Four employees join our team in the Adirondacks
Adirondacks New Hires Four employees join our team in the Adirondacks © John DiGiacomo

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The Nature Conservancy Welcomes Four Seasonal Staff to the Adirondack Chapter

Non-profit gearing up for a productive summer to advance conservation priorities

Keene Valley, NY

The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter is pleased to welcome to its staff this summer one Adirondack conservation associate, two freshwater stream barrier assessment technicians, and one invasive species management steward. 

“Our seasonal staff play a vital role in advancing our conservation efforts in all corners of the Adirondacks,” said Peg Olsen, the Conservancy’s director. “Their work protects the environment, safeguards the quality of life enjoyed by those of us who live here year-round and helps ensure that visitors to the region will have an experience that keeps them coming back. And they each gain invaluable hands-on conservation experience that will help with their careers moving forward.”

In addition, Olsen said, the seasonal workers, many of whom are recent college graduates, bring fresh perspectives to the organization that benefit the Conservancy’s full-time staff.

The Conservancy’s career-building Adirondack Conservation Associate program gives motivated young professionals a start in conservation through on-the-job experience. In addition to tackling a specific lead project, the associate will work across departments to gain interdisciplinary experience from professional staff in conservation science, fundraising, environmental stewardship, and communications. 

This year’s Conservation Associate is Rachel Renders, a 2019 graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo with a bachelor’s degree in communication and double minors in environmental studies and geology. She will focus primarily on coordinating several marketing and communication projects for the chapter, including creating new signs and informational pieces to enhance the visitor experience across the Conservancy’s six public nature preserves in the region.  

Daniel Sinopoli and Elizabeth Metzger join the Chapter for the summer season as stream barrier technicians. Elizabeth, a graduate from Juniata College, holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and brings experience surveying brown trout and invasive macrophytes in Pennsylvania watersheds. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in Aquatics and Fisheries Science from SUNY-ESF. His honor’s thesis research focuses on the biogeography and taxonomy of the Bowfin (Amia calva) in the Mississippi Basin.

The technicians will spend each day on our local streams and rivers recording much-needed data on the fish-passage barriers in various watersheds feeding directly into Lake Champlain. According to existing data, nearly three-quarters of all culverts in this area are not large enough to withstand flooding or provide passage for fish.  Data collected over the summer will integrate with the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) database, the regional network that hosts an online dataset for screening road-stream crossing barriers. This information helps Conservancy scientists and partners identify where upgraded culverts can provide win-win solutions for people and nature by reducing flooding risks, minimizing road damage and allowing brook trout to reach cool headwater streams.

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is a partnership program of The Nature Conservancy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), works with state agencies and dozens of collaborators to protect lands and waters from the negative impacts of invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, Asian clam, and Japanese knotweed.

Julie Fogden is APIPP’s 2019 invasive species management steward and is a graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a degree in Environmental & Natural Resource Conservation. She brings a strong background in invasive species work, most recently working as a Field Technician for Trillium Invasive Species Management Inc. conducting invasive plant surveys and managing infestations throughout the Hudson Valley. Throughout her 12-week position, Julie will focus on conducting invasive species surveys and management at DEC campgrounds, trailheads and the chapter’s six public nature preserves.  

New staff members are based at the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter headquarters in Keene Valley, New York. 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.