a bachelors in environmental economics from UC Berkeley and anmasters from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. (A07)
Jes Skillman is a GIS analyst with Ducks Unlimited, where she has worked since 2012. Skillman works extensively with land trusts across the United States to solicit data for the National Conservation Easement Database; organize GIS data into geodatabases; and track data collection progress. Skillman has a master’s degree in conservation biology from the University of Michigan.
Jesica Blake is the director of stewardship and community conservation for the NC Coastal Land Trust, where, for the past 15 years she has been supervising all components of the monitoring & enforcement program covering 68,000 acres in a 31 county region. In addition, she has been working on community conservation partnerships including land protection and public access. She holds a degree in natural resources and forestry and wildlife conservation certificates as well as bring a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership.
Jessica Jay is the founder and principal attorney of Conservation Law, P.C., a law firm devoted to ensuring the permanence of land conservation through sound transactions. Jessica represents easement holders and landowners to conserve working landscapes and environmentally significant properties in the Rocky Mountain West. She engages easement holders, professionals, and landowners in educational workshops, and guides the next generation of land conservationists through her Land Conservation Law courses at the Vermont Law School and the Denver University Law School. Jessica collaborates with the conservation community to design new conservation incentives, shape emerging conservation law, and discover new frontiers in land conservation.
Jessica Sargent is the director of conservation economics at The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. The Trust for Public Land’s Conservation Economics Program conducts research on the economic benefits and fiscal impacts of land conservation at the local, regional, and state levels.
Jessica Whittaker is a review specialist for the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. She is a licensed attorney, who practiced in primarily the areas of real estate and estate planning law. Prior to entering into private practice, she was the executive director of the Sippican Lands Trust, Inc. (SLT), where she successfully guided staff through the accreditation process during the pilot program. Jessica also worked in land protection for both SLT and the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Inc. She has served on several nonprofit boards and committees, and served as Commissioner from 2009 to 2012.
Jessie Bessinger is the executive director of Bluegrass Conservancy. Jessie has over ten years of experience as an environmental engineer and project manager. Her knowledge includes in mapping and natural resource documentation, with over three years of experience assisting with land protection and stewardship for Bluegrass Conservancy. Jessie holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Purdue University.
Jill Bays holds a bachelor of science degree in human relations and organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco. She worked as an International product marketing manager for DuPont for 15 years in the Electronic Materials Division where she was responsible for a product line with $150 million/year in sales. She and her husband now own and operate a successful language services business that they started in 1989. Jill was a founding director of THC and has helped the organization achieve its current conservation status of preserving 6,000 acres of land in the West Mojave with Endowments of just over 4 Million dollars. She is a member of the California Council of Land Trusts, Land Trust Alliance, Resource Center, High Desert Community Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, Alliance for Responsible Recreation, Land Trust Alliance, Backcountry Horseman, Jill represented the California Council of Land Trusts on the DRECP as a Stakeholder. She participated in the San Bernardino County General Plan Update as member of the Phelan/Pinon Hills Community Plan. Jill serves as a volunteer director and volunteer officer.
In 2014, Jim joined Eagle Valley Land Trust as its executive director. Hailing originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area, but traveling west regularly for outdoor adventures with his family, Jim moved to Colorado in 1992 to follow his passion for the mountains. Jim earned his bachelor of arts from Vassar College and a master’s in real estate development and finance from the University of Colorado. After working in commercial real estate brokerage and development for 13 years, he decided his true passion was in protecting and preserving land and began working for Boulder County Parks and Open Space in 2006. During his 8 1/2 years at Boulder County Parks and Open Space he completed nearly 100 different open space acquisitions and conservation easements protecting over 3,500 acres of land. Structuring complex deals and working with multiple stakeholders while also paying close attention to details are Jim’s strengths. An avid hiker, biker, back country skier, sailor, and fisherman, Jim asks that you invite him to attend meetings on a mountain, river, or trail as frequently as you can.
Jim Levitt is the manager of land conservation programs in the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts and director of the program on conservation innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, in Petersham, Massachusetts. In addition, he holds ongoing fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School and at Highstead, a non-profit organization advancing land conservation in New England. Jim focuses on landmark innovations in the field of land and biodiversity conservation (both present-day and historic). He has played an instrumental role in the effort to organize the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), whose mission is to connect organizations around the world that are accelerating voluntary private and civic sector action to protect and steward land and water resources. Jim is also a member of the Board of the Tierra Austral Land Trust.
Joe Sambataro assists local climbing organizations with conservation projects nationwide. He designed and implemented a new revolving loan program, funding 22 projects in multipe states. Prior to the Access Fund, Joe managed conservation transactions with the Cascade Land Conservancy, closing 15 projects and protecting over 1,000 acres.
John Rissler is the Programs Team Leader at the USDA, NRCS, Easement Programs Division in Washington DC.
Jonathan Blum is an attorney at Polsinelli PC, specializing in nonprofit law. He is the executive director and general counsel for the David Nathan Meyerson Foundation, a philanthropic vehicle of the Morton H. Meyerson family and primarily supports small non-profit organizations with low administrative expenses and leaders who are passionate, competent and kind. Mr. Blum oversaw the administration, legal and tax compliance of the Foundation, and also served as the general counsel for the 2M Companies, Inc., which is the family office for Morton H. Meyerson. 2M’s primary business purpose is to support the David Nathan Meyerson Foundation and its communities, and to invest with people who are interested in effecting social change. Mr. Blum provided legal guidance for 2M’s investments and transactions and managed the insurance function. Prior to joining 2M, Mr. Blum was the general counsel of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activities, working to end breast cancer forever. Mr. Blum is a frequent speaker at Land Trust Alliance Rally and Legal Symposia.
Jonathan Jarosz is the executive director of the Heart of the Lakes, a statewide support organization serving Michigan’s nonprofit land conservancies. He provides leadership to strengthen the effectiveness of land conservancies to reach the highest legal, ethical, and technical standards. Previously, Jarosz worked as a conservation planner and consultant to nonprofits and as the Midwest Field Representative for the Land Trust Alliance. Jarosz has a master’s degree in resource development from Michigan State University.
Jordan is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem, OR. He spent summers working on family farms in Oregon and also served as a U.S. Forest Service firefighter in the high desert. He brings nearly a decade of political experience working for legislatures and elected officials in Oregon and Washington. He and his family live in Tacoma.
Joy is the executive director for the Riverside Educational Center, an after school tutoring and enrichment program for underserved and minority youth. Joy is partnering with Libby and other local groups on the GOCO Inspire initiative to get kids outdoors as a way to encourage healthy lifestyles, instill leadership, and reduce incidents of crime. Joy has developed a leadership program that moves these high risk kids through K-12 programing, using outdoor recreation and connecting to nature as a major element in support and skill development for these kids.
Judy Anderson of Community Consultants has worked in the land trust sector for over 20 years. Judy currently assists nonprofit organizations on practical strategic conservation initiatives incorporating local communities, climate change, governance, communications and community-based fundraising strategies. She also coaches land trusts in Guided Organizational Assessments, systems development, easement drafting and stewardship, inclusive conservation, and building greater community relevance to ensure their work withstands the test of time. Judy is a regular presenter at national and regional land trust conferences and trainings on topics including fundraising/outreach, easement drafting/stewardship, climate change and land protection, and inclusive conservation.
Kara H. Whelan is the vice president at Westchester Land Trust. Kara works with regional and local leaders to build support and capacity for conservation projects that promote local agriculture and land preservation as methods for strengthening community resilience and wellness. She directs WLT’s community programs, communications and development initiatives. Kara serves as co-coordinator of the Hudson to Housatonic Regional Conservation Partnership (H2HRCP.ORG) an interstate collaboration of CT & NY conservation groups working to advance regional priorities. Kara holds a master’s in natural resource policy from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor’s in environmental geoscience from Boston College.
Since 2004, Karen Martynick has served as the executive director of Lancaster Farmland Trust a private, non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving the rich, productive farmland of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining the Trust, Karen served for 12 years as County Commissioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she was involved in the protection of over 30,000 acres of open space and farmland and initiated and implemented the County’s award winning comprehensive land use plan “Landscapes”.
Karen is a member of the LTA Leadership Council and the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition. She has served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association and the National Association of Counties and as a member of EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee.
Karin Marchetti Ponte is an attorney who has devoted her career to advising on conservation easements and land trust business in general. She is general counsel to Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine’s statewide land conservation leader, a position she has held since 1985. She is also principal attorney at Land Conservation Legal Services, consulting and advising land trusts and government on conservation easement design, drafting and stewardship nationally. She has authored numerous articles and taught nationally on easement amendment among other topics. She co-authored legislation in Maine that strictly limits conservation easement amendment. She is a member of the claims committee of Terrafirma Risk Retention Group, LLC, the first conservation defense liability insurance program begun by the Land Trust Alliance and now insuring over 493 land trusts holding over 7.6 million acres of conservation land across America. She is the author of the Conservation Easement Drafting Guide of the Conservation Easement Handbook, Second Edition, 2005, Land Trust Alliance.
Katherine Hollins is the program manager for the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She facilitates Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively workshops throughout the U.S. along with the SFFI team, tracks the team’s progress, provides ongoing assistance to participants, and ensures SFFI continues to support natural resource professionals through the development of new tools, resources and activities. Katherine has a background in natural resource outreach and communications, as well as experience managing multi-partner collaborative efforts focused on non-native species, and conducting on-the-ground management of nature preserves. She has a master’s in natural resources and the environment from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Virginia.
Katherine Romans is executive director of the Hill Country Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining the unique features of the Texas Hill Country region, including the countless spring-fed streams, multi-ethnic and agricultural heritage, and spectacular scenic beauty. She previously worked as a legislative aide for the Committee on Natural Resources within the US House of Representatives. Katherine holds a master’s in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Kathy DeCoster began her tenure at The Trust for Public Land in 1994, becoming vice president and director of Federal Affairs in 2009. She has worked to secure funding for specific land conservation projects across the nation and advocated for new and existing programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Forest Legacy Program, and the Farmland Protection Program. Prior to joining TPL, Kathy worked on Capitol Hill for 14 years. Kathy has been an attendee and a presenter at numerous rallies over the years.
Katrina Farmer, communications manager for the Monadnock Conservancy in Keene, N.H., has 20 years of experience in the editorial and communications industry, and has worked for the land trust since 2009. She brings a deep love of place to her job.
Kawika Burgess attended the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and received a bachelor’s degree in Geography and a Certificate in Hawaiian Language. He later attended the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and took graduate courses in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Kawika was subsequently hired by Trust For Public Land to lead a new program called the Native Lands Program to protect lands of significant cultural and historic value. He then worked at Kamehameha Schools as a Land Assets and Operations manager where he managed over 13,000 acres of land on the islands of O’ahu and Moloka’i including agricultural and conservation lands. Kawika next served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and oversaw the management of the agencies 26,000 acres of landholdings. In 2014 Kawika founded Real Property Management Alliance, a real estate management company on the island of O’ahu. Kawika is honored to serve as the CEO of Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.
Kelly represents The Conservation Fund on federal conservation policy, funding and projects with the administration, U.S. Congress and NGOs, with a focus on the Farm Bill conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act. She is the Fund’s lead realty liaison with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service for projects nationwide and represents land acquisition projects with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service (Forest Legacy Program) in the western United States. Kelly joined the Fund in 2008, with many prior years of legislative, public service and non-profit experience. She holds a juris doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a bachelor of science in education from Miami University of Ohio.
Kelly Pohl recently joined Headwaters Economics as a researcher. She spent the last decade as associate director of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, working on community trail and land conservation projects near Bozeman, Montana.
Kenneth Holbrook (Maidu, Pit River) is executive director and a founding member of the Maidu Summit Consortium.
Ken Popper is the senior conservation planner for the Nature Conservancy’s Oregon program. He started in conservation as a wildlife biologist, conducting field research on rare and endangered wildlife species for 10 years before applying data and information from similar research to conservation planning efforts. His current work in Oregon and across the PNW centers around large and small-scale conservation planning for everything from energy development to climate change to help determine roles and conservation priorities. Ken holds degrees in wildlife science and communications, and has been the interim director of science for Oregon from January 2016 – February 2017.
Keri York is the senior conservation coordinator at Wood River Land Trust where she has oversees conservation easement and fee land stewardship and develops land protection projects. She also represents WRLT in local and regional collaborative efforts. Keri holds a master’s degree in environmental science from Washington State University and has been at WRLT for five years. (D13)
Kevin McCarty has done appraisal work in over 100 counties in five western states in his 31-year appraisal career, focusing on natural resource valuation, including land, water, gravel and recreational resources. Kevin has worked for numerous landowners, land trusts and governmental entities on conservation easement assignments. He also worked for the IRS and Colorado Attorney General on the infamous “gravel conservation appraisals” in Eastern Colorado, including testifying in U.S. Tax Court.
For the past 10 years, Kevin worked for the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA), whose mission is to create, promote and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. As the director of land conservation, he is responsible for property acquisitions and the management of more than 80 IATA-held land interests. In his tenure at the Alliance, Kevin retroactively prepared over 40 baseline document reports, instituted an easement monitoring program and inventoried all IATA-owned lands. He came to the Alliance from a local land trust where he was charged with assessing and prioritizing hundreds of properties along a scenic riverway.
Kimberly Hall is a climate change ecologist with The Nature Conservancy’s North American Region, and her work focuses on research and tools for incorporating climate change impacts and adaptation into site and regional-scale conservation activities, primarily in the Great Lakes and Great Plains regions. Currently, she manages a project focused on mapping the climate change resilience of terrestrial systems in the Midwest, and co-leads a working group on preparing for ecological drought. Kim completed her master’s and doctorate of philosophy at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment where her research focused on forest ecology and songbird conservation.
Konrad Liegel is an attorney in Seattle, Washington with nearly three decades of experience, in a large firm setting and now as a solo practitioner, of advising nonprofits, families and businesses on exempt organization, charitable planning, conservation, real estate, land use and environmental matters. He has contributed to several LTA publications, including the LTA curriculum on Avoiding Conflicts of Interest and Running an Ethical Land Trust, and is a frequent speaker at LTA national and regional conferences. He is listed among the Best Lawyers in America.
Kris Larson serves as executive director for the Minnesota Land Trust, where he has worked in various capacities since 1998. The Minnesota Land Trust is a state-wide non-profit organization with a mission to protect and restore Minnesota’s most vital natural assets. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Larson served as the executive director of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts based in Denver, where he oversaw program delivery to more than 60 land trusts and local government conservation programs. Prior to 1998, he worked at the Brandywine Conservancy in Pennsylvania. Mr. Larson has an undergraduate degree from Carleton College and a master’s in environmental design from the University of Georgia.
Kristen works with the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science on outreach and training related to climate change adaptation. She works with the broader network of Regional Climate Hubs to help fulfill climate change training needs for various stakeholder groups, and to develop outreach products. Prior to this position, Kristen worked as the content manager for the Forest Service’s Climate Change Resource Center (www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/).
Kristin LoVerde, education manager, oversees the Space to Grow program work at Openlands. Kristin develops and facilitates the Space to Grow community design process, community and student garden stewardship program, teacher training and community workshops.
Kristin Thomasgard-Spence is the program director for the DoD’s REPI Program, which links conservation, communities and national defense. She provides policy and guidance to the Military Services’ land protection partnerships to sustain mission capability at 86 locations in 28 states. Ms. Thomasgard previously worked for the Army’s Sustainable Range Program, and she has a bachelors n political science and public administration from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an masters from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
Kristina Geiger is the Minnesota Land Trust’s monitoring and land management program manager. She works with landowners, volunteers, and conservation partners to steward over 500 conservation easement and fee land properties across Minnesota. In addition, she manages ecological restoration projects in wetland, prairie, and forest habitats. Kristina has a master’s in natural resources from the University of Michigan and BAs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Kristina Ortez de Jones grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley and graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Anthropology. She is currently a master’s of public administration student at the University of New Mexico. She has been an organizer, advocate, policy analyst and board member on public lands and water issues for fourteen years. She is now the executive director at Taos Land Trust.
Kristofer Johnson is a senior city planner for Community Planning and Development with the City and County of Denver, CO.
Kris Hammer runs the stewardship and GIS mapping program at VHCB, a quasi-state organization formed 30 years ago to administer the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund. VHCB funds affordable housing, land conservation and historic protection. Before that, Kris was a member of the stewardship staff at Vermont Land Trust.
Kyle Fenner is the director of Elbert County Department of Community and Development Services.
Lawrence Kueter is an attorney with The Law Office of Lawrence R. Kueter in Denver, Colorado. His law practice is limited to land conservation. For 30 years he was with the law firm of Isaacson Rosenbaum, a firm nationally known for its conservation practice. Since 1990, his practice has included representing numerous landowners, local land trusts, governmental entities, and statewide and national conservation organizations in land conservation matters. He currently serves as legal counsel to the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. He is a former member of the Board of the Land Trust Alliance and former chair of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Larry received his law degree from the University of Denver. He has a master’s in economics from Wayne State University and received his bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin.
Larry Vickerman obtained a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in landscape management in 1990 and a master’s degree in not-for-profit management from the University of Washington in 1993. He is director of Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, a 700-acre farm and public garden in Littleton, Colo. He has worked in public horticulture and landscape restoration for more than 25 years, and he also maintains an active role in the family ranching business. In 2009, the Vickerman family placed a conservation easement on their 720 acres of ranchland in the southern Wet Mountain Valley. The easement is held by San Isabel Land Protection Trust.
Laura Robinson is a senior attorney with The Nature Conservancy and has assisted on conservation transactions throughout the Southern United States since 1994. Working to assist the various Chapters of The Nature Conservancy, as well as state and local governments throughout Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, and Louisiana, Laura has been instrumental in the acquisition of fee and conservation easements on hundreds of thousands of acres of critical conservation lands. Laura has an undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Florida and a juris doctorate from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law.
Laurel A. Florio is an attorney/consultant primarily working with land trusts regarding conservation easement and fee title land transactions, organizational matters and accreditation and re-accreditation preparation. She also conducts training sessions and webinars.
Lena Septimo is the lands project manager for the Land Trust of Napa County. She manages the monitoring & stewardship program for all completed conservation projects, covering 2836,000 acres in Napa County. She also works on the team to negotiate, draft and complete new acquisition projects for the organization. Previously, she was the stewardship coordinator for the Inland Northwest Land Trust.
Leslie Ratley Beach joined the Land Trust Alliance as its first conservation defense director in 2007. Leslie leads the national conservation defense insurance program (Terrafirma) and the Alliance’s conservation defense center. Previously, she worked with the Vermont Land Trust as stewardship director and project counsel
For the past eight years, Leslie has served as Director of Communications for Colorado Open Lands and Colorado Conservation Trust. She attended Pennsylvania State University, earning a bachelor’s in advertising and public relations and a master’s in media studies, with a research on nontraditional marketing strategies. She serves on the board of directors of the Colorado Watershed Assembly. Leslie enjoys all facets of design, and indulges in creative pursuits that let her explore those interests.
Libby is the project manager at the Mesa Land Trust in Grand Junction, Colorado. Libby heads up the public access projects that include acquiring land for public open space and fundraising for outdoor recreation facilities, including shared use paths and trailhead amenities. She directs community conservation efforts, is partnering with local groups on the GOCO Inspire initiative, and creates initiatives to get kids out hiking and stewarding conserved public lands.
Current GOCO board member, serving on the Youth Initiatives Committee. Linda is the former manager of the Open Space and Natural Resources Division for the City of Aurora. Linda serves on the Arapahoe County Open Space and Trails Advisory Board and the Colorado Open Space Alliance Steering Committee. She trains volunteer project managers and is a mixed media artist.
Lisa Haws is the cultural resource manager for the Sycuan Band, a board member of the National Tribal Land Association, and assistant executive director for the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy.
Lisa Hayden is outreach coordinator for New England Forestry Foundation, where she has managed a landowner communications and social marketing initiative with various partners in the MassConn Woods region since 2014. A former journalist, she has also worked on strategic communications and climate change for The Nature Conservancy. She earned a master’s in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University.
Lisa McCauley is the easement specialist for NRCS in Montana. She has over fifteen years of experience with NRCS with over seven years working on easement programs. She currently lives in Bozeman, MT.
Lisetta Silvestri is the operations director at Lakes Region Conservation Trust in New Hampshire. Lisetta previously worked in Maryland at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and at Pickering Creek Audubon Center. She is a senior fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program. She graduated from St. John’s College and holds a juris doctorate from The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is a member of the NH Bar. She lives with her husband, son and their two dogs in Holderness. Lisetta loves to hike, swim and kayak in our beautiful Lakes Region.
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Crane-Wexler is a certified forester who earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management from Clemson University and her master’s in forestry from North Carolina State University. She initiated the Forest Legacy Program in the South as an employee of the Forest Service in Atlanta. She began her forestry career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica and worked seasonally in Alaska, in addition to working as a hydrologist and rural development specialist for the Forest Service. Currently, Liz is a conservation easement specialist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington, D.C.
Liz Petterson joined the Arizona Land and Water Trust in 2007 and has held the position of executive director since 2011. Since 1978, Arizona Land and Water Trust has been committed to protecting southern Arizona’s vanishing western landscapes, its heritage of working farms and ranches, wildlife habitat and the water resources that sustain them. The Trust has protected nearly 49,000 acres through more than 50 transactions by partnering with willing landowners and conservation buyers. A native Tucsonan and University of Arizona graduate, Liz has been involved with natural resource public outreach/education efforts for over 20 years. Her extensive experience working with both rural landowners and the wide variety of land and water conservation tools available through the Trust makes her particularly well-suited to furthering the Trust’s mission. In addition to the Trust’s land protection work, in light of drought and observed changes in climate, they developed the Desert Rivers Program (DRP) in 2007. Expanding protection work to secure water for the environment and to sustain rural economies that will in turn preserve Arizona’s unique environmental and cultural heritage, the DRP seeks to protect and restore desert rivers throughout the Gila River Watershed. The Trust is currently implementing water lease agreements with landowners, the first established in the fall of 2012. The Trust continues to be particularly well suited to advance the transactional water agreement model in Arizona based on our long history of land protection successes, landowner partnerships, and the water trust model.
Lori Weigel is a partner with Public Opinion Strategies, the largest Republican polling firm in the nation. She primarily focuses on polling for and against initiatives and referendum in the West, including many successful open space and recreation funding ballot measures. Weigel has conducted research for a number of conservation groups throughout the country, including The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, Environmental Defense, National Wildlife Federation, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Wilderness Society, and the League of Conservation Voters. (F10)
M. Louise Allen is associate director for Bluegrass Land Conservancy and leads the Louisville Regional Office of Bluegrass Land Conservancy. A Louisville native, Louise has over 28 years of experience as a planning professional. During her career in Louisville, her experience has included: managing elements of Jefferson County’s Comprehensive Plan- Cornerstone 2020; corridor planning, bike and pedestrian planning, drafting land use regulations; and preparing various neighborhood plans. Before working in the land trust community, Louise was the executive director of planning and development in Oldham County, Kentucky.
Lydia Mendoza is a master of forestry candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her current focus is on how conservation finance tools can promote sustainable land management and rural economic development. Before graduate school, Lydia worked in development for the Northern Sierra Partnership, where her team conserved over 20,000 acres in the northern Sierra Nevada. This past summer, she wrote a report on the charitable giving of working land for the Pinchot Institute of Conservation.
Lynne Dardanell is the communications & outreach manager for Piedmont Land Conservancy. She plans community outreach efforts and local events, including a monthly nature outings series, as well as manages PLC’s communications. Her background includes marketing, communications and events management for various Triad nonprofits – including the Center for Creative Leadership, a leadership development training institute based in Greensboro, NC. Lynne graduates from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s in management/marketing.
Maianna Voge is a senior GIS specialist with GreenInfo Network with broad experience in helping land trusts and other organizations with GIS systems, data, analysis and map development.
As the land protection director at the North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) since 2012, Marc Hudson has overseen an expansion of preserved land from 800 to 18,000 acres. He led Northeast Florida’s first regional sea level rise study and conservation plan, and served as an adviser for the creation of the Land Trust Alliance’s Climate Change Toolkit. He is a Kinship Conservation Fellow for market driven conservation strategies. Prior to NFLT, he has worked with land trusts in Alabama, Georgia and New York.
Marc Smiley is an organizational development consultant and owner of Solid Ground Consulting, who has worked with hundreds of land trusts since 1989. Marc’s background as a staff member, executive director, board member, and officer for land conservation groups is complemented with 25 years of consulting experience covering the “core muscles” needed for effective land trusts: governance, planning, structure, engagement, and of course, fundraising. Marc wrote two of the Alliance’s Learning Center curricula (boards and fundraising), was one in the first group of Accreditation Commissioners, and has presented at more than 25 Rallies.
Margaret Sands plans and executes programs and events, including Wild Ideas, for Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) while managing partnerships to expand TLC’s reach in the community in her role as the membership and community outreach coordinator. Margaret previously worked for SC Thrive where she completed Bob Pike Train the Trainer certification and regularly taught capacity building courses for nonprofits. Margaret holds a master’s in International environmental policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Maria Janowiak worked with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science since 2007, where her work focuses on translating science related to climate change and forests into usable information, resources, and tools for forestry and conservation professionals. Maria coordinates the New England Climate Change Response Framework project and has helped to develop dozens of real-world examples of climate change adaptation.
Marissa Hartzler is the southeast program manager for the Land Trust Alliance, assessing the needs and providing benefit to the Alliance’s nearly 200 member organizations in 12 southern states. Prior to joining the Alliance, Marissa coordinated statewide initiatives and K-12 programming for the North Carolina Science Festival. Previously, she served as executive director of the Schiff Natural Lands Trust in NJ and as program director of the Duke Forest teaching and research facility. Marissa holds a master of environmental management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Mark Ackelson joined the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation as one of its original staff members in 1980, served as president 1994-2013 and retired to emeritus status. This mission of INHF is the protection and restoration of Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. He was an incorporating board member, past chair, and 2007 recipient of the Land Trust Alliance’s prestigious Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award. He continues to serve the Alliance as National Council member and Conservation Finance Advisor. This is his 27th Rally.
Mark Anderson provides science leadership, ecological analysis, and landscape assessment tools for conservation efforts across eighteen states in the Nature Conservancy’s Eastern Division. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from University of New Hampshire and has worked as an ecologist for over 27 years, 22 with The Conservancy. Mark has published widely on biodiversity conservation, forest dynamics, and climate change resilience, and was a co-author of the National Vegetation Classification. His current research interests include ecological resilience, disturbance processes, geophysical landscape properties, and seafloor mapping.
Mark Langgin brings a wealth of experience to GPS Impact from working both inside and outside state government on issue advocacy, ballot measures, lobbying, and political campaigns. Prior to joining GPS Impact, Mark served as deputy chief of staff to the Iowa House Majority Leader and as campaign manager for Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy which, when funded, will be the largest conservation ballot measure in U.S. history – protecting over $150 million per year for conservation programs in the State of Iowa.Mark has worked with a number of local and national conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Pheasants Forever, and Ducks Unlimited. He continues to serve as executive director for Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy – a coalition of over 130 conservation, environmental, and outdoor recreation organizations who support funding Iowa’s Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.
Mark Robinson has served as executive director of The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc. since its founding in 1986. The Compact provides technical assistance to 25 land trusts on Cape Cod, including landowner negotiations, fundraising, land management, and state/municipal coordination. Mark previously worked on coastal management and water quality issues for the Cape Cod Planning and Economic Development Commission. He has served on the Barnstable Conservation Commission, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Conservation Study Group, Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, and Association to Preserve Cape Cod. He is the Governor’s representative on the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission.
Mark worked on a comprehensive project to update baseline documentation reports for the Minnesota Land Trust beginning in October 2014. To date, he has prepared updated reports for around 175 conservation easement properties to strengthen the organization’s baseline documentation. Mark previously worked with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy in Hendersonville, NC, and is currently preparing to enter an environmental master’s program at the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mark Weston has written and presented numerous seminars and workshops at Rally and elsewhere, mostly about conservation easement appraisals. He assisted in development of and has instructed the original five-day conservation easement valuation seminar for the Appraisal Institute and the ASFMRA. He has been an appraisal instructor for the International Right of Way Association. In 2016, he left private practice to manage Colorado’s conservation easement tax credit program for the state’s division of real estate.
Mary Burke is the associate director for educational services for the Land Trust Alliance where she serves as the managing editor for the Standards and Practices Curriculum, the most authoritative resource on private land conservation in the United States. Mary also produces webinars and other resources for land trusts, including Field Guide, a quarterly newsletter on issues of importance to boards. Prior to joining the Alliance, Mary worked for Sun Microsystems where she developed custom training solutions for government, business and education organizations. She has taught literature and writing at the University of Maryland where she also earned her Ph.D. in English literature. Mary also holds a master’s degree in English literature from Georgetown University and a degree in journalism from the University of Texas.
Mary Russ is executive director of the White River Partnership, formed in 1996 to improve the long term health of the White River watershed. She volunteered for WRP while a student pursuing a master’s in enironmental law and policy at Vermont Law School. She has been executive director since 2006.
MaryKay O’Donnell is the senior midwest program manager for the Land Trust Alliance and is responsible for assisting land trusts with organizational and leadership development, training, mentoring, and peer learning. In coordination with Gathering Waters, MaryKay co-manages the Land Trust Excellence and Advancement Program (LEAP) in Wisconsin. She came to the Alliance in 2007 with 18 years of experience in conservation land acquisition. MaryKay co-authored a Standards and Practices Curriculum Guide titled Acquiring Land and Conservation Easements. She enjoys living in northern Michigan with her husband and two boys, and is on a quest to visit every major league baseball park.
Matt served three terms from 1999-2011 as one of Crowley County’s Commissioners. Upon leaving office, he accepted the position of land use administrator for the county. As a farmer, an elected official, and land use administrator, Matt has confronted the effects of large-scale dry-ups of irrigated lands firsthand. The present landscape is plagued with blowing dirt problems, weed proliferation, wildland fire concerns and small acreage management challenges. It is Matt’s hope that his association with Palmer Land Trust will facilitate creative and financially rewarding options for landowners who wish to keep their water rights on the farm forever.
Megan D’Arcy is the stewardship manager for Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and is charged with ensuring ESLC meets its commitment to perpetually uphold the terms of each of its conservation easements on 48,879 acres of Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore. She has a background in anthropology and natural resource management and holds a master’s of environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Megan is the recipient of the 2016 Aileen Hughes Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and creative thinking in her field.
Megan serves as the director of stewardship forColorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. Megan joined CCALT in 2008. She has master’s degrees in forestry and environmental management from the Nicholas School at Duke University. In her spare time, she works helping her husband manage their family cattle ranch in Oak Creek, Colorado. The ranch has been conserved with a conservation easement and their daughter is now the 5th generation on the land.
Megan Lawson is an economist with Headwaters Economics. She studies changing communities and economies in the western U.S., focusing on the economic impacts of recreation, public lands, ecosystem services, and demographic trends.
Meghan Mullee is assistant vice president at Alliant Insurance Services, Inc, the largest specialty insurance brokerage firm in the country. Primarily responsible for development and oversight of the Conserve-A-Nation® Insurance Program, Meghan focuses her efforts on risk evaluation and insurance solutions for land trusts. The program carries the endorsement of the Land Trust Alliance, and currently provides coverage to 1,500 conservation nonprofits nationwide.
Meghan is a graduate of the University of Virginia. In 2017, she was proud to receive Business Insurance Magazine’s “Break Out” Award in recognition of her work in the insurance industry on behalf of the conservation community.
Meighen Speiser has been ecoAmerica’s chief engagement officer since 2008, overseeing the strategy and management of marketing, programs, and research. Before ecoAmerica, she was the Brand Director for (RED), managing the conception, launch and continued growth of the (RED) brand, including collaboration with partners (Gap, Hallmark, Windows and more) on all consumer-facing expressions of their (PRODUCT) RED partnership. Meighen also worked at Mattel, Inc. where she held roles in brand and marketing for their consumer products division with over 1,000 worldwide licensees of the Barbie other Mattel brands. Prior to Mattel, she was vice president of marketing for Robertson Stephens Investment Bank. She began her career at American Express.
Melinda Beck practices in the area of conservation, land use, real estate transactions and real property transfers. Melinda assists local governments, land trusts and private landowners with purchases and donations of conservation easements throughout the United States and internationally. In her career, Melinda has completed hundreds of conservation transactions. Melinda’s practice also includes assisting landowners and land trusts with issues related to oil and gas development, including negotiation of leases and surface use agreements.
Melinda Ching joined the Nature Conservancy in 2001 and has provided a wide range of legal support for Conservancy programs in the Asia Pacific Region, Hawaii, Arizona and Wyoming, including conservation easement transactions, land acquisitions, opening offices in new geographies and negotiating conservation financing vehicles in the international arena. Melinda has served as a lecturer in Conservation Transactions at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii and has received Distinguished Lecturer honors. Ms. Ching has been a frequent speaker on addressing workplace violence and harassment issues in Hawaii. She is currently active with The Conservancy’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative through its Women In Nature Employee Resource Group (WIN) and is focused on developing coaching and mentoring resources for its members. She received her bachelor’s from the University of California, Berkeley and her juris doctorate from the University of California, Davis King Hall School of Law.
Melissa oversees the accreditation review process, works closely with the Commission to review and update the Requirements Manual, and has reviewed over 70 accreditation applications to date. Previously, she worked at The Nature Conservancy developing key ecological indicators for the Hudson River adaptive management plan and collecting data to assess the success of invasive species reduction programs. Melissa has a master’s degree in biodiversity, conservation and policy from the University at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University.
Melissa Odell is the conservation project manager/biologist at Sierra Foothill Conservancy. Melissa grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California. Since 2005 she has been working in the field of wildlife biology and management ranging from private lands conservation to environmental consultation, specializing on California, wetlands, grasslands Sierra foothills and agricultural areas. She holds a master’s in avian science from UC Davis, and a bachelor’s in wildlife management and conservation from Humboldt State University. Melissa began her current role with SFC in 2016.
Mike Eckley is a Society of American Foresters (SAF) certified forester and serves as forestry manager for The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Working Woodlands Program (www.nature.org/workingwoodlands). Launched in 2009, Working Woodlands combines working forest easements and forest certification to provide forest landowners access to ecosystem markets. Mike helps to manage the TNC’s Forest Stewardship Council group certificate and is responsible for providing oversight to enrolled properties and grow the program across the eastern United States.
Michael Grasty is a Santiago-based lawyer and the founding partner of the firm Grasty-Quintana-Majlis. In keeping with Grasty’s and his partner Alejandro Quintana’s long-standing interests in conservation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, the Grasty-Quintana law firm has hosted meetings of the Chilean private lands conservation initiative for the past then years. It was at the firm that the concept of the Derecho Real de Conservacion was developed. Grasty’s affiliations include: American Chilean Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Director and President (2005-2007); Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law; Councillor of the Pro Bono Foundation; Councilor of the Chile California Council; Advisor of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Beachheads; Fundación MERI, the Melimoyu Ecosystem Research Initiative.
Michelle Albert is a senior attorney at The Nature Conservancy. She manages litigation matters for the Conservancy and provides general legal support to the Missouri and Nebraska chapters. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Michelle worked for eight years in private practice at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP as a commercial litigator in federal and state court, where her practice included navigating discovery disputes, motions practice, trial work, arbitrations, and appeals.
Michelle Passero is the senior climate advisor to The Nature Conservancy California. She has many years of experience working in land conservation, environmental law and policy, with particular emphasis on forest and climate policy. She holds a master’s of law degree in sustainable International development from the University of Washington and a juris doctorate from the University of San Francisco.
Mike Carlson is executive director of Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts. Mike has overall responsibility for leading and managing the organization and acting as an advocate and liaison for Wisconsin’s land trusts on state and federal policy issues.
Michael Connolly Miskwish (Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians), is the Natural Resource Specialist for the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy, an author and instructor.
Mike Kane, the director of conservation at the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), has nearly two decades of land conservation experience in the Mid-Atlantic region. In the late 1990s, Mike helped create the Bucks County (PA) Municipal Open Space Program and the Bucks County Natural Areas Program, two county-wide initiatives that partnered with local governments and land trusts to identify and preserve productive farmland, critical natural habitats, and expand parkland in the county. In the early 2000s, Mike directed the Loudoun County (VA) Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program, which protected over 2,400 acres of Loudoun’s nationally recognized historic and scenic landscape. Mike now manages PEC’s land conservation program, which includes stewardship PEC’s conservation easements and conservation properties in PEC’s nine county region.
Mike Koutnik is a director for Gathering Waters. He has worked with state government agencies at Esri for over 22 years. He enthusiastically advocates for utilizing GIS to help conservation organizations achieve their objectives. He currently is helping lands trusts in Minnesota and Wisconsin apply GIS in useful ways. He also volunteers with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, assisting them with GIS and IT needs. In addition to Mike’s GIS background, his career includes experience in software development, product management, sales, solutions engineering, training, and Great Lakes habitat policy. He has also done extensive volunteer work and some contract work for the National Park Service. Mike’s academic training includes a bachelor’s in computer science, and master’s degrees in marketing and environmental monitoring. Mike lives with his wife, Anne, in Eagan MN, a short drive to those places he enjoys, and helps support with is volunteer work.
Misti Schmidt is an attorney at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass in San Francisco, where she focuses her practice on the real estate and tax aspects of conservation transactions under the mentorship of Bill Hutton. She also has expertise in the acquisition, disposition, financing, and leasing of commercial real estate. Misti received her juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, where she received a Certificate in Environmental Law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Misti was an AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader at an environmental project and was a law clerk at the Center for Biological Diversity, EarthJustice, and the Natural Heritage Institute.
Mitch Attig has worked on the stewardship team at Columbia Land Trust since 2015. In addition to his work on the stewardship team, Mitch is one of the two co-chairs of Columbia Land Trust’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. Having lived his entire life in Oregon, Mitch has a strong appreciation not just for the diverse natural wonders of the state, but also for the diverse people within Oregon. Mitch has a bachelor’s in environmental science from the University of Oregon.
After years as a practicing estate planning lawyer and the past 17 years as a gift planning professional with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and Alzheimer’s Association, Nancy A. Baker has worked with countless clients and donors to realize their philanthropy goals via all types of legacy gifts from simple to complex. Most recently, Nancy provided customized gift planning guidance, strategies and training to fundraisers, executives and board leadership of small, medium and large organizations to enable them and their donors to realize the benefits a robust Planned Giving program holds for an organization’s sustainability. Today, Nancy serves as development director – Santa Fe for Presbyterian Hospital Foundation, part of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, New Mexico’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system.
Nelson Checkoway, co-founder and principal of Rising Tide Direct LLC, has three decades of experience as an annual fund director, fundraising consultant, and award-winning copywriter. He has served dozens of conservation organizations including the National Audubon Society, American Farmland Trust, Triangle Land Conservancy, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, and The Nature Conservancy. Nelson has written, edited and/or produced more than 2,000 direct response fundraising letters raising nearly one-half-billion dollars in annual fund and membership gifts.
Nick Rossi is the conservation restriction (easement) steward for Mass Audubon across the state of Massachusetts. In his role, he has kept up with the constant flow of baseline reports and annual monitoring visits on Mass Audubon’s over 120 CE’s since 2015. Before starting at Mass Audubon, Nick worked for the MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation also doing CE stewardship and he began his career by interning on a multitude of tasks for the National Park Service and the Greater Worcester Land Trust. He holds a master’s in environmental science (2013) and a bachelor’s in geography (2012) with a focus in GIS both from Clark University. He is originally from Rhode Island.
As research manager, Paige organizes the production, distribution and project management of all ecoAmerica’s research efforts. Prior to joining ecoAmerica, Paige was the environmental programs assistant at an integrated resource recovery company, where her main projects involved securing California Green Business Certifications and implementing citywide sustainability programs. Paige earned her bachelor’s in environmental studies as well as minors in economics and sustainability from Santa Clara University and is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ms. Ewing is presently vice president and senior counsel for Orbital Sciences Corporation. Prior to that, she served as the national director of land projects for the American Farmland Trust, and as general counsel for World Wildlife Fund. Ms. Ewing also serves on the Fauquier County Committee on Purchase of Development Rights and provides pro-bono legal counsel to local non-profit associations. Before moving to Virginia, Ms. Ewing served on the board of a Maryland land trust and as founding President of South County Coalition, a non-profit formed to impact land use in southern Anne Arundel County.
Patrick Williams brings both a personal passion for conservation as well as a professional focus in public communications to his position with Openlands. He has previously worked with the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club and Chicago Wilderness and completed an internship with Openlands in 2014. He has a bachelor’s in History from the University of St Andrews/College of William & Mary Joint Degree Program.
Patti Hostetler has been with DLC since 2000. She is a Colorado native and a resident of Douglas County along with her husband and three sons, since 1991. She has been active in the Douglas County community being involved as Secretary of the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation, Treasurer of the Douglas County Non-profit Coalition, former Vice President of the Woodlands HOA and Chair of the Town of Castle Rock Planning Commission. Patti attended Fort Lewis College and Metro State University, both in Colorado, holds a Colorado real estate license, and has worked in the Colorado real estate industry for over 27 years. She is a graduate of the rigorous Executive Leadership Program through the Land Trust Alliance, the umbrella organization for the 1,700 land trusts throughout the country. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and gardening.
Patti Lousen, project coordinator, has been with the Wood River Land Trust since 2012. She coordinates water conservation efforts with for-profits, nonprofits and municipalities in the municipal landscape. She manages the Wood River Water Collaborative, a regional collaborative in conjunction with Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, which is working to resolve water conflicts between surface and ground water users. Patti holds a bachelor’s in invertebrate zoology, is a nordic and backcountry skier, avid mountain biker and was a founder of a private Waldorf school in the Wood River Valley.
Paul MacDonald is a director and shareholder of the Concord, N.H. law firm of Ransmeier & Spellman P.C. Paul concentrates his practice in real estate, land use and municipal law, and land conservation law, and is admitted to practice both in New Hampshire and Vermont. Paul is a past chair of Five Rivers Conservation Trust, a local land trust serving the Concord, New Hampshire area.
Paul Phillips has practiced environmental and land use law, policy and litigation for more than 30 years. His experience includes Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions under the Clean Air Act, RCRA, and the Clean Water Act. From 2000 to 2008, Paul served on Holland & Hart’s Management Committee, ultimately as Chairman, overseeing substantial growth in the firm. He has also served as Chair of the firm’s Natural Resources Department and Leader of its Environmental Group. Mr. Phillips has served on the board of the Colorado Legal Aid Foundation, the Colorado Plateau Archeological Alliance, the Trust for Land Restoration, and other civic and pro bono organizations. Mr. Phillip’s loves hiking and backpacking in the Colorado Rockies, bagging the easy 14ers, rafting the desert canyons of Colorado and Utah, and bringing back a long-neglected hay field and orchard in Taos, New Mexico.
Peg Kohring is The Conservation Fund’s Midwest regional director. A botanist by training, Peg has 31 years of experience in nonprofit funding, management, land protection and stewardship. Her current projects include implementing an $18 million green infrastructure initiative known as the Greenseams in collaboration with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to reduce future flooding non-structurally by purchasing hydric soil and working with the State of Michigan and City of Ann Arbor with the acquisition of over 90 farmland development rights easements. (SEM6, B20)
Peggy Chiu is an attorney with 14 years of nonprofit and conservation experience at The Trust for Public Land. She provides legal support for TPL’s lobbying and campaign finance activities, and serves as general counsel to TPL’s affiliated 501(c)(4) organization, The Trust for Public Land Action Fund.
Peter Dykstra practices conservation and water law with Plache & Carr in Seattle. Formerly, he was regional director, Pacific Northwest for The Wilderness Society
As executive vice president for Conservation Capital & Research Programs at the Open Space Institute (OSI), Peter Howell oversees OSI’s Conservation Capital program, which seeks to accelerate the rate and effectiveness of conservation by providing grants and short-term, low-cost bridge loans for land transactions in selected landscapes in the eastern US. Prior to his role at OSI, Peter Howell served as the program director for the environment at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, where he oversaw the distribution of almost $100 million for land conservation in the United States. He also worked as a program officer at the Wallace Funds, directing an $18 million national initiative focused on creating and improving urban parks. He was the associate director of public affairs and Development at SOBRO, an economic development corporation in the South Bronx, and the assistance business manager at Time Magazine.
Peter Nichols is a partner at Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP, Boulder, Colorado practicing water, environmental, conservation, and related law. Peter is the principle co-author of “Water Rights Handbook for Colorado Conservation Professionals” (Bradford 2005; 2011).
Peter R. Stein joined The Lyme Timber Company in 1990 as managing director and provides leadership in the structuring of conservation-oriented forestland and rural land purchases and dispositions. Peter also manages the Company’s conservation advisory business. Previously, Peter was senior vice president of the Trust for Public Land. Peter is a member of the boards of the National Alliance of Forestland Owners, the Forest History Society and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation. He is a former board chair of the Land Trust Alliance and served as a founding Commissioner of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. (C05)
Ramona (Nosapocket) Peters is a Bear Clan member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and lives in Mashpee on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for her tribe; her work focuses on repatriation, indigenous rights, and historic preservation, spiritual and cultural endeavors of the Wampanoag. She also serves her tribe as a traditional Chief’s Councilor, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Woman’s Medicine Society, and a former member Mashpee Tribal Council Board of Directors. Ramona is the sole proprietor of Peters Wampanoag Consulting Company assisting tribes, universities, museums, archaeological service companies, historic preservation agencies, and community development organizations, she also sat on the Board of Directors of Cultural Survival(cs.org) international indigenous rights advocate NGO, serving indigenous communities throughout the world. She is the founder of the Native Land Conservancy, (nativelandconservancy.org) the first Native American driven land trust east of the Mississippi River. Ramona is also practicing yogi of Vipassana Meditation 20 years and 35 year practitioner of Kung Fu.
Rebecca Jewett has led Palmer Land Trust as executive director since 2014. With over a decade of experience in the outdoor and conservation fields, she has overseen the planning, management, and implementation of countless environmental restoration, stewardship, and conservation projects working with government agencies, stakeholders, and the public.
Reggie Hall is the director of The Conservation Fund’s land conservation loan program, where he works with land trusts, nonprofits, community partners and government leaders nationwide to save special places outdoors. He started his land conservation career at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida before moving on to the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy in NC. He has a juris doctorate from Vermont Law School and a bachelors from Williams College.
Reno Franklin is the chairman of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians.
Rich Bruer is an organizational strategist, planner and communications lead for Solid Ground Consulting. He has supported numerous land trusts and other groups across strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, market research, brand and message development and communications planning. Rich co-founded a successful PR and advertising agency, which he sold in 2006 to work with organizations committed to social equity and environmental protection. He holds a masters in journalism from the University of Oregon.
Richard Smardon has lived and worked in Vermont, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Oregon and California before coming to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, NY) where he is a SUNY distinguished service professor emeritus. He has served on the board of the Central New York Land Trust for 30 years and currently is President. His most recent book is “The Renewable Landscape; Preserving Scenic Values in our Sustainable Future”. He holds a Ph.D. in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a MLA and bachelor’s in environmental design from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He created and maintains a web site for visual and landscape assessment references at http://www.esf.edu/via
Rick Bachand is an environmental program manager with the City of Fort Collins, Colorado Natural Areas Department. He is a leading expert in public land management and widely recognized for his award-winning efforts in ecological restoration and management. Rick is a 15 year member of the Colorado Open Space Alliance Steering Committee and acts as a policy adviser to the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.
Rick Huffines joined the Tennessee River Gorge Trust in 2013 after retiring from a 26-year career of public service with the US Fish and Wildlife Service where he has worked throughout the Southeast in five different states in various capacities. Most recently, Rick served as the deputy regional chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Rick spent his youth in Old Hickory, Tennessee roaming the banks of the Cumberland River where he was inspired at a young age to follow his passion for conservation. He attended Middle Tennessee State University and graduated in 1986 with a bachelor of science Degree in plant and soil science with an emphasis on wildlife management.
Rick Remington is a native of central Wisconsin and a graduate of UW-Stevens Point. Rick has been working in land management, restoration, and land protection for 25 years—throughout the Midwest as well as in Maine and Kentucky. He joined the West Wisconsin Land Trust staff in 2002, where, as conservation director, he is responsible for the conservation and fee land stewardship program and executing new land protection projects. In his spare time, he enjoys “silent sports,” gardening, and spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter.
Rob Aldrich is director of community conservation at the Land Trust Alliance. Previously, he was director of communications, and also director of information services. Rob has worked for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, a private consulting firm on contract to USAID, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. He speaks Spanish and has a bachelor’s in plant and soil science with a master’s in urban planning.
Rob Levin practices law in Portland, Maine, specializing in land conservation. He represents a variety of land trusts and landowners, and has spoken and written extensively on land conservation issues. Since 2005, Rob has written and updated Land Conservation Case Law Summaries for the Land Trust Alliance.
Rob Wade is a place-based educator in the Upper Feather River region of California’s northern Sierra Nevada. He is the creator / coordinator of Learning Landscapes, a K-12 partnership between the Feather River Land Trust and regional schools that supports all teachers and some 2000 students annually. Rob is the 2017 recipient of the Excellence in Environmental Education Award, presented by the California Environmental Education Foundation.
Roberto Peralta is a Chilean born in Paris, France. He is a Santiago-based lawyer with a practice focused on nonprofits, B Corporations, private conservation, corporate social responsibility, international transactions and business law. Roberto also lectures at The Catholic University of Chile, University of Chile and University Alberto Hurtado. He is a member of the Chilean Presidential Council for Citizenship Participation (Ministry of Government) and of the Social Donations Council (Ministry of Social Development). Roberto is also a member of the public policy committee in of the Social Organizations Community, actively involved in amending all tax legislation dealing with non-profits and in enacting the “Derecho Real de Conservación” (Chilean conservation easement).
Robin Hoffman is a board member of Thousand Islands Land Trust in New York.
Robyn leads Lookout Mountain Conservancy in its mission to protect scenic, historic and ecological resources of Lookout Mountain, which spans the Alabama-Tennessee border, through conservation, advocacy, recreation and education. The majority of Robyn’s professional career has been in the area of mental and behavioral healthcare. The greatest gift she received was when her mother would say, “Go play outside.” The outdoors became her safe place; her foundation.
Ron Rohrbaugh is assistant director of the Cornell Lab’s Conservation Science Program. For more than 20 years his work has focused on science-based conservation through strategic planning, research, citizen science, and partnerships. He is also chair of the International Wood Thrush Conservation Alliance and a board member of the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture.
Ryan Owens has been executive director of the Monadnock Conservancy in Keene, New Hampshire since 2008. He is president of the New Hampshire Land Trust Coalition and serves as an online expert on the Land Trust Alliance’s Ask an Expert forum in The Learning Center.
Dr. Sacha Spector is the program director for the environment at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, where he oversees environmental conservation grant-making of the foundation. Previously, Sacha was director of conservation science at Scenic Hudson, leading the group’s efforts on climate change, conservation planning and natural resource stewardship. He maintains positions as adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology and visiting scientist at the American Museum of Natural History.
Sandy Sweitzer has been Triangle Land Conservancy’s executive director since April 2015, although she joined TLC in July of 2013 as director of development. She brings over 30 years of nonprofit experience, in North Carolina and California. Drawing on a deep well of experience founding and managing two nonprofit startups, including a mediation, conflict resolution and diversity training program, she is committed to identifying, cultivating and soliciting partnerships from a wide range of community members and organizations. In addition, Sandy worked in conservation as associate director of philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy, NC Chapter and also led the effort to establish the Durham Library Foundation, raising over $2.5 million in private funds for the public library system. As executive director of TLC, she helps to develop policies and partnership to make the region a healthier and more vibrant place to live, work and play for everyone.
Sara Barker has worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for 20 years, focusing on priority bird species of conservation concern and the development of habitat management plans and conservation strategies. She is currently the project leader for the Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative.
Sara Clark is an attorney at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP. Her practice focuses on land conservation, litigation, and public lands, and she regularly advises land trusts on complex legal issues, including easement drafting and enforcement. Prior to attending Berkeley Law, she started her conservation career at the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Open Space Institute. Ms. Clark serves on the Bay Area Wilderness Training Board and the Peninsula Open Space Trust NextGen Committee.
Sarah Charlop-Powers is the executive director of the Natural Areas Conservancy and has led its growth into a vital New York City based conservation organization. Sarah worked for seven years as the parks manager for Scenic Hudson, where she managed 15 parks. She also worked as a consultant for New York State Energy Research Development Authority, the NYC Department of Transportation and the Mohonk Preserve. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Binghamton University and a master’s in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she was both a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and a Berkley Conservation Scholar.
Sarah Lien is the water resource director and staff attorney for Friends of the Teton River. Sarah earned a bachelor’s in biology from Colorado College and a bachelor’s in business administration from Fort Lewis College. She subsequently earned a juris doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law in 2007. From 2007 to 2010 Sarah worked for a mid-sized law firm in Montana. The majority of Sarah’s law practice was devoted to the mediation and litigation of water right matters before the Montana Water Court and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Sarah began working for Friends of the Teton River in May of 2010, working primarily on water quantity and water policy matters relevant to the Teton River watershed. Since that time, Sarah has developed a water transaction program – the first of its kind in Idaho, forged critical partnerships with Idaho’s water leadership and agricultural community, and completed numerous water transactions in eastern Idaho.
Sarah Parmar is the director of conservation for Colorado Open Lands. Sarah leads COL’s conservation team and ensures the organization’s efforts achieve significant impact statewide. Sarah completed her master’s in agricultural and resource economics, with a focus on legal issues in conservation. Her passion for Western land protection stems from her background growing up as the fifth generation on a cattle ranch in Southeastern Arizona, where her parents and their ranching community established the Malpai Borderlands Group, a collaborative conservation organization.
Sarah Sigman, an attorney at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, represents public agencies, land trusts, and community groups in environmental and land use matters. Recent work includes both negotiating and litigating to restore land trust properties held in fee and protected by easements. Ms. Sigman also represents public agencies involved in large-scale transit and infill projects in San Francisco and assists community groups challenging inappropriate development projects throughout California.
Scott Fisher grew up in Kula, and at age 17 enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After his discharge, he studied at Colorado State University. Scott’s graduate work includes an master’s degree in peace studies with a concentration in native Hawaiian strategies of peacemaking and reconciliation. His Ph.D. explored the dynamics of post-conflict recovery in a civil war on the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, with a particular emphasis on how communities make wise decisions about conflicts over natural resources. Since 2003 Scott has worked for the Maui Coastal Land Trust, first as a project manager at the land trust’s 277-acre Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge and now as the Associate Executive Director of Consevation for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. In this capacity he has led all aspects of the ecological restoration work conducted by the Land Trust. Since 2005 he has served on the Maui/Lana’i Island Burial Council and, more recently, as a board member of the Hawai’i Wetlands Joint Venture, Public Access Trails Hawai’i, and the Friends of Midway Atoll. Scott enjoys teaching people about cultural and natural history of Hawai’i and pounding poi with his kids on the weekend.
Scott LaMorte has been working as a non-profit fundraiser since 2000, and with The Conservation Foundation since 2013. He has also worked in both higher education and faith-based nonprofit organizations as a major gift fundraiser. Scott has also served on several local non-profit boards in his home community. He has experience working with corporate, private foundation, family foundation and individual fundraising, having helped secure several seven-figure donations in his career.
Scott Stewart is the Forest Legacy Program Specialist for the US Forest Service in the Washington Office. In this role he works with the Forest Legacy Program and the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. Before moving to the Washington Office in 2011 Scott worked as a forest legacy program specialist in the Northeastern Area. He has worked with the Forest Legacy Program since 2002.
Seth McKee is land conservation director for Scenic Hudson, where he has overseen the conservation of tens of thousands of acres of land to safeguard natural and scenic resources, working farmland, and public access, often through partnerships with other land trusts. He is leading the implementation of Scenic Hudson’s new Hudson Valley Conservation Strategy, focused on safeguarding climate resilience. Seth has a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Shannon Meyer is the Land Trust Alliance’s Southwest / California senior program manager. Based in Colorado, she delivers Alliance services to land trusts in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Texas, and California to enhance their capacity and effectiveness. Shannon works with land trust board and staff to help them advance their organizational sustainability and conservation impact. She also collaborates with state and regional associations of land trusts and specific landscape level initiatives. She has over 15 years’ experience in private land conservation including associate director of Aspen Valley Land Trust, executive director of the Western Colorado Agricultural Heritage Fund and as a consultant working with landowners and land trusts throughout the west. Shannon has a master’s degree from the University of Montana in environmental law and policy and a bachelor’s in environmental studies and government from Bowdoin College.
Shannon Spurlock is the director of public affairs and policy at Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) where she focuses on urban agriculture, food policy and strategic partnerships. She is a member of the Colorado Food Policy Network and co-chair of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council. Shannon has successfully promoted programs and policy that both increase healthy food access and foster economic development.
Shaun McCoshum is the preserve manager and educator for Westchester Land Trust in New York. He brings his research on pollinator ecology and years of land conservation experience to this talk on ecosystem management for native pollinators. His PhD and postdoc both focused on native bee and butterfly ecology, including monarchs. Shaun also has three years of land conservation experience from Catalina Island Conservancy (CA), Great Basin Institute (NV) and Westchester Land Trust (NY)
Shelli’s passion and pleasure is nonprofit organizational success, and the people in land trusts! As president of Conservation Impact, she has served 100+ land trusts and 500 conservation organizations. Shelli’s dynamic, truth-telling style challenges organizations to be as great as they must be. She delights in helping people learn new stuff, and in learning. To facilitate her own learning, she has been an adjunct faculty of graduate level nonprofit management for 20 years.
Shelly Tichy is president of Westmoreland Conservancy in Western Pennsylvania. She has been actively involved with the conservancy since 2000, serving as secretary for two years and vice president for three years prior to her presidency.
Siobhan Smith is vice president for conservation and stewardship of the Vermont Land Trust. Siobhan is a member of VLT’s management team and oversees 24 staff members implementing VLT’s conservation and stewardship program.
Dr. Spencer Meyer is senior conservationist at Highstead and associate as Harvard Forest, where he works on developing finance strategies to accelerate New England conservation. He joined Highstead in 2016 after working jointly with Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and The Nature Conservancy. Previously, Spencer spent 12 years in Maine conducting sustainable forestry research with industry and conservation partners. He holds Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the UMaine and an A.B. from Dartmouth.
Stacy Funderburke is assistant regional counsel and real estate associate for The Conservation Fund’s Georgia Office. He brings extensive real estate expertise to land conservation efforts, including expansion of greenspace within the metro Atlanta area.
Since 2014, Stacy has worked as the conservation project manager for the Monadnock Conservancy, a regional land trust in Keene, NH. She has secured over $2 million in grants for conservation projects, including a 2016 award from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for protecting prime riverfront farmland. Stacy holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine. In her free time, she loves exploring back roads on a bicycle, seeing live music, and traveling to places off the beaten path.
Rev. Stephen Blackmer is priest at Church of the Woods in Canterbury, NH. He founded Five Rivers Conservation Trust and worked for 25 years in conservation in New England before being ordained. His work is featured in Harper’s magazine: http://harpers.org/archive/2016/12/the-priest-in-the-trees/.
Steve Libby is executive director of the Vermont River Conservancy, a non-profit founded in 1995 that focuses on protecting public access to Vermont’s waterways and increasingly is working with Vermont communities to improve resiliency. Steve was a former VRC board member and also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Vermont.
Steve Price is the general counsel for Land Trust of Virginia, Healthworks for Northern Virginia, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, and Oatlands (a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation). He has handled over 40 jury trials in state and federal courts. He focuses on real estate transactions and disputes.
Stephen J. Small is recognized as the nation’s leading authority on private land protection options and strategies. Mr. Small is a tax attorney at his own firm, the Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C., in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Federal Tax Law of Conservation Easements (Land Trust Alliance, 1985); Preserving Family Lands: Book I (special updated fourth edition, Landowner Planning Center, 2009); Preserving Family Lands: Book II — More Planning Strategies for the Future (Landowner Planning Center, 1997); Preserving Family Lands: Book III — New Tax Rules and Strategies and a Checklist (Landowner Planning Center, 2002); and The Business of Open Space: What’s Next?? (Landowner Planning Center, 2013). More than 150,000 copies of the Preserving Family Lands books have been sold.
Before going into private practice, Mr. Small was an attorney-advisor in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., where he wrote the federal income tax regulations on conservation easements.
Mr. Small has worked on matters that have resulted in the protection of more than 1.5 million acres around the country. He advises private landowners on private land protection options and federal income and estate tax planning to help preserve valued family land, including planning for the next generation of ownership. He has worked with landowners around the country to preserve a wide range of property, from small family parcels, timberland, and dairy farms to western and southwestern ranches, southern plantations, Atlantic coast barrier islands, farmland, and wildlife habitat.
Mr. Small has given more than 400 speeches, seminars, and workshops around the country on tax planning for landowners, succession planning for family lands, and tax incentives for land conservation. He is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia Bars.
Steve Swartz is general counsel for The Humane Society of the United States Wildlife Land Trust, an international land trust based in Washington, D.C. Before taking that position in 1999, he was in private practice for nearly 20 years concentrating in the areas of real estate law and governmental regulation with particular emphasis on litigation, arbitration, dispute resolution and loss prevention. In the past, he has presented programs on various aspects of real estate and construction law and litigation avoidance for commercial and non-profit audiences, including at prior Rallies. He is a member of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and previously served on the Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council.
Steven coordinates the activities of the seven Pocono/Kittatinny Cluster partners funded under the William Penn Foundation Delaware Watershed Protection Initiative in land protection, stream monitoring, land-use regulation, outreach and other watershed protection strategies. He also provides consulting services for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy on land conservation activities for large, complex projects and mentors staff in land protection strategies and tactics for negotiating, funding, and closing deals. Steve is the founder and coordinator of the Upper Delaware BioBlitz. In addition to his early work in land protection at the Trust for Public Land in the late 70s and early 80s, he had a subsequent career in information technology, marketing and product development.
Stuart Somach is a partner at Somach Simons & Dunn in Sacramento. His practice emphasizes water and land conservation law, and Stuart works with major national land trusts in California.
Susan Gretz is senior attorney with The Nature Conservancy and has worked for the Conservancy since 2002; currently she manages most of the litigation for the central US divisions and some centralized legal department functions including working with Estate Administration; provides advice on litigation and legal holds; and handles general legal matters including real estate transactions for the Indiana and Iowa chapters. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Susan was assistant court commissioner for the Minnesota Supreme Court and an assistant attorney general at the Minnesota Attorney General’s office.
Susan Howlett has been raising money joyfully for over 40 years, as a board member, development director, executive director and consultant to thousands of nonprofits across the continent. Author of two acclaimed books (Getting Funded and Boards on Fire) and long-time professor at the University of Washington, Susan consults, speaks and trains nationally, known for her liberal use of humor, stories and chocolate. She has worked with dozens of land trusts, and state associations of trusts, and considers them some of her favorite clients.
Susanna is the land conservation program director for Eastern Sierra Land Trust. She previously served in Idaho as director of protection for The Nature Conservancy, where she was also a founder of the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts. Susanna has written over $17M in successful proposals for NRCS funding, including an $8M RCPP award in 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Sylvia Bates is the director of Standards and Research for the Land Trust Alliance and, since 2006, leads the Alliance’s work on Land Trust Standards and Practices, land trust assessments, the Standards and Practices Curriculum and other cutting-edge issues. She has worked in the land conservation field since 1987, most recently as an independent consultant and real estate broker, providing assistance to land trusts, landowners and public agencies on land conservation projects, easement stewardship and organizational development. She was formerly the director of land protection for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Sylvia has a degree in environmental biology from Yale University and has done graduate work at the Yale School of Forestry.
Ted has been studying and working in the conservation field for over 30 years. He was an environmental studies major and comparative religion minor at the University of Vermont where he received his Bachelor of Science degree. His thesis was about the cross cultural phenomenon of sacred spaces and what we can learn from this in terms of more respectfully and sustainably living with our environment. Ted later received his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School where he focused on land conservation law. He is a licensed attorney in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Ted was an instructor and environmental educator for the Outward Bound School in Maine over a 3 year period. He then worked and completed his service as a Peace Corps national park volunteer in Thailand at Ramkhamhaeng National Park in Sukhothai Province doing primarily environmental education and solar energy work. In Thailand, Ted met and married his beloved wife, Boonsuay Clement. Boonsuay is a member of the Karen Hill Tribe in northern Thailand and she was the first woman in her village to graduate from college and become a Thai government official as a school teacher in Sukhothai where Ted and Boonsuay met while Ted was doing environmental education programs. Boonsuay received a deep land ethic from her father, a celebrated farmer, and culture, and she and Ted are partners in conservation. After the Peace Corps, Ted worked in the stewardship and legal departments at Vermont Land Trust while at Vermont Law School. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree, Ted was hired by the Aquidneck Land Trust in Rhode Island. He served as the Land Protection Director for 5 years and then as the Executive Director for over 7 years until December 2012 when he accepted a position in Hawaii. In January 2013, he began working as the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust’s Executive Director and he gratefully served in that role until he was offered a job as Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director in Walnut Creek, California near the end of 2015 – a job that would bring the Clement family together again as Ted and Boonsuay’s oldest son was at college in California. Ted started his land conservation work with Save Mount Diablo in November 2015. Ted has served on the Boards of various environmental non-profit organizations, and he has also received a number of awards and a Center for Whole Communities fellowship for his conservation work. He is passionate about his family, time outdoors and working with others to create lasting public good by protecting, and connecting people to, the land which sustains us.
Tod Heisler is the executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC), a consensus-based organization dedicated to enhancing streamflows and improving water quality in the Deschutes River Basin. Heisler has more than thirty years of executive management experience with twenty-five of these years in conservation and natural resources management. Prior to joining the DRC, Heisler was senior vice president of operations at Conservation International in Washington, D.C. Under his leadership, the DRC has restored more than 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) of flow in Central Oregon’s rivers and streams. Through strategic partnerships with the Tribes, irrigation districts, government agencies, NGOs and corporations, Heisler has helped to secure and invest more than $50 million in Deschutes watershed restoration in the past decade. Oregon Business Magazine selected Heisler as one of Oregon’s Great Leaders in 2007.
Todd Murphy has developed expertise in conservation easement, eminent domain, and title defect valuation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural management/farm management from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. He holds the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute and the ARA designation from the ASFMRA. Todd taught appraisal and related courses for 8 years at Cuesta College, and also taught rural property valuation at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. He has presented to many groups on the topic of conservation easement valuation.
Tom Gilbert joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation in June of 2015 to serve as campaign director for Energy, Climate & Natural Resources. Tom leads a team of staff and consultants carrying out advocacy, communications, public outreach, research and legal strategies to stop PennEast and other unneeded pipelines in New Jersey. Tom also serves as director of the Rethink Energy NJ campaign advocating for a swift transition to clean, renewable sources of energy. Prior to joining New Jersey Conservation, Tom served as senior conservation finance director with The Trust for Public Land where he helped pass twenty state, county and local ballot measures to fund land conservation and parks. He served as chairman of NJ Keep It Green where he led successful statewide campaigns to pass a $400 million bond measure and constitutional dedication of state corporate business tax revenues to create stable, long-term funding for open space, farmland and historic preservation in New Jersey.
Thomas N. Masland is a shareholder and director of the Concord, N. H., law firm of Ransmeier & Spellman, Prof. Corp., and represents both conservation organizations and landowners in land protection projects, conservation transactions, and, for land trusts, related matters including stewardship and easement enforcement. He is a member of the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Advisory Council, and has served on the Boards of two regional land trusts. A Fellow and Regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Tom is a frequent lecturer on both conservation and estate planning topics to professional audiences as well as the general public.
Tom Mullin joined the faculty of Unity College in 1999 where he is currently an associate professor of parks and forest resources. He was a founder of the National Association for Interpretation, is a Life Member and received the Association’s Fellow Award in 2004. Over the years he has worked for county, state and federal park agencies, been the executive director of two different land trusts and coordinator for Maine Project Learning Tree. He is a long-time board member, current secretary/member of the executive committee and board of directors for NAI. Tom serves as chair of the Waldo County Trails Coalition, as well as board member of the Maine Woods Forever Roundtable, Advisory Council for the Friends of Sears Island and serves on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Stewardship Council.
Trevor Edmonds is the conservation lead at Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy.
Valentin Lopez (Mutsun, Chumash, Yokuts) is Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Amah Mutsun Land Trust. The Amah Mutsun are very active in conservation and protection efforts within their traditional tribal territory. Valentin is working to restore the Mutsun Language and is a traditional Mutsun singer and dancer.
Valerie is a senior review specialist and joined the Commission in 2012. She previously served as executive director of the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy in Michigan where she managed $4 million dollars in grant funding to purchase conservation easements. Prior to that she served in various roles with the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Bay County Schools, United Way, and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Valerie also served as a consultant and facilitator with Crystal Planning Solutions, and was on the boards of several nonprofits and a private foundation. Her educational background includes a master’s degree in quality management.
Vicki Adams is a real estate appraiser in Washington who works with landowners, land trust organizations and governmental agencies to determine the value of conservation lands for donation and acquisition purposes. Her experience ranges from very large and diverse tracts of land to smaller recreational properties and natural and/or cultural resource sites, and includes forest, farm, riparian and coastal habitats.
Victoria Alonso is a principal at the Chilean consulting firm Templado and is the Chair of the Tierra Austral Land Trust. Trained as a agricultural engineer, Victoria has 20 years of professional experience, in the public, nonprofit and private sectors, always linked to the protection of the environment and, more specifically, to the conservation of biodiversity and the search for creative instruments to preserve nature under challenging circumstances. Her firm Templado provides services for conservation minded individuals, government institutions and corporations that need assistance in the creation of new protected areas in the country. Before forming Templado, Victoria worked for The Nature Conservancy where she played an important role in the process of strengthening the legal incentives for private land conservation in Chile. Prior to working for The Nature Conservancy, Victoria worked in a research center named RIDES where she focused in issues related to sustainable development and economic tools for nature conservation. She also worked for the National Commission for the Environment (CONAMA) for 7 years, where she had a critical role in the definition of the National Strategy for Biodiversity.
Reverend Victoria Loorz, is pastor of the Church of the Wild in Ojai, CA and coordinator of the Common Ground Initiative bringing together conservationists and spiritual leaders. Previously, she founded and directed the youth/climate advocacy organization, iMatter/Kids vs. Global Warming. Victoria is now focused on the inner transformation that is necessary for love-filled conservation and full human aliveness, and coordinates the Wild Church Network.
Wade Shelton is a project manager for the Trust for Public Land with over sixteen years experience in land conservation and environmental restoration. He has completed a diverse range of conservation projects throughout Colorado in urban and rural landscapes, including in Denver and the Upper Arkansas Valley. Wade has also completed conservation projects for the Brandywine Conservancy, built a professional-based conservation program for the Eno River Association, and managed waterway restoration projects in Baltimore County.
Wendy Millet is the director of TomKat Ranch and Educational Foundation. For more than twenty years, she has worked to bridge a love of conservation and working landscapes with practical economic solutions and effective partnerships. At TomKat Ranch, an innovative team of conservation biologists and livestock managers are working together to implement conservation grazing and document the benefits for the ranch’s water, soil, climate and biodiversity.
Will Abberger is director of Trust for Public Land’s national Conservation Finance program, helping state and local governments and citizen groups throughout the United States gauge public support for open space and craft ballot measures that generate new sources of funding for parks and conservation. In 2014 he directed the successful statewide campaign in Florida to win approval for the Water and Land Conservation Amendment which will generate $22 billion for conservation and restoration.
Will Murray has worked in a variety of positions for conservation organizations for 40 years, including upper management positions in The Nature Conservancy and as a management consultant to more than 500 conservation organizations in 48 states and seven countries. He is also a licensed triathlon coach and works one-on-one with conservation leaders as well as athletes. He uses his coaching background and practitioner training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help clients achieve their goals. Will worked with an informal group of land trust directors in 2016 to identify and develop an approach to the issue of unacceptable board member behavior.
William Burnidge directs The Nature Conservancy’s Sustainable Grazing Lands Program in Colorado, where he is focused on developing and implementing strategies to improve conservation, social, and economic outcomes on public and private grazing lands. William is also responsible for a range of activities and outcomes on the Conservancy’s 14,000-acre Fox Ranch and 48,000-acre JE Canyon Ranch preserves. Community and corporate engagement and collaboration are hallmarks of his work. Prior to joining TNC in 2005, William worked for the US Business Council for Sustainable Development and in ecological consulting and restoration.
Zach Smith has been the Colorado Water Trust staff attorney since 2010, where he develops and manages water rights transfers and other projects that benefit Colorado’s rivers and streams. A Denver native and a DU Law graduate, he is an alum of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education Water Leaders program and is the current president of the Colorado Watershed Assembly board of directors.