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New York

Meet the Board of Trustees for Central & Western New York

Lew Allyn

Lew Allyn is a retired executive and former chairman of the board at Welch-Allyn, Inc., which manufactures medical diagnostic equipment and is headquartered in Skaneateles. Lew is an active fly fisherman, canoeist, boater, and hiker. He and his wife Dawn are residents of Naples, Florida, but spend their summers on Skaneateles Lake. Lew has traveled the globe as an international representative for Welch Allyn, but found no place he likes more than Skaneateles Lake and the Adirondacks. Lew is a graduate of Syracuse University.

Brian Baird, J.D.

Brian Baird of Buffalo is an attorney at Kavinoky Cook LLP, where he specializes in trusts and estates. Brian is a long-time supporter of The Nature Conservancy, and is a graduate of Haverford College and the University of Buffalo School of Law. He has been a Board member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Nichols School, and the Greater Buffalo Opera Company. Brian resides in Buffalo and also maintains a home in Eden.

Bruce C. Bongarten, Ph.D.

Dr. Bruce Bongarten is provost of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse and a member of the Nature Conservancy for more than 30 years. He is a specialist in the genetics and breeding of forest trees and the physiology of tree growth. Bruce received his bachelor's in forest biology from SUNY ESF and his doctorate in forestry and genetics from Michigan State University. Prior to joining ESF, Bruce worked for the University of Georgia, served as a visiting scientist at Weyerhaeuser Company, and as a forester with St. Regis Paper Company.

Barry Boyer, J.D.

Barry Boyer has supported The Nature Conservancy and conservation causes for many years. A recent retiree from the University of Buffalo, he taught environmental and administrative law, and served as dean of the law school from 1992-98. His research focused on regional performance indicators for environment, economy and government services, and on the environmental legal history of Western New York. Barry holds a bachelor’s from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He is an emeritus Board member of the Buffalo Niagara RiverKeeper. Barry lives in East Aurora, and enjoys history, travel, gardening, hiking and photography.

Peter Brennan, M.D.

Peter Brennan, M.D., is a physician, senior partner at Gastroenterology Associates of Ithaca, and former president of the Tompkins County Medical Society. He is originally from Guilderland in Albany County and graduated from Williams College and Upstate Medical College. He trained at the University of Virginia in internal medicine and the Medical College of Virginia in gastroenterology. Peter and his wife, Beth, a real estate broker, helped us engage neighbors when we rebuilt trails and refreshed the visitor experience at Eldridge Wilderness Preserve in Ithaca. Peter is an avid downhill skier, and he and Beth have three grown sons.

Enid Cardinal

Enid Cardinal is senior sustainability advisor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Enid is a LEED-accredited professional with a background in socially responsible investing and environmental policy. Previously, she served as director for sustainability at Illinois State University and has held positions as an independent consultant, social analyst, and project controller. A native of Baldwinsville, she earned a master’s in environmental policy from Bard College and a bachelor’s in biology and history from Binghamton University.

Laurie Dann

Laurie Dann is a native Buffalonian who retired from careers with the news department of Buffalo’s morning newspaper, the Courier-Express, and as a licensed real estate agent with Gurney, Becker & Bourne. She has been a board member and officer of several nonprofits, including Women for Downtown; Waterfest, Inc.; and the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, which operates the Buffalo Museum of Science and Tifft Nature Preserve. Laurie is an avid bird watcher and enjoys traveling to find new birds. She lives in the City of Buffalo, but also has a home on Lake Erie’s north shore in Canada.

John W. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.

Dr. John Fitzpatrick is Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and is a global authority on bird conservation. He has led efforts to involve citizens in conservation science and share the beauty and scientific knowledge of birds with millions of people. Fitz served on the Nature Conservancy’s global Board of Governors before becoming a trustee of the Central & Western New York Chapter. He lives near Ithaca and enjoys hiking, watercolor painting and, of course, bird watching. Fitz is one of the world’s experts on the natural history of the Florida scrub jay.

Bruce Gilman, Ph.D.

Dr. Bruce Gilman is a professor of environmental conservation at Finger Lakes Community College. Bruce has been involved in many aspects of freshwater conservation, serving as a Board member of the Honeoye Lake Watershed Taskforce, consulting scientist for the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council, gubernatorial appointee to the NYS Open Space Committee, and FLCC appointee to the Ontario County Water Resources Council. He conducted research for his doctoral thesis, which he received from SUNY ESF, at the Conservancy’s Limerick Cedars Preserve. Bruce lives in Middlesex, near Canandaigua Lake, and has a home on Honeoye Lake.

Richard S. Hill, Emeritus





Sarah Mercier Hurlbut

Sarah Mercier Hurlbut received her bachelor’s from the University of Rochester and J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law; she was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1988. Sarah’s volunteer support has touched the Allendale Columbia School, the Al Sigl Center, Lollypop Farm, WXXI, and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In addition to serving on the Chapter’s Board, Sarah also works closely with Future Care Planning Services of Al Sigl Center, the Rochester Female Charitable Society, and Rochester Garden Club. She and her husband, Robert, reside in Rochester, and have a home on Canandaigua Lake.

William L. Jacques, Jr. (Treasurer)

William Jacques, Jr. is the CFO for Catalyst Direct in Rochester. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, received his MBA from ESSEC Business School in Paris, and has a CPA license in New Hampshire. William’s volunteer support has included the Friends of Ganondagan, Camp Good Days & Special Times, and the Greater Rochester Businesses for Conservation. Currently, William serves as treasurer for both the Chapter and for Friends of Ganondagan. He lives with his partner, Diego, in Rush.

Victoria Kennedy

Victoria Kennedy has been a member of The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western New York Board since the early 1990s, serving as Board Chair and chair of the Nominating Committee. Victoria has more than 40 years of environmental policy experience. She helped found the U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C. and the Environment Finance Center at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Victoria is a former board member of the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation. She has a degree from the University of Wisconsin, and lives in Fayetteville.

Deb Koen

Deb Koen is a career strategist, professional development coach, and recognized leader in the field of career development. Deb served as CEO of the nonprofit Career Development Services in Rochester, and has consulted for numerous corporations and academic institutes. She is currently career coach for Corning, Inc. and a senior consultant for HR Works. Deb is a co-author of Career Choice, Change & Challenge. She is also a columnist for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the journal Nature. Deb holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard University and a master’s in counseling from Colgate University. She serves as the Chapter’s global Trustee Council representative.

Tony Lee, J.D.

Tony Lee is a partner in the law firm of Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, where he focuses on estate planning and trust and estate administration. Tony has a keen interest in and experience with land preservation through acquisition and conservation easements. Additionally, he has dedicated many hours to other non-profits. Tony enjoys bicycling, skiing, fishing, white-water canoeing, camping and other outdoor pursuits, and has a special place in his heart for Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario.

Tom Lunt

Tom Lunt is a retired financial professional with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Buffalo, and a former Chair of the Chapter Board. He now serves as a Trustee of the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, where he has brought his experience in financial and nonprofit management to many Western NY organizations, including the Nature Conservancy and the Roycroft Inn. Tom has special interests in birding, volunteers, and land acquisition and stewardship. In 2013, Tom became a fully vowed Benedictine monk. He has a bachelor’s in economics from Hobart College and an MBA from the University of Rochester.

Clayton Millard (Chair)

Clayton Millard currently serves as Board Chair for the Chapter. Clayton is a wealth management advisor with Merrill Lynch in Rochester. He has a bachelor’s from Allegheny College and a master’s in geology from Indiana University. Clayton is a Certified Investment Management Analyst®, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and has attained the Certified Financial Manager designation. Clayton and his wife, Kim, live in Brighton with their two daughters. He enjoys sailing and gardening in the summer, and skiing in the winter.

Diane O’Connor

Diane O’Connor is Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability at the Xerox Corporation in Rochester. During her career with Xerox, Diane has held management positions in engineering, quality control, purchasing, and supply chain operations. Diane earned an MBA from the University of Rochester and a master’s in chemistry from Syracuse University. She resides on the west side of Honeoye Lake.

Robert Papworth





Stephen Rosenfeld, M.D. (Vice-Chair)

Dr. Steve Rosenfeld is a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and was an immunologist, allergist, and rheumatologist on the university’s faculty before retiring as professor emeritus in 2005. He chairs the Chapter’s International Committee and was instrumental in helping us select our new global partnership at Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania. Steve is a Board member of the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Oratorio Society, and National Council of the U of R School of Medicine. An avid birder, Steve also enjoys canoeing, sailing, and travel. He and his wife Elise spend much of the summer at their home on Keuka Lake.

Chuck Ruffing, Ph.D.

Dr. Chuck Ruffing is the Director of Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability for Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, where he is also a divisional Vice President. His department is responsible for compliance support to both operations and products worldwide, as well as for the coordination of sustainability initiatives throughout the company. Chuck’s training is in chemistry. He has a B.S. from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Susan Suwinski (Secretary)

Sue Suwinski is a conservation-minded landowner and longtime supporter of environmental causes. She is an international traveler with a global vision, and well-aligned with The Nature Conservancy’s mission. She and her husband, Jan, live on a horse farm in Ithaca, and also have a home in Charleston, South Carolina. Sue recently traveled to Kenya and Tanzania and is expanding her conservation interests to Africa.

Susan van der Stricht (Vice Chair)

A Rochester native, Sue van der Stricht joined our board in 2007 and continues the legacy of her late husband Rob, a former chair of the Chapter Board and namesake of our Rob’s Trail Preserve. Sue has experience in business, policy, and real estate, and chairs our Nominating Committee. She is a Board member of the Allyns Creek Garden Club, Sonnenberg Gardens, GardenAerial, and Genesee Country Museum. Sue spends much of her summers at her home on Canandaigua Lake.


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