Aaron Laver is cofounder and CTO of GEOACE. He is passionate about helping organizations harness the power of location with the end goals of increasing operational efficiency and sustainable practices. He loves to make computers and data structures play nice with each other so data can flow freely throughout the network to be consumed by anyone with a need to access it. Aaron has experience working with a wide variety of clients in both the public and private sectors. You can find Aaron on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-laver/), the GEOACE website (www.geoace.net), or, by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abby Terpstra is donor relations director at the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Abby led her organization’s CRM Assessment and Conversion project last year. Abby will provide her on-the-ground insight into the process including what worked, what didn’t work and key lessons learned along the way and since the CRM has gone live.
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 non-profits. Her work has informed investments of over $60 million in land protection grants to protect 2 million acres and develop nearly 35 science-based conservation plans for land trusts and public agencies. Abby has a master of forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Bachelors from St. John’s College, Santa Fe. Her current work focuses on applying science on water quality and climate change to land protection.
Adam R. Snyder is conservation campaigns manager of the Global Conservation Campaigns Team at The Nature Conservancy. The Global Conservation Campaigns team conducts political and public advocacy campaigns to generate funding and policy outcomes that conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Adam oversees all public funding efforts of the team, which have helped generate more than $112 billion for conservation. Adam has worked with conservation NGOs at the local, state, and national levels for two decades. In 2012, Adam and the League of Conservation Voters-affiliate Conservation Alabama spearheaded the grassroots effort of the larger campaign to renew the Forever Wild Land Trust, which passed with an impressive 75 percent of the vote. He is an honor graduate from the University of South Carolina with a degree in print journalism. Adam is a 2009 American Marshall Memorial Fellow, and a 2007 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow.
Alex Czayka joined Western Reserve Land Conservancy in 2013. Alex’s involvement with the Land Conservancy includes working on conservation transactions, ranging from donated conservation easements to fee acquisition and habitat restoration. Prior to joining the Land Conservancy, Alex worked for the Nature Conservancy in Ohio.
Amanda joined the Land Trust Alliance in 2018 as the Southwest and California program manager. Before coming to the Alliance, Amanda spent five years as the Open Space Program Coordinator for Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), serving as point of contact and source of guidance to partners, especially land trusts, regarding specific projects as well as programmatic and organizational direction and effectiveness. Prior to that, Amanda worked with the Palmer Land Trust in Colorado Springs where she was a Colorado Conservation Trust Future Conservation Leaders Fellow and Pikes Peak Program Specialist. Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from Colorado College, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Montana School Of Law. In her spare time, Amanda spends time skiing, rafting, seeing live music, and with her family and dogs.
Amy Lindholm is the LWCF coalition manager for the Appalachian Mountain Club, where she successfully led AMC’s campaign to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. She now oversees work on implementation of that scaled-up program with a focus on both large landscape conservation to meet the climate crisis, and on increasing equity of access and participation for disinvested communities. Prior to joining AMC, Amy led LWCF Coalition efforts for The Wilderness Society in Washington DC, where she previously worked for the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee and at the Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Andi is director of the Exemplary Forestry Center at New England Forestry Foundation (where she previously served on the board of directors). She oversees programs that drive forward climate solutions based on the management and protection of New England’s forests. Andi has led strategic campaigns on energy, large-scale land conservation and sustainable forestry over a 30-year career, most recently as the director for Global Green Bank Development at the Coalition for Green Capital.
Andrea is principal of Reese Conservation Consulting LLC in Virginia.
Andrew Moe is the stewardship program manager for the Minnesota Land Trust. He administers MLT’s easement monitoring program, ensuring annual monitoring obligations are met for approximately 650 conservation easements throughout the state. Andrew joined MLT in 2017 after working with the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire. He holds a master’s degree in wildlife and conservation biology from the University of New Hampshire.
Andrew Szwak manages mid-Atlantic programming at the Land Trust Alliance. His 20 years in conservation span the eastern U.S. and include managing governmental affairs for a Chicago land trust, the Georgia State land protection program, and planning projects for New Jersey land trusts. Andrew is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame as well as a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Rutgers University.
Angela Comeaux Is a Mvskoke Hokte, of mixed Mvskoke, Chahta, Cherokee, and Creole descent. Angela was born and raised in Bvlbancha (the original Chahta name for New Orleans, Louisiana) and so-called south Louisiana. In 2020, Angela acquired what is now Hummingbird Springs Farm in Florala, Alabama; on ancestral Mvskoke land, which she and her partner are converting into an Indigenous food forest. Angela is a clinical research nurse by trade, is currently enrolled in the Appalachian Center For Natural Health’s herbal practitioner program, is a founding member of Bvlbancha Collective and Okla Hina Ikhish Holo, on the board of directors of ASAN (Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network), and an Environmental and Indigenous rights activist.
Angela has been the executive director of Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust since 2008. Prior to that, she worked as the Government and Community Relations Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy’s Maine Chapter. She also managed two successful campaigns to pass $50 million and $35 million public land bonds in Maine in 1999 and 2007 respectively. She worked for Project Vote Smart from its inaugural year in 1991 through 1997, directing the project’s national voter information and research services. She is a graduate of Bates College and studied ecology in the Brazilian rain forest through the School for International Training. She is a Maine native, having grown up in Turner and Auburn, and currently resides in Topsham with her husband and four children.
Angelo Salsi, has worked on land and nature conservation for the European Commission since 1994. He has held several leadership position in the European Commission’s LIFE Unit, which provides technical and financial support to countries in the European Union that implmenting the Natura 2000 framework of public and private protected areas, which is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. He currently serves as the Head of Department of the LIFE Unit’s program for natural resources, climate, sustainable blue economy and clean energy. A native of Bolzano, Italy, Angelo has lived in Brussels for many years.
Ann MacDonald is director of the City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways. Parks and Parkways manages, maintains, develops, beautifies, and preserves over 2,000 acres of New Orleans’ public green space, including iconic New Orleans parks such as Jackson Square, Armstrong Park/Congo Square, and Lafayette Square, and over 450,000 trees. Ann was one of the driving forces behind the successful 2019 Together for Parks referendum.
Anne Baxendale is a vice president in the Chicago office of JLL. She has a master’s degree in urban planning degree with a special focus in GIS analysis. She researches sales of easement protected properties as part of JLL easement appraisal and easement appraisal review assignments all across the United States.
Autumn Phillips-Lewis has been the land manager at the American Chestnut Land Trust in Southern Maryland since 2014. In this role, she oversees the public access and natural resource management on 3,500 acres of forest, meadow and marsh land on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. With a mission to “connect people to the land”, Autumn and the other staff at ACLT maintain 24 miles of hiking trails, host many guided hikes, canoe trips and other conservation events, and spearhead collaborative efforts to achieve regional large-landscape conservation. Autumn earned a bachelor’s in environmental science from Elizabethtown College and a master’s in applied ecology and conservation biology from Frostburg State University. She is the Chair of the Calvert County Forestry Board and is a Certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional. In her free time, Autumn likes hiking with her husband and her two golden retrievers.
Barbara Heskins Davis, PP, AICP, vice president programs at The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, spearheaded their application for accreditation in 2009. She supervises completion of land conservation plans for local communities and their municipal open space advising services program. Barbara received her bachelor’s in biology and English from Franklin and Marshall College, and earned her master’s of environmental management in water and air resources from the Duke University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Barbara Hopkins is a lawyer and landscape architect. Since 2009, she has been the executive director of NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, a land trust working in the county’s inner suburbs. She also blogs about strategies for growing small nonprofits at https://www.choosetoimprove.org. Barbara serves as president of the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks and Landscapes and immediate past president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Ben Goger is the Mariposa County housing development specialist. Goger works to address the County’s needs holistically. Goger serves his community as board president of Habitat for Humanity of Mariposa and in cultural burning and restoration. Goger holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with an emphasis in Native American studies.
Ben Kurtzman is director of land protection projects at American Farmland Trust (AFT). Ben directs AFT’s in-house land trust function. He is responsible for the stewardship of AFT’s easements and fee lands, acquisition of new agricultural conservation easements, and administration of the Owen and Ellen Love Family Farmland Protection Fund. He previously managed law and policy research for AFT’s Farmland Information Center.
Bill Mulligan is a retired managing partner of Primus Capital, a Cleveland-based private equity firm. He is also director of several privately-held Primus portfolio companies and two public companies. Before joining Primus in 1985, Mulligan served in various management and operating roles at McKinsey & Company, Deere and Company and First Chicago. Mulligan is a past Land Conservancy board chair and also serves on the board of trustees of The Cleveland Clinic, Denison University, Transplant House of Cleveland, and the Land Trust Alliance. He and his wife, Hattie, have preserved their family land in Hunting Valley with a donated conservation easement.
Bob Bendick has been the Gulf of Mexico Program Director at The Nature Conservancy since 2013. Before that he was National Director of Government Relations at TNC Headquarters, Southern U.S. Regional Director, and Florida Chapter Director at the Conservancy. He was the founding co-chair of the Network for Landscape Conservation and continues to serve on the NLC Executive Committee.
Bob has over 20 years of working in the field of adapted physical activity and recreation. He has worked at Lakeshore Foundation located in Birmingham, Alabama for over 20 years. Bob is a Paralympic Athlete in the sport of wheelchair rugby, winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games. Co-author of the book, “No Arms, No Legs, No Problem” and was featured in the academy award nominated documentary, “Murderball,” released in 2005.
Bob Perschel is New England Forestry Foundation’s executive diirector. Previously, he was Forest Stewards Guild Eastern region director (having also been an original co-founder). Over 35 years, he has worked on forestry, large landscape conservation and wilderness issues, including work for industry before founding his own consultancy and the Land Ethic Institute. Bob has a master’s degree in forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a psychology degree from Yale College.
Brandon Hayes launched Bold Bison Communications and Consulting in 2019 after twenty years in non-profit communications, most recently as Director of Communications at Openlands, Chicago’s regional land trust. Brandon was Manager of Communications and Development at Marwen, which provides high-quality visual arts training to underserved youth, and he was a publicist at Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Brandon serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Conservation Leadership and Chicago Artists for Action.
Bray J. Beltrán, conservation and equity director for the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, is an ecologist by training. He firmly believes collaborative bottom-up conservation can help people find the balance between the well-being of local communities and the resources we use to maintain our quality of life. Bray strives to develop a science program that informs private and public land protection and stewardship and that is inclusive of all people in the Intermountain West.
Brian Ross, AICP, LEED GA, is a vice president at the Great Plains Institute, directing GPI’s renewable energy market transformation efforts in the Midwest and nationally. In this role, Brian is leading multiple efforts at both state and national levels on integrating solar development with natural systems, community priorities, and agriculture business models. Brian is a member of the Alliance’s Energy and Climate Working Group. He holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning, Environmental and Energy Planning from University of Iowa.
Brian works to guide nonprofits through transition and help them to grow their capacity. Over the last decade, Brian has partnered with organizations at every stage of growth to help them refine their voice and leverage their mission and vision toward successful funding of their long-term strategy and programming objectives. He has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations affecting change by providing housing, protecting the environment, providing instruction and performance opportunities in the arts, and working to ensure that everyone has enough to eat.
Bridget Fithian is the executive director of Sierra Foothill Conservancy. Fithian has worked inland conservation for 13 years and oversees over 50,000 acres of conserved lands. Fithian serves as California Council of Land Trust’s chair and is board president for the Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council. Fithian holds a bachelor’s degree in literature
Brittany Wienke works to advance research and knowledge sharing across the Forests in Cities Network, focusing on conservation finance and forest management strategies. Brittany has worked as a forester and researcher in rural and urban areas, and draws on her background in public relations and journalism to communicate science for practical applications. She holds a master’s degree in forestry from the Yale School of the Environment, and bachelor’s degrees in English and journalism.
Caitlin is director of forest carbon origination for Finite Carbon and has over a decade of experience in land conservation and stewardship. Previously, Caitlin was associate director of the Conservation Loans program at The Conservation Fund, and before that served in several roles for Capitol Land Trust in Olympia, Washington, including interim director and conservation projects manager. Caitlin holds a master’s degree in restoration ecology from University of Washington and is now based in southern Oregon.
Cara Goger is executive director for the Mariposa Arts Council and is working to utilize art as a vehicle to support Tribal, conservation and community goals. Cara earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science/international relations. Goger serves in leadership and advisory positions for regional and state-wide arts organizations.
Carol Abrahamzon is the executive director at Mississippi Valley Conservancy in Wisconsin. Over the past five years she has overseen the growth of the land trust from a staff and has established programs and policies to increase retention and attract young staff. She has nearly 20 years of experience with nonprofit management and donor relationship cultivation. She and her husband Bill, own a sustainable farm in southeast Minnesota where they employ conservation practices.
Chandni Navalkha is associate director of Sustainably Managed Land and Water Resources and works on projects to advance and accelerate the enduring protection of land and water resources worldwide. Chandni has worked for organizations in North America, Latin America, and South Asia supporting urban, peri-urban, and rural communities involved in voluntary land and resource conservation.
Charles T. Brigden, MAI, CRE, FRICS is a licensed real estate appraiser with more than 20 years experience appraising both conservation and preservation easements. He is currently working for the IRS and the Department of Justice on the review of more than 100 syndicated conservation easement appraisals. He is a co-author of the textbook “Appraising Conservation and Historic Preservation Easements” published by The Appraisal Institute and the LTA.
Cheryl was part of the group that founded the Summit Land Conservancy in the late 1990’s and has been its executive director since 2005. She taught skiing at the Deer Valley Resort and English at Westminster College until land trust work became all encompassing. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves as a member of the Land Trust Alliance’s Board of Directors
Chet has spent the last 20 years working in conservation and is the executive director of Gallatin Valley Land Trust. Previously, Chet led the Teton Regional Land Trust in Eastern Idaho and the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, California. Chet worked for The Nature Conservancy in Idaho and completed an environmental education residency at the Teton Science Schools. Chet holds a master’s Degree in environmental management from Duke University, and certificates in Nonprofit Management and Geospatial Analysis
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. He also is a member of the Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council. Prior to joining PEC, he was the assistant director for Federal Affairs at the Surface Transportation Policy Project, a national non-profit transportation organization based in Washington, D.C. Until 1993, he was an associate with the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond, P. C. In 2004, Mr. Miller received the Virginia Conservation Network’s Blue Ridge Award for outstanding conservation leadership in the Piedmont. He also received, on behalf of PEC, the Quarter Century of Service Award from the Partners for Livable Communities.
He earned his juris doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School and bachelor’s with honors in environmental studies from Williams College.
Chris West is the director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) where he oversees program grantmaking across the Rockies and Great Plains. He also manages NFWF’s primary land conservation program, Acres for America, and serves as staff for the NAWCA Council. Chris previously served as the conservation director and executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust form 2000 to 2015 and as the executive director of the Douglas Land Conservancy from 1996 to 2000.
Cindy Brown is executive director of the Land Trust for Louisiana, which protects land to meet public needs and conserve trust species. She also worked for South Carolina with landowners and government partners to identify and protect wetlands. She directed TNC’s Louisiana chapter’s coastal work and TNC’s Gulf Coast Program. She managed grants for ecological restoration and protection projects. As state director at TPL, she oversaw land protection projects in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Ciona Ulbrich is a co-founder of First Light, Conservation Community Delegation member and senior project manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Clara Pregitzer is the deputy director of conservation science at the Natural Areas Conservancy, where she led an assessment of all forest land in NYC and development of the Forest Management Framework. She previously worked with NYC Parks Natural Resources Group. She holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University, a master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Tennessee, and a doctorate from the Yale School of the Environment.
Clare Fastiggi is the lands program manager for the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy. She has held field jobs out west and in Michigan focused on both avian and bat research. Since joining UPLC, she has implemented remote monitoring for her organization innovating new ways to use the technology the north woods of Michigan and has shared her knowledge with the land trust community. Clare holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northern Michigan University.
Cleveland Justis is the founder and principal of Potrero Group. An accomplished organizational leader in entrepreneurship and the environment for the past 25 years, Cleveland has worked and consulted widely with nonprofits, foundations, and governmental organizations, including the National Park Service, Resources Legacy Fund, and Grand Canyon Conservancy. His expertise spans strategic business planning, board development, public/private partnerships, network analysis, and innovation. He currently teaches Social Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Cris helps guide American Farmland Trust’s federal and state policy engagement and directs the?National Agricultural Land?Network, which supports land trusts, public agencies and planners in advancing agricultural land retention and protection. Cris has served as Policy Director for Land For Good and has held positions in the U.S. Senate including professional staff on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and as chief of staff to Senator Herb Kohl. Cris holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.
Daniel Martin, Assiniboine, Sioux, Chickasaw, and Chocktaw is executive director of Native Land Trust Council.
Daniel Student has been a cultural, environmental, and social sector leader for over 15 years. He is a senior consultant for Potrero Group. His clients have included Outdoor Afro, North Cascades Institute and the National Park Foundation, for which he has led board transformation and executive search. Notably, Daniel also led Potrero Group’s engagement with Resources Legacy Fund to provide program management for the development of California Natural Resource Agency’s 30×30 strategy.
Danielle Shannon is the coordinator of the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and helps land managers cope with and adapt to the challenges of climate change. She likes to focus on using adaptation resources to aid management decisions in forested watersheds and wetlands
Darren Ranco is a faculty member with the University of Maine’s Department of Anthropology, as well as the chair of Native American Programs and Coordinator of Native American Research. His research focuses on the ways in which indigenous communities in the United States resist environmental destruction by using indigenous diplomacies and critiques of liberalism to protect cultural resources, and how state knowledge systems continue to expose indigenous peoples to an inordinate amount of environmental risk. Ranco is a member of the Penobscot Nation, and is particularly interested in how better research relationships can be made between universities, Native and non-Native researchers, and indigenous communities.
Development for Conservation assists conservation organizations raising money from individual donors by improving renewal, cultivation, and major gift systems. David Allen brings 30 years’ experience to the practice, including 13 with The Nature Conservancy. He has devoted his professional career to helping conservation organizations and land trusts pursue excellence in all aspects of their conservation endeavors. David is a skilled seminar presenter, particularly in major gift fundraising. Specialties include Development Audits, board training and campaigns.
David Epstein has served as the president and executive Director of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey since 1994. David currently serves as Treasurer for the Keep It Green Campaign, which successfully convinced voters to approved $400 million in new funding for the Garden State Preservation Trust in 2009. He also serves as a Trustee of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. David was appointed by Governor James McGreevey to serve on the Highlands Task Force to make recommendations about preserving New Jersey ’s Highlands . He served two years as a member of the Garden State Preservation Trust, overseeing the expenditure of $2 billion in state open space funding. David is past President of the Environmental Fund for New Jersey, was a founding Trustee of the Garden State Environet and a Trustee of Morris Tomorrow. David worked previously for The Conservation Fund in Florida where he assisted in the acquisition of 18,000 acres of open space. He also worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Resources and Palm Beach County where he helped develop the public education campaign that led to the passage of a $100 million open space bond referendum in 1991. David is a graduate of the University of Vermont and received a Masters degree in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University .
David is the executive director of the Catoctin Land Trust, has served as state lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition when working for West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and serves on the Chesapeake Bay Citizens Advisory Committee.
David Montague has been the president and CEO of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust since 2014. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its community forest to more than 56,000 acres managed for wildlife habitat, public recreation, and a sustainable forest economy. Prior to joining DLLT, David spent eight years conducting wildlife research throughout North America and seven years in the outdoor recreation industry. He holds degrees in wildlife biology from Colorado State and Virginia Tech.
David Patton has served in leadership roles in conservation and human service organizations including the National Parks Conservation Association, Forterra, and the YMCA of Greater Seattle where he was responsible for directing the design and implementation of a $172 million comprehensive campaign to expand and enhance programs and services throughout the Greater Seattle region. Previously, he helped create the North Cascades Initiative, a collaborative conservation model between public agencies so that the ecosystem surrounding the national park remains healthy and resilient. As Northwest Area Director at the Trust for Public Land, David oversees programmatic and philanthropic activity to create parks and conserve green open spaces in Washington and Oregon, and works with the organization’s local volunteer advisory board to ensure that residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park, to protect and create access to public lands, and to conserve watersheds and working lands across the region.
David supervises the state of MA Agricultural Preservation Restriction program which has implemented OPAV’s for over 30 years. Recently the program partnered with national and regional land trusts to implement alternative affordability tools including an affordability easement overlay and a resale price limitation on housing. Currently David is assisting the development of a State Farmland Action Plan which includes a focus on affordability.
Dean Dougherty is the director of stewardship for the San Juan Preservation Trust where he oversees the Trust’s portfolio of 248 easements and 72 preserves in the San Juan Archipelago of northwest Washington. The Trust’s holdings range from entire islands to the largest cattle ranch in the county.
Di joined Solano Land Trust in November 2018. She is a mother of two vivacious children and a wife to a warrior husband. Di has many years of experience in community outreach through years of working with The Salvation Army Kroc Center. Her passion is to encourage, add value, connect, impact and be an example to others. In her spare time, she likes to plan exciting adventures and activities to do with her family.
In her 26 years as an attorney for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Diane Ray has amassed a wealth of experience on land conservation projects, using a wide range of conservation tools. Diane is a member of TNC’s Conservation Easement and Real Estate Legal Practice Teams, and she is a frequent trainer on land protection and stewardship topics. Diane is also TNC’s legal expert on environmental due diligence. She lives in and loves exploring Montana.
Richard J. Roddewig is a managing director with Jones Lang LaSalle in Chicago. He is the national director of the JLL Litigation Support and Complex Property Valuation team. He has been involved in more than 300 assignments for the IRS, the DOJ, taxpayers and the Nature Conservancy involving the valuation of conservation easements in more than 25 states as well as Argentina and Chile. A prolific author, he has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 17 books (including Appraising Conservation and Historic Preservation Easements) and many articles on easement valuation. Mr. Roddewig has both a master’s degree and a law degree from the University of Chicago.
Dirk Bryant directs the Nature Conservancy New York’s Lands team, which includes our land protection and managing for resilience work. During his 19 years with TNC, Dirk helped establish the Staying Connected Initiative (SCI) to secure regionally important linkages across 5 states and 3 Canadian provinces. He served as conservation lead on several major land protection projects, securing over 280,000 acres through additions to the Adirondack Forest Preserve and conservation easements.
Lillian “Ebonie” Alexander is the dxecutive director of the Black Family Land Trust, Inc. (BFLT), which is dedicated to the preservation of African-American and other historically underserved landowners land assets. At BFLT, Ebonie designed and implemented the African American Land Ethic and Wealth Retention and Asset Protection (WRAP) programs, which have assisted landowners to retain family ownership and control of more than $12.5 million of their land assets and deployed more than $500,000 USDA-EQIP funding.
Elisa was born and raised in Wenatchee, WA surrounded by apple and cherry orchards. This sparked an interest in the environment for her and a sense of responsibility for it. Elisa now gets the opportunity to share her passion for the outdoors with youth and bilingual families. Her hope is that her work will inspire people to also develop a connection to the environment through varied experiences and education.
Elise Annes is a communications, marketing and organizational development consultant. Elise has the foundational belief that communications matters and she has a passion for serving mission-driven organizations. Elise’s supports organizations to combine innovation with concrete results. Prior to creating Momentum, Elise worked with Yale University, Stonyfield Farm, the Olympics and the Coca-Cola Company. More recently, Elise spent 15 years on the management team of the Vermont Land Trust, a cutting-edge conservation organization. For 15 years Elise was the co-chair for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition. Elise has a bachelor’s from the University of Rochester and a master’s from Yale University.
Elizabeth is the chief marketing and communications officer at the Land Trust Alliance and has led the Alliance’s communications efforts for the last eight years. Before assuming this role, she worked in communications at The Nature Conservancy. She is a graduate of Wellesley College.
Ellen Fred is a partner at Conservation Partners LLP, practicing 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 Conservation Partners, 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 Boedecker has more than 25 years of experience supporting and growing organizations in the US and Europe. After holding international marketing and public relations positions with Hewlett Packard and VeriFone, she shifted her focus to the nonprofit sector and worked in leadership roles with The Nature Conservancy and Local Motion. Before joining Momentum Emily served as Commissioner of Environmental Conservation for the State of Vermont bringing her experience into the public sector. Emily was an advocate with the Sierra Club in California’s fastest growing county. Emily holds a bachelor’s in marketing and engineering from the University of Huddersfield, UK.
Emily Parish is the vice president of The Land Trust for Tennessee (LTTN) and oversees the statewide conservation and stewardship program. She graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South and has a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Emily has served on the Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices Advisory Team and the Conservation Defense Advisory Council. LTTN was the winner of the 2020 the National Land Trust Excellence Award
Erica Hernandez has spent her career researching flora and fauna across the state of Florida and earned her master’s degree in interdisciplinary ecology at the University of Florida. Erica has been a public servant for over 20 years, often collaborating on complex projects requiring large stakeholder participation. Currently she is working with stakeholder groups to protect agricultural and rural lands that benefit Florida springs water quality and quantity.
Erik is the executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT). Erik holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management from Colorado State University, a master’s degree 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 Keep it Colorado, is the president of the Partnership of Rangeland Trusts and is a trustee of the Western Stock Show Association. In his free time, Erik enjoys coaching youth soccer, reading, fishing, hunting and exploring new places with his wife Shelby and their three children – Theodore, Henry and Abigail.
Ethan Inlander is the project director, restoration and stewardship for The Nature Conservancy California. He has led a team to implement remote monitoring for TNC-CA beginning over 10 years ago. Their team has used a combination of public and private satellite imagery and UAV (drone) imagery to monitor fee and easements. He has documented the savings in time and money and assisted the Alliance to begin the same documentation process for land trust. He holds a master’s degree in geography from University of California Barbara and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California Santa Barbara.
Ethan Winter is the Northeast solar specialist for American Farmland Trust where he guides regional strategy for solar energy generation and farmland conservation. Prior to AFT, Ethan was project developer and senior community engagement manager for Cypress Creek Renewables, a leading solar and storage company operating in 14 states. Ethan previously led the Land Trust Alliance New York Program for 13 years. Ethan has a master’s degree in forestry from Yale School of the Environment and attended Bowdoin College.
Mayor Frank McClary, mayor of a small community on the banks of the Black River, served as a integral member of the Black River Parks Networks steering committee and worked with his community to pass the Black River Parks Initiative Resolution.
Fred Ward grew up on the east side of Cleveland, known as the Cleveland Crescent, in various areas that were formerly redlined and that are nearly 100% African American. In this tough environment Fred became a gang leader and was convicted of major crimes at age 18. In prison Fred reformed himself, attended college, and was released more than 20 years ago. Since then he has distinguished himself as a virtuous leader in Cleveland, leading programs that improve conditions and lives in the distressed neighborhoods in which he grew up. Fred is a social entrepreneur, founded the Khnemu Foundation, and is one of Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s primary urban partners.
Gabe is the executive director of the Friends of Tryon Creek, where he leads efforts focused on community building, environmental stewardship and protection of the natural world. Gabe is Cayuse and Walla Walla from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Gabe has spent his life along the travel corridors and pathways of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, following traditional migratory routes of his ancestors. Gabe has dedicated his life’s work to protecting Indigenous First Foods, encouraging healthy ecosystems and empowering people to act as stewards of the land and water.
Gary Burnett is managing director of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative. Gary has 30 years of experience in natural resource management and nonprofit development. He has worked with and for public and private landowners/managers on land protection and stewardship; prescribed fire; and wildlife and habitat management. Gary has developed and directed annual fund, major gift and planned giving programs for local, regional and national organizations. Gary serves on the leadership team for Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition, the coordinating committee for the Network for Landscape Conservation.
Dr. Glenda Lawrence Knight is a longtime resident of Edgecombe County. She earned a doctorate of psychology in 2007 being honored magna cum laude from CalSouthern University. Dr. Knight believes in giving back to communities and as such she is a lifelong community volunteer and advocate where she has received countless accolades.In 2019, she received2019 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awardwhich ispresented to the top 20-25 volunteers in North Carolina.Most recently, Dr. Knight was inducted into the Rocky Mount Twin County Museum Hall of Fame. She has served in multiple administrator roles with several Mental Health agencies, Corporate & Non-Corporate organizations and Headstart programs. Currently, she serves as town manager of Princeville, North Carolina, and is a Certified Executive Life Coach. She is married to Ricky Knight and to this union they cherish quality time with their blended family. Her hobbies include writing and fishing.
As conservation planning manager at Open Space Institute, Hallie helps land trusts apply climate and watershed science to guide land protection for water quality, climate resilience and flood hazard mitigation. Hallie administers a grant program that provides support for conservation planning, and works with OSI’s partners to develop guidance and tools to support land trust response to climate change. She holds a master’s from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s from Amherst College
Heather Richards is Virginia state director and program manager for Mitigation Solutions, The Conservation Fund. Heather is responsible for implementing mitigation and other conservation acquisitions projects with partners in Virginia and coordinates the activities of field staff who are engaged in deploying mitigation solutions across the country. Her prior experience with land trusts includes chairing the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, as well as more than 12 years of leadership with Virginia’s United Land Trusts (VaULT). Prior to coming to the Fund, Heather developed and managed robust land conservation programs at the Piedmont Environmental Council and Potomac Conservancy. She also coordinated species conservation and reintroduction programs for Defenders of Wildlife.
Henry Tepper is the strategic conservation advisor to the Fundación Tierra Austral. He is also a Boston-based independent environmental consultant and co-teaches a course on land conservation practice in the US and around the world in the Sustainability Masters Program at the Harvard University Extension School and at Brandeis University. Henry has worked in land conservation for 30 years, and has served in executive leadership roles at The Nature Conservancy, The National Audubon Society and Mass Audubon.
Jad Daley is president and CEO of American Forests, leading the organization’s efforts to advance trees and forests as an intersectional solution for climate, social equity, biodiversity and water security, from cities to wilderness. Daley has led American Forests since May of 2018, after a decade developing and leading national programs at The Trust for Public Land, including the Trust’s first climate change program.
Jake joined FSM in the fall of 2004 to enhance FSM’s land stewardship and conservation programs. He has both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forestry from the University of Maine. Jake’s expertise in forestry and remote sensing helped FSM’s stewardship program grow. Now, He uses his stewardship experiences and understanding of the real world conditions of Maine’s forests to inform conservation easement drafting that addresses the issues of today and the future forest.
Janell O’Keefe serves as the senior program officer for Michigan Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress, a national nonprofit focused on helping communities develop solutions for vacant and deteriorated properties. O’Keefe supports the organization’s technical assistance, education, research, and policy work throughout Michigan and spearheads the organization’s emerging work on vacant land stewardship. Before joining Community Progress, she worked with a variety of initiatives focused on vacant land, equitable development, and local policy development.
Jasmine Brown is an engagement stewardship manager with the Family Forest Carbon Program working on the long-term engagement strategy. She assists landowners with networking, sustained forest management and continued contract compliance, by providing the tools and resources that landowners may need throughout their agreement period and beyond.
Jasmine Williams is an organizational strategist offering guidance and partnership to individuals and organizations who are ready to explore the unique ways they can pursue equity through their world changing work.
Jay is creative strategy director of John Muir Land Trust and former chief marketing officer of Trust for Public Land. His forty-year career includes c-level marketing positions at global advertising agencies, successful start-ups, and land conservation organizations. He has a keen interest in applying the latest developments in academic research to practical business problems.
Jay Leutze was born in Virginia and lives in the Southern Appalachian mountains on the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Trained as an attorney, he has become a leading voice for state and federal conservation funding for investment in public lands. He is a past board president and currently senior board advisor of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, one of the nation’s most established land trusts. He is the author of Stand Up that Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail (Simon & Schuster). He is has acted as a spokesman for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition and has testified before Congress on the need for increased funding for public land conservation.
Jeff LeJava is vice president and associate general counsel for the Open Space Institute where his work focuses on the preservation of natural landscapes in New York State to conserve critical habitat, provide public access, and sustain working lands. Prior to joining OSI in 2015, he held environmental legal positions in academia, government and private practice. Jeff also currently serves on the board of the Beaverkill Valley Land Trust based in Livingston Manor, NY.
Jeff is Special Contracting Subject Matter Expert at Tyndall Air Force Base.
Jeffrey is the director of restoration, Gulf of Mexico for the Nature Conservancy in Alabama.
Jenna Mae is a community herbalist, gardener, poet, parent, and ethnographer of Eastern Siouan, Mvskoke, and Cherokee descent. She holds a bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of New Orleans, a certificate in sustainable rrban agriculture from the Southern University Ag Center, and is a graduate of the Terra Sylva School of Botanical Medicine. She is a founding member of the Bvlbancha Collective, and the Okla Hina Ikhish Holo network of Gulf South Indigenous gardeners. She lives within and serves intertribal community in Bvlbancha (Chahta name for so-called “New Orleans”).
Jennifer Leonard is the assistant superintendent of community engagement for the Solano County Office of Education. Jennifer has served on community-based groups like a local education foundation, parks and recreation commission, Solano Land Trust Board of Directors, and the Solano Committee for Land and People in hopes of connecting organizations together to identify common goals, identify gaps and pool/leverage resources to amplify the positive educational work happening for local youth and residents.
Jesica Blake is the director of stewardship and community conservation for the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. She has been with Coastal for 18 years. She holds a degree in environmental science and natural resource management from Northern Vermont University and graduate certificates in Forestry and Wildlife Conservation. Jesica’s favorite work project currently is Reaves Chapel.
Jessica holds a master’s degree in natural resource management from the NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and has over 10 years of experience in conservation and forest management planning. She is an SAF Certified Forester and has worked extensively with both state agencies and private landowners to help facilitate sustainable land management. She currently lives in northern Vermont and is the New England regional forester for Forest Carbon Works.
Jessica is the program director for coastal resilience for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Jessica Jay is founder/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 conserving working landscapes and environmentally significant land across the country. She guides easement holders, professionals, and landowners in educational workshops, and the next generation of land conservationists in her Land Conservation Law courses at Vermont Law School and Denver University Law School. Jessica collaborates with the conservation community to defend easements and incentives, shape emerging law, and inspire new endeavors in land conservation.
Founder/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 conserving working landscapes and environmentally significant land across the country. She guides easement holders, professionals, and landowners in educational workshops, and the next generation of land conservationists in her Land Conservation Law courses at Vermont Law School and Denver University Law School. Jessica collaborates with the conservation community to defend easements and incentives, shape emerging law, and inspire new endeavors in land conservation.
JoAnn Grant is managing director for the Heart of the Rockies Initiative. JoAnn has a degree in natural resources management from Colorado State University with a concentration in conservation biology. JoAnn’s role at Heart of the Rockies Initiative spans outreach and marketing of our conservation vision, developing relationships with partners, assisting in the development of programs in capacity building, planning, and collaborative fundraising. She’s been a newspaper editor, naturalist guide in Yellowstone National Park and a co-owner of a Baja fly fishing outfit.
Joannie Dwoskin chairs The Nature Conservancy’s (tNC) Conservation Easement Legal Practice Team and is a member of the Conservation Interest Review Committee, the group that reviews proposed conservation easement amendments. In her 21 years with TNC, Joannie has worked on real estate transactions using different tools in the land protection toolbox. Outside of her work with TNC (which she loves!), Joannie enjoys, running, learning Spanish, and traveling.
Joel Cooper has a long, diverse background in the environmental sector with considerable experience in data collection and baseline documentation. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and over 10years’ experience working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service. Joel has worked with several Alaskan Native Villages and non-profit organizations and has worked as stewardship director with Kachemak Heritage Land Trust for eight years.
John Barone joined with Meave M. Tooher in 2011 to open the law firm of Tooher & Barone, LLP. John has practiced for 20 years concentrating on environmental, real estate, contracts, municipal and administrative law serving clients in both litigation and transactional affairs. John represents and works with numerous land trusts, not-for-profit organizations and individuals regarding land conservation issues and related matters. He also currently serves on the boards of multiple not-for-profit organizations.
Johnny Elliot, Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay Nation, is the chairman of the Kumeyaay Diegueno Land Conservancy in Sand Diego County, CA
Jon is the program manager for the Network for Landscape Conservation and brings more than 15 years’ experience in working to advance landscape conservation. Prior to joining the Network he coordinated the South Mountain Partnership, a regional landscape conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania, and spent three years on the staff of the Boston-based Kendall Foundation. He is also a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. A graduate of Middlebury College and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Jon lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and two young children.
Jonathan Shears works with landowners to enroll their property in the Family Forest Carbon Program. He leads a partnerships initiative designed to work through organizations with trust and expertise to enroll their landowner contacts.
Julia Fiala has been working with The Nature Conservancy’s Global Conservation Campaigns team for eight years, helping to advance conservation finance, energy and climate goals, and additional environmental priorities globally. She provides project management support for U.S., as well as international advocacy campaigns. Additionally, her expertise is in social media monitoring, digital advertising and social media campaigns. Julia is a graduate from Franklin and Marshall College with a Bachelor in Environmental Studies and George Mason University with a Masters of Arts in Public Administration.
Julia Fitzpatrick is a second year TerraCorps member serving as the Land Conservation Coordinator at Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. Julia and her supervisor Sarah Wells coordinate the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, a regional conservation partnership (RCP) in the Greater Quabbin region of Massachusetts. Additionally, Julia leads the planning efforts for the Massachusetts Open Space Conference, an event of the Massachusetts Open Space Network.
Julia joined HVA in October 2021. She has a bachelor’s in biology from Colby College, and a master’s in natural resources and the environment from the University of Connecticut. Julia has worked with land trusts in south-central Pennsylvania, northeastern Connecticut, and most recently the Hudson Valley of New York, where she managed their conservation portfolio and pursued new conservation opportunities. She also has extensive research experience – working on projects relating to invasive plant species, non-native earthworms, and tropical rainforest restoration. At HVA, Julia works with partners throughout the region to advance conservation projects and the Follow the Forest Initiative. Julia loves being outside and can often be found whitewater canoeing/kayaking, hiking, trail running, or exploring the Housatonic River Valley.
Kali Hannon is managing director for the Heart of the Rockies Initiative. Kali works from the lower Blackfoot Watershed in Montana, near the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers. She has a passion for people, working landscapes, wild places, and collaborative conservation. Kali earned a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana, where she also earned a certificate in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors with her partner, Eli, their son Rye, and their bird dog, Scout.
Karen Buck is Vice President of Nonprofit Impact which radically impacts how organizations fulfill their missions and achieve results. Karen works with land trusts to create business, fundraising, and marketing plans. She has spent much of the past year helping organizations clarify strategy, recalibrate plans, and build skills and practices needed to survive rapid and unprecedented change.
Kari is Projects Branch Chief for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Kate Losey is the remote monitoring project manager for the Land Trust Alliance. She has experience with the stewardship and monitoring needs of small and regional land trusts before coming to the Alliance. Her experience with implementing remote monitoring and saving time on the reporting process using technology is critical to assisting land trusts understand the strengths and challenges of remote monitoring. She holds a master’s degree in human dimensions from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and French from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Kate Patton has served as the executive director of the Lower Shore Land Trust since 2006. Areas of focus under Kate’s tenure have included land protection, land stewardship, public access, climate resiliency and public engagement. Kate Serves on the Chesapeake Bay Citizen Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee of the Delmarva Land and Litter Collaborative
Kathleen Biggins is co-founder and president of C-Change Conversations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting productive, non-partisan discussions about the science and effects of climate change. Kathleen led the development of the C-Change Primer, a non partisan, accessible presentation that provides a 360 degree view of climate change. The Primer has been presented to almost 15,000 people in 30 states. C-Change also hosts climate change discussions with nationally recognized scientists and business and military leaders; supports burgeoning C-Change chapters in several cities; and writes op-eds, blogs, and newsletters to help more people understand the urgency of climate change and come together to address it. Kathleen is a former journalist and advertising executive and ives in Princeton, NJ.
Growing up in New England, Kathleen always admired the beauty of our local landscape. After finishing college and earning a master’s degree in regional planning from UMass-Amherst, Kathleen transitioned to a career in land conservation. She completed a year of AmeriCorps service at Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Massachusetts, then worked at a regional land trust in New Hampshire before joining the team at Connecticut Farmland Trust. She loves working with farmers and landowners to ensure their land will always be available for farming.
Kathy Leavenworth, a retired consultant in interpersonal training, communications, group dynamics, strategic planning and outdoor team-building, has been involved in civic, community and educational issues for more than four decades. Leavenworth served as president of the Ohio School Boards Association and as a member of the Ohio State Board of Education. In addition to Western Reserve Land Conservancy, she serves on the boards of the Land Trust Alliance , Cuyahoga Valley National Park Conservancy, The West Geauga Educational Foundation and is president of the Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village.
Katie Brasted founded the Woodlands Conservancy in 2001 to preserve and restore forested wetlands that provide wildlife habitat. Her research on forested wetland recovery was included in the book, Hurricane Katrina and the Lessons of Disaster Relief. Her honors and roles include: Loyola Institute for Environmental Communication Fellow; a CitiBusiness Women of the Year; Louisiana Wildlife Federation’s Habitat Management Committee; EPA’s Urban Waters Partnership Program; Certified Louisiana Master Naturalist; FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana Advisory Committee.
Katie is a senior engineer and geomorphologist with 16 years of experience working in the river restoration and flood management fields. She is the founder of Watershed Science and Design, a small consulting firm located in Boulder, CO, that was built to focus on developing sophisticated, creative, and science-based solutions to river management problems. Katie has a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to do post-graduate research at TU Delft in The Netherlands on the intersection of flood management and river restoration in large scale river management programs and projects Since 2014, she has been focused on assisting the State of Colorado’s 2013 flood recovery efforts and is a lead author of the State of Colorado’s Fluvial Hazard Zone Delineation Protocol. Katie understands how human actions and interventions can influence a river system-and vice versa. She has been immersed in helping communities navigate the inter-connectedness and inter-dependencies of the physical and social landscape within watersheds.
Katy McWilliams has been working in conservation and land protection in Georgia and South Carolina since 2003. She currently serves as the director of land protection of TNC-South Carolina, focusing on co-operative land projects, conservation easement portfolio management, and land trust organization coordination.
Katrina is the executive director for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Inc. (HHLT). Katrina holds a master’s of science in environmental policy from Bard College and a master’s of science in environmental science from Pace University. Her environmental science degree focused on land and natural resource management. Her environmental policy degree focused on Hudson Valley land trusts and their adoption and implementation of Land Trust Standards and Practices for land acquisitions and stewardship. In 2007, Katrina used her knowledge of the Standards and Practices when volunteering at the Rensselaer Land Trust – working with the board of directors to draft and submit their original accreditation application (2007). She has since taken the lead on the HHLT accreditation application (2008) and its renewal application (2013). Katrina currently serves as president of the Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks board. She is also on the Friends of North Twin Lake Park Steering Committee.
Kelley Beamer serves as the executive director at the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, and has more than 15 years experience developing strategic advocacy campaigns to advance land conservation. Prior to joining the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, Kelley served as the advocacy and outreach manager for the Cascadia Green Building Council, where she implemented stated wide public awareness and advocacy campaigns, and managed a branch network in Portland, Bend, Klamath Falls, and Eugene. Kelley began her conservation work in Oregon in 2006 as the conservation organizer for Friends of Columbia Gorge, where she organized public support for protecting the unique values of the Gorge and advocated for Land and Water Conservation funds to support the US Forest Service land acquisition program in the Gorge.
Kelly Watkinson is the Land and Climate Program Manager with the Land Trust Alliance. Kelly coordinates the efforts of the Alliance to help land trusts protect resilient lands, mitigate climate change, and pursue renewable energy solutions. Her previous experience includes 11 years as a resource and land conservation professional working to protect and restore lands of Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Kelsey Kuhnhausen is the communications manager at the Coalition for Oregon Land Trusts, where she works alongside 30 conservation organizations across the state to bring people together to protect the natural world. She has nearly a decade of experience in nonprofit communications, strategy, and design, and has worked with a variety of organizations including Portland Audubon and Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland. Kelsey is from Idaho, and has a bachelor’s degree in communications & media production from Boise State University.
Kelsi Dew is a Princeville resident, serves as the historical outreach coordinator for the Town of Princeville and is a former AmeriCorps Member through the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. Kelsi owns a small urban homestead in Princeville, where she ties her love of history, conservation and agriculture into one space that promotes backyard food production and food sustainability.
Kent Wimmer is the coordinator for the Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape. He is also Defenders of Wildlife’s senior Northwest Florida representative advocating for protecting landscapes and wildlife habitats. Kent has been involved in planning, advocating and protecting greenways and conservation lands in Florida for over 30 years with federal, state and local agencies and non-governmental organizations. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and he earned a master’s in environmental planning from Florida State University and a bachelor’s in natural resources from Ball State University.
Kevin McGorty has served as the director of the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy since 1994. The conservancy is a department of Tall Timbers. Founded in 1958, the mission of Tall Timbers is to foster exemplary land stewardship through research, conservation, and education. The Tall Timbers Land Conservancy (created in 1990) has worked with other conservation organizations to permanently save 40 percent of the Red Hills region of Southwest Georgia and North Florida. Kevin also served on the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
Kevin Tate is the project manager of the Shenandoah Valley Conservation Collaborative – a partnership of land trusts, watershed groups, regional nonprofits, and federal and state agencies working towards shared goals in water quality, agricultural vitality, and land conservation in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Kevin Tate is an alumni of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation who has worked with diverse farmers throughout the Americas.
Kevin Watt works on strategy, research and policy for TomKat Ranch and serves on the board of the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District. His work focuses on discovering and sharing the demonstrable benefits of regenerative rangeland management and supporting the tools and technologies that empower land stewards to effectively work with complex natural systems to make their lands more productive and resilient.
Keymah Durden is one of the founders of Rid All Green Partners, and will soon serve as its first CEO. Keymah was born and raised in the predominantly black neighborhoods on the east side of Cleveland, which is also where Rid All operates. Rid All is one of the most successful urban farms in America, and is a strategic partner with Western Reserve Land Conservancy, on whose board he also serves. From the Kinsman neighborhood in Cleveland to Ghana in West Africa to Israel, Keymah has worked to create better communities through clean water, food production, and environmental conservation.
Kim Quarty has been with Peconic Land Trust (PLT) since 2008, landing in her current position of director of conservation planning in March 2021. Previously she worked in New York City real estate and earned a degree in human resources from Rutgers University. She lives on Long Island with her husband and enjoys hiking at PLT’s many preserves.
Klaus is board president of NeighborSpace of Baltimore County. He is an architect and transportation planner who lives in Catonsville.
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 nonprofit 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 Weil, manager of urban analytics for the Trust for Public Land, works to identify areas to create parks for people. Expert-informed spatial assessments identify where parks can have multiple benefits to improve community health, increase equitable park access, and help mitigate climate issues including extreme heat. Kristen is the manager of the ParkServe mapping platform, which provides planning capabilities to all urban areas across the country to help cities strategically fill gaps in their park systems.
Kyle Gray is a project partner for Throwe Environmental with expertise leading climate resilience planning and financing projects across the East Coast. Kyle leads Throwe’s work with the Southeast New England Program Network and is a Field Liaison for the National Coastal Resilience Fund and Long Island Sound Futures Fund. He holds a master’s degree in marine affairs and community planning certificate from the University of Rhode Island and is a certified Climate Change Professional.
Kylie Paul works at the Center for Large Landscape Conservation as a Road Ecologist, advancing the development and implementation of wildlife-friendly transportation policies and projects in international, federal, state, tribal, and local contexts. For over 20 years she’s worked in many sectors, including nonprofit conservation, wildlife field research, local government, consulting firms and private business. Throughout her work, she’s focused on creative, collaborative approaches to wildlife conservation and road ecology.
Larry Knutson’s orientation to sustainable, natural surface trails has been acquired as a contractor in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of such trails, as well as, professional trails related education and certifications with the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Fish & Game. He is coauthor of the 2014 Universal Access Trails: Design, Management, Ethical, and Legal Considerations, for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources. Penn Trails, a member of the Professional Trail Builders Association, current 2016 trail planning, design and construction projects include sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
Lauren has been the director of the Watershed Protection Program since 2017. She has a Bachelor of Science from Ursinus College where she focused her independent research project on the impact fracking has on macroinvertebrates and a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied aquatic macroinvertebrates with Stroud Water Research Center. Lauren is passionate about studying the human impact on our waterways, and understanding how to protect freshwater resources.
Leia has worked in education for over 20 years. Her commitment to engaging whole communities in conservation has led to the expansion of the Trust in Education program at Kenebunkport Conservatino Trust and the development of the Kennebunkport Climate Initiative. Spreading her passion for conservation through place-based education connects people to their local landscape, their local heritage and each other, creating a stronger sense of place and encouraging a future of empowered conservationists.
Lena Pollastro serves as the Land Trust of Napa County’s land programs manager. She supervises the monitoring and stewardship program for all completed conservation projects, covering 60,000 acres in Napa County. She also manages the land acquisition program for the organization, including all aspects of drafting, due diligence and landowner contact.
Liya Schwartzman has been working in partnership with farmers on behalf of California FarmLink since 2010. She has supported hundreds of farmers and ranchers in accessing land, securing strong tenure agreements, exploring financing, and facilitating farmland and business succession plans. Liya also directs farmers to a variety of resources from FarmLink, its partners, and service providers nationwide. She is a frequent speaker at workshops and conferences on topics of importance to beginning and retiring farmers and ranchers.
As director at City Forest Credits, Liz works with stakeholders across the country who are leading the development of urban forest carbon projects. Liz has over a decade of experience leading complex social impact and environmental projects with nonprofits, governments, and Global Fortune 500 companies. From forests of Canada to cities across the U.S., she is committed to driving change that benefits people and planet. Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Western Washington University.
Lynette St. Clair is a Shoshone linguist, cultural preservationist & educational consultant on the Wind River Indian Reservation. She currently serves as Indian educational director for Fremont County School District and as an education consultant to WY PBS and the WY Dept of Education. Previously, Lynette was Shoshone language teacher and adjunct professor at the Wind River Tribal College.
As a climate adaptation specialist at the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, Maddy helps natural resource professionals integrate climate adaptation planning into their work. Recently she has been focused on developing tools and trainings for partners in the New England region and urban forests across the United States. She has also enjoyed collaborating with Michigan State University’s Forest Carbon and Climate Program on their Understanding Forest Carbon Management professional development course.
Maggi Blomstrom is the Rappahannock-Rapidan conservation initiative coordinator for The Piedmont Environmental Council in Virginia – a multi-faceted initiative to promote land conservation, water quality improvements, natural habitat protection and restoration, and public access throughout the upper Rappahannock River watershed. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and urban and regional studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree in community development and planning from Clark University in Massachusetts.
Maggie Hines, director of land stewardship for Ducks Unlimited (DU), is a transactional attorney licensed in the state if Tennessee. From DU’s national headquarters in Memphis, Maggie directs the stewardship efforts for over 550 conservation easements as well as DU’s growing fee-title portfolio. Her experience includes contract drafting, negotiations, and policy and procedure development. Maggie holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and biology from Saint Louis University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
Marc Smiley has been in conservation since 1982 as Land Trust Alliance employee #3. For three decades, Marc has presented dozens of workshops at Rally, in webinars, and at regional conferences. Marc’s regularly facilitates conversation within and among land trusts on critical issues, including 13 years of the Berkley Land Trust Alliance/Yale Conservation Workshop Series. Marc was an inaugural Accreditation Commissioner, and has served as staff, executive, board member and advisor to multiple conservation and community organizations.
Margaret graduated from Washington College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in environment studies. Before joining Wissahickon Trails in 2015, she worked on research projects focused on declining bird populations in different habitats across MD, NJ, NY, PA, and FL. As conservation manager, Margaret plans and implements habitat enhancement, restoration, and maintenance of Wissahickon Trails’ 12 nature preserves and 24 miles of hiking trails, manages the conservation easement program, and oversees all bird conservation initiatives.
During her professional career, Maria Whitehead, PhD has held positions as an ornithologist, professor, and conservation professional. She was worked for 15 years in the direct conservation of land and water and the interdisciplinary realm of climate adaptation and community resilience. As a coastal program manager for The Nature Conservancy, she worked at the land-water interface – helping to initiate a water fund program, establish oyster restoration sites, and protect tidal wetlands and wetland migration space. Today, as Senior Program Manager at Open Space Institute, she works across the eastern United States on varied conservation projects and initiatives including interpreting climate science for land-protection professionals, designing and implementing landscape-scale land conservation initiatives and assisting communities impacted by climate change.
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 32 land trusts and watershed associations in SE Massachusetts, 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 Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Conservation Study Group and founding director of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition. He has received numerous conservation honors, including a Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Mark Weston recently stepped down as Colorado’s first Director of the Division of Conservation following a 30-year career as an independent real estate appraiser specializing in the valuation of conservation easements. He is a past board member of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, the Colorado Conservation Easement Oversight Commission, and speaks frequently on issues relating to appraisals and partial interest valuation.
Mary Alice Holley is a strategic communicator with many years of experience helping land trusts use effective messaging strategies to advance their conservation goals. Currently, Mary Alice serves as Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s director of community innovation where she liaises with CTNC’s staff, board, and community partners to ensure the organization advances its mission to build resilient, just communities throughout North Carolina. In her spare time, Mary Alice enjoys hiking with her family and exploring the beauty of the Southeast United States from her kayak.
Mary Burke is the director of Educational Services at the Land Trust Alliance, the national leader in policy, standards, education and training for the land trust community. Mary leads the Alliance’s work on Land Trust Standards and Practices, serves as the executive editor of digital and print publications, and supervises its online training program and online learning management system. Mary holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English Literature as well as a degree in journalism.
Spending nearly a decade in the project development sector of the carbon inventory, Mary’s experience in carbon project design and development is demonstrated by her many successful forest projects, both internationally and domestically. Her insights on project design and messaging have been fundamental in creating a meaningful landowner experience and promoting the Forest Carbon Works brand. As the Chief Customer Officer at Forest Carbon Works, Mary leads an enthusiastic and dynamic team whose objective is to familiarize forest landowners with the basics of carbon projects, help assess project feasibility, and guide landowners through the project experience. Mary holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco.
Mary Pfaffko joined Defenders of Wildlife in 2017 where she conducts policy analysis and advocates for science-based wildlife conservation on private lands. This includes engagement with Congress, agencies, and organizations. Prior to joining Defenders, she served as Assistant Chief of Nongame for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources working for fish and wildlife conservation and funding. She has also served as a Wildlife Biologist for DC Fisheries and Wildlife.
Mary Vandevord is the president & CEO of HeartLands Conservancy, a conservation land trust serving southern Illinois. Mary has a master’s degree in regional and city planning from the University of Oklahoma. She previously served as a member of the Illinois Governor’s Transition Team for Energy and the Environment and as President of the Prairie State Conservation Coalition in Illinois.
Mary-Carson Stiff is director of policy at Wetlands Watch where she specializes in sea level rise adaptation planning & policy. She serves on the boards of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation & the Living River Trust. She previously worked as consulting manager for policy and programs for the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, where she obtained a law degree in 2013. Mary-Carson graduated from Bates College with a bachelor’s degree in 2008.
Maya Miller is the executive director of Cape Fear River Assembly, working in 21 counties in North Carolina. She partners in many Native-led projects and has a background in working with land and water initiatives with Original People.
Melinda Ching is a senior attorney for The Nature Conservancy where she has provided legal counsel to a range of programs within The Nature Conservancy, including establishing offices in Australia and Mongolia and managing complex legal transactions such as debt for nature swaps in Indonesia. Her current practice includes providing all legal support for conservation programs in Hawaii, Palmyra Atoll, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho. Her current areas of focus are conservation easements and other conservation real estate transactions, lobbying and electioneering counsel and carbon projects. She has been with The Nature Conservancy since 2001. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and The King Hall School of Law, University of California, Davis. She is active in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at the Conservancy and provides assistance to the Conservancy’s Employee Resource Groups as well as serves as a mentor for various internal mentoring cohorts and young legal professionals.
Melissa joined Keep It Colorado after a decade in the parks and recreation field where she focused on policy development, community programming and strategic partnerships. She has a bacheror’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism administration from Western Illinois University and a law degree from The John Marshall Law School. Melissa is passionate about protecting and preserving Colorado’s beautiful landscapes and rich heritage. When not at work, Melissa can be found hiking, biking, climbing, fishing or running with her husband, son and black lab.
Melissa, a science teacher at Kennebunk High School since 2002, is certified in both physical and life science. She is passionate about teaching environmental science with a project-based approach. A co-developer of the Gulf of Maine Field Studies which focuses on the Gulf of Maine bio-region and on local issues related to climate change in the Gulf, has earned her and her class collaborators the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment’s Visionary Award in 2019.
Before coming to Maine, Mike worked as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Manager in Anchorage, Prince William Sound and the North Gulf Coast. He also directed Kuskokwim Native Association. Mike dealt with Fisheries and Natural Resources Department in cooperative research, monitoring and management within the Middle Kuskokwim area. Mike graduated in 2005 from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree. in fisheries and wildlife biology.
Mike Okma is the manager of easement stewardship for the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) and oversees the stewardship of 300+ conservation easements in GTRLC’s five county service area. Mike graduated from Michigan Technological University with a bachelor’s degree in applied ecology as well as wildlife management. Mike is the Midwest stewardship representative for the Stewardship Network and is a member of the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Advisory Council.
Mikey Goralnik, PLA, AICP is a landscape architect and leads innovative community planning efforts for Mariposa County Planning Department. Goralnik holds an master’s degree in landscape rchitecture, master’s degree in city and regional planning and a bachelor’s degree in American studies.
Mirella Ramos, bilingual youth programs manager at Sonoma Land Trust, coordinates in- and out-of-school time programs for youth through culturally relevant and accessible programming. They play a major role in reaching the Latine and Spanish-speaking communities through partnerships and collaboration. Mirella is an accomplished field technician having worked for California Conservation Corps, National Park Service and Forest Service. They previously coordinated field work, environmental education and youth development for Saguaro National Park’s Youth Conservation Corps.
Misti Schmidt is a partner at Conservation Partners LLP in Oakland, California, where she focuses her practice on the real estate and tax aspects of conservation transactions, including donative and mitigation conservation easements and carbon projects, as well as tax-exempt organization governance. Misti received her Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University School of Law and her juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she received a Certificate in Environmental Law.
Having previously served as the director of transactions at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), Molly is now the staff attorney at CCALT. She provides guidance on all new transactions and the resolution of stewardship issues in addition to managing a portfolio of new conservation easement transactions. Molly grew up on a cattle ranch in Carbondale, Colorado where she and her husband are now raising their daughter alongside their puppy.
Monique Verdin is an interdisciplinary storyteller documenting the complex relationship between environment, culture and climate in southeast Louisiana. She is a citizen of the Houma Nation and director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange.
Nathan Cummins is a director of renewable energy programs at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In this role, Nathan leads renewable energy strategy for TNC’s Great Plains Division, as well as TNC’s global markets-based strategies to accelerate renewable energy deployment through market solutions. Previously, Nathan worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality in the Obama Administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Neal Ramus, director of community engagement and education at Sonoma Land Trust, leads organizational strategies to broaden audiences, serve community needs, and include a multitude of voices in the work of Sonoma Land Trust. A nationally recognized youth development and program evaluation expert, Neal has presented at numerous national and international conferences, from Washington DC to Chongqing, China. Neal previously led community program development at the California Academy of Sciences, Petaluma Wildlife Museum, and Sonoma State University
Nelwyn McInnis is the mitigation program manager for the Mississippi and Louisiana chapters of The Nature Conservancy. Nelwyn has been involved in development and operation of wetland mitigation banks in Mississippi and Louisiana for over 20 years and is a member of TNC’s wetland mitigation advisory committee. (B10)
Nickolas Smith, GIS Remote Sensing Analyst for Ducks Unlimited. From DU’s national headquarters in Memphis, Nick manages DU’s ArcGIS Enterprise System including easement and fee-title databases. Nick holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree from Louisiana State University, where he researched the movements and nesting of Bald Eagles.
Nicole Adimey is a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In her currently capacity, she serves as the Regional Coordinator for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife. Nicole has previously worked on endangered species recovery, implemented habitat restoration, and conducted field research and conservation management of marine mammals. She also has extensive experience in partnership development, grant writing and strategic planning. She enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, traveling and enjoying baked goods.
Nicole Braddock has led Solano Land Trust for 13 years. She spearheaded the land trust’s efforts to raise over 30 million dollars for conservation, double the staff capacity and achieve national accreditation. With over 20 years of experience, Nicole is a seasoned nonprofit leader, specializing in systems, partnerships and collaboration and raising support and funds for community benefit programs.
Nicole Reynolds is the executive director for Whiterock Conservancy. Hailing from the Rocky Mountains and the Lakes of Minnesota, Nicole has a passion for diverse natural landscapes. Before becoming the executive director for Whiterock Conservancy, she served on its board. Reynolds has over 15 years of experience in marketing and management. Previously, she worked on water conservation programming and startups in the agricultural industry.
Olga Gonzalez was born in Monterrey Nuevo León, Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles, California. She is proud of her Indigenous Mexican identity (Yaqui/Otomi) and the rich cultures and experiences that shaped her. Olga is a long-time diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, nonprofit professional, and community activist and organizer. She has earned several awards for her work in the areas of health equity and social justice and currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her family.
Pam Morgan teaches a wide variety of courses at the University of New England. Her approach to teaching helps students learn through projects in local habitats, local communities, and on campus. She’s involved in efforts to develop and implement nature education programs for nearby public schools. Her students get involved through classes such as the Greening the Schools seminar and the Gulf of Maine Field Studies, as well as through internships and service projects with local schools and land trusts.
Patrick Williams is the director of creative services for Bold Bison Communications and Consulting. He has previously worked at Openlands, 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.
Penny is an inclusion specialist for the Lakeshore Foundation. She has over 15 years of experience in coaching, officiating, adaptive sports and recreation.
Over his career as a clinical psychologist, Peter has published widely on Autism Spectrum Disorder. As board chair for a local conservancy, he helped to protect hundreds of acres and identify new trail connections. Peter serves on the Land Trust Alliance Council on Disabilities, contributing to their new inclusion guidelines. He is now focused on creating work and recreation opportunities for young adults with disabilities, like his daughter Margot.
Peter is the co-founder of First Light, an ambitious effort between 65 organizations in Maine and the Wabanaki people to increase their presence and sovereignty on the land. We take direction from the Tribally-appointed Wabanaki Commission made up of 12 leaders representing the federally recognized Tribes of Maine.
Phillip Oswald is a partner with Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC. Phillip has represented land trusts and other clients in title disputes, easement enforcement, insurance disputes, clean-water disputes, and other matters before federal and state courts across New York State. Phillip also serves on the board of directors for Saratoga PLAN and is a veteran of the US Marine Corps.
Ray Lyons, a conservation attorney based in Harvard, Massachusetts licensed to practice in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire, represents landowners, the New England Forestry Foundation, and the Northeast Wilderness Trust and works with many conservation organizations to protect important open spaces throughout New England. He is a Coverts coordinator (now Mass Keystone) and a Member of the Corporation at Fruitlands. He previously served on his town’s planning board and Greenway Committee and as a trustee of the Groton Conservation Trust. He holds a degree in music from Ithaca College and in law from Suffolk University. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, New Hampshire Bar Association, the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts’s Land Use committee, the National Association of Homebuilders, the New Hampshire Land Trust Coalition, and the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition’s Steering Committee, Massachusetts Easement Defense Subcommittee (MEDS), and Conservation Attorney Referral Panel.. He is an active member of the Land Trust Alliance’s Learning Council and the Massachusetts Easement Defense Subcommittee (MEDS), and is an emeritus member of the Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council. He is a frequent speaker at Rally and the Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference on issues ranging from property tax exemptions to welcoming people with disabilities onto conservation properties. He is a former trustee of the Groton Conservation Trust. A longtime musician (saxophone and flute), he enjoys making music with others.
Reggie works with land trusts, community partners and government leaders nationwide to save special places outdoors. When not saving land, he is out experiencing it-often on a bike, in running shoes, or otherwise suited up for adventure.
Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, was born and raised in southwestern Colorado, resides on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation. She is a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of Towaoc. She attended school and graduated from Montezuma Cortez High School. She has spent 10 years in the information technology field, working for Chief Dull Knife College, the Southern Ute Indian and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes. In October of 2013, she was elected to serve as a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal council. At an early age, Lopez-Whiteskunk began to advocate for land, air, water and animals, and strongly believes that the inner core of healing comes from the knowledge of our land and elders. She is a former co-chair for the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition Co-Chair and education director for the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose. Currently she is seeking a master’s degree in environmental management with Western Colorado University. She serves on the Telluride Institute Board, Advisory board for Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Torrey House Press Board, and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Lopez-Whiteskunk has traveled extensively throughout the country sharing the Ute culture through song, dance, presentations, and is honored to continue to protect, preserve and serve through education, creating a better understanding of our resources, culture and beliefs— a great foundation for a better tomorrow.
Rich Cochran is president and CEO of Western Reserve Land Conservancy. He has served in this role for more than 25 years and is nationally recognized as a conservation leader and an expert in urban conservation and restoration and DEIJ in the context of conservation. Rich was the first employee of the Land Conservancy, which now employs 50 people, has completed more than 800 conservation transactions, and created 180 public parks and preserves
Rick holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and has over 20 years of professional experience. He works on all aspects of Natural Lands’ Growing Greener: Conservation by Design program, including educational, outreach, and technical assistance components. He also acts as a consultant and provides technical expertise to municipalities and landowners in need of development plan review, ordinance writing, grant writing, open space planning, trail design, master planning, stormwater management, parks, recreation, and stewardship planning.
Rob Krain has served as executive director of The Black Swamp Conservancy since 2013. Rob earned a degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis from Bowling Green State University and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. He is the past Chairperson and current Treasurer of the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts, a member of Land Trust Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council, and serves as Chairperson of Toledo Rotary’s Water Services Committee.
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.
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.
Rocci Aguirre serves as the deputy director of the Adirondack Council. He brings over 27 years of conservation experience to his current position, including working as a National Park Service ranger, field staff for Trout Unlimited, and as the former land protection director at the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Rocci is on the board of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development where he serves as chair of CCCD’s Land Trust and Stewardship committee and is a board member for the NY Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
Ross is lands project director for Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.
Rusha has been executive director of Freshwater Land Trust since 2019. An Alabama native, she was born and raised in Calhoun County. After attending college in Texas and a brief stint in the Colorado Rockies, she returned to Alabama in 1991 to attend law school. After 25 years practicing law, she joined Freshwater Land Trust is 2019 to make a difference in her community.
Sabrina Cummings has been the environmental programs coordinator for Conservation Foundation for the Gulf Coast since 2018 focusing on equity and the inclusion of at risk youth.
Sandy Letzing has a master’s degree in resource management from OSU and has extensive experience working for and with tribal, state and federal agencies to enact natural resource-landscape scale projects. Her focus has been on forest health and wildfire resilience, as well as water quality initiatives in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. She is the Pacific Northwest forester for Forest Carbon Works and is an SAF Certified Forester. Sandy is based in Carlton, OR.
Sara Barker is the program director for the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative. She helps provide strategic planning, resources, technical assistance, planning tools, and funding opportunities to advance the pace and impact of land trust protection and stewardship efforts. She also assists land managers and practitioners in managing habitat for priority bird species and strives to build capacity for the land trust and private lands community around birds.
Sarah began her time at Forest Carbon Works in 2018 as a forest technician collecting inventory. Today, as the chief forestry officer, Sarah leads our Natural Resources division, to include afforestation, field team activities, verification support and landowner outreach. Originally from Vermont, Sarah has been active in the forestry field for more than 15 years and has worked extensively in forests throughout the Northeast. Prior to Forest Carbon Works, she was a consulting forester for Butternut Mountain Farm in northern Vermont and was deeply involved with their sugaring operations. Sarah holds a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Vermont.
Sarah Mayhew is the director of education for the Little Traverse Conservancy in northern Michigan. She has worked in the field of environmental and adventure education for 15 years.Her professional experiences include: interpretation for the Michigan State Parks, adventure education through Bellingham Parks & Rec. in Washington State, and snowboard instruction.Sarah has been with the Little Traverse Conservancy since 2011. The Conservancy has an established direct-service K-12 education program that reaches 4,000 students per school year from 40 different schools.throughout their five county service area. Program topics range from insects and plants to snowshoeing and nature photography. All programs are conducted on Little Traverse Conservancy properties, and meet the current curriculum standards for the State of Michigan, through their goal of promoting appreciation and awareness of the natural world.
Sarah Sigman is a partner at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP where she represents land trusts, public agencies, and community groups in land use matters, including litigation and negotiations to protect conservation lands.
Sarah Walter is co-author of Trails for All People (2021) She is a licensed landscape architect at Penn Trails, managing diverse trail planning projects from visioning to detail design. Sarah has broad experience in conservation planning working with private, public, and non-profit partners, including previously as Senior Planner & Agricultural Preservation Coordinator for Centre County Planning & Community Development Office, and the Executive Director for the Centre County Farmland Trust.
Sean Milanovich, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, is the vice president of the Native American Land Conservancy
Sequoya Bua-Iam is an ORISE Research Fellow in the Nonpoint Source Program at EPA headquarters, where she supports the development of resources to advance healthy watersheds protection. Prior to this position, Sequoya’s research primarily addressed monitoring freshwater remediation. Sequoya will receive her master’s in environmental science this year from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She also holds a bachelor’s in geology with an emphasis on ecology from Washington & Lee University.
Sophie Plitt manages the Forests in Cities program, a national practitioner network focused on improving protection and management of urban forested natural areas. Sophie has worked with the NYC Parks Department, New York Restoration Project, TreeKIT and the New York Tree Trust planning and implementing green infrastructure projects with the goal of deepening human-nature connections in cities. She holds an M.S. in Social-Ecological Resilience Research from the Stockholm Resilience Centre and a B.A. in environmental studies and urban ecosystems from The New School University
Steve Epting is a biologist in the National Nonpoint Source Program at EPA headquarters, where he works to advance healthy watersheds protection by supporting state efforts to protect unimpaired/high quality waters. Additionally, Steve strives to integrate nonpoint source protection efforts with other EPA programs and external partners, like the land conservation community. Steve has a master’s in environmental science from the University of Maryland, where he studied wetland-stream connectivity on the landscape.
Steve Hagenbuch has worked with Audubon in a variety of roles since 1998. Currently, he is a senior conservation biologist and forester with Audubon Vermont’s Healthy Forests Initiative. In this position, Steve works with private landowners, municipalities, foresters, land managers, and other conservation partners to promote management activities that will enhance the health and habitat value of forestland for priority bird species
Stephen J. Small is recognized as the nation’s leading authority on private land protection options and strategies. Before authoring the Federal Tax Law of Conservation Easements and Preserving Family Lands: Book I, Book II, and Book III and his latest book, The Business of Open Space: What’s Next??, Steve wrote the federal Income Tax Regulations on Conservation Easements as attorney-advisor in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service.
Steve Swartz spent 19 years as general counsel of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust in Washington, D.C., before stepping down in 2017. He was also a senior attorney for the Trust’s parent organization, concentrating on broader risk management and litigation issues before retiring in 2020. Prior to joining the land trust 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. He now serves as senior legal advisor to an international wildlife and habitat conservation organization and on the board of a local land trust focused on urban farming. He is an alumnus of both the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and the Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council.
Steve Tatko, senior director of Maine conservation and land management, joined AMC in 2012. A Northern Maine Native, graduate of Colby College and forester, he leads AMC’s conservation acquisition, management and implementation strategy in Maine where the AMC’s ownership has grown to 100,000 acres. Steve serves on a number boards in both the forest products industry and the conservation field where he seeks to center ecology and community at the core of land management decisions.
Story Clark is CEO of TravelSorysGPS, a mission-driven mobile and web-based company dedicated to connecting people to place in memorable ways. Coming from the land conservation sector, where Story worked for and serves on the boards of several local, national, and international conservation organizations, Story brings a unique perspective of inclusion to storytelling. The company’s ten years of partnerships in the nonprofit sector include working with land trusts, historic preservation organizations, Native American tribes, Civil Rights, and other African American organizations and storytellers assisting them in telling their stories their way to broader audiences. TravelStorysGPS hosts the most curated mobile audio of any organization in the United States
Sungha is associate professor of marketing at San Francisco State University. His main research interest is to develop quantitative models applicable to general marketing situations. He teaches marketing analytics courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, he has supervised capstone course projects for MBA students and students in the Master of Science in Business Analytics program.
Susan Hamsher is an attorney at the Tenenbaum Law Group. She has significant experience providing a broad range of legal advice to nonprofit organizations in private practice and in-house at one of the world’s largest land trusts – The Nature Conservancy – where she worked for 8 years. She excels at incorporating complex legal requirements into effective and practical solutions to advance the strategic business objectives of her clients. Prior to joining the Tenenbaum Law Group, Susan was a senior associate at a boutique law firm in Washington, DC with a partial focus on the laws governing lobbying and election-related activity by tax-exempt organizations. Susan has a broad understanding of nonprofit legal matters as well as business operations, governance, and development. She has developed multiple systems to ensure organizational compliance including lobbying expense tracking and timekeeping systems, filing schedules and calendars, and a wide range of policies and procedures. Susan is passionate about advancing justice, equity, and diversity. Susan currently volunteers with her son’s school to promote its diversity and equity initiative.
Indigenous scientist, artist, consultant, and-most recently-children’s book author, Suzanne Greenlaw is a citizen of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and a senior staff member of the Wabanaki Commission. Suzanne lives in Orono, Maine, with her husband and two daughters, Musqon and Alamossit. Her sweet family was the inspiration for The First Blade of Sweetgrass, a book she authored alongside her husband Gabriel Frey, a traditional Passamaquoddy basket maker, and released in August of this year.
Suzanne Stephens is executive director for Aspen Valley Land Trust. Suzanne is a Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado native who has been working in the field of land conservation since the spring of 2001. Previously, she spent two years as the director of land conservation at the Roaring Fork Conservancy, and then became interim director for the Western Colorado Agricultural Heritage Fund. She was an environmental educator for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies after graduating from Reed College in Portland, Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Suzanne lives in Carbondale with her husband and daughter.
Tamara Galanter is a partner at the San Francisco law firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP. She works with land trusts to draft, negotiate, and enforce conservation easements, and to preserve and restore habitat and farmland. Tamara chairs the Conservation Forum for the California Council of Land Trusts and was on the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Advisory Council. Tamara received her law degree from Yale Law School and undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.
Tara Fouch-Moore serves as the Southern Sierra Miwuk nation Tribal Council Secretary. Fouch-Moore facilitates tribal engagement in cultural activities and restoration partnerships. Tara holds a bachelor’s degree in language studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Tim Aaron is a Realty Specialist for the Easement Programs Division of the USDA-NRCS.
Todd Reynolds is the executive director of Groundwork New Orleans. With 30+ years of experience in education, project management, and design build construction, his main commitment is to educate and empower youth from under-served communities. Through diverse partnerships, he has greatly expanded the trust’s operating budget, programs, capacity, and public presence. Todd has a master’s degree in community economic development from the University of Southern New Hampshire and holds numerous water and green infrastructure certifications.
Tom became co-executive eirector in January of 2022. He joined NJ Conservation in 2015 as campaign director for Energy, Climate and Natural Resources. In this role he led the statewide “Rethink Energy NJ” campaign to stop unneeded fossil fuel infrastructure, including the PennEast pipeline, and to advance landmark new clean energy and climate policies. Previously, he served as senior conservation finance director with the Trust for Public Land where he passed eighteen county and local ballot measures in seven states generating over $270 million to finance parks and land conservation, and chaired successful campaigns to secure approval of a $400 million bond measure in 2009 and constitutional amendment in 2014 that created a stable source of funding for New Jersey’s land and historic preservation programs. Previously, Tom also served as Director of Eastern Forest Conservation for the Wilderness Society, and Executive Director of the NY/NJ/PA/CT Highlands Coalition. Tom earned his bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in natural resources planning from the University of Vermont.
Travis is the executive director of the Montezuma Land Conservancy in Southwest Colorado. Travis has helped to lead MLC’s transition into Community Conservation and drive programs beyond traditional conservation work. He serves on the Colorado statewide land trust coalition board, “Keep It Colorado”, where he hopes to help bring new perspective and innovation to the land trust community. Travis enjoys growing food, exploring nature with his son, and working for his community.
Valetin Lopez is the chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, one of the three historic tribes recognized as Ohlone. The Tribal Band and the Amah Mutsun Land Trust have been actively partnering with universities, other tribes, land trusts, and landowners to restore their tradition of “cultural burns” to traditional territory in the south San Francisco and north Monterey Bay areas.
Victoria Marles joined Trust for Nature as CEO in 2009, recognizing the organization’s valuable work protecting biodiversity in the state of Victoria, Australia. As the owner of a property near Wedderburn with a conservation covenant, she understands the power of individuals to make a positive contribution to environmental protection. In addition to her responsibilities at Trust for Nature, she is on the steering committee of the International Land Conservation Network and the Australian Business Biodiversity Initiative.
Wendy Weaver is the executive director of Montana Freshwater Partners (MFP), formerly Montana Aquatic Resources Services, a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Livingston, Montana. MFP operates the statewide In-Lieu Fee Program for wetland and stream compensatory mitigation and works with partners to implement wetland and river restoration projects across Montana. She is a licensed professional civil engineer with over 25 years experience in land development, water, wastewater infrastructure, water resource design, and aquatic resource conservation. Wendy is a member of the Montana State University (MSU) Civil Engineering Advisory Board, Board Director on the Four Corners Foundation, Board Director on Invasive Species Action Network (ISAN) and serves as a Professional Mentor of MSU Engineers Without Borders, working to bring clean water and sanitation to elementary schools in rural Kenya. She has also worked as a consultant with the Northern Plains Resource Council and the Stillwater Mine on their Good Neighbor Agreement, which was developed between the community and the mine to protect the area’s quality of life, agricultural land and water. She strongly believes in protecting and enhancing Montana’s valuable river and riparian resources, and promoting landscape resiliency, and more often than not- can be found on or near water.
Will Abberger is vice president and 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. He has been directly involved in over one hundred state and local park and conservation ballot measures throughout the country.
William “Buzz” Constable is a conservation attorney and consultant, drawing upon his career as a land use / environmental attorney and commercial real estate investment executive, and upon his 30 years as a conservation professional. He remains president of the Lincoln Land Conservation Trust (sixty years old, until recently an all-volunteer land trust), an officer of the accredited The Trustees of Reservations (the oldest land trust), Chair of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, and an alumni member of the Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council. Other civic activities include veteran board positions with the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Old South Meeting House, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Buzz has been appointed to local, regional and state boards and commissions, and participates in professional associations in law, real estate and conservation. He received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master’s degree from Yale University, a law degree from Boston University, and a LOEB Fellowship from Harvard University.
Yimmuaj Yang is the community director with Groundswell Conservancy. She leads Groundswell’s work in building relationship with the BIPOC community. She believes in relationship building as the foundation to actively engage, build trust and resiliency with the community and her team members.