Saturday, November 19, 2022

Comings and goings at Adirondack area nonprofits

Several nonprofit organizations situated all around the Adirondack Park, including the Adirondack Foundation, the National Audubon Society, and the Lake George Land Conservancy recently welcomed new staff and board members. One nonprofit organization, Environmental Advocates NY, announced that Peter Iwanowicz is slated to move on after a successful nine-year run as Executive Director.

Local Audubon Board Member, Shelly Cihan, Joins National Board

Saranac Lake, NY – National Audubon Society’s Board of Directors grew recently by adding active local Audubon board director Shelly Cihan to the flock.

At a recent board meeting held in New Mexico, Cihan was officially voted on as Regional Director for the Atlantic Flyway North. National Audubon Society has a far reach, with board directors, members, and staff across the United States, and Central and South America. Adirondack locals might be familiar with local Audubon chapters Northern New York Audubon or Southern Adirondack Audubon, the former of which Cihan served on the board for the last seven years in the roles of President, Vice President, and fundraising chair at various times.

“When I first began engaging with Northern NY Audubon, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on me personally,” said Cihan. “My passion for birds and the environment has been fueled by Audubon for many years. I am grateful for this opportunity and very excited to use my knowledge and background to help spark others to get involved, whether it be in their own backyards throughout Northern NY or on a more national level.”

Shelly Cihan headshot

Shelly Cihan joins National Audubon Society’s Board of Directors. Photo provided by Shelly Cihan.

Cihan is dedicated to environmental work and actively volunteers for several charitable environmental organizations. Over the years these have included Northern NY Audubon, the Audubon Council of NYS, National Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, the Ausable River Association, Adopt a Highway program, Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, All About Lakes, and Adirondack Wilderness Advocates. During her time with the Audubon Council of New York, Cihan founded the board’s ‘Birds of a Feather’ program, which aims to connect and assist local chapters from across the state, and led discussions about how marketing can be an effective tool to promote non-profit growth, among other topics.

In addition to her roles with Audubon, Cihan is the founder of Rooted Rock Marketing, a full-service marketing agency located in the village of Saranac Lake. “I am most looking forward to finding ways to weave my unique marketing background in with Audubon’s mission and future goals,” said Cihan.

“Shelly has been nothing short of amazing for Northern New York Audubon,” said co-President Catherine Smith. “Most recently her initiative of protecting New York State endangered Spruce Grouse through the launch of a specialty beer, brewed in partnership with Raquette River Brewing, brought together bird enthusiasts, craft beer lovers, and outdoor recreationalists.”

“And her engaging ideas didn’t stop there! Shelly has also brought bird-themed trivia nights and annual birding outings to the Northern NY Audubon territory,” added co-President Janet Mihuc. “Our Audubon territory has been so lucky to have Shelly for the last seven years, and we can’t wait to see what she does on a national level.”

Shelly graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences from Paul Smith’s College. She lives with her partner Brendan, who is the Senior Research Scientist for Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute, and their very energetic dog Nico in Saranac Lake, where boreal birding and all sorts of outdoor fun is just outside the door.


Walt Lender Joins Lake George Land Conservancy Board of Directors

Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) announced that Walt Lender has been elected to the LGLC Board of Directors.


Lender brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the environmental issues facing Lake George, having served the Lake George Association as its Executive Director from 2005 to 2021.


LGLC Board President Jeff Brozyna said, “It is an honor to welcome Walt Lender to the Board of the Lake George Land Conservancy. Walt has truly been one of the leaders in the effort to preserve the waters of Lake George over the past decades. He is trusted and respected in the communities all around the lake.”

(left to right) LGLC Board President Jeff Brozyna, Walt Lender, and LGLC Executive Director Mike Horn. Photo provided by Sarah Hoffman, Lake George Land Conservancy’s Communications and Outreach Manager.

LGLC Executive Director Mike Horn said, “Walt‘s knowledge of the lake, its watershed, its ecosystems and people will be a great advantage to us as we continue to protect the lake by preserving the land around it.”


Lender said, “I am honored to be asked to continue my service to Lake George by joining the board of an organization that I have always held in the highest regard. The Lake George Land Conservancy has been a trusted partner in watershed protection and a highly effective steward of the lands surrounding the lake.”


Earlier in his career, Lender worked at Fort Ticonderoga as Director of Development and Government and Corporate Relations Officer, and as Executive Director at PRIDE of Ticonderoga. He earned a MS degree in Administration and Management from St. Michael’s College, and volunteers on several boards and advisory committees throughout the Lake George region. He and his family reside in Ticonderoga, NY.


About the Lake George Land Conservancy

Protecting the Land that Protects the Lake since 1988. The LGLC is an accredited, non-profit land trust dedicated to working with willing landowners and other partners to protect the world-renowned water quality of Lake George and to permanently preserve the natural, scenic, historic and recreational resources of the Lake George region.


Since its inception, LGLC’s land protection program has worked directly and with partners to permanently protect 12,141 acres of Lake George wilderness and more than 7 miles of shoreline, and owns and/or manages 35 parks and preserves that are open to the public year-round or by special request/restricted access with nearly 40 miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and, at some preserves, hunting and snowmobiling. More information:


Environmental Advocates NY Announces Peter Iwanowicz to Move on After a Successful Nine Year Run as Executive Director


Environmental Advocates NY (EANY) announced on November 10, 2022, that Peter Iwanowicz will move on as its Executive Director on December 31, 2022. Iwanowicz has served as Executive Director since 2013–a nine-year period where EANY has been a pivotal force in shaping New York State’s environmental and climate agenda; especially the enactment in 2019 of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, adding Environmental Rights to the state constitution, and creating a clean water grant program to help communities fix their pipes. The EANY Board of Directors will soon announce an interim director and begin a nationwide search for the next long-term leader of the organization. 


John Buttrick, Chair of the Environmental Advocates NY Board of Directors said, “The common denominator behind the success EANY has enjoyed these past fifty-plus years has been our talented and devoted staff. Peter has done an amazing job leading the organization over the past nine years. He has been a tireless advocate for the environment and environmental justice. Together with the rest of the EANY staff, Peter has been an important voice in New York State and beyond. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank Peter for his vision, integrity, and leadership as EANY’s Executive Director. While we are sorry to see Peter move on, he leaves behind a strong group of colleagues who will continue to tackle the important environmental issues of our time, especially climate change.”


Peter Iwanowicz said, “It has been a true privilege to work alongside all the great people that make up EA and those that support its work. I leave confident that EANY will continue to drive New York’s environmental resurgence and shape New York into the environmental leader the world needs it to be.”


About Environmental Advocates NY:

Since its formation in 1969, Environmental Advocates NY (EANY) has been championing environmental policies that have improved health, enhanced the quality of New York’s natural resources, and saved lives. Its mission is to fight for policies that will restore and protect New York’s environment, support healthy, vibrant communities, and secure benefits and outcomes for all through education, partnerships, and advocacy.


EANY addresses the many environmental issues facing New York State and beyond, with a focus on:


Climate and Energy

EANY is at the forefront of taking action to fight climate change and advocating for transportation and energy policies that transition our economy off fossil fuels. An important cornerstone of our climate work is to fight for climate justice and policies that will include those most vulnerable to climate change impacts.


Clean Water 

Our clean water program embraces a comprehensive and integrated approach in protecting water from source to tap. We are deeply committed to advocating for policies that restore and protect our water systems; so New Yorkers know what’s in their water; and ensure that significant investments are made to water testing for dangerous toxics, and the repair, upgrade, and replacement of our state’s crumbling water infrastructure.


Healthy Communities

EANY’s commitment to Healthy Communities is grounded in the idea that every New Yorker should live in clean, healthy, and vibrant spaces. Now that all New Yorkers have a constitutional right to a safe environment, we will work to ensure our communities, especially disadvantaged ones, no longer face exposure to toxic chemicals through myriad pathways and experience the greatest burden of our aging infrastructure, addiction to fossil fuels, and a mounting solid waste and plastic pollution crisis.


New faces join the fold at Adirondack Foundation


LAKE PLACID — Adirondack Foundation has welcomed three new staff members to its team: Jennifer Russell, Kathy Recchia and Brandy Hobson.


As the community foundation serving the greater Adirondack region of upstate New York, Adirondack Foundation works to enhance quality of life through philanthropy. Founded in 1997, the Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.


“The Foundation has grown and evolved over the years, but one constant has been the amazing people who work here and their commitment to strengthening the communities we serve,” said Cali Brooks, president and CEO of Adirondack Foundation. “Our staff helps us harness and channel the generosity of the people we work with so that we can effectively address our region’s most pressing needs. We’re so grateful to Jennifer, Kathy and Brandy for bringing their talent and energy to our team.”

Jennifer Russell joins the Adirondack Foundation. Photo provided by Chris Morris.


Russell, vice president of grants and programs, will implement programs and lead grantmaking that supports Adirondack Foundation’s mission, priorities and organizational objectives.


Russell has senior experience in program strategy, grant management and coalition building. Previously, as director of education and technology at iEARN-USA, she led global education and exchange programs impacting thousands of students and educators worldwide. Russell has a master’s degree from Columbia University, a bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and served in the Peace Corps in Albania and China.


“I love the Adirondacks,” Russell said. “I’m honored to be part of an organization that works every day to lift up all of our communities.”

Kathy Recchia has joined the Adirondack Foundation. Photo provided by Chris Morris.

Recchia, office administrator and grants assistant, provides general office support for the entire Foundation and supports its internal grantmaking and scholarship processes. Recchia has worked in the nonprofit arts world of the Adirondacks for more than 20 years. She served as a grant coordinator for four counties with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, operations director at BluSeed Studios and most recently was the e-commerce coordinator for The Village Mercantile in Saranac Lake. She is a theater artist who directs, acts and creates. Her career in the Adirondacks began as owner/operator of the Book & Blanket Bed & Breakfast in the hamlet of Jay, where she greeted guests for more than 25 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Seton Hall University.


“My background spans from nonprofit work to business and economic development,” Recchia said. “Adirondack Foundation exists at a crossroads for many different sectors, so it’s a great fit for me — it is a privilege to be here.”

Brandy Hobson added to the team at Adirondack Foundation. Photo provided by Chris Morris.

Hobson, Adirondack Foundation’s senior accountant, is responsible for maintaining day-to-day financial activities. A 30-year resident of the Adirondack Park, Hobson has over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector, including roles at North Country School/Camp Treetops and the Adirondack North Country Association.


“The Foundation has such an incredible impact on the region,” Hobson said. “I enjoy going to work every day knowing I can use my skills to help make a difference.”


To learn more about Adirondack Foundation’s staff, Board of Trustees and Community Council, visit


Photo at top provided by Shelly Cihan.


Related Stories

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

One Response

  1. Bob Meyer says:

    Every one of these organizations do good work. Plus the ones not mentioned here.
    My only concern is that there are so many
    organizations that it can seem daunting.
    Which one to belong to which ones to support?
    I wish there was an umbrella organization that coordinated their activities and goals.
    Just a thought.

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