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Staff and Trustees


Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director
Carleton became PPA’s second executive director in 1998. Carleton left legal practice in Washington, D.C., where he was a partner in the firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, to join the nonprofit world and devote himself to environmental protection. Carleton has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an M. Phil. from University College London, both in philosophy, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Carleton is the editor of Regional Planning for a Sustainable America: How Creative Programs Are Promoting Prosperity and Saving the Environment, published by Rutgers University Press in 2011, a book he compiled and to which he contributed the introductory and concluding chapters. Carleton is a founding board member of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext 119 or Email Carleton@pinelandsalliance.org

Jaclyn Rhoads, Ph.D., Assistant Executive Director
Jaclyn received a Ph.D. in environmental policy from Drexel University and joined PPA’s staff in 2004. She also teaches environmental studies and policy at Drexel and Widener University. She serves on the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters political committee, as co-chair for the outreach committee for the New Jersey Keep it Green Coalition, and as president of the Darby Creek Valley Association and Friends of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania where she lives. Jaclyn was awarded Woman of the Delaware River Watershed by Penn Future in 2018 and Environmental Advocate of the Year by the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2017. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 118 or Email Jaclyn@pinelandsalliance.org 

Jess Brandeisky, Assistant Farm Manager for Rancocas Creek Farm
Jess joined PPA as Assistant Farm Manager in March 2021.  Jess became interested in sustainable agriculture during a Study Abroad program in South India. While there, she saw how agriculture directly relates to social and economic rights, environmental justice, and community health. Jess graduated from Ramapo College with a degree in Biology and volunteered at Fernbrook Farms while working in a biotechnology lab.  In 2015 she left the lab and began working full-time at Fernbrook. After managing Fernbrook’s CSA in 2020, Jess decided to make a change and come work at Rancocas Creek Farm. She is thrilled to be farming in a way that helps further PPA’s focus on community engagement and environmental protection. She is very excited to bring her enthusiasm for farming to PPA and to help in regenerating the farm’s soil, increasing its biodiversity, and growing delicious food for local folks.  Contact: 609-858-8860 ext 130 or Email Jess@pinelandsalliance.org.

Tom Dunn, Development Office Assistant
Tom has worked for PPA since 2008. In addition to answering questions about the Pinelands, Tom prepares PPA’s membership reminders and thank you letters. Tom spent 37 years as a teacher and technology director in the Little Egg Harbor School District. He received his undergraduate degree from Bloomsburg University and his Masters Degree from Rowan University. Tom is an avid photographer and spends a great deal of time hiking in the Pine Barrens, practicing his botany skills and searching for the perfect picture. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 114 or Email Tom@pinelandsalliance.org

Rebecca Free, Director of Membership & Communications
Becky joined PPA in 2007. Becky has worked for the American Cancer Society, The Nature Conservancy of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens Program, and as a seasonal park ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas. She has a Master’s Degree from Texas A&M University in Parks, Tourism and Recreation. Becky grew up in Bucks County PA and is married to Jeff Tober, Rancocas Creek Farm Manager. When she isn’t working to save the Pinelands or picking strawberries, she is playing sports with her sons or training as a powerlifter. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 121 or Email Becky@pinelandsalliance.org 

Andrew Gold, Legal Director
Andrew joined PPA in 2020 after working for five years as an attorney with the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1776KS in Pennsylvania.  Given the increasingly pressing issue of climate change and his love of the outdoors, he wanted to work on environmental issues and came to PPA to do so in his home state.  Outside of work, Andrew enjoys spending time with his family, studying history, cycling, hiking, playing drums, and vegetable gardening. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 116 or Email Andrew@pinelandsalliance.org

Rhyan Grech, Policy Advocate
Rhyan joined the PPA team in September 2018. Prior to that, she spent 15 years working for non-profits and local governments in the environmental field in different corners of the country, but is happy to be back working in her home state of NJ. She received her Biology degree from West Chester University and spent two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Outside of work, she spends her time running, hiking, playing piano and a little guitar, and attempting to crochet. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 122 or Email RhyanG@pinelandsalliance.org

Audra Hardoon, Director of Operations
Audra joined the staff at PPA in 2015 during the Pinelands Adventures initiative. You can contact Audra regarding operations or finances for Adventures, PPA, and Rancocas Creek Farm. Audra has a Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. While out west for 10 years she worked as a Commercial Real Estate Manager. Prior to coming on board with PPA she worked for 12 years as a Veterinary Hospital Manager. When Audra is away from PPA she is active in the school community. You can usually find her hanging out with her daughters, her dog, and maybe a few cats. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 123 or Email Audra@pinelandsalliance.org 

Jason Howell, Public Lands Advocate
Jason Howell joined the staff in 2015. He is a New Jersey Volunteer Master Naturalist and Wilderness First Responder. In addition to working as a public lands advocate and land steward, Jason creates film and video projects for PPA. One such project, Pinelands National Reserve – Wilderness Remains, is a long-form non-narrative film that documents the unique landscapes and ecology of the Pinelands. Jason is a board member of the Rancocas Conservancy, a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and an avid canoeist, hiker, and primitive skills enthusiast. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 125 or Email Jason@pinelandsalliance.org 

Carlos Martínez Rivera, Ph.D., Director of Conservation Science
Carlos joined PPA in 2021 after working for twelve years as Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles and Amphibian Conservation Biologist at the Philadelphia Zoo. He completed his BSc in biology with a minor in botany at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez in 2001 and obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2008. Carlos is looking forward to combining science data with policy-making and outreach programs to effect real conservation actions at the state, regional, and local levels in New Jersey. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 126 or Email Carlos@pinelandsalliance.org.

Jeff Tober, Farm Manager for Rancocas Creek Farm
Jeff joined PPA in 2020 as the Farm Manager. Prior to PPA, Jeff started a CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) at Fernbrook Farms in Chesterfield in 2007 and was the Farm Manager for 13 years. Jeff got his love for growing food at Aspen Farms Community Garden in West Philadelphia and later apprenticed at Brookfield Farm CSA in Amherst, MA. Jeff got his degree in English (not Agriculture) from Muhlenberg College and later served for 2 years with AmeriCorps and went on to work for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Green Program revitalizing urban parks before farming full-time. Jeff is on the board of the New Jersey Agricultural Society and the Burlington County Agricultural Development Board. Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife Rebecca and their 2 sons and generally being outside. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext 130 or Email Jeff@pinelandsalliance.org.

Erin Tobiassen, Bookkeeper
Erin joined PPA in February 2021. Coming from a non-profit background she enjoys working for an organization that has a mission. Erin brings over 18 years of experience as a full-charge bookkeeper managing all aspects of receivables, payables and financial reporting. Among other interests, Erin likes to read and takes classes to hone her skills. As avid photographers, it is not unusual to find Erin and her husband Ted up at dawn waiting for a beautiful sunrise, driving through the trails at Whitesbog or searching for the Snowy Owl at Island Beach State Park. Both have received recognition for their photography in local art shows. A great day for Erin is spending time with family, taking photographs and simply enjoying nature and wildlife. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext 112 or Email Erin@pinelandsalliance.org.

Kellie Westervelt, Director of Philanthropy
Kellie joined PPA in 2021. Originally from Mays Landing, Kellie was raised in and studied southern New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, earning her degree in Environmental Science from Stockton State University. Before joining PPA, Kellie worked as Development Director for Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and Director of Development for the Wildlands Network; was Habitat Director for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and led a 436-acre restoration as Project Director for the American Littoral Society. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Society for Ecological Restoration at both the chapter and international level. She has translated a lifelong passion for nature into a career advocating for its protection and is happy to return to the area she first called home. Contact: 609-859-8860 ext. 124 or Email kellie@pinelandsalliance.org

Board of Trustees

Below you will find all the voting members of the Board of Trustees for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Executive Committee

Barbara Trought
Vice Chair


James Barnshaw, M.D.
Retired Physician

Charles Caruso
Retired Patent Counsel, Merck & Co., Inc.

Charles Chapin
New Jersey Audubon Society

Emile DeVito, Ph.D.
New Jersey Conservation Foundation

Bill Fisher
Retired, Senior Project Manager, Liberty Property Trust

Lamar Gore
Refuge Manager, John Heintz National Wildlife Refuge

Ivette Guillermo-McGahee
CEO of Allies in Caring, Inc.

Anne Heasly
Conservation Consultant

Joann Held
League of Women Voters

Ron Hutchison, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology, Stockton University

Chris Kosseff
Photographer, Retired Rutgers Executive

David F. Moore
Former Executive Director, NJ Conservation Foundation

John Murphy

Loretta Pickus
Attorney, Senior VP/ General Counsel at Revel Casino Hotel

Sarah Puleo
Communications Specialist, U.S. General Services Administration

Paula Yudkowitz
Retired Public Health Nutritionist

Trustee Bios
James Barnshaw, M.D.

James Barnshaw, M.D. is a retired physician who has been a member of the board since 2012. Jim served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for six years, stepping down in 2020. After 12 years of volunteer work with the Adirondack Forty-Sixers and The Mercer Alliance to End-Homelessness Jim returned to volunteer in the Pine Barrens where he has spent many days hiking and canoeing, having resided as a youth in Merchantville, NJ.

Robert L. Barrett

Robert L. Barrett joined the board in 2015. During his 42-year banking career he was a banking division manager and international large corporate banker to Fortune 500 corporations and financial institutions. He structured large syndicated loans, managed a municipal bond/public finance and other securities/investments sales force and was banking division liaison officer to Human Resources.

Barbara Trought

Barbara H. Trought, member of the board since 2012, has been active for over 45 years in numerous community service and political activities. She was appointed by Gov. Thomas Kean to the Department of Environmental Protection’s Tidelands Resource Council, and served from 1987-2011. Barbara has also moderated candidate forums for the League of Women Voters throughout the state, served as Government Director for NJ State League in the 1990’s as well as being an advocate for affordable housing. Barbara has served as a Trustee for the Forums Institute for Public Policy, been a docent at the Alice Paul Institute in Mount Laurel and a member of the Institutional Review Committee for the Cooper Health Systems, 2001-2003.

Michael Gallaway

Michael Gallaway was the New Jersey Sierra Club’s representative to the advisory committee established by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation that gave birth to PPA in 1989. He is a founding board member of PPA, and has chaired numerous board committees. He serves as the NJ Sierra Club’s representative on the PPA board, and has been the chair of the Medford Lakes Environmental Commission. He is a pediatric optometrist with a private practice in Marlton, NJ, and is an Associate Professor at Salus University in Philadelphia.

Patricia A. Butenis

Patricia A. Butenis joined the Board in 2017 and was elected board chair in October 2020. Raised in Atco, NJ and with an undergraduate degree from Penn, Pat retired back home after a 34-year career as a Foreign Service Officer which included assignments as ambassador to Bangladesh and to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. She also served in Pakistan, Iraq, Colombia, El Salvador, India and Poland. Her favorite project in Sri Lanka was promoting the welfare of its wild and captive elephant populations.

Timothy J. Byrne

Timothy J. Byrne, a resident of Princeton, New Jersey, is an attorney in private practice in New York. He is the son of former governor Brendan Byrne, and has a long-standing interest in Pinelands preservation. Tim joined the board in 1999.

Charles M. Caruso

Charles M. Caruso is a retired Patent Counsel who has been a member of the Board since 2016. During his 28-year career at Merck & Co., Inc. he was International Patent Counsel where he represented Merck at pharmaceutical industry trade associations around the world on intellectual property law and policy matters and was also a patent litigator engaged in the protection of patented medicines. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law and was a Master of Science candidate in Chemical Oceanography/Environmental Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Master Naturalist and an active member of the Barnegat Bay Partnership.

Charles M. Chapin

Charles M. Chapin lives in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ and serves on the Board of New Jersey Audubon, and the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy in Tallahassee, Florida. He was a Trustee for many years of the Upper Raritan Watershed Association, serving for many of them as President. Charlie joined the board in 1997.

Emile DeVito, Ph.D.

Emile DeVito, Ph.D. joined PPA’s board in 2002. Emileis 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 plus 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 also a trustee of 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.

William Fisher

Until he retired in 2018, Bill Fisher is the Senior Project Manager-National Development, Liberty Property Trust, with over thirty five years of hands-on experience in development, planning, design, and construction management both in the U.S. and overseas. His particular expertise is creating innovative, energy-efficient environments for commercial, industrial, medical and research clientele. Bill is currently furthering the implementation of the Navy Yard Business Center’s Master Plan, which covers 1,200 acres along Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront. Bill joined the board in 2014.

Lamar Gore

Lamar Gore joined the board in 2021 and is the Refuge Manager at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, PA. Lamar works with partners to connect the communities of the greater Philadelphia area to the refuge and brand the refuge as America’s First Urban Refuge. Previously, Lamar worked in the Northeast Regional Office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as Assistant Refuge Supervisor and Chief of the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights. During this time, Lamar was responsible for the Career Discovery Internship Program, which was designed to introduce culturally and ethnically diverse students to the USFWS. Lamar has also worked as Assistant Regional Biologist, Assistant Refuge Biologist, and Biological Technician. His work during this time involved tidal saltmarsh restoration, non-breeding season bird monitoring (songbirds), sea turtle protection, sea lamprey control, and wetland restoration from Vermont to Virginia.

Ivette Guillermo-McGahee

Ivette Guillermo-McGahee is the founder and CEO of Allies In Caring, Inc. a New Jersey nonprofit offering counseling as well as indoor/outdoor educational programs that foster resiliency, promote healing and bring people together in meaningful interactions. Ivette is also the founder of Con-Vivir Wellness Hub a center pursuing pioneering solutions that alleviate loneliness and social isolation, and other factors contributing to the rising behavioral problems that have become a major burden for our communities. Ivette’s late work has been focused on generating collective impact by building coalitions among different sectors, and mobilizing the talents of neighborhood residents and strengthening communities form the inside out, addressing divides and building bridges.

Anne Heasly

Anne Heasly, has served on the PPA board since 2007. Her admiration for the unique qualities of the Pine Barrens grew out her experience working as the Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Pine Barrens Field Office. Anne has a Masters of Landscape Architecture and a Certification in Urban Design from the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources, from Cornell University and is a certified Landscape Architect in the State of Maryland and New Jersey. She is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Joann Held

Joann Held comes to PPA through her vast experience in environmental science and policy and her leadership role in the League of Women Voters. Joann worked at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for 26 years, specializing in air quality and site remediation issues. She is the author or coauthor of numerous scientific papers on these topics. She has a BS in Meteorology from St. Louis University and a Masters Degree in air pollution control from the Harvard School of Public Health. Since retiring from NJDEP, Joann is involved in many civic activities. These include serving on the NJ Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board; the NJDEP Environmental Justice Advisory Council; and leadership positions in the Pennington Borough Environmental Commission and Hopewell Valley Green Team. In 2017, she was recognized as a Camden Environmental Hero by the Camden Collaborative Initiative in recognition of her advocacy for the City of Camden.

Ron Hutchison, Ph.D.

Ron Hutchison, Ph.D. joined the board in 2014. Ron is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Richard Stockton College and has been teaching there since 2005. He received a doctorate in plant Biochemistry in 1994 from the University of Illinois. His research involved studying the biochemical basis for cold injury in crop plants. Ron teaches courses in Plant Physiology, Cell Biology, and introductory Biology, as well as two general science courses called the “Nature of Cold” and “Cancer”. Ron and his undergraduate research students study diverse topics in plant and microbial molecular biology. His current research involves using design principles found in nature to create sustainable communities.

Chris Kosseff

Chris Kosseff comes to PPA after a distinguished career in the field of behavior health. Chris retired in 2016 as President and CEO of University Behavioral Healthcare of Rutgers University (formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey), where he was responsible for all aspects of the largest behavioral healthcare system in New Jersey. Prior to assuming the top job he held several leadership positions in UMDNJ’s behavior health programs. He has held appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the New Jersey Medical School. Chris is an avid and adventurous traveler and an accomplished nature photographer.

David Moore

David F. Moore has served on PPA’s board since the organization was founded including 14 years as Chair (from 2000 to 2014). Dave became superintendent ofAllaire State Park in 1962, and in 1964, the state’s Chief of Natural Areas. He developed the state’s first comprehensive strategies for identifying, acquiring and interpreting natural areas. Prior to 1962 he worked for two paper companies as a forester in northern New England, after graduating from the University of Maine in forestry in 1958. In 1969, Dave became Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which he led until his retirement in 1999. Over 77,000 acres were preserved as public open space by the Foundation during his tenure. Dave helped to found the Pinelands Preservation Alliance in 1989 and has served on the board ever since.

John Murphy

John Murphy joined the Board in 2020 after a 38-year career as a partner at the Stradley Ronon law firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During his tenure at the firm, he served as Chairman of the firm’s 70 attorney litigation department and specialized in civil litigation involving securities, employment, property and commercial disputes.  John is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he served as an editor on The Daily Pennsylvanian.  He subsequently attended Rutgers Law School where he served as Projects Editor of the Rutgers Law Review.  John has paddled the rivers and lakes and hiked the forests and trails of the Pinelands for over 25 years.  An avid cyclist, John regularly participates in charity rides for a wide array of organizations like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Society, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and World Team Sports.  He resides in Medford, New Jersey with his wife Mary and daughter Erin.  

Loretta Pickus

Loretta Pickus, member of the board since 2010, has over 28 years of experience as an executive in the casino entertainment industry with broad expertise in strategic corporate planning, administration of legal affairs and governmental compliance. Loretta has also been an adjunct instructor at Atlantic County College in the hospitality division, served on the Atlantic County’s Child Placement Review Board for Department of Youth and Family Services cases, been company chair and organizer of the United Way Campaign, Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Walk/Run and Red Cross Radiothon. Before joining the board Loretta served on PPA’s advisory committee.

Sarah Puleo

Sarah Puleo lives in Philadelphia and grew up on a farm in Southampton, New Jersey where her family has worked to preserve meadows and wetlands to provide natural habitats for wildlife. They are currently working to reforest Eastern White Cedars and to create a Pollinator Garden. She works as a Multimedia Developer at the U.S. General Services Administration and is acting as the Fine Arts Officer, managing the Mid-Atlantic Region’s Fine Arts Collection. She also freelances as a Documentary, Travel, and Fine Arts Photographer. She had a show on the Pine Barrens at Gravy Studio + Gallery in 2014. Sarah started PPA’s Instagram Account and joined the board in 2015

Jessica Rittler Sanchez, Ph.D.

Jessica Rittler Sanchez, Ph. D. is a regional planner specializing in water resources policy and management. A Rutgers graduate (MCRP, Ph. D.) and Pinelands resident, the water resource issues of New Jersey, especially the relationship between human development and the natural environment, have been a major focus of her career. Jessica joined the board in 2007.

William Rodio

William A. Rodio is a lifelong resident of the Town of Hammonton. He has been exploring the Pinelands since childhood. He feels very fortunate to have grown up in such close proximity to such an amazing wilderness. Bill continues to spend many days hiking and exploring Wharton State Forest. He introduced his children to the Pines at very young ages and they enjoy spending time together exploring, hunting, fishing, canoeing and searching for plants and animals. When he is not exploring the pinelands, Bill is a practicing attorney. He has been in private practice for twenty years. His law practice is focused on transactional matters. His law office is located in Hammonton. Bill joined the Board in 2017.

Amy Vasquez

Amy joined the board of trustees in October 2020. Amy has represented children and parents in child welfare matters for 20 years through her law practice in Burlington, NJ. She co-authored a report on the overrepresentation of children of color in segregated special education classrooms entitled, “Segregated and Second Rate, II.”  As the recipient of the Inaugural Haywood Burns Fellowship for Civil Rights, Amy worked at the Innocence Project led by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. She is proud of her work there, where, in cases where she was charged with locating and preserving physical evidence, three clients were eventually exonerated by DNA evidence and freed after decades of imprisonment.  Amy received the Democratic nomination for Congress NJ-4 in 2004. Prior to law school, Amy was a teacher and currently teaches legal studies to middle and high school students on an online platform. Amy has a 12-year-old daughter and together they enjoy hiking, geocaching, exhibiting annually at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and rescuing terrapin and horseshoe crabs. 

Paula Yudkowitz

A new member of the Board in 2019,  Paula Yudkowitz worked in Camden for 30 years as a Public Health Nutritionist with the Federal Women’s, Infants and Children’s Program.  Paula serves on the Zoning and Planning Commission in Oaklyn and has held many volunteer positions in the town.  For 40 years, Paula has backpacked extensively throughout the U.S.  She has acted as a hiking and backpacking leader.  Since moving to New Jersey from Northeastern Pennsylvania, Paula has been devoted to preserving the Pinelands Reserve.   

Carleton K. Montgomery

Executive Director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance

Use the following links to review the Conflict of Interest Policy, the Whistleblower Policy and the Records Retention Policy of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

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