Alec Reynolds is the CEO of Tandem, a digital agency that helps nonprofit organizations get the most out of their web presence. He’s curious about your donor management and the plans you have for creating more personalized, successful fundraising campaigns. Alec’s natural habitat is the Sierra Nevada foothills, where he is often seen trail running, camping with his family and tending his garden.
Alfonso Orozco is from Oakland California and currently works for The Nature Conservancy in Washington State as the volunteer and field experiences manager. He received his master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in natural science education. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy he served as a park ranger in five National Parks. He is a member of the Next Generation Advisory Council for the National Parks Conservation Association and a Latino Outdoors volunteer since 2015.
Alice Cooney is the membership and admistration manager at Aspetuck Land Trust.
Alison Delaney is the development officer at Peconic Land Trust in Southampton, New York. Alison has been with the Trust since 2018. Prior to that, she worked on an organic farm, at an asset management firm and as an event and fundraising consultant and charity auctioneer for nonprofit organizations in the NYC and tri-state area.
Allison Handler has worked with conservation organizations and housing and community development organizations for 25 years as a practitioner and consultant. A former land use planner and housing land trust executive director with an master’s in environmental studies, she is interested in healthy built and natural environments, climate resilience and social equity.
Amanda Abraham is director of development at Peconic Land Trust in Southampton, NY. She comes with over 20 years of experience working in small to mid-sized not-for-profits, including universities and arts organizations, and is on the board of the Peconic Community School in Riverhead, NY.
Amanda Recinos is a senior GIS specialist and project manager at GreenInfo NEtowrk, with expertise in demographics, social justice and natural resources. Technical specialties include: database design and management, advanced data development, spatial analysis and high-quality cartographic production. Development and management of complex projects including: data creation, modeling, analytical design and data dissemination.
Anahi Naranjo was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, and moved to New York City in 2002. She earned a degree in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and served as the community outreach coordinator and then development assistant at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center in the Bronx, New York. She is currently the program coordinator for the Latino Outdoors NYC, and is pursuing a master’s degree in oral history at Columbia University.
Andrew Moe is the stewardship program manager for the Minnesota Land Trust where he oversees the monitoring of approximately 600 conservation easements totalling over 60,000 acres statewide. Prior to returning to Minnesota, Andrew worked on research projects for Harvard Forest LTER and the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, and served as a staff and volunteer monitor for three New England land trusts. He received his master’s degree in wildlife and conservation biology from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from St. Olaf College.
Andrew Szwak is the manager of governmental affairs at Openlands. He leads initiatives to develop, negotiate, and advocate for policies that improve nature. Andrew serves as board secretary of the Illinois Environmental Council and partners with organizations and individuals throughout the country to improve environmental policy. Before joining Openlands, Andrew managed the State of Georgia’s Land Conservation Program and consulted with New Jersey land trusts to produce plans for parks, open space, farmland, and trails.
Angelina González-Aller is the program manager of the Climate Resilience Program at CLLC. In this role, Angelina supports communities in their efforts to achieve conservation goals and prepare for a changing world. Angelina has a background in public policy and years of experience as a research and policy analyst at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. In 2013, Angelina completed a congressional fellowship in the office of U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard where she worked on labor, housing, and health policy, including the development of the 2014 Health Equity and Accountability Act. In 2018, Angelina completed a PhD in political science, specializing in racial and ethnic studies, health disparities, and U.S. policymaking. Born and raised in New Mexico, Angelina loves the Rocky Mountain west and is happy to call Montana home. She can often be found outside reading, skiing, hiking, and climbing with her husband and dog.
Angela Britten, CFRE, was born and raised in Kailua, on the island of O?ahu. She is the director of development at the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, and is currently board president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Aloha Chapter. She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and speaks three languages – English, French and Hawaiian.
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.
Ben Dair works across Sustainable Northwest’s Forest Energy and Green Markets program areas to increase the funding available to conservation projects by delivering analytical support and business services to partners. Prior to Sustainable Northwest, Benjamin conducted market and logistics risk assessments for an international timber investor, wrote feasibility studies on sustainable project finance for WWF Vietnam and consulted to the Energy and Resources Institute of North America on a turnaround strategy for a tropical hardwood timber operation. Ben is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is a candidate for certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Beth Ridout is the director of estate administration for The Nature Conservancy and has been with the organization for 16 years. She was previously a high net worth Trust Officer at Merrill Lynch where she helped clients plan their philanthropy and saw charitable giving from their perspectives. She has her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Beth lives in Marin County, California but her team is located at The Nature Conservancy headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
Beth Rose Middleton is assistant professor of Native American Studies at University of California, Davis. She authored “Trust in the Land: New Directions in Tribal Conservation,” released in 2011, which discusses the emerging field of Native American land trusts and features 14 case studies about Native-led land conservation efforts.
Bob Perschel is executive director of the New England Forestry Foundation. In 40 years of conservation work he has bridged the advocacy between wilderness protection and Exemplary Forestry management. Bob is a co-founder of the Forest Stewards Guild and served as Northeast Director and Land Ethic Director for the Wilderness Society. He worked for forest industry, ran his own forestry consulting business and served as Chair of the Northern Forest Alliance.
Brandi is a native of the McKenzie River watershed and has worked for the McKenzie River Trust since 2009. Brandi adopted a city park, Awbrey Park where she hosted a monthly volunteer work party for 11 years, focused on restoring the natural area. Brandi’s volunteer experience inspired her to work in local land conservation. Prior, she worked in community relations and market research for the airline industry nationally. Beyond work, Brandi enjoys anything that gets her outdoors – backpacking, kayaking, photography, cycling, gardening, yoga and fly-fishing, “For me, fly fishing offers an excuse to stand in the middle of the river and look like I belong. Catching a fish – that’s fun too!”
Brandon Hayes launched Bold Bison Communications and Consulting in 2019 after 20 years in nonprofit communications, most recently as director of Ccmmunications 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 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. Bray grew up in Colombia and immigrated to the U.S in 2000.
Brendan Shane is the climate director at The Trust for Public Land where he oversees the organization’s strategic commitment to delivering nature-based climate solutions. Mr. Shane previously held senior positions at the C40 Climate Leadership Group and The District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College, a master’s degree in geology from the University of Maryland and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Brian Kittler directs the planning and implementation of our regional forest policy and landscape-scale restoration initiatives in the Western US. Prior to joining American Forests, Brian led forest teams at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Northwest, developing and deploying strategies in federal forest restoration, forest carbon management and incentives, forest market development and sustainability and forest policy.
Buck Mclaughlin works at the Avon Park Air Force Range.
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.
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.
Carrie is the Easement Program Division Director at USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Catherine Game is the executive director of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods. Catherine ensures that the legacy of Brushwood Center thrives through strong partnerships and inspiring programs that connect art, nature and wellness across the northern Chicago region. Catherine previously served as Director of Communications and Engagement for Chicago Wilderness where she oversaw the organization’s communications, member engagement, and efforts to cultivate a diverse conservation constituency. Catherine has held previous positions in communications, program evaluation and education with conservation groups and municipalities across the Midwest.
Chandni Navalkha is the program manager for land conservation programs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, where she manages the activities of the International Land Conservation Network. Prior to joining the Lincoln Institute, Chandni was a fellow with the Sri Lanka Program for Forest Conservation, conducting research on the impacts of conservation on local livelihoods near the Sinharaja World Heritage Site. 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 is an executive vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle. He has appraised conservation easements in more than 15 states and is co-author of Appraising Conservation and Historic Preservation Easements. He has an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master’s degree in real estate from the University of Wisconsin.
Cynthia brings over 20 years of real life experience in all areas of nonprofit work to help organizations become more effective and reach higher levels of impact. Her methods are varied, through developing comprehensive leadership training, full organizational strategic development, mentoring and individualized leadership coaching. She has served as a volunteer, committee member, program director, board chair, Executive Director, and community activist. Cynthia’s having the most fun when she’s engaging people and organizations to use their unique leadership skills, and resources, to achieve greater impact in their work.
Dan Bell has been land trust director at Friends of the Columbia Gorge in based in Hood River since early 2018. In this capacity he oversees the acquisition, management and disposition of lands held by the land trust. Dan’s experience includes more than a decade with the Nature Conservancy in both Oregon and North Carolina, including seven years as the Willamette Basin conservation director.
Dan Roix joined Columbia Land Trust in 2008 and has served as conservation director since 2016. Previously, he served as the associate director of Sierra Foothills Conservancy in Mariposa, California. Dan leads the land trust’s Land Protection team and conservation planning efforts. Over the past 15 years, he has worked closely with partners, landowners and funding agencies to complete important conservation projects in Oregon, Washington and California.
David Allen brings 30 years experience to the practice, including thirteen 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. His specialties include development audits, board training and campaigns.
David Priddy is the vice president of business development for ClimeCo Corporation. David joined ClimeCo in 2015 after a 25-year career in the environmental engineering and consulting industry. He leads ClimeCo’s marketing and new business development initiatives, with an emphasis on nature-based solutions (NBS) and methane emission reduction programs. He earned his bachelor of science in petroleum engineering from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
In 2019 Denise Schlener launched Transition Leadership Partners, a consulting practice that helps organizations manage change during leadership transitions. She has over 25 years of direct land trust experience, including as executive director of The Nature Conservancy Connecticut and national director for the Land Trust Alliance. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Wilderness Land Trust and chairs the fundraising committee for the Tregaron Conservancy. She has successfully led leadership transitions, fundraising turnarounds and responses to cultural crises.
Dez is the content manager for Columbia Land Trust. Originally from Southern California, Dez has spent the last six years in Portland, growing, learning and fostering a diverse community. Prior to coming to Columbia Land Trust in 2018, she spent four years at Wieden+Kennedy, where she launched the travel website for women of color, On She Goes. Committed to diversifying conservation and outdoor recreation, Dez is out in the field, meeting people, storytelling, hiking, camping, road tripping, and whitewater rafting as much as possible.
Dianne serves as executive director of the Institute for Conservation Leadership and leads fundraising, financial management, and program design and delivery. She has worked with local, state and regional leaders in the environmental and conservation community since 1985, including over 1,800 groups across North America. Her areas of specialty include leadership, organizational development, strategic planning, collaborative strategies, and fundraising. Dianne’s previous staff positions have been with Union of Concerned Scientists, Americans for the Environment, and the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE). A native of the Great Lakes region, Dianne earned a double degree in Religion and Sociology from Wittenberg University (Ohio).
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.
Dune Lankard (Eyak, Eagle Clan) is a strategic and guiding force for the Eyak Preservation Council (EPC) and the Native Conservancy Land Trust. The morning he found his homelands covered with crude oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster he turned from commercial fisherman to dedicated social change artist/activist. He has received numerous awards, including being selected by Time magazine as one of its “Heroes of the Planet.” (FS04)
Dylan is vice president of portfolio development for Finite Carbon where he leads client relations with nonprofit, family, corporate and Native American forest landowners. Previously, Dylan served as director of forest conservation for The Nature Conservancy’s Pennsylvania Chapter where he developed TNC’s Working Woodlands Program and directed the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program at Virginia Tech. He is an ACF and SAF Certified Forester and earned forestry degrees from Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Eric is an Emmy-winning Writer, Director and Series Producer. He’s led filming expeditions in the Florida Everglades, the Grand Canyon, the Great Bear Rainforest, Alaska, and to the most remote spot in Yellowstone. His credits include numerous programs for National Geographic, Smithsonian, PBS, History Channel, Animal Planet, Microsoft, ABC, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Eric is a graduate of Brown University and Montana State University.
Eric Rubenstahl has been stewardship project manager for Marina Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) since April 2016. Prior to joining MALT, Eric worked six years in varying natural resource management positions throughout California and Colorado. Eric holds a master’s degree in conservation leadership from Colorado State University.
Erik is the executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) and the president of the Partnership of Rangeland Trusts (PORT). Since its founding995, CCALT has worked with more than 300 landowners across Colorado on conservation solutions for their families and land. PORT was established in 2006 and now represents 8 organizations working in 10 states. PORT’s goals are to advance conservation in a way that works for producers and respects production agriculture.
Erin is the vice president of conservation initiatives at the Land Trust Alliance and has been an Alliance staff member since 2006. Previously, Erin was senior program officer at the International Fund for Animal Welfare where he led programs to mitigate threats to endangered whales. He held several positions with the Environmental Protection Agency-New England, and served in the U.S. Peace Corps (1991-1993) in Senegal. He holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University.
Ethan is a project director in stewardship and restoration for The Nature Conservancy in California. He has applied geospatial technologies to conservation challenges since 1994. He currently manages a team that oversees conservation easement monitoring of about 250,000 acres, 80% of TNC’s easement acreage in CA. He works with the chapter’s Conservation Technology and Science staff to build and deploy stewardship technologies. Ethan holds bachelors and master’s degrees in geography from the University of California Santa Barbara.
Guille Barbosa, executive projects manager at Big Sur Land Trust helped develop, implement and track the organization’s first IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access) Plan. Guille is involved with community engagement outside of the Land Trust’s traditional region and forms part of the City of Salinas Master Plan Steering Committee to advocate for more parks and green space for residents of limited income neighborhoods.
Heidi Nelson is the national coastal wetlands conservation grants coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Before joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she served as Federal Aid Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources where she worked on several projects, including environmental assessments and strategic planning.
Henry Tepper is a Boston-based independent environmental consultant. He has special expertise in land conservation and has played a direct role in the protection of almost one million acres in the US and Latin America. Tepper’s consultant practice includes serving as the strategic conservation advisor to the El Boldo to Cantillana land conservation initiative in Chile, and as the project coordinator and the lead writer of a business plan advancing the creation of a Gulf of Mexico conservation and restoration loan fund. He recently wrote a climate change toolkit in collaboration with the Land Trust Alliance, which provides recommendations to assist land trusts to integrate climate change strategies into their work. Tepper has served as a founding member of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and the Land Trust Alliance’s National Leadership Council. He currently serves on the boards of the Tierra Austral Land Trust in Chile and the US Friends of Canadian Land Trusts, and on the advisory committee of the International Land Conservation Network.
Ingrid designs and manages Sonoma Land Trust’s On the Land program, which connects people to our diversity of protected lands across a variety of ecosystems. You’ll often see her out on hikes exploring the wildflowers and identifying the native plants on the landscape. A dedicated mother of a young child, Ingrid brings her love of the natural world to her everyday interactions with others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and planning from Sonoma State University and an AS in business from Shasta College.
Isis Stark is currently the senior policy advisor for the Global Conservation Campaigns Team at The Nature Conservancy. She joined the Conservancy’s Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota chapter in 2008, and in 2015 she joined the Global Conservation Campaigns Team to assist Chapters with their state and local policy and funding efforts. Previously she worked at the American Cancer Society. She has a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Hamline University.
Jacqueline Gillon is a community builder, facilitator and published poet. As the community engagement specialist for Thriving Communities Institute, a program of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, her focus is the physical restoration of Buckeye, Woodland Hills and Mount Pleasant. Jacquie serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Land Conservancy. She is co-chairs Black Environmental Leaders and serves on the Cleveland City Planning Commission’s East District Design Review Committee.
Jayne Miller believes in strong communities, which are anchored by thriving park systems that enable emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Before joining the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Jayne served as superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Under Jayne’s leadership, the Minneapolis Parks system was named #1 among U.S. city park systems for the last five years. She is committed to bringing all of Pittsburgh’s parks to the same standard of excellence.
Jeff Appel is a practicing attorney in Salt Lake City. He is also a member of the board of directors of a land trust, and has extensive experience with both water rights and conservation easements.
Jennifer Kuszmar coordinates an urban open space grant program at Sonoma County Ag + Open Space.
Jen Newlin is a strategist, illustrator and storyteller. She serves as the communications director for the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, where she’s recently undertaken a year-long community listening project. She’s worked in the nonprofit and consulting arena, focused on conservation, for 15 years-clients include NASA’s Earth Science Division, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Save the Redwoods League. She also spent seven years with The Nature Conservancy and has a personal passion for wildlife.
Jennifer Moore-Kucera leads the Farmers Combat Climate Change program at American Farmland Trust that focuses on regenerative farming practices, farmland protection and clean, renewable energy. AFT’s climate team has developed novel tools and continues to influence policy and programs at state and national scales, including supporting states involved with the US Climate Alliance. Moore-Kucera has been a leader in soil health research and outreach via previous positions in academia and the USDA.
Jennifer Plowden is a senior conservation economist at The Trust for Public Land, where she has managed projects to quantify the economic value of parks, conservation and trails for over 40 communities-including municipalities, counties, and states across the country-as well as nationwide. Jennifer previously conducted research at Boston University and worked for Blue Hill Heritage Trust in coastal Maine. She holds a master’s degree in Resource Economics and Policy from the University of Maine.
Dr. Jerry Franklin is a world-renowned forest ecologist who has been called “the father of new forestry.” He is a professor of ecosystem analysis in the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington. A leading authority on sustainable forest management and the maintenance of healthy forest ecosystems, Dr. Franklin was responsible for integrating ecological and economic values into harvest strategies. The only forest ecologist in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Franklin has published hundreds of articles and received numerous awards including the Pinchot Medallion from the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. His most recent book is Ecological Forest Management (Waveland Press).
Jessica Carter connects people to the magic of redwoods as the Director of Parks & Public Engagement at Save the Redwoods League. She oversees projects that improve recreational infrastructure and expand visitor capacity in redwood parks as well as education and outreach programs that engage new and diverse audiences to inspire visitation. Prior to joining the team at the League, Jessica was Chief of Business for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service, where she led a complex portfolio of nonprofit, commercial and interagency partnerships that together served over 5 million visitors each year and resulted in substantial park improvements and revenue generation. She has an MBA from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Berkeley. Jessica realized how critical outdoor access is to the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the planet while managing a youth development program early in her career, so she loves introducing people to the incomparable experiences offered by the ancient redwoods and giant sequoia.
Jessica Jay is the 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 in the Rocky Mountain West. 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.
Jessica is associate director of Greenbelt Land Trust, a leading land trust in Western Oregon. She oversees fundraising, outreach and operations of the land trust and works closely with the board and staff leadership team to ensure coordination with the organization’s vision, programs, and operations. Jessica serves on the board of the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts and is active in local advocacy groups working on affordable housing and homelessness, watershed management, and community storytelling.
Jessica Yoder, a shareholder at McDonald Jacobs is a CPA with over 15 years of experience specializing in nonprofit organizations. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Goshen College. Jessica is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Oregon Society of CPAs. She has served on various boards and committees including Everence Association Inc. and Schoolhouse Supplies, Inc.
Jessie Norriss leads community engagement and outreach on Upstream Tech’s Growth and Partnerships team. In this role, she seeks to understand how technology can enable efficient conservation planning and decision-making at scale. Previously, Jessie worked at the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife to develop a geospatial tool to evaluate wetlands for their In-Lieu Fee Program. She also currently serves on the Advisory Board for Living Observatory, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit focused on wetland restoration. Jessie holds a master’s degree in water resource engineering and environmental policy from Tufts University, and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Texas.
Jill manages the day-to-day operations of Bayou Land Conservancy (BLC) and oversees the implementation of board-directed strategic initiatives. Her background in communications and marketing drives her work on fundraising and raising awareness of BLC’s work in the community. She has a bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is a certified Professional Community and Economic Developer. Experience gained in her previous role, working on public policy issues for a local watershed organization, inspired her to start BLC’s first Public Policy Committee. Growing up in a small, Nebraska farming community gave her a love and appreciation for open spaces. When she’s not in the office, Jill enjoys hiking, reading and indulging her creative side by trying new recipes.
Jimmy Daukas focuses on American Farmland Trust (AFT)’s efforts to help farmers, ranchers and landowners reduce GHG emissions, sequester carbon, expand renewable energy and adapt to a changing climate. He has managed projects developing new policy solutions, creating ecosystem service markets and field-testing innovations. Jimmy led AFT to become an Impact Partner supporting US Climate Alliance states to increase carbon sequestration and reduce GHG on agricultural land to ensure agriculture realizes its potential as an essential element of state climate plans.
Joan Dwoskin has served as in-house counsel with The Nature Conservancy for 20 years, where she currently provides legal support for the Georgia and Oklahoma Chapters. She also chairs the Conservancy’s Conservation Easement Legal Practice Team, advising the organization on easement drafting, monitoring, enforcement and conflict resolution. Joan has a wide range of experience, including providing legal advice on fee and conservation easement transactions, military buffering programs, stewardship of conservation lands, managing litigation related to conservation easements, and government grants. She served two terms on the Land Trust Alliance Symposia Program Committee.
John is a board member of the Kumeyaay Diegueno Land Conservancy.
Jon Leibowitz has worked in private land conservation since graduating from Vermont Law School in 2011. Jon is executive director of Northeast Wilderness Trust – the only regional land trust in the Northeast focused exclusively on Forever-Wild conservation. He was previously the Executive Director of Montezuma Land Conservancy, in Cortez, Colorado. Jon serves on the board of Vermont Parks Forever and is on the Rewilding Leadership Counsel. He lives in Middlesex, Vermont.
Jon Wickersham acts as North Coast Land Conservancy’s conservation director where he works to builds a strong rapport with local landowners, county officials and state and federal wildlife departments to advance North Coast Land Conservancy’s work conserving and connecting the landscape of the Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to northern Lincoln County. The North Coast Land Conservancy works by acquiring or otherwise managing lands for their habitat value. They are currently working with the Arch Cape Water and Sanitary Districts to protect Arch Cape’s drinking water source using a community forest model.
Jonathan Wachter has been conservation project planner at Marin Agricultural Land Trust since 2018. Jonathan holds a doctorate in soil science from Washington State University, where he worked on developing strategies for improving soil health and economic performance of pasture and crop land.
Judy Anderson of Community Consultants, LLC has worked in the land trust sector for over 30 years. She currently assists nonprofit organizations on practical strategic conservation initiatives incorporating local communities, climate change, governance, communications and community-based fundraising strategies. Judy also provides coaching on inclusive conservation, easement drafting and stewardship, and building greater community relevance to ensure land trusts withstand the test of time. Prior to her work as a consultant Judy was executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy.
Karen Buck is the vice president of consulting for Conservation Impact, a mission-driven company dedicated to radically impacting how organizations achieve results and make an impact. Karen’s background is in fundraising and she has worked with numerous land trusts and other organizations to develop effective marketing and fundraising strategies and plans. She is a skilled and dynamic trainer and teaches the High Impact Manager e-course.
Karen Strong started Strong Outcomes in 2018 after 20 years of working in conservation and 15 years as a nonprofit board member. She is deeply committed to science-based decision-making, creative community engagement and effective board governance. Over her career she has built the capacity of dozens of communities and organizations to conserve natural resources and is always thinking about ways to make conservation more relevant to more people.
Karena Mahung is a consultant with Indufor North America, where she advises on conservation finance, sustainable natural resource management and organizational design and management. Previous experience includes working with the National Park Foundation on its strategic plan, co-launching a collaborative landscape conservation initiative with NPS and working with Forestland Group LLC, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Harvard Forest and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust. She holds a master’s of environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Karin F. Marchetti is a lawyer who has devoted her career to land trust representation, in particular conservation easement design and drafting. She is the author of the drafting guide in the Conservation Easement Handbook, 2005, LTA. She has been general counsel to Maine Coast Heritage Trust since 1985, and principal at Land Conservation Legal Services since 1992. She is a member of the Claims Committee at Terrafirma Risk Retention Group. She authored legislation in Maine to limit amendment of conservation easements.
Karin Wandtke, a shareholder at McDonald Jacobs is a CPA with over 25 years of experience specializing in nonprofit organizations. She received an MBA from Portland State University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from University of Oregon. Karin is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Oregon Society of CPAs. She has served on various boards and committees including Accounting Advisory Boards of the University of Oregon and Portland State University.
Kathleen Biggins is the founder of C-Change Conversations, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting productive, non-partisan discussions about the science and effects of climate change. The New Orleans native graduated from the University of Virginia and also studied International Relations at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany, as a Rotary Scholar. She was a reporter at her hometown newspaper, The Times-Picayune and the co-host of an internet radio show that explores environmental issues in the greater Delaware Valley. Kathleen also worked at Ogilvy and Mather advertising agency in New York City and at QLM Marketing. She and her husband live in Princeton, where they raised two sons.
Katy Kinsolving is a frequent speaker on the ways in which natural systems can mitigate the effects of extreme weather, store more carbon in our soils and improve our agricultural practices. She serves as vice chair for Food and Agriculture for the Garden Club of America’s Conservation Committee and as special projects manager for the Cary Center for Ecosystem Studies. She is a co-founder of C-Change Conversations and sits on the Energy and Environment Commission of Sharon, CT.
Keisha Tatem is the Arizona State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Konrad Liegel is an attorney in Seattle, Washington with over three decades of experience, in both a large firm setting and as a solo practitioner, of advising nonprofits, families and businesses on exempt organization, charitable planning, conservation, real estate, land use and environmental matters. He is the author of “Avoiding Conflicts of Interest and Running an Ethical Land Trust,” the first course in the LTA Standards and Practices Curriculum.
Since 2013, Kristin Thomasgard-Spence has served as program director for the Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, which links communities, land preservation, and national defense. The REPI program protects the military’s mission by preventing, removing, and mitigating restrictions to military activities through partnerships with state and local governments, land conservation organizations and other key stakeholders. To-date, REPI partnerships have conserved over 516,000 acres of land at 93 installations in 31 states. Kristin also serves as the Department of Defense lead for the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership, a collaborative effort between the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense and the Interior. Kristin also serves as the DoD-DOI Liaison, where she works to enhance coordination between the Departments and works with leadership to develop mutually beneficial solutions to policy or mission issues. Prior to her current role, Kristin worked at Army Headquarters, training directorate and served in the Army National Guard. Kristin has a bachelor’s in political science and public administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master’s from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
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 Mechak is a program manager for ClimeCo Corporation. Lauren joined ClimeCo in June 2018 after completing her master of environmental management in economics and policy at Duke University. During her time at Duke, she worked with the university’s Carbon Offsets Initiative to help Duke achieve carbon neutrality, served as an article editor for Duke’s Environmental Law and Policy Forum, and wrote policy briefs for Duke’s Center for Science and Society. As program manager, Lauren works on the project development team to research and set-up new project types, from nature-based solutions to industrial gas projects, from early feasibility through quantitative methodology drafting. Additionally, Lauren helps provide strategic advisory services around carbon markets with expertise in California and Canadian markets.
Laurie Wayburn is president and Co-CEO of the Pacific Forest Trust (PFT). Laurie is an accomplished forest and conservation innovator who advises policy makers at the state, regional, national and international level. At PFT she has pioneered new approaches to develop sustainable resource economies using her deep experience in the fields of conservation, ecosystem services and sustainability. A noted authority on the climate and ecosystem benefits of forests, she leads efforts enacting climate change policies that unite conservation and sustainable management with market-based approaches. She is a recipient of several honors for her work, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Award, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, and the Land Trust Alliance’s Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award. She is a graduate of Harvard University and serves on the Land Trust Alliance Advisory Council.
Lori Faeth is the government relations director for the Land Trust Alliance. She is responsible for advancing policy strategies and securing public funding to support land trusts and advance land conservation. A veteran of both federal and state government, she has served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and international affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior; a senior advisor to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano; and the director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy of Arizona.
Lynda Hopkins was elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in 2016. Prior to joining the board, she was an organic farmer and journalist.
Marcela Maldonado is a land steward for the Nature Conservancy in New York. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2011 and has been working in land stewardship and community engagement since. She is a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council and founding board member of TerraCorps, an AmeriCorps program. Born in Pasaje, Ecuador, she grew up in NYC and lives in Westchester County with her husband.
Mark Anderson is director of conservation science for The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern U.S. Region. He provides science leadership, ecological analysis, and landscape assessments for conservation efforts across twenty-two eastern states. He holds a doctorate in ecology from University of New Hampshire and has published widely on climate change resilience, large landscape conservation, biodiversity and forest dynamics. In 2016, Mark won The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Achievement award.
Mark Medeiros works to build a diverse base of community support for Peninsula Open Space Trust through developing partnerships, and convening people at a variety of events throughout the year. He manages POST’s Ambassador program, the offspring of POST’s groundbreaking NextGen Committee, which engages over 100 ongoing volunteers with diverse backgrounds to lead and support community awareness efforts for POST. Before coming to POST Mark previously founded Veggielution Community Farm, a 6-acre community farm in San Jose, while earning his bachelor’s degree in Sociology at San Jose State. He is the son of Portuguese immigrants and calls the Santa Clara Valley his home.
Martha H. Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MInstF, is president of Hazen Consulting and the Hazen Institute for Leadership Training (HILT), creating global strategies to elevate social impact and philanthropy. She currently serves as AFP Global Chair. Martha’s most recent in-house adventure was leading the Defenders of Wildlife fundraising team for nine years. Her current and recent clients include American University, AARP Foundation, Best Buddies International, the Library of Congress and National Geographic Society.
Mary Pfaffko is senior policy analyst for Private Lands at Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, DC, where she analyzes complex national law and policy, and develops information, partnerships, and programs to further science-based wildlife conservation on private lands nationwide. Prior to joining Defenders, Mary carried on her devotion to fish and wildlife science, conservation and funding through state and non-governmental capacities. Mary earned a bachelor’s from the University of Florida and a master’s from American University.
MaryKay O’Donnell is the senior midwest program manager for the Land Trust Alliance and is responsible for assisting land trusts with organizational and leadership development, training, mentoring, and peer learning. In coordination with Gathering Waters, MaryKay co-manages the Land Trust Excellence and Advancement Program (LEAP) in Wisconsin. She came to the Alliance in 2007 with 18 years of experience in conservation land acquisition. MaryKay co-authored a Standards and Practices Curriculum Guide titled Acquiring Land and Conservation Easements. She enjoys living in northern Michigan with her husband and two boys, and is on a quest to visit every major league baseball park.
Matthew Lohr serves as the 16th Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). As Chief, Matt provides leadership for NRCS and its mission to support America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in their voluntary conservation efforts through a network of more than 3,000 service centers in communities nationwide. Matt was raised on a century family farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The fifth-generation farmer has spent his life working for the betterment of agriculture and stewardship on working lands. Matt served as Virginia’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services from 2010 to 2013 and in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2006 to 2010. He has also worked as the Knowledge Center Director for Farm Credit of the Virginias as well as managed his own motivational speaking business, Lohr Leadership. Since 2017, he has farmed full-time on his family’s operation, which includes poultry, beef cattle, row crops and sweet corn. Matt proudly served as both Virginia state FFA president and national FFA vice president before graduating from Virginia Tech in 1995. He and his wife Beth have six children.
Megan is Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Lead for the U.S. Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program .
Meghan Mullee is vice president for the Conserve-A-Nation Program at Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. Meghan has spent the better part of a decade helping conservation nonprofits with their unique insurance needs, providing risk evaluation and insurance solutions for land trusts, conservancies and habitat preservation organizations nationwide. Her expertise lies in understanding the multi-dimensional aspects of challenging conservation exposures – conservation easements, prescribed burns, recreational hunting – and working with her team to design comprehensive insurance solutions especially for those difficult risks. Meghan oversees the Conserve-A-Nation Insurance Program, and has written and presented on a variety of insurance topics for the Land Trust Alliance. In 2017, she was nationally recognized by Business Insurance magazine largely due to her specialized efforts in the conservation space.
Melinda Beck’s conservation law expertise includes the donation and purchase and sale of conservation easements to land trusts and local governments by private landowners throughout Colorado and nationally. She represents land trusts and private landowners regarding all issues related to conservation easement transactions and stewardship, including obtaining discretionary approvals and amendments to conservation easements. She is a member of the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Advisory Council. Melinda has a degree in Economics from Pomona College and a law degree from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.
Melissa has served in many roles since joining the Commission in November 2009. Most recently, she served as deputy director, overseeing the accreditation review process and facilitating the accreditation decisions for over 100 land trusts each year. She partnered in developing, interpreting, reviewing and revising the accreditation requirements and maintaining the Requirements Manual. She also co-facilitated the 2017 revisions to Land Trust Standards and Practices. Effective January 2020, Melissa was named the executive director after an external search process. She looks forward to leveraging the successes of the first decade of the accreditation program and of accredited land trusts into next phase of the Commission’s work. Melissa has a master’s degree in biodiversity, conservation and policy from the University at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University.
Melissa Roy-Hart is a creative storyteller, strategist and equity advocate who has motivated people to positive conservation change-for more than two decades. Having directed communications activities for Nature Conservancy audiences from rural Oregon, to the western U.S., to the country of Canada and beyond, Melissa specializes in creating and adapting messages to best engage everyone. Working with the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, she recently completed data-driven communications roadmaps for 13 member organizations.
Michael Dennis is a Senior Advisor for U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy where he oversees trustee advocacy and engagement initiatives. He first joined the Conservancy’s Oregon chapter in 2007 where he worked on a successful statewide ballot initiative and lobbied Congress. He graduated from Swarthmore College and has an MBA from University of California, Berkeley.
Michelle Smith advances conservation outcomes through law and policy. She was formerly an assistant attorney general with Oregon Department of Justice and subsequently entered private practice, advising clients on environmental regulatory compliance and assisting private and public entities in acquiring water rights. She is currently a research associate at the University Of Oregon School Of Law’s Environmental and Natural Resources Center and also serves as water project manager for the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts.
Mika has been stewardship volunteer coordinator at Friends of the Columbia Gorge since the aftermath of the Eagle Creek Fire in 2018. Mika develops and implements Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s stewardship program, bringing a passion for connecting people with the natural world and to the Columbia Gorge. Mika views stewardship as an approach to building robust communities and fostering synergy between people and nature.
Nancy Moore is managing partner of The Conservation Consulting Group (CCG), a collective of highly experienced professionals dedicated to building the capacity and advancing the mission of conservation organizations throughout the United States. Specialties of CCG include strategic planning, board development, facilitation, organizational assessments, coaching, and education. Nancy also has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit management and leadership, including 11 years as an executive director. Additionally, she applies her passion for the natural environment, talents as a group leader and facilitator, and interest in other cultures as an international adventure travel expedition leader for Natural Habitat Adventures, exclusive partner of the World Wildlife Fund.
Naomi Houle is the easement stewardship director at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. She ensures that the Forest Society fulfills its stewardship responsibilities for 750 conservation easements and deed restrictions and oversees the stewardship staff. Naomi is passionate about ensuring monitoring and enforcement tasks are done in an efficient and organized manner and continually encourages her team to be forward thinkers and invites opportunities for incorporating the newest technologie and systems. Naomi Previously received her bachelor’s degree in Marine, Estuarine & Freshwater Biology from the University of New Hampshire with dual minors in Wildlife Biology and Environmental Conservation & Sustainability. Naomi previously worked for the State of New Hampshire monitoring some of the oldest Conservation Easements created in the state.
Omar Gallardo, diversity & outreach director, joined LandPaths in 2012 to direct continuing efforts to expand the diversity and relevance of its programs. Omar was raised in Sonoma County and received bachelor’s in history from Sonoma State University. While in college and upon graduation, he worked with migrant children in various schools throughout California and during the summers as an outdoor educator and camp principal assistant with the California Mini-Corps Program. He has also worked as a Mental Health Client Specialist with youth and most recently, he was the site coordinator/ lead organizer for a Day Labor Center. Omar is a local Aztec dancer and teacher for Danza Azteca Xantotl in Santa Rosa, California.
Peter Barr, trails director at Conserving Carolina-is a regional expert in sustainable trail design, construction and project implementation with a particular focus on development in parallel with natural resource protection and stewardship. He is a 2x time nationally award-winning trail designer and builder, recipient of the NC Land Trust Rising Leader of the Year award (2017) and Kayah Gaydish Stewardship Award (2018). He has implemented 25 miles of sustainable trails on conserved lands in the Hickory Nut Gorge over the last decade and achieved passage of legislation designating those trails as the new Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail. He is a former Rally presenter, published author and routinely presents at national conservation and recreation conferences and trail training workshops.
Peter Dykstra practices conservation and water law with Plache & Carr in Seattle. Formerly, he was regional director, Pacific Northwest for The Wilderness Society
Peter Nichols is a partner at Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP, Boulder, Colorado practicing water, environmental, conservation, and related law. Peter is the principle co-author of “Water Rights Handbook for Colorado Conservation Professionals” (Bradford 2005; 2011).
Rachel joins the Center with a background in natural resource conflict resolution and collaborative, landscape-level conservation. Rachel is excited to continue working on ecological connectivity and wildlife crossings and corridors.Before the Center, Rachel worked for a public policy consulting firm, providing facilitation and mediation services for local, state, tribal, and federal partners seeking to resolve land use and environmental challenges across the Pacific Northwest. She spent several years at National Parks Conservation Association as the Yellowstone Wildlife Program Coordinator, where she led a multi-stakeholder habitat connectivity program, as well as campaigns addressing forest planning, species conservation, and wildlife and transportation across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.In her spare time, she can be found running, hiking, or otherwise enjoying the mountains surrounding Bozeman with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.
Rachel Saunders has 30+ years of experience promoting conservation of Central California’s coastal and marine environments. As director of conservation for Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT), her work is strategic and tactical, moving from high level planning to on-the-ground implementation. Rachel oversees BSLT’s multi-benefit “green infrastructure” projects. Rachel has a master’s in natural resources policy and management from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s in environmental science from the State University of New York.
Randi Shaw manages The Nature Conservancy’s land stewardship program in Washington, covering 46,000 acres across the state. Holding a master’s degree in forest ecology from Oregon State University, Randi has worked in stewardship and restoration for 16 years. She believes strongly that all kinds of people should be able to live in and contribute to a healthy natural world, and she works to promote inclusivity and opportunity throughout the conservation field.
Rob Krain is executive director of The Black Swamp Conservancy, serving northwest Ohio. He 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 a past chair of the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts and ODNR’s Maumee Scenic River Advisory Committee. Rob has been honored as a 20 under 40 Toledo recipient and completed Land Trust Alliance’s Leadership programs.
Robert Schwartz has been with the Land Trust Alliance since January 2018. In his role as ambassador program manager, Robert is responsible for maintaining our Advocacy Ambassador network and helping expand advocacy in the land trust community by building a more engaged network between land trusts and elected officials. He also manages the Alliance’s annual legislative fly-in, Advocacy Days. Prior to the Alliance, Robert served as an account supervisor at Ogilvy Public Relations.
Ruth Indrick is the project coordinator at the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. She has been at KELT eight years and manages the organization’s water quality and restoration programs, coordinating projects and collaborating on partnerships focused on coastal resilience, salt marsh restoration, water quality, shellfish, fish passage, and sea level rise. Ruth came to Maine for an AmeriCorps term with the Department of Marine Resources and has a degree in geology from Smith College.
Ryan is the director of preservation programs at Lake Forest Open Lands Association.
Sara A. Clark is a partner at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, a public interest law firm that specializes in working with land conservation organizations. Sara has been an active member of the firm’s hiring and diversity committees and has helped the organization begin to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives. Sara also serves on the board of directors of the Save the Redwoods League.
Scott Schaffer, Principal of Public Interest Management Group, is an experienced nonprofit leader and consultant with a background in economics, finance and behavioral science. A four-time past CEO in the public health, housing and environmental fields. He’s orchestrated financial turnarounds, launched innovative programs and partnerships, built sustainable high-performance organizations, and raised over $20 million for social and nonprofit enterprises. He has consulted for numerous land trusts and other environmental groups, is a past land trust board member, and is best known as a thought leader on sustainable nonprofit business models.
Sean Milanovich has served on the NALC Board for a number of years, and is actively involved in organizing our Learning Landscapes program. He also serves on the Board of Directors for an NALC partner organization, Paayish Neken.
Seth McKee is land conservation director for Scenic Hudson, based in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he directs the organization’s land conservation program. Seth has overseen the conservation of thousands of acres of land for natural resource protection, farmland protection and public use, often through conservation easements and partnerships with other land trusts. Scenic Hudson is taking a proactive approach to accommodating renewable energy in its conservation and advocacy work. Seth has a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill. Prior to joining Scenic Hudson, he worked in land stewardship at The Nature Conservancy’s North Carolina program. Seth is a member and past chairman of the Advisory Board of the Land Trust Alliance’s New York Program and past chairman of the Town of New Paltz Clean Water and Open Space Commission.
Stephanie Morningstar (She/Her, They/Them) is co-doordinator for Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, On^yota’a:ka – Oneida, Turtle clan (Haudenosaunee Confederacy.) Herbalist, soil and seed steward, scholar, student and Earth Worker dedicated to decolonizing and liberating minds, hearts and land- one plant, person, ecosystem and non-human being at a time. Stephanie grows medicines and food, is the founder of Sky World Apothecary & Farm, serves as a Leadership Council member for the New England Women’s Herbal Conference and the International Herb Symposium, and is the co-coordinator of the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.
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 remains a senior attorney for the Trust’s parent organization, now concentrating on broader risk management and litigation issues. Before 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 is an alumnus of both the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and the Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council.
Sylvia Bates is the director of standards and educational services at the Land Trust Alliance. She leads the Alliance’s work on Land Trust Standards and Practices and related cutting-edge issues, such as easement modification and termination. She has worked in the land conservation field since 1987 and was formerly the director of land protection for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Sylvia has a degree in environmental biology from Yale University.
Taylor Jang, stewardship project manager at Peninsula Open Space Trust, focuses on public access projects, land management and is a co-lead in the development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan for the organization. He also serves on the board of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council.
Ted Haffner is the Climate Fellow and Landscape Architect at Openlands. Prior to Openlands, Ted served as senior associate and project manager with Terry Guen Design Associates, a landscape architecture firm specializing in public and institutional landscape design. Ted’s deep technical knowledge and leadership on multidisciplinary projects benefit Openlands in many key areas ranging from project management and strategic thinking to specific project support and directives. Through his past and current experience, Ted is a thought leader on making urban green infrastructure a reality, utilizing existing community contexts and reasonable investment. Blending a thoughtful approach to design and strategic thinking, Ted works to contextually analyze and innovatively connect the natural world to the built.
Tim Johnson, one of the Southeast’s foremost sustainable trail authorities, is the senior outdoor planner at Destination by Design, and formerly the Director of Duke Energy TRAILS, a sustainable trails education program at Rockingham Community College where he educated hundreds of students on the science of sustainable trails design, construction, and management. Formerly, Tim spent a decade with NC State Parks in its State Trails Program where he served as its Trails Specialist, assisting agencies with implementation of dozens of Recreational Trails Program projects. He is recipient of the State Award “Outstanding Trail Leader” for North Carolina by American Trails in 2019. He is a former Rally presenter.
Todd Holman is the Mississippi Headwaters Program Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Minnesota Field Office.
Tom Gilbert directs NJ Conservation Foundation’s statewide campaign to stop unneeded, damaging pipelines and transition the state to renewable energy. Tom previously served as senior conservation finance director with The Trust for Public Land where he helped to design and pass twenty successful state, county and local ballot measures. Prior to joining TPL, Tom served as director of Eastern Forest Conservation for the Wilderness Society and Executive Director of the NY/NJ/PA/CT Highlands Coalition, where he led successful campaigns to pass both federal and New Jersey state legislation to protect critical lands and waters in the Highlands region.
Tommy Albo is the Natural Areas GIS Coordinator for Oregon Metro, where he supports the Science team, land managers, park and trail planners as well as the real estate negotiators with their GIS needs. Prior to his five years at Metro he was the associate director at GreenInfo Network where he worked with a number of Conservation groups. Tommy is always striving to bring appropriate GIS technology to assist those who do the real work.
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.
Velynn brings over 25 years of nonprofit start up, community engagement and program management to our team. Velynn’s personal and professional background has been steeped in empowering and elevating the most underserved and underrepresented communities and families in Oregon. Understanding the unique challenges and constraints facing the most vulnerable and marginalized, Velynn supports leaders, communities and institutions in restructuring and reimagining more equitable and inclusive spaces. Velynn has spent the last four years as an executive coach, affinity activist and racial equity consultant.Velynn speaks locally and nationally on how to move communities and organizations to be more just, connected and whole. Velynn brings her whole heart, strategic thinking and passion for leaders to disrupt status quo while reimaginig new structures and ways of being that empower all. Her greatest passion is to witness individuals and institutions both being and doing the work of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Victoria Marles joined Trust for Nature as CEO in 2009, recognising the organisation’s valuable work protecting biodiversity in the state of Victoria. 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.
Vivek Shandas is a faculty member of the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. He specializes in integrating the science of sustainability to citizen engagement and decision-making efforts. He evaluates the many critical functions provided by the biophysical ecosystems upon which we depend, including purifying water, producing food, cleaning toxins, offering recreation and imbuing society with cultural values. Dr. Shandas studies both the value of these “ecosystem services” and how urban development impacts their function. His research strives to improve environmental conservation and governance efforts at neighborhood and national scales.
Wendy Gerlach is the senior conservation project manager for Pacific Forest Trust.
Wendy Mathews is the Conservation Projects Manager for the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She has spent her 26-year career at TNC supporting the implementation of the Chapter’s land protection work, including identifying and designing new projects and working with landowners, local, state and federal partners to help protect over half a million acres of land. Wendy manages the Chapter’s conservation easement program with the negotiation of new conservation easements, preparation of easement documentation reports and the annual monitoring of the Florida Chapter’s 51 conservation easements totaling over 43,000-acres. She is currently the project manager for the Chapter’s Florida panther project.
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.
Zack Wurtzebach is a conservation social scientist at the Center. His research investigates innovative tools and strategies for science delivery, planning and implementation, and collaborative governance in large landscape conservation. Prior to working at the Center, he received a master’s degree in political science and a doctorate in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University, and worked with federal agencies on land management planning and science delivery through the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute.
Zoraida Lopez-Diago is the founder of Conservationists of Color and is the River Cities program manager at Scenic Hudson, where she works to build partnerships with organizations and community members in a manner that is equitable and just. Prior to joining the conservation movement, Zoraida was a consultant at Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS). She is also an established photo educator and has presented on the importance of the intersection of climate change, migration and photography at institutions including Tate Modern (London), Harvard University and the International Center for Photography (ICP), NY.