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Board and Staff

Staff

Jennifer Jones, Executive Director

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Jennifer E. Jones, Executive Director

Jennifer has spent more than 20 years working in the nonprofit and conservation arena. 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 the last four years, Jennifer has been 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, the 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.

 

Berni Olson, Assistant Director

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Bernardine (Berni) Olson has been working with the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust since 2017. Her love for the Cacapon watershed began when she met Nancy Ailes and George Constanz in 1994 and worked at the Cacapon Institute in High View, West Virginia.

In 2017, Berni graduated from the Old Rag Master Naturalist Program and has since served as the Chair of the Education Committee for the Old Rag Master Naturalist. Berni is also a Gallery Associate for The Cottage Curator in Sperryville, Virginia.

Berni graduated from Briar Cliff University with a degree in Psychology and worked with the International L’Arche Association and the University of Washington Training Program. After becoming fluent in Sign Language, Berni moved to Washington DC and worked for Sign Language Associates, where she was Vice President of Administration. Before joining CLRLT, Berni continued her work as an interpreter, spent four years with Hospice of the Rapidan as a Social Worker and established Ginger Hill Antiques in Washington, Virginia.

 

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

Jim Baker

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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

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Sam Brill Yellow Spring, WV

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

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

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

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

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Guy Davis of Yellow Spring, West Virginia

Guy Davis of Yellow Spring, WV

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.

Roger Griffis, Secretary

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

Roger Griffis, Takoma Park, MD

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, Treasurer

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

Becky Ganskopp of Capon Lake, WV and Alexandria, VA

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, President

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mark haynes

Mark Haynes Arlington Virginia, Hampshire County, WV

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.

 

Bob Knisely

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Bob Knisely of Hardy,

Bob Knisely Severna Park MD, Mathias, WV

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.

Christine Lambert Pentino, Vice President

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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 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.

 

Bob Poole, Vice President

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Bob Poole of Largent, WV

Bob Poole of Largent, WV

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.

 

Paul Yandura


Paul Yandura, and his partner Donald Hitchcock, built their cabin in the Appalachian Mountains in 2008 to escape the hectic pace of their DC political jobs. He held both political and executive public service roles, including a stint at the Clinton White House, two presidential appointments and his own successful political consulting firm. In June 2013 they launched the Lost River Trading Post while their real estate office, next to the Trading Post, quickly became one of the county’s top producing offices. It became clear that there was a potential for economic development in town so they started hosting gatherings with other entrepreneurs and launched the Wardensville Main Street Initiative. In 2016 Paul and Donald with the help of the JDL Foundation fully funded the startup of a non-profit farm Wardensville Garden Market & Bakery which has created over forty-seven new local jobs in its first year, with thirty-seven filled by local high-school students.


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.

John Gavitt

John Gavitt of Delray, West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia

John Gavitt of Delray, West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia

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 McDonald of Elkins, West Virginia

Brian McDonald of Elkins, WV

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.

 

Will Keaton

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Will Keaton of Romney, West Virginia

Will Keaton of Romney, WV

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.

Mike Rudolph

Mike Rudolph of Yellow Spring, West Virginia

Mike Rudolph of Yellow Spring, WV

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”.

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 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.


In Memory

Willard Wirtz

Willard Wirtz of Washington, D.C.

Willard Wirtz of Washington, D.C.

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.

 

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.