Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, Adirondack Land Trust, Eagle Island, Inc. welcome new hires

Three Adirondack-area nonprofit organizations including The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, Adirondack Land Trust, and Eagle Island, Inc. welcomed new staff members during the month of February.

The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation expands their team:


The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation is pleased to welcome two new members to its staff – Susan Harry as its Philanthropy Director, and Jay Locke as its Finance and Operations Director. Since becoming a nonprofit organization in 2017, the Adirondack Loon Center has experienced steady growth and expanded its loon conservation and educational programs across the Park.

“We are very excited to have Susan and Jay join our team, as they greatly increase our capacity to do more for Adirondack loons,” said Dr. Nina Schoch, Executive Director of the Center. “They bring a wide depth of experience and knowledge that will significantly enhance our loon research and conservation projects in the Adirondacks.”

Susan has worked professionally and as a volunteer for many wildlife conservation organizations. She is passionate about protecting the environment for future generations to enjoy. Susan raised awareness and support for the Kenyan Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s conservation efforts to protect the African Black Rhino, which led to Susan receiving the 2010 Anna Merz Honorary Award.

Her wide experience in fundraising and grant management will greatly expand the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation’s capacity for sustaining its Adirondack loon conservation and research programs. When Susan is not with loons on the water, she enjoys exploring the Adirondacks by hiking with her golden retrievers, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing.

Jay brings a broad background in data management, grant administration, and fundraising to the Loon Center. He previously worked with the Open Society Foundations in NYC, where he provided funding and technical advice on impact evaluation and data management to not-for-profit organizations across the world. Prior to OSF, he supported data analysis projects for the United Nations Development Program in Eswatini, served in the Peace Corps in Kenya as a community economic development advisor, and worked in internal audit for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta. Jay is a licensed CPA and wildlife rehabilitator, and enjoys birdwatching, identifying lichens, and playing guitar.

Jay and Susan are excited to apply their professional expertise and passion for wildlife conservation in their new roles at the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation is a 501(c)3 non-profit that conducts scientific research and engaging educational programming to promote and inspire passion for the conservation of Common Loons in and beyond New York’s Adirondack Park. To learn more about the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation visit www.adkloon.org or www.facebook.com/adkloon, or contact the Center at info@adkloon.org or (518) 354-8636. 


Adirondack Land Trust welcomes new Farmland and Stewardship Specialist:

Aaron Thomas signs on as Adirondack Land Trust’s Farmland and Stewardship Specialist. Adirondack Land Trust website photo.

On February 7, Aaron Thomas began a new position for the Adirondack Land Trust, Farmland and Stewardship Specialist. Aaron will work with farmers, landowners and other partners for the sustainability of Adirondack farms and food systems.

Aaron joins the Adirondack Land Trust after working with the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts and United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help farmers develop conservation plans and manage natural resources.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with North Country farmers for a positive impact on the land and local food system,” Aaron said. “Farmers are not alone in working toward a sound economic and environmental future for their lands, and I look forward to making new connections and learning from the region’s farming community.”

Aaron was raised on a small farm in Central New York and has lived in the Plattsburgh area for 10 years. He studied at SUNY Plattsburgh and William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, earning a B.S. in environmental science with a focus on climate change and agriculture. When not working, he enjoys road trips to see family and friends, seeing live music, and relaxing on the shores of Lake Champlain with his dog, Levon.

While this position is new, farmland has been central to Adirondack Land Trust’s mission since it was founded in 1984 to meet a need for a land-saving group focused on places that make the Adirondack Park function not just as an intact ecosystem but as a landscape that supports healthy communities. More about Adirondack Land Trust here: https://adirondacklandtrust.org/.

Eagle Island, Inc. names new Executive Director:

Danielle LaCavalla has been named the new Executive Director of Eagle Island, Inc. Photo provided by Jane Evans of Eagle Island, Inc.

On February 9, Eagle Island, Inc. announced that Danielle LaCavalla has been named the new Executive Director following an extensive search process. Danielle joins them from the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) where she served as the Director of Communications and Development following Executive Director roles at the Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce and the Western Marquette County Health Foundation (nka West End Health Foundation). Danielle is a seasoned nonprofit leader with extensive experience in development, communications, and relationship-building. In her role as Executive Director, Danielle will have chief responsibility for all activities pertaining to the day-to-day operations and growth of Eagle Island, Inc., including fund development, communications, finance, property management, and staff management.

Many of these duties will be in collaboration with the Board of Directors, full-time Camp Director/Assistant Executive Director Katrina Dearden (who oversees camp staffing and youth camp operations), dedicated committees, and volunteers.

“We are thrilled to welcome Danielle to the Eagle Island family as we head into our second year of overnight camping and continue to expand our programs and capacity,” said Jane Evans and Karin Rutledge, Co-Presidents of the Board. “Danielle’s background and enthusiasm make her uniquely suited to step into the role at this time. In addition to her organizational talents, Danielle’s location and history of relationship-building in the North Country serve to deepen our commitment to the Tri-Lakes area. In the short time we’ve been working together, we’ve already identified some exciting new possibilities and we can’t wait to have her on board.”

“I am so excited to join Eagle Island and help further advance the mission to empower girls and young women to be confident, collaborative, and courageous,” said Danielle LaCavalla. “Eagle Island is an amazing organization and I am so inspired by, and look forward to getting to know, everyone who has made this incredible journey for the Island possible. I cannot wait to witness camp this summer. I also want to thank the NYSEF community, as it is truly bittersweet leaving my current role. Through NYSEF I have learned so much about the broader Adirondack community and cultivated meaningful relationships with families, volunteers, and other organizations. The Adirondack community is powerful and I am looking forward to engaging with other community partners on behalf of Eagle Island,” concluded LaCavalla.

While completing the winter season with NYSEF, Danielle began working with Eagle Island in early February, and will join full-time as of March 7. Born and raised in New City, New York, Danielle has always loved fresh air and the outdoors. A committed alpine skier, she attended Northwood School in Lake Placid, NY, and went on to graduate from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. Her professional career began in Boston as a paralegal, while also volunteering as a member of the alumni council of her alma mater, Northwood School. Danielle next moved to Northfield, VT, working at military college Norwich University in their Class Giving and Bicentennial Events departments. After Norwich, Danielle lived in Marquette, MI, serving as the Executive Director at both the
Greater Ishpeming Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce and the Western Marquette County Health Foundation. While in Marquette, she helped start the 906 Adventure Team, a nonprofit organization committed to empowering youth through outdoor recreation. For the last five years, Danielle has served the New York Ski Educational Foundation as Director of Communications
and Development. Danielle lives in Lake Placid with her husband and two children.

Established in 2011, Eagle Island, Inc. hosts a youth summer camp and other programs on our 31-acre island on Upper Saranac Lake, NY. The island’s buildings are a National Historic Landmark. The organization was formed to purchase the property and continue its 70-year camp tradition into the future, providing an environmentally responsible island camp experience for youth while preserving Eagle Island’s natural and historic character. We believe that camp is a life-changing experience that should be accessible to all regardless of ability to pay, and we are committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all we do. A full summer of youth camping, family camping, and other programs is planned for 2022. Find more information here: www.eagleisland.org

Photo at top: The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation welcomes Jay Locke as its Finance and Operations Director and Susan Harry as its Philanthropy Director. Photo provided by Jennifer Denny of The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. 

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

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