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Board and Staff

Staff

Emily Warner, Executive Director

Born and raised in West Virginia, Emily comes to the Cacapon Trust with fifteen years of land and water conservation experience. She served ten years with Potomac Conservancy, most recently as the Senior Director of Land Conservation, where she helped private landowners navigate the conservation easement process to protect thousands of acres in West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

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Emily Warner, Executive Director

Marika Suval, Deputy Director

Marika brings a background in conservation planning, adaptive management, and communications to her role as deputy director. As a CCNet certified coach, she supported project teams and stakeholder groups in improving conservation outcomes through effective planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. She co-led the team that developed Conservation Essentials, a course that guides practitioners around the world to achieve their conservation goals using the Conservation Standards. She also serves as instructor of the course, offered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Prior to earning an MS in Environmental Conservation from UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Marika was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio, a documentary filmmaker, and the founder of an environmental communications company that specialized in public engagement campaigns promoting sustainability. Especially rewarding were initiatives that empowered young people to reclaim urban green spaces.

When not working, she’s often found exploring wild places with her husband John, their cat Knox, and boxer pup Maggie, avid hikers all.

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Marika Suval, Deputy Director

Contractors

Todd Brajkovich, Conservation Manager

Todd joined as Conservation Manager in February 2021.

Todd brings nearly 30 years of experience in natural resources protection and conservation. He was most recently the Conservation District Manager for Perry County Pennsylvania, where he was instrumental in the preservation of more than 10,000 acres of land using public and private conservation easements. He was also the Coordinator for the County Farmland Preservation program and has expertise in nutrient management, soil erosion and stormwater control. Todd was one of the first Board members of the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy and served on the land protection committee for 20 years.

Todd and his wife Jane have been residents of Hampshire County since 2017.

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Todd Brajkovich, Conservation Manager

Rodney Bartgis, Consultant

Rodney assists the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust on conservation easement drafting and baseline studies. Rodney started with the Nature Conservancy in 1994, becoming West Virginia state director in 2003, overseeing conservation, fundraising, and government relations functions. While with TNC, Rodney was extensively involved in the development of the Conservancy’s ecoregional assessments of the Central Appalachians, its Appalachian landscape resiliency and connectivity analysis, and development of its North America forest restoration and energy strategies. Rodney has served on the boards of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society and Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle and is past Board Chair of the West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund. He has worked as a biologist for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, with an emphasis on rare species inventory, management, and conservation. Rodney has a B.S. in biology from Shepherd University and a M.S. from West Virginia University, where his graduate research was on the plant ecology of Appalachian wetlands.

Board of Directors

Jim Baker

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.

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Jim Baker of Chambersburg

Todd Carlisle

Todd Carlisle is the president of Millbrook Sportsman, Inc., a Capon Bridge hunt club with 1,400 acres protected by a conservation easement co-held by the Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust and Potomac Conservancy. With family ties to the region stretching to the 1800s, Todd joined the Trust’s Board in June 2021. He spends most weekends with family members at the hunt club, which was originally purchased by his grandparents, and he has said, “I have a special appreciation for hunt clubs and believe I have landed in a great spot to assist in conserving more land in the watershed.”

A self-described “IT geek,” Todd has over 35 years of information technology (IT) experience and currently leads a team of 20 engineers for BAE Systems. He has served on both the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission of Clarke County, Virginia and holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Todd resides in Berryville, VA with wife Lynette and youngest daughter Lily.

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Todd Carlisle and family

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.

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Ray Culter of Hampshire County and Falls Church

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.

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Guy Davis of Yellow Spring

Dottie Eddis

Dottie Eddis spent her first 18 years in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, before moving to West Virginia for school and career. She received her B.S. in Wildlife Resources in 1979 from West Virginia University and worked for 15 months with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources before joining her husband in a rural veterinary practice located on his small family farm in Augusta, West Virginia. Dottie has served on the boards of both the local humane society and youth soccer league and has volunteered in the West Virginia Master Gardeners program. She enjoys playing music with her children, gardening, cooking, and experiencing the great outdoors through biking, hiking, swimming, and snorkeling.

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Dottie Eddis of Augusta

Becky Ganskopp, Treasurer

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 35 years of accounting experience and is currently employed as the CFO of a trade association. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, Michael. They make frequent weekend trips ‘home’ to West Virginia to spend time enjoying the family farms.

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Becky Ganskopp of Capon Lake and Alexandria

Roger Griffis, Secretary

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.

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Roger Griffis, Takoma Park

Mark Haynes, President

Mark and his wife Caroline own land and have a solar off-grid cabin in Hampshire County. He first became familiar with the area by canoeing on the Cacapon River. He now spends untold hours trying to improve his forest stand through control of invasive plant species year around and management of the deer population during hunting season. He is currently President of Concordia Power, a small consulting firm focused on strategic services and implementation in the areas of advanced fission and fusion energy development. During his career, he has worked closely with federal agencies, national labs, universities and numerous domestic and foreign companies and concerns to advance the cause of better technology in the service of environmental and economic improvement. He has a Masters degree in Environmental Science from Miami University in Ohio and a BS in Environmental Science from Morehead State University in Kentucky.

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Mark Haynes of Hampshire County and Arlington

Henry Ireys

Henry isn’t from around here, doesn’t have a background in environmental conservation, and has little experience with easements. But he loves his land. Fiercely. And he writes about that love. To date, his essays have appeared primarily in The Hampshire Review. Together, he and his wife, Priscilla, write stories and essays about the goat farm they operated in Hampshire County and the natural world around it. Although the goats are gone, Henry and Priscilla still live on their farm and still ride their horses for hours on trails that wander through the forests and over the mountains.

In 2019, Henry retired from a 40 year career in the academic world of health policy research. Among his various roles, he was an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a senior researcher at a health policy research consulting firm. He has published numerous technical papers and reports. He was delighted to accept the wonderful (although surprising) invitation to the join the Board in 2022.

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Henry Ireys of Hampshire County

Bob Knisely

Bob Knisely will have owned his 110 acres (80 acres in forest) in Hardy County for fifty years as of October 9th, 2018. He came to West Virginia looking for peace and quiet during the tumultuous summer of 1968. After retiring in 2000, he and his wife Susan built a home on his property, Far Muse. His time alone brings him contentment, and sharing it with their five children and 10 grandchildren brings him great joy. He is also a member and past president of the Board of the Cacapon Institute. He has a B.A. from Harvard and a J.D. from Georgetown University. A US Marine, he was also Federal Employee for thirty years.

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Bob Knisely of Severna Park and Mathias

Christine Lambert Pentino, Vice President

Christine Lambert Pentino is an attorney by training who has been working in the nonprofit sector as a fundraiser for the past 20 years. She specializes in gift planning and on gifts for collaborative partnerships. She currently serves as the Director of Planned Giving at The Trust for Public Land. Christine has worked in various fundraising capacities for the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, 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.

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Christine Pentino of Largent

Michele Mouré

Michele earned a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MA from University of Maryland College Park. Her professional experience included gallery management and arts administration positions before moving to Aurora, West Virginia in 1994 where she operated an inn with her husband. Michele later added a restaurant and bar to the property.

Putting her art, historic preservation, and administrative experience to work as a volunteer, Michele helped restore the 1938 community center, curating a few art exhibits related the community’s history.  Still working within the community, she co-founded an artist residency program, writing grants, developing programs, and managing the early phases of restoration of six historic buildings before leaving the organization to focus on running her own business.

Now living in Hardy County, WV, Michele markets the county’s tourism industry and writes grants for tourism-related community and economic development projects.  She reads extensively, occasionally cooks for friends, and has finally found time to return to the studio, working sculpturally with clay, an artform and medium new to her.

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Michele Mouré of Hardy County

Bob Poole, Vice President

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.

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Bob Poole of Largent

Advisory Board

Nancy Ailes

Nancy became the first Executive Director (2000-2013) of CLRLT and continues to work with the Trust in an advisory capacity. In addition she founded the Legacy Program to continue the work she began. Nancy lives in Hampshire County and has been a life long supporter and promoter of preserving land and water in Hampshire County.

Nancy Ailes of Hampshire County

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.

John Gavitt of Delray and Winchester

Jennifer E. Jones

Jennifer served as CLRLT’s Executive Director from 2019 to 2021. Prior to joining CLRLT, Jennifer was a consultant to the Virginia Department of Forestry and Project Lead for innovative research to identify the challenges of succession planning for landowners facing the intergenerational transfer of family forest land. For four years, she was a trainer for the Generation Next program, reaching hundreds of landowners. Specializing in addressing family dynamics, Jennifer has been a keynote speaker at various state and regional forums. Jennifer has held executive level positions at the American Forest Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, and Counterpart International. Jennifer also has held leadership positions at Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of the Earth, and as consultant with Development Resources Inc. Jennifer has a M.A. in Communications from Fairfield University, a B.A. in History, University System of New Hampshire, Keene State, and certifications in Organization Systems and Development and Group Process, Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. She is a Fellow in the Natural Resources Leadership Institute, UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiations.

Jennifer E. Jones

Brian McDonald

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

Brian McDonald of Elkins

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.

Will Keaton of Romney

Mike Rudolph

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”.

Mike Rudolph of Yellow Spring

David Warner

David grew up in a Southern Illinois farm community and obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Forest Ecology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He moved to West Virginia in 1978 where he and his wife Ann, raised their two children. David worked in forestry and conservation in West Virginia and was the Hampshire County Service Forester, before starting TimberLand Consulting (TLC) his consulting forestry business, in 1989. As a licensed forester in West Virginia and Maryland, he served on the West Virginia Board of Registration for Foresters, the WV Outdoor Heritage and Conservation Fund Board, the West Virginia Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters and of course, the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust. As a private pilot, he does volunteer piloting for the Trust, LightHawk, SouthWings, and other conservation oriented organizations.

In retirement, David and Ann have returned to Southern Illinois and still enjoy paddling, camping, biking, flying, and serving the Trust in whatever way they can.

David Warner of Illinois

In Memory

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.

Willard Wirtz

Nathalie Black

Nathalie was one of the founding members of CLRLT in 1995. She continued to work diligently for the trust as the Secretary for many years.

We are grateful to Nathalie and those who had the foresight to establish Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust when they did.

Nathalie Black