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Staff Changes, December 2012
Source:New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Larry Wheelock, West Hudson Program Coordinator, previously Trails Director and before that, New Jersey field representative, retires as the most senior member of the Trail Conference staff. Larry began volunteering with the Trail Conference in the early 1990s on a project in the Catskills at Kaaterskill Falls. He became a regular with the West Hudson Trail Crew, taking Metro-North to Cold Spring, meeting Crew Chief Bob Marshall, and working on projects throughout the region. He became a part-time staff member in 1998, managing a Student Conservation Association crew for the Trail Conference in the Delaware Water Gap. In 2000, he became a full time staffer, initially focusing much of his time and attention on the Appalachian Trail Pochuck boardwalk project in Vernon, NJ. Larry is a gourmet cook known to many Trail Conference members as the source of delicious home-made blueberry pancakes at our Annual Meeting. In retirement, Larry plans to travel and to be thoughtful about his next volunteer choices. “I’m not going very far,” he says, hinting he may turn up on trail projects and even in the Mahwah office from time to time. He reveals himself as a fan of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series when he concludes, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”
Jennifer Easterbrook, Darlington Schoolhouse Campaign Assistant. Jennifer comes to the Trail Conference after two years as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Greater Philadelphia and a crew leader with the Student Conservation Association. Before joining the Trail Conference team, she worked as a field manager at New Jersey Environmental Federation, which works on environmental campaigns. Jennifer earned her B.A. in anthropology and sociology at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2009. She resides in West Milford, NJ.
Ama Koenigshof, Trail Builder/Educator. Originally from Michigan, Ama received a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in nonprofit administration. It was at GVSU and a student organization called Alternative Breaks that she found her love for environmental stewardship, trail building, and service learning. Since then, she has participated in and led trail maintenance and construction crews run by nonprofit organizations all over the country from Georgia to Tennessee to Washington to Colorado to Arizona to New Mexico to California to Maine to Pennsylvania and now to New York and New Jersey. “I am excited to put down some roots with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and help in continuing the growth of the Conference’s culture of volunteer learning and trail building/maintenance excellence.”
John K. Leigh, Volunteer Coordinator. John joins the Trail Conference after being a senior district executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Before that John was a philosophy and theater major at Rutgers University. He grew up backpacking around Harriman State Park as well as all over New Jersey and most of the Catskills. He looks forward to working with the volunteers of the Trail Conference.
Melissa Bean, formerly program assistant, was promoted to Operations and Finance Assistant and took on her new responsibilities in late summer. She is very excited to grow with the organization and prepared for the challenges of her new position by hiking Mount Washington and learning to skydive. She has had to land her parachute in a baseball field only once.