Staff

Meet Our Team

Get to know the dedicated staff behind New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s important work.


Michele S. Byers |Executive Director

Michele joined New Jersey Conservation in 1982 as coordinator of our advocacy efforts in the Pine Barrens. She later assumed responsibility for coordinating the farmland preservation program and the Camden City greenway. She became Assistant Director in 1988 and helped found the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Whitesbog Preservation Trust, Hunterdon Land Trust and New Jersey Highlands Coalition. She served on the Burlington County Agriculture Development Board for eleven years. In 1995 Michele was appointed by Governor Whitman to the State Planning Commission and was named Vice Chair in 1998. In 1999 Michele became Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. She served as Chair of New Jersey State Committee of the Highlands Coalition, Chair of New Jersey’s Freshwater Wetlands Mitigation Council, a member of the New Jersey State Trail Council, and Vice Chair of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. In 2003, Michele was appointed by Governor McGreevey to the Highlands Task Force. More recently, Michele served on the boards of the Center for Non-Profit Corporations and the Hopewell Township Open Space Committee. She is an advisor to the Hunterdon Land Trust, Vice Chair of the newly-formed New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, and President of RethinkEnergyNJ.com. Michele has a BA in Biology, Western State College, Gunnison, Colorado. She lives in Pottersville....read more


Alix Bacon |Regional Manager, Western Piedmont

Alix became Manager of the Western Piedmont Region in 2004 and is responsible for coordinating NJCF's acquisition, stewardship, outreach, and fundraising activities in this region. She brings local expertise to her work in the Western Piedmont project area, where she is working on the Wickecheoke Creek and Delaware River Bluffs. Before coming to NJCF, she worked for the South Branch Watershed Association and the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. Alix served on the Delaware Township Environmental Commission, and was chair for four years. She is also a member of the Delaware Township Open Space Committee, a founding member of the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance Board of Trustees, and a landscape painter. She has a BA from Yale University....read more


Tim Brill |Central Jersey Project Manager

Tim Brill joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation as Central Jersey Project Manager in October 2015, to advance the preservation of open space and farmland and the development of parks, trails and greenways in the area. Tim served the NJ State Agriculture Development Committee as its Agricultural Retention Program / Planning Manager from August 1999, until July of 2015, supervising the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program and the State Transfer of Development Rights Bank. He also coordinated the Farmland Preservation / Agricultural Retention Program with State and regional planning efforts as well as county, municipal, open space/recreation and historic preservation initiatives. In more recent years, Tim was responsible for the development of the Planning Incentive Grant program currently involving 18 counties and 47 municipalities, targeting the preservation of more than 5,600 farms and 300,000 additional acres. From 1988 through the first half of 1999, Tim worked for the Cumberland County Department of Planning and Development as the Assistant Planning Director. He also served as the President of the NJ County Planners Association in 1997. Tim started his career in 1980 with the City of Bridgeton, New Jersey’s largest National Register Historic District, serving as Planning Director, Downtown Revitalization Project Manager, Historic District Officer and Planning Board Administrator. He received a B.A. in Geography from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in 1980, and is a New Jersey licensed Professional Planner....read more


Justin Dennis |Urban Parks Manager

Justin joined the New Jersey Conservation Foundation staff in September 2016, where he serves as an Urban Parks Manager for the Camden region. He oversees the development and maintenance of several NJCF properties in the greater Camden area, and helps facilitate programming and outreach efforts within the communities surrounding these properties. Prior to joining NJCF’s staff, Justin interned in NJCF’s Stewardship program, managed invasive plant species in numerous State and National Parks while working on the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Invasive Strike Force, and was an Enforcement Manager in the New Jersey DEP’s Site Remediation Program. Justin holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Drew University, and enjoys hiking and attending live music concerts in his free time....read more


Wilma E. Frey |Senior Policy Manager

Wilma brings four decades of environmental and planning advocacy experience to NJCF’s Highlands policy program. She provides the New Jersey Highlands Coalition local organizations with planning and environmental policy expertise, as well as government relations, communications and community organizing assistance. She currently chairs the NJ Highlands Land Preservation Committee. Wilma was previously employed as a regional coordinator for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; as a consultant to The Wilderness Society, Grand Canyon Trust and others; as the Washington, D.C. lobbyist for the Sierra Club’s Northeast Region; and as a Landscape Architect in private practice. A former chair of the New England Chapter of the Sierra Club, she served on the Tewksbury Township Environmental Commission from 1998 to 2008. Wilma earned Masters' degrees in Landscape Architecture and Public Administration, both from Harvard University, after undergraduate study at The University of Michigan and Rhode Island School of Design. Her photographs appear in many conservation publications....read more


Tom Gilbert |Campaign Director for Energy, Climate and Natural Resources

Tom has served since June 2015 as Campaign Director for Energy, Climate and Natural Resources. Prior to joining NJ Conservation Foundation, he served as Senior Conservation Finance Director with the Trust for Public Land. He also served as Chairman of the NJ Keep It Green Coalition and led successful campaigns to secure approval of a $400 million bond measure in 2009 and constitutional amendment in 2014 that will provide a stable source of land preservation funding. Tom also co-directed national field efforts of the Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition in 2010 which secured House passage of comprehensive LWCF legislation. Previously, 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. Tom earned his M.S. in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Vermont. He was a founding board member of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters....read more


Maria Hauser |Personnel Manager / Executive Assistant

Maria is Personnel Manager/Executive Assistant to Michele Byers, NJCF’s Executive Director. Maria was previously with NJCF from 2001-2002 in this same capacity. In 2005, she served as Administrative Assistant to Land & Acquisition for a short period of time, eventually returning to her current position. Prior to joining NJCF, Maria was with a large paper manufacturing company, serving as Personnel Manager for over 12 years. Maria holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the College of St. Elizabeth....read more


Russell Juelg |Senior Land Steward

Russell is senior land steward for New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and has developed a trail system and educational programs for the Franklin Parker Preserve. He has a BA degree in Religion-Studies from Texas Christian University. Past work experience includes three years as managing director of Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and 11 years as director of outreach at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. His favorite areas of research include Pine Barrens vegetation communities, field botany, and threatened and endangered species....read more


Lisa MacCollum |Assistant Director of Land Acquisition

Working with the Director of Land Acquisition and Stewardship Lisa is responsible for coordinating with the Regional Managers in all aspects of NJCF’s land acquisition program. She is responsible for negotiation and acquisition of both fee and easement properties in various geographic focus areas. Lisa also works in an advisory capacity on easement monitoring and stewardship issues. She began as a volunteer at NJCF monitoring easements and formerly did an internship as a Resource Specialist for the Morris County Soil Conservation District. Lisa received her BS in Natural Resource Management at Cook College, Rutgers University....read more


Melanie Mason |Land Steward

Melanie joined NJ Conservation Foundation as a Land Steward in 2018. She is responsible for management and development of NJCF’s preserves in the northern region of the state. Her background includes stewardship and monitoring of NJ’s natural resources for New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and Morris County Park Commission. Most recently she administered the Farmland Preservation Program and County Agriculture Development Board for Hunterdon County. She holds a B.S. in Ecology and Natural Resources from Rutgers University and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Penn State....read more


Stephanie Monahan |Assistant Director - South Jersey

Stephanie worked in the NJ Conservation Foundation's development office for 10 years. As Assistant Director for South Jersey she is responsible for land acquisition in the area, as well as stewardship and outreach. She previously worked as Program Coordinator of Drew University’s Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program, Associate Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at Drew Theological School, and Program Coordinator and Development Director at the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. Stephanie holds a BA in Political Science, concentration in Urban Affairs and Planning from Virginia Tech, and a Masters of Public Administration, with a concentration in Environmental Policy, from North Carolina State University....read more


Marie K. Newell |Project Coordinator, Acquisition

Marie initially joined NJCF through a state grant to develop an open space plan and to build the capacity of preservation groups working in the Upper Delaware Watershed. Marie now works on acquisition initiatives in the Western Piedmont region, and coordinates stewardship projects and outreach events in the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve and Black River Greenway. Marie was formerly the Executive Director of the South Branch Watershed Association. She holds a BA degree in Environmental Management from Cook College, Rutgers University....read more


Sandy Stuart Perry |Staff Writer

Sandy coordinates NJCF’s communications and public relations program. Her responsibilities include editing and writing press releases, columns, newsletters and annual reports; providing content and updates for the NJCF website; raising public awareness of NJCF by publicizing newsworthy events such as land acquisitions and public policy initiatives; and responding to inquiries by the media. Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from the University of Bridgeport (Conn.), and worked for more than 25 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and occasional photographer before joining NJCF. She enjoys nature, hiking, kayaking, gardening and other outdoor activities....read more


Julia Raskin |Program Manager for Camden Parks and Greenways

Julia Raskin is the Program Manager for Camden Parks and Greenways, and will be working with Justin Dennis on the implementation and revitalization of parks and greenways for the City of Camden and surrounding communities. She is excited to work with Camden residents and our partners in the region to improve park access to the public and to promote New Jersey Conservation’s visibility and community support for our mission. Julia is originally from Westchester, New York and completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. She continued her education with a dual masters degree in Environmental Science and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Before joining the NJCF team in Camden, she was a Community Organizer for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and was also a Conservation Corps Fellow at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Julia has a strong passion for environmental justice, and cares deeply about improving access to open space for historically underserved communities. She sees an incredible opportunity to foster relationships in Camden that will open opportunities for people across the city to enjoy the outdoors....read more


Heidi Roldan |Corporate & Foundation Relations Coordinator

Prior to joining New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Heidi was an environmental consultant at Tetra Tech, Inc. in Morris Plains, New Jersey for 22 years, where she was a Project Manager and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Heidi received a bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from Rutgers University, and a master's degree in Environmental Management from New Jersey Institute of Technology. She enjoys spending time outdoors while hiking, kayaking, boating, camping, and gardening....read more


Susan Schmidt |Administrative Assistant & Receptionist

Susan is responsible for greeting and directing all incoming calls and walk-ins. She also provides general administrative support to the office as needed. Previously, Susan held a similar position with the New Jersey Highlands Council for two years and worked as a claims adjuster with a large insurance company for 25 years. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Anthropology from Drew University....read more


Connor Stone |Development & Communications Coordinator

Connor became Development & Communications Coordinator in 2018. He is working on donor and database management, processing gifts, and generating thank you letters. He holds bachelor degrees in philosophy, and environmental policy and economics from Moravian College, and a master's degree in biobehavioral health from Penn State University. ...read more


Allison Williams |Easement Steward

Allison is responsible for monitoring and stewardship of all easement properties held by NJCF. As a New Jersey native, her previous experience includes habitat restoration, endangered species monitoring, and volunteer management with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in California, as well as with Delaware State Parks. Allison has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware....read more


Erica Arlès |Administrative Assistant

Erica provides administrative support to the Assistant Director/Director of Statewide Land Acquisition and the Land Acquisition & Stewardship Departments. Before coming to NJCF, Erica worked in New York state as an Arts-in-Education Coordinator. She has also worked for the Blue Fish Clothing Co. as a textile artist in Frenchtown and an art teacher at the Katherine Gibbs School in Piscataway. Her studies include a BFA from Kutztown University and courses at the Universities of Paris and New Mexico in art and music....read more


Mark Barrick |Information Technology / Office Manager

Mark serves as Information Technology / Office Manager keeping current with the latest techniques in supporting, improving and maintaining IT infrastructure, as well as handling various office management duties. Mark has over two decades of IT experience from education to large corporate settings. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His love of the outdoors translates through his interests in photography, arts and a degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University....read more


Aria (Beth) E. Davisson |Project Manager, Black River Greenway

Beth provides consulting services to the Township of Bedminster in implementing its open space and farmland preservation goals by coordinating land and conservation easement acquisition projects from inception to completion. Beth also provides land acquisition services to the Tewksbury Land Trust through NJCF’s innovative shared staffing program, which she helped develop and manage between 2000 and 2002. Beth is a key player on our land acquisition team and serves on the Board of Lamington Conservancy. Beth received her BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University....read more


Emile D. DeVito, Ph.D |Manager of Science & Stewardship

Emile has been the Manager of Science and Stewardship at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation since 1989. He received a doctorate in Ecology in 1988 for research on bird communities and vegetation landscapes in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Dr. DeVito develops management plans for NJCF’s 20,000+ acres of holdings designed to protect and enhance biological diversity. Emile educates government officials, advocacy groups, land trusts, teachers and students on forest-interior habitat and migratory stopover needs of Neotropical songbirds. He is a trustee of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the NJ Natural Lands Trust. He serves on the Endangered and Non-Game Species Advisory Committee within the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, the New Jersey Invasive Species Council, and the Science Advisory Committee of the NY-NJ Trail Conference....read more


Jane Gardner |Campaign Project Assistant

Jane joined the NJ Conservation Foundation team in December 2016 to work on the Pipeline Campaign. She has over 15 years of experience working at non-profit organizations, specifically in government affairs/public policy and public health, and most recently worked as a research analyst and state reporting associate at a large insurance company. Jane earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from William Paterson University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist....read more


Amy Hansen |Policy Analyst

As policy analyst, Amy reviews legislation, regulations and public policy in New Jersey pertaining to land and natural resources conservation and management, and provides support to NJCF's Director of Policy and Board Policy Committee. Amy coordinated NJCF's first Farmland Symposium in 2004. She served on the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey Board of Trustees. Prior to joining the NJCF staff, Amy worked at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Land Use Committee in Solebury, PA and Gallery Guide. Amy also helps manage the organic farm on which she lives in Asbury, Hunterdon County. Amy holds a BA in Fine Art with emphasis in Natural Science Illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz....read more


Steven Jack |Land Steward

Steve works with the Stewardship department to take care of the Franklin Parker Preserve in Chatsworth, Burlington County. He is a former firefighter with the Collingswood Fire Department....read more


Bill Lynch |Assistant Director, Education Programs & Communications

Bill joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation in February 2014 as Events Coordinator, planning and managing all fundraising and member cultivation events. As Assistant Director of Education Programs & Communications he also manages NJ Conservation’s outreach and environmental education programs, including the Step Into Nature series. He oversees the organization's social media presence as well as its newsletters, annual reports, and other communications. Bill received his Master of Science degree in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, and has worked for various conservation organizations, serving most recently as an associate naturalist for the Raritan Headwaters Association. He is a passionate environmental educator, birder, and photographer....read more


Kelly Martin |Development Associate

Kelly joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation in June 2017. She assists with fundraising strategies and membership outreach. Previously, she worked for five years at Great Swamp Watershed Association, most recently as the Director of Communications. She has also worked as an environmental educator and reptile keeper, teaching the younger generations about the importance of environmental conservation. She holds a B.S. from Temple University in Philadelphia....read more


Alison E. Mitchell |Director of Policy

Charged with spearheading the development and management of NJCF's public policy program, Alison also has direct leadership in our farmland preservation efforts. The author of The New Jersey Highlands Treasures at Risk, and Gaining Ground, a farmland policy report, Alison has worked on land acquisition and policy initiatives for NJCF and has served as a: Member of the advisory committee of the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Managers, Rutgers University; founding trustee and president of the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance, member of the Board of Trustees of Isles, Inc and has recently been appointed member of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission. Prior to joining NJCF, Alison interned with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and The Wilderness Society, and during her graduate studies she worked with Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) – a nonprofit working on air quality issues. She holds an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a BA in International Relations from Connecticut College....read more


Tim Morris |Director of Stewardship

Tim oversees NJCF's Stewardship Program, and directly manages NJCF's conservation easements. He also contributes to the acquisition program by assisting with the drafting and negotiating of new conservation easements, and works with government and non-profit groups to strengthen easement stewardship practices. Before joining NJCF, Tim worked for the University of Washington, USDA Forest Service, and several non-profit groups, conducting wildlife research and monitoring. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Washington Township Land Trust of Morris County. Tim has a BA in Biology from Rutgers College....read more


Tanya Nolte |GIS Manager

Tanya is responsible for all aspects of NJCF’s GIS mapping program. Before coming to NJCF, Tanya worked as a grant writer and publications manager at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit. Prior to that, she was the GIS Director for seven years at Morris Land Conservancy, where she helped develop and implement the GIS program. Tanya has a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and politics from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where she was born and raised....read more


Francis Rapa |Regional Manager, Delaware Bay Watershed

Fran is responsible for NJCF's land preservation, policy and advocacy efforts in New Jersey’s southernmost counties to preserve waterways, forests and farms. A lifelong South Jersey resident, Fran has over 17 years experience in government policy and communications, including seven years with the staff of the NJ State Legislature. Prior to NJCF, he served as Communications Officer for the NJ Pinelands Commission. Fran was also Deputy Communications Director at the NJ Department of the Treasury, and before that, served as Chief of Education and Outreach at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Active in his community, Fran served for ten years on the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Joint Environmental Commission, including three years as Chairman. He also served ten years on the Woodstown Planning Board and is a past Trustee of the Pilesgrove-Woodstown Recreation Association. Fran currently serves as Chairman of the Woodstown Open Space Advisory Committee, and on the Board of the South Jersey Land and Water Trust. Fran graduated from Haddon Heights High School and earned his Bachelors degree in Law and Justice Studies from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University)....read more


Karen Richards, CPA |Director of Finance & Administration

Karen manages NJCF's finances. She is a certified public accountant with 20 years experience in private and public accounting. Karen previously worked for AT& T Capital/Newcourt as an external reporting manager. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Washington Township Land Trust of Morris County and holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Delaware....read more


Greg Romano |Assistant Director & Director of Statewide Land Acquisition

Greg oversees NJCF’s land acquisition program and serves as the organization’s Assistant Director. Prior to joining NJCF, Greg was the Executive Director of the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), an independent authority of state government that administered the State Farmland Preservation Program and related programs. Under his purview, the Program preserved more than 900 farms totaling nearly 100,000 acres. Greg also served as the Executive Director of the State Transfer of Development Rights Bank Board of Directors from its inception in 1997. From 1984-1996, Greg was a Deputy Attorney General, serving as the lead counsel for the State Agriculture Development Committee and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. In addition, he represented the Department of Environmental Protection, providing advice and representation in state and federal courts. He currently serves as chairman of the Garden State Preservation Trust, which oversees expenditures for the Green Acres, Farmland Preservation and Historic Preservation programs. In addition, he is on the Boards of Trustees of the Crosswicks-Doctors Creek Watershed Association, Save Hamilton Open Space, and the Crosswicks Cemetery Association. Greg holds a Juris Doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law, and graduated with honors from New Jersey’s Drew University....read more


Bill Scullion |Land Steward

Bill manages the South Jersey preserves. His previous experience includes working as a field biologist and land steward for the Nature Conservancy, and as a park naturalist at Cattus Island County Park in Ocean County. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey....read more


Laura Szwak |Director of Outreach & Education

Laura manages NJ Conservation Foundation's Conservation Assistance program that includes organizing an annual conference, educational events through the Land Trust Network and a grant program called the Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence grant. With The Nature Conservancy and Rowan University, Laura developed an online mapping system called the Conservation Blueprint that identifies priority lands to preserve for agriculture, natural resource integrity and recreation in NJ.   From 1994-2004, she served as Assistant Director of Morris Land Conservancy (now The Land Conservancy of NJ). From 1979-1991, Laura worked in Washington DC for the National Park Service as an Outdoor Recreation Planner with a two-year assignment to the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. She earned a Masters of Science degree in Recreation & Parks Administration from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Georgia. A resident of Mt. Olive Township, Laura serves as chair of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, vice chair of the Crossroads of the American Revolution, member of the NJ Trails Council, and builds trails as a member of the township’s open space committee....read more


Ingrid Vandegaer |Manager, Highlands Region

Ingrid became the Highlands Regional Manager in 2004. This position entails coordinating NJCF's acquisition, stewardship, outreach, and fundraising activities in the region. She established GIS capacity for the organization, worked extensively on Garden State Greenways, and has handled land donations and easement stewardship responsibilities. Ingrid brings 10 years as a lease finance negotiator, a BS in Business Administration, and GIS / Cartography coursework at Rutgers University to NJCF. Ingrid serves on the steering committee of the Morris County Green Table and was previously active in the Mountain Lakes Environmental Commission....read more


Michele S. Byers |Executive Director

Michele joined New Jersey Conservation in 1982 as coordinator of our advocacy efforts in the Pine Barrens. She later assumed responsibility for coordinating the farmland preservation program and the Camden City greenway. She became Assistant Director in 1988 and helped found the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Whitesbog Preservation Trust, Hunterdon Land Trust and New Jersey Highlands Coalition. She served on the Burlington County Agriculture Development Board for eleven years. In 1995 Michele was appointed by Governor Whitman to the State Planning Commission and was named Vice Chair in 1998. In 1999 Michele became Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. She served as Chair of New Jersey State Committee of the Highlands Coalition, Chair of New Jersey’s Freshwater Wetlands Mitigation Council, a member of the New Jersey State Trail Council, and Vice Chair of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. In 2003, Michele was appointed by Governor McGreevey to the Highlands Task Force. More recently, Michele served on the boards of the Center for Non-Profit Corporations and the Hopewell Township Open Space Committee. She is an advisor to the Hunterdon Land Trust, Vice Chair of the newly-formed New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, and President of RethinkEnergyNJ.com. Michele has a BA in Biology, Western State College, Gunnison, Colorado. She lives in Pottersville....read more


Erica Arlès |Administrative Assistant

Erica provides administrative support to the Assistant Director/Director of Statewide Land Acquisition and the Land Acquisition & Stewardship Departments. Before coming to NJCF, Erica worked in New York state as an Arts-in-Education Coordinator. She has also worked for the Blue Fish Clothing Co. as a textile artist in Frenchtown and an art teacher at the Katherine Gibbs School in Piscataway. Her studies include a BFA from Kutztown University and courses at the Universities of Paris and New Mexico in art and music....read more


Alix Bacon |Regional Manager, Western Piedmont

Alix became Manager of the Western Piedmont Region in 2004 and is responsible for coordinating NJCF's acquisition, stewardship, outreach, and fundraising activities in this region. She brings local expertise to her work in the Western Piedmont project area, where she is working on the Wickecheoke Creek and Delaware River Bluffs. Before coming to NJCF, she worked for the South Branch Watershed Association and the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. Alix served on the Delaware Township Environmental Commission, and was chair for four years. She is also a member of the Delaware Township Open Space Committee, a founding member of the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance Board of Trustees, and a landscape painter. She has a BA from Yale University....read more


Mark Barrick |Information Technology / Office Manager

Mark serves as Information Technology / Office Manager keeping current with the latest techniques in supporting, improving and maintaining IT infrastructure, as well as handling various office management duties. Mark has over two decades of IT experience from education to large corporate settings. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His love of the outdoors translates through his interests in photography, arts and a degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University....read more


Tim Brill |Central Jersey Project Manager

Tim Brill joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation as Central Jersey Project Manager in October 2015, to advance the preservation of open space and farmland and the development of parks, trails and greenways in the area. Tim served the NJ State Agriculture Development Committee as its Agricultural Retention Program / Planning Manager from August 1999, until July of 2015, supervising the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program and the State Transfer of Development Rights Bank. He also coordinated the Farmland Preservation / Agricultural Retention Program with State and regional planning efforts as well as county, municipal, open space/recreation and historic preservation initiatives. In more recent years, Tim was responsible for the development of the Planning Incentive Grant program currently involving 18 counties and 47 municipalities, targeting the preservation of more than 5,600 farms and 300,000 additional acres. From 1988 through the first half of 1999, Tim worked for the Cumberland County Department of Planning and Development as the Assistant Planning Director. He also served as the President of the NJ County Planners Association in 1997. Tim started his career in 1980 with the City of Bridgeton, New Jersey’s largest National Register Historic District, serving as Planning Director, Downtown Revitalization Project Manager, Historic District Officer and Planning Board Administrator. He received a B.A. in Geography from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in 1980, and is a New Jersey licensed Professional Planner....read more


Aria (Beth) E. Davisson |Project Manager, Black River Greenway

Beth provides consulting services to the Township of Bedminster in implementing its open space and farmland preservation goals by coordinating land and conservation easement acquisition projects from inception to completion. Beth also provides land acquisition services to the Tewksbury Land Trust through NJCF’s innovative shared staffing program, which she helped develop and manage between 2000 and 2002. Beth is a key player on our land acquisition team and serves on the Board of Lamington Conservancy. Beth received her BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University....read more


Justin Dennis |Urban Parks Manager

Justin joined the New Jersey Conservation Foundation staff in September 2016, where he serves as an Urban Parks Manager for the Camden region. He oversees the development and maintenance of several NJCF properties in the greater Camden area, and helps facilitate programming and outreach efforts within the communities surrounding these properties. Prior to joining NJCF’s staff, Justin interned in NJCF’s Stewardship program, managed invasive plant species in numerous State and National Parks while working on the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Invasive Strike Force, and was an Enforcement Manager in the New Jersey DEP’s Site Remediation Program. Justin holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Drew University, and enjoys hiking and attending live music concerts in his free time....read more


Emile D. DeVito, Ph.D |Manager of Science & Stewardship

Emile has been the Manager of Science and Stewardship at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation since 1989. He received a doctorate in Ecology in 1988 for research on bird communities and vegetation landscapes in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Dr. DeVito develops management plans for NJCF’s 20,000+ acres of holdings designed to protect and enhance biological diversity. Emile educates government officials, advocacy groups, land trusts, teachers and students on forest-interior habitat and migratory stopover needs of Neotropical songbirds. He is a trustee of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the NJ Natural Lands Trust. He serves on the Endangered and Non-Game Species Advisory Committee within the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, the New Jersey Invasive Species Council, and the Science Advisory Committee of the NY-NJ Trail Conference....read more


Wilma E. Frey |Senior Policy Manager

Wilma brings four decades of environmental and planning advocacy experience to NJCF’s Highlands policy program. She provides the New Jersey Highlands Coalition local organizations with planning and environmental policy expertise, as well as government relations, communications and community organizing assistance. She currently chairs the NJ Highlands Land Preservation Committee. Wilma was previously employed as a regional coordinator for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; as a consultant to The Wilderness Society, Grand Canyon Trust and others; as the Washington, D.C. lobbyist for the Sierra Club’s Northeast Region; and as a Landscape Architect in private practice. A former chair of the New England Chapter of the Sierra Club, she served on the Tewksbury Township Environmental Commission from 1998 to 2008. Wilma earned Masters' degrees in Landscape Architecture and Public Administration, both from Harvard University, after undergraduate study at The University of Michigan and Rhode Island School of Design. Her photographs appear in many conservation publications....read more


Jane Gardner |Campaign Project Assistant

Jane joined the NJ Conservation Foundation team in December 2016 to work on the Pipeline Campaign. She has over 15 years of experience working at non-profit organizations, specifically in government affairs/public policy and public health, and most recently worked as a research analyst and state reporting associate at a large insurance company. Jane earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from William Paterson University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist....read more


Tom Gilbert |Campaign Director for Energy, Climate and Natural Resources

Tom has served since June 2015 as Campaign Director for Energy, Climate and Natural Resources. Prior to joining NJ Conservation Foundation, he served as Senior Conservation Finance Director with the Trust for Public Land. He also served as Chairman of the NJ Keep It Green Coalition and led successful campaigns to secure approval of a $400 million bond measure in 2009 and constitutional amendment in 2014 that will provide a stable source of land preservation funding. Tom also co-directed national field efforts of the Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition in 2010 which secured House passage of comprehensive LWCF legislation. Previously, 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. Tom earned his M.S. in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Vermont. He was a founding board member of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters....read more


Amy Hansen |Policy Analyst

As policy analyst, Amy reviews legislation, regulations and public policy in New Jersey pertaining to land and natural resources conservation and management, and provides support to NJCF's Director of Policy and Board Policy Committee. Amy coordinated NJCF's first Farmland Symposium in 2004. She served on the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey Board of Trustees. Prior to joining the NJCF staff, Amy worked at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Land Use Committee in Solebury, PA and Gallery Guide. Amy also helps manage the organic farm on which she lives in Asbury, Hunterdon County. Amy holds a BA in Fine Art with emphasis in Natural Science Illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz....read more


Maria Hauser |Personnel Manager / Executive Assistant

Maria is Personnel Manager/Executive Assistant to Michele Byers, NJCF’s Executive Director. Maria was previously with NJCF from 2001-2002 in this same capacity. In 2005, she served as Administrative Assistant to Land & Acquisition for a short period of time, eventually returning to her current position. Prior to joining NJCF, Maria was with a large paper manufacturing company, serving as Personnel Manager for over 12 years. Maria holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the College of St. Elizabeth....read more


Steven Jack |Land Steward

Steve works with the Stewardship department to take care of the Franklin Parker Preserve in Chatsworth, Burlington County. He is a former firefighter with the Collingswood Fire Department....read more


Russell Juelg |Senior Land Steward

Russell is senior land steward for New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and has developed a trail system and educational programs for the Franklin Parker Preserve. He has a BA degree in Religion-Studies from Texas Christian University. Past work experience includes three years as managing director of Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and 11 years as director of outreach at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. His favorite areas of research include Pine Barrens vegetation communities, field botany, and threatened and endangered species....read more


Bill Lynch |Assistant Director, Education Programs & Communications

Bill joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation in February 2014 as Events Coordinator, planning and managing all fundraising and member cultivation events. As Assistant Director of Education Programs & Communications he also manages NJ Conservation’s outreach and environmental education programs, including the Step Into Nature series. He oversees the organization's social media presence as well as its newsletters, annual reports, and other communications. Bill received his Master of Science degree in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, and has worked for various conservation organizations, serving most recently as an associate naturalist for the Raritan Headwaters Association. He is a passionate environmental educator, birder, and photographer....read more


Lisa MacCollum |Assistant Director of Land Acquisition

Working with the Director of Land Acquisition and Stewardship Lisa is responsible for coordinating with the Regional Managers in all aspects of NJCF’s land acquisition program. She is responsible for negotiation and acquisition of both fee and easement properties in various geographic focus areas. Lisa also works in an advisory capacity on easement monitoring and stewardship issues. She began as a volunteer at NJCF monitoring easements and formerly did an internship as a Resource Specialist for the Morris County Soil Conservation District. Lisa received her BS in Natural Resource Management at Cook College, Rutgers University....read more


Kelly Martin |Development Associate

Kelly joined New Jersey Conservation Foundation in June 2017. She assists with fundraising strategies and membership outreach. Previously, she worked for five years at Great Swamp Watershed Association, most recently as the Director of Communications. She has also worked as an environmental educator and reptile keeper, teaching the younger generations about the importance of environmental conservation. She holds a B.S. from Temple University in Philadelphia....read more


Melanie Mason |Land Steward

Melanie joined NJ Conservation Foundation as a Land Steward in 2018. She is responsible for management and development of NJCF’s preserves in the northern region of the state. Her background includes stewardship and monitoring of NJ’s natural resources for New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and Morris County Park Commission. Most recently she administered the Farmland Preservation Program and County Agriculture Development Board for Hunterdon County. She holds a B.S. in Ecology and Natural Resources from Rutgers University and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Penn State....read more


Alison E. Mitchell |Director of Policy

Charged with spearheading the development and management of NJCF's public policy program, Alison also has direct leadership in our farmland preservation efforts. The author of The New Jersey Highlands Treasures at Risk, and Gaining Ground, a farmland policy report, Alison has worked on land acquisition and policy initiatives for NJCF and has served as a: Member of the advisory committee of the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Managers, Rutgers University; founding trustee and president of the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance, member of the Board of Trustees of Isles, Inc and has recently been appointed member of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission. Prior to joining NJCF, Alison interned with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and The Wilderness Society, and during her graduate studies she worked with Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) – a nonprofit working on air quality issues. She holds an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a BA in International Relations from Connecticut College....read more


Stephanie Monahan |Assistant Director - South Jersey

Stephanie worked in the NJ Conservation Foundation's development office for 10 years. As Assistant Director for South Jersey she is responsible for land acquisition in the area, as well as stewardship and outreach. She previously worked as Program Coordinator of Drew University’s Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program, Associate Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at Drew Theological School, and Program Coordinator and Development Director at the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. Stephanie holds a BA in Political Science, concentration in Urban Affairs and Planning from Virginia Tech, and a Masters of Public Administration, with a concentration in Environmental Policy, from North Carolina State University....read more


Tim Morris |Director of Stewardship

Tim oversees NJCF's Stewardship Program, and directly manages NJCF's conservation easements. He also contributes to the acquisition program by assisting with the drafting and negotiating of new conservation easements, and works with government and non-profit groups to strengthen easement stewardship practices. Before joining NJCF, Tim worked for the University of Washington, USDA Forest Service, and several non-profit groups, conducting wildlife research and monitoring. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Washington Township Land Trust of Morris County. Tim has a BA in Biology from Rutgers College....read more


Marie K. Newell |Project Coordinator, Acquisition

Marie initially joined NJCF through a state grant to develop an open space plan and to build the capacity of preservation groups working in the Upper Delaware Watershed. Marie now works on acquisition initiatives in the Western Piedmont region, and coordinates stewardship projects and outreach events in the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve and Black River Greenway. Marie was formerly the Executive Director of the South Branch Watershed Association. She holds a BA degree in Environmental Management from Cook College, Rutgers University....read more


Tanya Nolte |GIS Manager

Tanya is responsible for all aspects of NJCF’s GIS mapping program. Before coming to NJCF, Tanya worked as a grant writer and publications manager at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit. Prior to that, she was the GIS Director for seven years at Morris Land Conservancy, where she helped develop and implement the GIS program. Tanya has a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and politics from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where she was born and raised....read more


Sandy Stuart Perry |Staff Writer

Sandy coordinates NJCF’s communications and public relations program. Her responsibilities include editing and writing press releases, columns, newsletters and annual reports; providing content and updates for the NJCF website; raising public awareness of NJCF by publicizing newsworthy events such as land acquisitions and public policy initiatives; and responding to inquiries by the media. Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from the University of Bridgeport (Conn.), and worked for more than 25 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and occasional photographer before joining NJCF. She enjoys nature, hiking, kayaking, gardening and other outdoor activities....read more


Francis Rapa |Regional Manager, Delaware Bay Watershed

Fran is responsible for NJCF's land preservation, policy and advocacy efforts in New Jersey’s southernmost counties to preserve waterways, forests and farms. A lifelong South Jersey resident, Fran has over 17 years experience in government policy and communications, including seven years with the staff of the NJ State Legislature. Prior to NJCF, he served as Communications Officer for the NJ Pinelands Commission. Fran was also Deputy Communications Director at the NJ Department of the Treasury, and before that, served as Chief of Education and Outreach at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Active in his community, Fran served for ten years on the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Joint Environmental Commission, including three years as Chairman. He also served ten years on the Woodstown Planning Board and is a past Trustee of the Pilesgrove-Woodstown Recreation Association. Fran currently serves as Chairman of the Woodstown Open Space Advisory Committee, and on the Board of the South Jersey Land and Water Trust. Fran graduated from Haddon Heights High School and earned his Bachelors degree in Law and Justice Studies from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University)....read more


Julia Raskin |Program Manager for Camden Parks and Greenways

Julia Raskin is the Program Manager for Camden Parks and Greenways, and will be working with Justin Dennis on the implementation and revitalization of parks and greenways for the City of Camden and surrounding communities. She is excited to work with Camden residents and our partners in the region to improve park access to the public and to promote New Jersey Conservation’s visibility and community support for our mission. Julia is originally from Westchester, New York and completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. She continued her education with a dual masters degree in Environmental Science and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Before joining the NJCF team in Camden, she was a Community Organizer for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and was also a Conservation Corps Fellow at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Julia has a strong passion for environmental justice, and cares deeply about improving access to open space for historically underserved communities. She sees an incredible opportunity to foster relationships in Camden that will open opportunities for people across the city to enjoy the outdoors....read more


Karen Richards, CPA |Director of Finance & Administration

Karen manages NJCF's finances. She is a certified public accountant with 20 years experience in private and public accounting. Karen previously worked for AT& T Capital/Newcourt as an external reporting manager. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Washington Township Land Trust of Morris County and holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Delaware....read more


Heidi Roldan |Corporate & Foundation Relations Coordinator

Prior to joining New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Heidi was an environmental consultant at Tetra Tech, Inc. in Morris Plains, New Jersey for 22 years, where she was a Project Manager and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Heidi received a bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from Rutgers University, and a master's degree in Environmental Management from New Jersey Institute of Technology. She enjoys spending time outdoors while hiking, kayaking, boating, camping, and gardening....read more


Greg Romano |Assistant Director & Director of Statewide Land Acquisition

Greg oversees NJCF’s land acquisition program and serves as the organization’s Assistant Director. Prior to joining NJCF, Greg was the Executive Director of the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), an independent authority of state government that administered the State Farmland Preservation Program and related programs. Under his purview, the Program preserved more than 900 farms totaling nearly 100,000 acres. Greg also served as the Executive Director of the State Transfer of Development Rights Bank Board of Directors from its inception in 1997. From 1984-1996, Greg was a Deputy Attorney General, serving as the lead counsel for the State Agriculture Development Committee and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. In addition, he represented the Department of Environmental Protection, providing advice and representation in state and federal courts. He currently serves as chairman of the Garden State Preservation Trust, which oversees expenditures for the Green Acres, Farmland Preservation and Historic Preservation programs. In addition, he is on the Boards of Trustees of the Crosswicks-Doctors Creek Watershed Association, Save Hamilton Open Space, and the Crosswicks Cemetery Association. Greg holds a Juris Doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law, and graduated with honors from New Jersey’s Drew University....read more


Susan Schmidt |Administrative Assistant & Receptionist

Susan is responsible for greeting and directing all incoming calls and walk-ins. She also provides general administrative support to the office as needed. Previously, Susan held a similar position with the New Jersey Highlands Council for two years and worked as a claims adjuster with a large insurance company for 25 years. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Anthropology from Drew University....read more


Bill Scullion |Land Steward

Bill manages the South Jersey preserves. His previous experience includes working as a field biologist and land steward for the Nature Conservancy, and as a park naturalist at Cattus Island County Park in Ocean County. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey....read more


Connor Stone |Development & Communications Coordinator

Connor became Development & Communications Coordinator in 2018. He is working on donor and database management, processing gifts, and generating thank you letters. He holds bachelor degrees in philosophy, and environmental policy and economics from Moravian College, and a master's degree in biobehavioral health from Penn State University. ...read more


Laura Szwak |Director of Outreach & Education

Laura manages NJ Conservation Foundation's Conservation Assistance program that includes organizing an annual conference, educational events through the Land Trust Network and a grant program called the Franklin Parker Conservation Excellence grant. With The Nature Conservancy and Rowan University, Laura developed an online mapping system called the Conservation Blueprint that identifies priority lands to preserve for agriculture, natural resource integrity and recreation in NJ.   From 1994-2004, she served as Assistant Director of Morris Land Conservancy (now The Land Conservancy of NJ). From 1979-1991, Laura worked in Washington DC for the National Park Service as an Outdoor Recreation Planner with a two-year assignment to the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. She earned a Masters of Science degree in Recreation & Parks Administration from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Georgia. A resident of Mt. Olive Township, Laura serves as chair of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, vice chair of the Crossroads of the American Revolution, member of the NJ Trails Council, and builds trails as a member of the township’s open space committee....read more


Allison Williams |Easement Steward

Allison is responsible for monitoring and stewardship of all easement properties held by NJCF. As a New Jersey native, her previous experience includes habitat restoration, endangered species monitoring, and volunteer management with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in California, as well as with Delaware State Parks. Allison has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware....read more


Ingrid Vandegaer |Manager, Highlands Region

Ingrid became the Highlands Regional Manager in 2004. This position entails coordinating NJCF's acquisition, stewardship, outreach, and fundraising activities in the region. She established GIS capacity for the organization, worked extensively on Garden State Greenways, and has handled land donations and easement stewardship responsibilities. Ingrid brings 10 years as a lease finance negotiator, a BS in Business Administration, and GIS / Cartography coursework at Rutgers University to NJCF. Ingrid serves on the steering committee of the Morris County Green Table and was previously active in the Mountain Lakes Environmental Commission....read more

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