Noted conservation expert named head of Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
Tammara Van Ryn tapped by The Nature Conservancy to lead flagship effort
The Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have named Tammara Van Ryn the new program manager of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP).
Van Ryn has worked on conservation issues across the Northeast for nearly 30 years. Most recently, she served as the founder and executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an organization based in Saratoga Springs that ensures over 400 conservation groups nationwide adhere to national quality standards for governance, finance and land stewardship.
“Tammara’s entire career, from her time working in forestry in the Peace Corps in Ecuador through her advocacy of sustainable stewardship at the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, has been in the service of conservation and the protection of natural resources,” said Peg Olsen, executive director of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “She understands the challenges and issues APIPP faces, from climate change to collaborating with partners as disparate as small landowners and the federal government, and the importance of building coalitions to manage the threats invasive species pose to our communities.”
Before launching the Accreditation Commission, Van Ryn served in several roles for the Land Trust Alliance in New York State and across the nation; was policy director for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests; taught nonprofit management as an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School; and co-owned New Minglewood Farm, an organic vegetable farm in Greenwich, NY.
“Invasive species aren’t just an ecologic threat—they’re an economic one as well,” Van Ryn said. “They affect every Adirondack community, and responding to the threat requires the engagement of communities across the Park. I’ve always believed in the power of partnerships, and I’ve sought those alliances for every conservation challenge I’ve worked on. I’m excited to be part of and help grow the team of local and state government and nonprofit partners that make APIPP so successful.”
Founded in 1998, APIPP has been a leader in combatting invasive plants, animals and insects in New York State. Its coordinated approach to invasive species management, which combines education, prevention and management, has been a model for similar programs across the state and U.S. Over the past 20 years, APIPP has worked with 30 local and regional partner organizations and over 800 volunteers, surveying 110,000 miles of roadside and shoreline for invasives and removing more than 1,000 infestations.
“Invasive species are a threat across New York, not just the Adirondacks,” said Josh Thiel, the DEC’s invasive species coordination section chief. “For years, APIPP has been a pioneer in helping us develop and deliver some of our most effective programs statewide. Tammara’s arrival at APIPP will continue this great work but also build upon it as APIPP and TNC pursue innovative projects that will pay dividends for all New Yorkers both inside the Park and statewide.”
Van Ryn joins Erin Vennie-Vollrath and Zack Simek, who lead APIPP’s aquatic and terrestrial teams, respectively. Vennie-Vollrath and Simek will continue to lead APIPP’s on-the-ground efforts, while Van Ryn will focus on community engagement and developing partnerships. The team expects to grow in the coming months, adding an education/communications coordinator and an information management coordinator.
Van Ryn is a graduate of Vermont Law School and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She presently serves as a director for the Adirondack Mountain Club and is a member of the Greenwich zoning board, the Vermont Law School Environmental Advisory Committee and the Women’s Global Giving Circle of Saratoga Springs. She will be moving to Saranac Lake from her current home in Greenwich, NY.
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 79 countries and territories, 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.