The next 'Talk of the Sourlands' is Thursday, October 12th! Learn about the Duke Farms Deer Management Program with Mike Bellaus, one of the most successful DMP’s in the state, from its inception to the results.

Meet our team

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Laurie Cleveland

Executive Director

Our members inspire me every day – people of all ages from different backgrounds come together to share, learn, and honor each other.

Laurie joined the Sourland Conservancy’s staff in 2015 to help connect people with nature – and each other. An active member of the local community, Laurie works to partner with local, regional, and national organizations to implement education, advocacy, and stewardship initiatives to Save the Sourlands. During her time at the Conservancy, she has spearheaded a number of initiatives raising the visibility, effectiveness, and impact of the organization’s work – including an ongoing goal of planting 10,000 trees per year to mitigate the impact of the ash crisis. Additionally, Laurie serves as secretary of the Hopewell Borough Economic Development Committee and is a member of the advisory board of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM). In her spare time, Laurie enjoys photography, reading, gardening, and exploring the Sourland trails.

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Robert Aluck

Stewardship Director

Robert has always had a passion for nature and wildlife growing up on the waters of Long Island. Though he spent the past 10 years working in fisheries management programs on the federal level throughout the country, he has come to the Sourlands looking to help terrestrial wildlife in his local community. He joined the Sourland Conservancy in 2022 looking to help leave a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his family, fishing, and learning more about the native species he is working to protect.

Email Robert

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Eric Williams

Stewardship Coordinator

Eric is an avid ecologist with five years of botanical field experience in the state of New Jersey. He has participated in various scientific studies and restoration projects when working as a Forest Ecology Technician for Raritan Valley Community College. He graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies in 2019. Eric enjoys cultivating native, fruit-producing pollinator host plants to improve biodiversity and localize food sources. He joined the Sourland Conservancy in 2022 with a passion to manage and restore public lands for future generations.

Email Eric

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David Cucchiara

Director of Membership and Development

Dave brings 10 years of media and marketing experience to the conservancy, working in both print news and the corporate sector over his career. A devoted outdoorsman and native of Hillsborough, Dave received his B.S. in Communication from East Carolina University in 2013, and his M.S. in Digital Content Strategy from the University of Kansas in 2020. He’s passionate about protecting and preserving all the Sourland region has to offer — from the trail systems to the native flora and fauna to the local history. He enjoys day hiking and backpacking in his spare time.

Email Dave

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Natalina Torres

Administrative Assistant

Natalina is an avid environmental activist and has been committed to aiding in the protection of biodiversity and the creation of policy. She graduated in 2023 from Rutgers University with a major in Environmental policy and a minor in Political science. With experience in policy in the nonprofit world, volunteering, and interning, she brings in new ideas to aid our mission. Born and raised in New Jersey, she joined the Sourland Conservancy to protect New Jersey and keep it the garden state she knows it as. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and going down the shore to the beach with friends.

Email Natalina

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Sofia Fuentes

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Sofia graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2020 where she majored in International Studies with a specialization in global health, development, and environment. With experience in marketing in both the corporate and the non-profit world, she brings in creativity and a love for everything New Jersey has to offer, particularly its wonderful natural resources. Sofia joined the Sourland Conservancy team in 2022 to help protect, promote, and preserve the wonderful Sourland Mountain region. She currently lives in Belle Mead and in her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, swimming, and seeing friends out in nature.

Email Sofia

 

I support the Sourland region for its rugged beauty, mostly unbroken forest habitat, historical significance, and accessibility for exploration through the many trails maintained by public and non-public entities.

– Dan Pace, Board Member

We’re not (just) tree-huggers!

Our board members and staff bring varied talent and professional expertise to the table: pro-environmental lawyer, two mayors, business analyst, electrical engineer, elementary school teacher, environmental engineer, Hazmat response specialist, accountant, photographer, environmental health specialist, GIS consultant, biologist, financial planner, historic preservation expert, British diplomat, college professor, nonprofit executive director, and rocket scientist.

Board of Trustees

 

Dante DiPirro, President – Dante is a pro-environmental lawyer, with over thirty years of experience in sustainable energy and the environment.  As a Deputy Attorney General, Assistant State Environmental Prosecutor, Counselor and Legal Policy Adviser to the Commissioner of the NJDEP, and Executive Director of the Highlands Council, he enforced the state’s environmental laws (including wetlands, tidelands, pollution and solid waste) and handled regional planning and land use issues.

Cliff Wilson, Vice President – Cliff is now a full-time musician, having retired from a career in information technology. He served as president of the Sourland Conservancy’s Board of Trustees for four years, leading the organization’s transition from an all-volunteer organization to one with full-time staff. A 22-year resident of Sourland Mountain, he now lives in Princeton.

Joanna Fiori, Secretary – A retired business analyst and system manager at Citibank and INVESCO. Joanna is a longtime member and former president of the Sourland Conservancy. She and her husband, Clem, are active in several community organizations including Montgomery Friends of Open Space and New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Joanna serves on the Conservancy’s Development, Sourland Spectacular, and Mountain Fest Committees.

Lynne Oleski, Treasurer – An accounting and finance executive, Lynne worked as a CPA in the financial services industry leading teams in financial reporting, controllership, forecasting, and internal control. She also led strategic transformation initiatives with a focus on operational efficiency, organization design, change management, and continuous improvement. Lynne serves on the Conservancy’s Budget & Finance and Governance Committees.

Michelle Baker  Michelle moved to Montgomery Township in 1984 and currently resides in Skillman with her husband, Nick. In April 2019, she founded Michelle Baker Design LLC, a boutique design agency specializing in branding and identity, print collateral, and packaging design. Over the past few years, she has become a member of the Montgomery Township Open Space Committee, is an Ambassador of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber, and serves on the Conservancy’s Spectacular and SoloFest/Mountain Fest Committees.

Paul Gehris – Paul is a Marketing and Sales executive with over 30 years of experience and has held senior roles for various organizations with U.S., Europe and Global responsibilities.  He is an active hiker and has participated in and led numerous backwoods backpacking adventures. Paul and his wife live in Bucks County Pennsylvania and are frequent visitors to Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain, which has contributed to his interest in the success of the mission of the Sourlands Conservancy.

Steven Hall – Steven grew up in Mercer County and recently returned to the area. He has held roles in legal, financial services, and business operations. He currently works as a director of business operations for a mid-sized New Jersey-based real estate company as well as a small, local business consultant. Steven brings his past and present board experience from the Arc of Northern Virginia, FCKLL, and Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve, and his current advocacy work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Boomer Esiason Foundation with him to the conservancy. Steven has a passion for hiking and the outdoors which lend themselves to joining and helping on the board. As a long-time New Jersey resident he understands the need to preserve and protect the Sourlands.

Joe Kazimierczyk  – Joe has lived on the Sourland Mountain in Hillsborough Township since the year 2000.  He serves on the Sourland Stewardship Committee, and is actively working on a forest restoration in his own back yard.  Joe is an artist and gets much of his inspiration from the Sourland region.

Jim Linnehan– Jim is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley and has lived in and around the Sourlands for 25 years.  He has served on the Board, and was Treasurer, of the Pennington Montessori school for 13 years.  Over the years, Jim has played the drums in numerous bands in the area and is currently in the Gravity Hill Band.  He serves on the Budget and Finance Committee.  He and his family have enjoyed hiking and protecting the Sourlands for many years and look forward to doing so for future generations.

Dan Pace – A retired professional planner who managed the Mercer County Farmland Preservation Program seventeen years. A resident of Pennington Borough, Dan is active in the Station at Pennington HomeOwners Association, the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, the Pennington Borough Open Space Committee, the Pennington Borough Democratic Committee, and the Hopewell Valley Open Space Advisory Committee. Dan serves on the Conservancy’s Stewardship Committee.

Jessica Paolini  –  Jessica is Division Head, Life Sciences & Food Innovation, Office of Business Engagement, Middlesex County. Jessica sits on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest professional association for economic developers worldwide. She received a MA in Political Science from Villanova University and earned BA degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science at East Stroudsburg University. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Julia Purtill – A resident of Hunterdon County and the Sourlands, is an active member of the Sourland Conservancy and has been exploring trails through the Sourlands for over ten years. Passionate about protecting wildlife and nature, she’s dedicated to enjoying, preserving, and caring for a healthy environment for future generations. Growing up involved with the beauty of the Colorado Rockies, she was an environmental activist in college, graduated with a BFA in both Art History and Printmaking, and made her way to New York City working as a “jack-of-all-trades”. She is currently working with and supporting local farmers in various capacities.

Lucy Sandler – Lucy is a Hillsborough native who grew up near the Sourlands. She owns the flower shop House of Blooms in Raritan, NJ which she opened 7 years ago after graduating from Rutgers University. Lucy is passionate about volunteering, strengthening the small business community, and conservation. She works with local flower farms in Somerset County to shorten her shop’s supply chain, and only sells American-made products in her shop. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Somerset County Business Partnership, and the Bridgewater-Somerville YMCA Board of Trustees.

Alan Wills – Alan studied Zoology at Oxford University, UK. He came to the US to get an MBA at Harvard and decided to stay. He became a US citizen and has lived in the central NJ area for over 20 years. During that time he has worked as Global Head of Strategy and/or Business Development for both big and small pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Auxilium, and CSL Behring. Alan and his wife Eva are passionate about supporting environmental causes and love birdwatching and hiking in the Sourlands.

Honorary Trustees

Jim Amon

Chris Berry

Robert and Stephanie Harris

Rush Holt

Scott & Hella McVay

Sandy Simpson

Chris Sturm

Emeritus Trustees

Ken Bogen

Andrea Bonette

Jennifer Bryson

Kevin Burkman

Tracy Carluccio

Charlie Clark

Steven Davison

Deb Fabricatore

Marian Fenwick

Jerry Haimowitz

Judy Jengo

Gary Johnston

Tim Johnson

Gery Juleff

Tom Kilbourne

Marcia Maguire

Veronique Oomen

Tom Seessel

Patricia Sziber

Roger Thorpe

Cathy Urbanski

Peg Van Patton

Cliff Wilson

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