↑ Return to About Us

Board and Staff

caption

 

 

Kelly Watkinson, Executive Director

Email Kelly Watkinson

Kelly is a natural resource and land conservation professional with eleven years of experience protecting and restoring lands of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Kelly started her new role as Executive Director of the Trust in January 2014, but has worked with the Trust since early 2011 and served as the organization’s first-ever Assistant Director.

Prior to joining the Trust, Kelly was the Senior Director of Land Protection at the Potomac Conservancy, a regional land trust and watershed organization working throughout the Potomac River watershed.  In this role, Kelly directed the land protection and restoration efforts of the Conservancy. Before gaining experience with land conservation, Kelly worked for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as Regional Watershed Coordinator for the York and Rappahannock River watersheds. She served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Guatemala. Kelly has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a Masters of Natural Resources with a focus on Leadership in Sustainability from Virginia Tech.

In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her husband Mike and two kids Penn and Adella, hiking, gardening and fixing up their historic Shenandoah Valley home.

 

Jim Baker

Email Jim Baker

Jim Baker of Chambersburg, PA

Jim Baker of Chambersburg, PA

Jim is the President of a hunting club owning over 900 acres in the Cacapon River watershed. He became associated with the club in 1978. In 2013 the Club conserved the entire property with the Trust. He worked closely with Trust staff members through the completion of the easement, which protected this unique property. Jim says after joining the Board in 2014, “I saw firsthand how deeply committed the Trust’s Staff and Board Members are to protecting lands in this beautiful valley.

Jim and his wife Cindy both retired in 2013 and built a home on his parent’s 200 acre farm near  Chambersburg, PA, where he grew up. They both appreciate the beauty and diversity of the fields and woodlands they now oversee daily. Jim is a graduate of Penn State University and retired from the PA  Department of Environmental Protection. He enjoys fishing the Cacapon and Susquahanna Rivers in his kayak as well as spending time at the hunting club in WV.

Sam Brill Yellow Spring, WV

Sam Brill

Email Sam Brill

Sam is the farm manager of Rivermeadow Farm and the water treatment specialist for Capon Springs and Farms Resort.  Sam’s family has deep roots in Capon Springs, WV having owned the resort since 1932 and having lived here for many generations beyond that. Rivermeadow farm is located along the banks of the Cacapon and has a mission of sustainable agricultural production.  The farm produces meat and seasonal vegetables for Capon Springs and Farms Resort.

 

Ray Culter

Ray Culter of Hampshire County, West Virginia and Falls Church, Virginia

Ray Culter of Hampshire County, WV and Falls Church, VA

Email Ray Culter

Ray Culter holds a B.S.C.P. from the University of Cincinnati and a business degree from Xavier University. In 2009, Ray retired as Vice President of The Nature Conservancy based in Arlington, Virginia. Ray was the Director of Business Operations, Administration, Trade Land Dispositions, Corporate Purchasing, and Trade Lands, and has held other positions at TNC over his 32 years there. Culter also has experience as the Regional Planner in the Cincinnati area and was instrumental in conservation work in the Little Miami River basin in Ohio. For 9 years he served on the board of the Potomac Conservancy and on the board of several other organizations including the Center for Watershed Protection.

He and his wife Paulette built a home on their Hampshire County property, which is protected from further development with a conservation easement. Ray joined our Board in 2007.

Guy Davis of Yellow Spring, West Virginia

Guy Davis of Yellow Spring, WV

Guy Davis, Vice President

Email Guy Davis

Guy is a Hampshire County native and the fifth Davis generation to live and work on the Davis Farm along the Cacapon River near Yellow Spring, West Virginia. Guy joined the Board of the Trust in 1999, helping form a new ‘second generation’ of board members and bringing tremendous local insight to the process. Guy works for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and still maintains a small working cow/calf operation with other family members at the farm.

 

Mason Gray, Hardy County, WV

Mason Gray, Americorps Member

Email Mason Gray

Mason joins the Trust as an Americorps member through the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) based out of Elkins, WV and is part of the Enhancing Assets to Benefit Communities conservation team.  AFHA has a mission to conserve, develop and promote a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences in the highlands of West Virginia to enhance economic and community development.  Mason lives on his family’s farm in Hardy County WV outside of Wardensville.  He attended East Hardy and John Handley High School in Winchester, VA.  Mason has a degree in Biology with a concentration in Wildlife from Bridgewater College.

Roger Griffis of Hampshire County, West Virginia and Takoma Park, Maryland

Roger Griffis, Takoma Park, MD

Roger Griffis

Email Roger Griffis

Roger is a marine ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In his current position as Climate Change Coordinator for NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, he helps lead and promote efforts to understand, prepare for, and respond to impacts of climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems. Roger led development of the first U.S. climate adaptation strategy to safeguard the nation’s valuable fish, wildlife and plants in a changing climate.

He is an avid birdwatcher and lives with his family in Takoma Park, Maryland. He and his family own property in the Lost/Cacapon River watershed along Dillon’s Run Road in Hampshire County.

Becky Ganskopp of Capon Lake, West Virginia and Alexandria, Virginia

Becky Ganskopp of Capon Lake, WV and Alexandria, VA

Becky Ganskopp, Treasurer

Email Becky Ganskopp

Becky grew up on a family farm at Capon Lake, West Virginia and is the sixth generation of the Rudolph family to have lived in Hampshire County.

She graduated from West Virginia University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a major in accounting. She is a CPA with over 20 years of accounting experience and is currently self-employed. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, Michael, and children, Ashley and Matthew. They make frequent weekend trips “home” to West Virginia to spend time on the family farm.

Mark Haynes of Augusta, West Virginia and Arlington, Virginia

Mark Haynes of Augusta, WV and Arlington, VA

Mark Haynes, President

Email Mark Haynes

Mark and his family own land along the North River. Their main focus there is to improve the quality of their forest by reducing the deer population and controlling invasive species (stilt grass and tree of heaven, etc.).

Mark first became acquainted with the area through canoing. He is President of Concordia Power, his own small energy consulting company. In previous incarnations he has been a Vice President of General Atomics and a Professional Staff Member with the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. He also volunteers for the Reading Connection in Arlington, VA and serves on his local civic association.

He has Bachelors and Masters degrees in the Environmental Sciences.

Will Keaton of Romney, West Virginia

Will Keaton of Romney, WV

Will Keaton

Email Will Keaton

Will is a lifelong resident of Hampshire County, West Virginia. He attained a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in 1993, and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Akron in 1996. Since that time, he has been practicing law in Romney at the firm of Carl, Keaton & Frazer.

A lifelong hunter and outdoor enthusiast, Will lives in Springfield, West Virginia with his wife Becky and their two children David and Ellen.

Christine Lambert Pentino

Email Christine Lambert Pentino

Christine Pentino of Largent, WV

Christine Lambert Pentino is an attorney by training who has been working in the nonprofit sector as a fundraiser for

the past 18 years. She specializes in gift planning and on gifts for collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships. She currently serves as Executive Director of Campaign Planning and Leadership Gifts at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Christine has worked in various fundraising capacities for the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and as an independent consultant.  She earned her BA from The Johns Hopkins University and her JD from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. She is also a certified Master Gardener with the University of Maryland Agricultural Extension in Baltimore City.  Christine and her husband, Marc, live in an 1880 rowhouse in the historic Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore with their two standard poodles.  They have a family cabin on 184 acres of mostly wooded mountain property in Connors Hollow in Morgan County, WV where they spend as much time as they can and thoroughly enjoy their dual city/country life, Their Morgan County property is under conservation easement.

Bob Poole of Largent, WV

Bob Poole of Largent, WV

Bob Poole

Email Bob Poole

Bob is a retired corporate pilot. Eighteen years of his flying career was for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia. In the United States, he flew for Exxon/Mobile, AOL, Time Warner, and Verizon. He also spent two years in Vietnam.

Bob has a B.A. degree from the University of Maryland.

For more than fifty years he has been going to Morgan County to enjoy nature. He donated a conservation easement on his 134-acres in Morgan County in 2007; he joined the Board in 2008.

Dave Warner of Shanks, West Virginia

Dave Warner of Shanks, WV

David A. Warner

Email David Warner

David left his Southern Illinois farm community for West Virginia’s mountains in 1978.

Before moving to Hampshire County he obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Forest Ecology from Southern Illinois University and worked in forestry and conservation before becoming the Hampshire County Service Forester. In 1989 he started TimberLand Consulting (TLC) to do consulting forestry. He is a licensed forester in West Virginia and Maryland, has served on the West Virginia Board of Registration for Foresters, and is the Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters.

He enjoys paddling and camping along the Cacapon, and as a private pilot enjoys soaring over it as well. His wife Ann teaches at Hampshire High School, they have two children and live within the Lost/Cacapon River watershed in Hampshire County.

 

 


Advisory Board

John Gavitt of Delray, West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia

John Gavitt of Delray, West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia

John Gavitt

John was on the Trust’s board from 1999 through February 2008 and served as Secretary and Treasurer. He worked in wildlife law enforcement for over 27 years in a wide variety of positions and duty stations and provided wildlife law enforcement training and assessments in developing countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Ecuador and Micronesia for a non-governmental agency.

In 2000, he donated a conservation easement to the Trust on 437 acres where he offers unique outdoor experiences on his North River Retreat in Hampshire County, West Virginia.

Brian McDonald

Brian retired from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and served on the board of the Trust from 2007

Brian McDonald of Elkins, West Virginia

Brian McDonald of Elkins, West Virginia

through 2015. Brian earned his BS in Biology from the University of Maryland and did two years of graduate study in Plant Ecology at WVU.

During his 28 years with the DNR he worked on the Natural Heritage Program, gathering information about rare species of plants and animals and their distribution throughout West Virginia. He spent two years describing wetlands around the state and was editor of a WVU symposium on “Wetlands of the Unglaciated Appalachian Region.”

Brian came from the Washington D.C. area but has lived in West Virginiasince 1977. He enjoys nature study, construction, and carpentry, biking, and fishing. He lives in Elkins with his wife Mary Ann and also serves on the board of the Randolph County Humane Society.

 

Mike Rudolph

Mike Rudolph of Yellow Spring, West Virginia

Mike Rudolph of Yellow Spring, West Virginia

Mike’s family has lived and farmed in the Cacapon River valley for six generations. Mike is a full-time beef cattle farmer, easement holder, and long-time Trust volunteer.

Mike also sits on the Trust’s Cacapon Voices Committee, a group that directed the production of an oral history book entitled “Listening to the Land; Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley”.

Willard Wirtz of Washington, D.C.

Willard Wirtz of Washington, D.C.

In Memory of Willard Wirtz

Jane and Willard Wirtz came to the Cacapon River valley in 1968 and bought the old Davis Place along the Cacapon River, just north of Yellow Spring, and protected it with a conservation easement.

A founding board member of the Trust, Willard was a retired law school teacher, lawyer, and government servant. He practiced law with Adlai Stevenson II in the firm of Stevenson, Rifkind and Wirtz in Chicago, and was Secretary of Labor in the Cabinets of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1995, he wrote Capon Valley Sampler a book about the beautiful Cacapon Valley. We miss him deeply.