Thursday, June 23, 2022

Adirondack area organizations announce promotions/new hires

Several Adirondack-area nonprofit organizations, including the Ausable River Association, Adirondack Council, and View Arts Center, recently announced a lineup of promotions and new hires.
Carolyn Koestner joins Ausable River Association and Lake Champlain Sea Grant

Carolyn Koestner. Photo provided by the Ausable River Association.

Wilmington, NY — Carolyn Koestner of Saranac Lake has joined the staff of the Ausable River Association (AsRA). Her position as geographic information system (GIS) mapping and science communications fellow is made possible through a partnership with Vermont-based Lake Champlain Sea Grant (LCSG). Earlier this year, LCSG awarded AsRA a two-year competitive fellowship that provides $25,000 a year toward the hire of an early career professional. A generous donor gave the required match commitment to AsRA to make this new opportunity possible.


The fellowship focuses on communicating the challenges facing water resources in the Ausable River and Lake Champlain basins and the science-based work being done by AsRA and LCSG to address these challenges. LCSG will provide learning opportunities and additional training for Koestner to refine her efforts in the Ausable River watershed.


“I’m excited to join the AsRA team and continue working to protect the Adirondack Park and its surrounding landscapes,” said Koestner. “The added benefit of learning from and working side by side with Sea Grant staff, who are bringing additional resources to problems in the Ausable, is a great opportunity.”


A life-long New Yorker, Koestner fell in love with the Adirondacks on weekend trips while living in the Capital Region and moved to the Adirondacks full time in 2019. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Skidmore College and has worked in a variety of roles that combine her passions for conservation and GIS, including serving as a River Steward for the Housatonic Valley Association and most recently serving as Strategic Conservation Planner with the Lake Placid Land Conservancy. Currently, Koestner serves as a community stakeholder and member of the Saranac Lake Climate Smart Community Task Force.


“We were lucky to find such a talented young professional, familiar with our watershed, right in our backyard,” said AsRA Executive Director, Kelley Tucker. “The potential for this position, the value it will add for our communities and for our partners throughout the Champlain basin, is boundless.”


“Lake Champlain Sea Grant is happy to help make this fellowship a successful learning and working experience for Carolyn,” said Kris Stepenuck, Associate Director for Lake Champlain Sea Grant. “We are confident that the environment and communities in the Ausable River and Lake Champlain basins will benefit from her work and the deepening of our partnership with the Ausable River Association.”

Adirondack Council Promotes Jackie Bowen to Director of Conservation

Jackie Bowen. Photo provided by the Adirondack Council.

Elizabethtown, NY – The Adirondack Council has promoted Morrisonville native Jackie Bowen to the position of Director of Conservation, where she will lead a team of professionals aiming to protect the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. Bowen had been serving as acting director since shortly after the departure of Megan Phillips, who took a Deputy Director of Planning job at the Adirondack Park Agency.

“We are very pleased to have Jackie directing our conservation efforts,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “She’s well qualified, highly motivated and a great team-builder. She first joined our conservation department on a two-year fellowship when we were considering an expansion. That team has now doubled in size, while Jackie was proving herself to be the best candidate to lead it.”
Bowen brings five years of Adirondack experience and a master’s in environmental law and policy to this role. She held different positions at the Council before becoming director, where she engaged on a range of environmental issues, including the Boreas classification, recreation on state land, and climate change. She also managed the Council’s Adirondack Farm Micro-Grant and Clarence Petty Conservation Internship programs. Apart from the Council, Bowen also serves on the boards of Champlain Area Trails and Cornell Cooperative Extension – Essex County.
 “I have learned and grown with this organization, in part due to great mentorship along the way. And now, I’m excited to be leading the Conservation program at what feels like a truly pivotal time in conservation work,” says Bowen. “The last two years have brought into focus that nature is truly a refuge during trying times (if you can access it) and climate impacts are worsening across the globe. Bountiful, healthy landscapes like the Adirondacks will re-define what a refuge can and must be to humans, flora and fauna during our generation in the face of climate chaos. The work ahead has me ready and energized for this leadership role.”
As conservation director, Bowen will continue to focus on climate issues, while overseeing the Council’s other conservation goals. “I’m grateful to lead our team of five to approach this work, and the range of conservation issues we engage on, through humility, inclusivity, creativity, and boldness.”
Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.
The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.  Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.
Catherine Underhill named new View Executive Director

Catherine Underhill. Photo provided by View.

The Board of Directors of View is happy to announce that Catherine Underhill has been named Executive Director of View beginning July 1. She succeeds Mark P. Salsbury, who is returning to retirement following a three-year tenure leading View. Underhill will have responsibility for all of View’s operations and staff.

A Syracuse native, Underhill brings a wealth of leadership experience in arts organizations, including Symphoria in Syracuse, and The Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts, and the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, Colorado. Her most recent tenure was with the Everson Museum of Art where she served as Director of Development.
Underhill earned a BA in Art History at University of New Hampshire, an MA in Art History from University of Colorado, and a MA in Public Administration from Harvard University. She was a Fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts, a Grant Panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, and an Adjunct Faculty member in the LeMoyne College graduate Program in Arts Administration.
View Board Chair Kathryn Ruscitto said, “Catherine Underhill will bring a new vision of the future for View and its place in the Upstate New York arts community. She has the skills, experience, and connections to bring new momentum to View’s programming, team, donors, community, and visitors. She arrives at a time when View has made enormous progress under Mark Salsbury’s very capable leadership. View’s accomplishments over the past three years include retirement of long-standing debt related to View’s new building, development of innovative offerings that allowed View to deliver a busy calendar of programs and events during a global pandemic, and extending our relevance with innovative national exhibitions such as Unprecedented: Art Responds to 2020. We look forward to continuing to move forward under Catherine’s leadership.”
The View Search Committee included five board members; co-chairs Susan Cox and Steve Sayer, Sam Crocker, Scott Perra, and Donna Stoner. A national executive search firm, DRiWaterstone Human Capital, led by founder and COO Nancy Racette, was engaged to perform the search.
Several receptions to introduce Catherine to the View community of employees, board members, interns, volunteers, donors, and guests will be planned for early summer.

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