Photo: Peg Wilson

Land Trust Staff

Our staff work in land protection and stewardship, collaborate with our devoted volunteers, and coordinate our news and events. They also love to explore our many nature preserves across the region.

Please see our contact page to get in touch. You can also see our Board of Directors and learn more about the Finger Lakes Land Trust.


 


Andrew Zepp

Executive Director



Andy has worked in the land conservation field for more than 25 years. After graduate education at Cornell University, he worked with local conservationists to establish the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Andy has also worked for The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western NY Program, first as Director of Land Protection and then as Associate Director, and as Vice President for Programs for the Land Trust Alliance. He returned to the Finger Lakes Land Trust in 2003 to serve as its Executive Director. Zepp serves on New York State’s Regional Open Space Committee as well as the NY Advisory Board for the Land Trust Alliance. He also serves on Tompkins County’s Planning Advisory Board and Strategic Tourism Planning Board as well as the board of the SUNY-ESF Foundation.

Favorite outdoor activity
A morning hike, an afternoon paddle, and a glass of Finger Lakes wine at sunset

My favorite nature preserve
It’s impossible to choose just one!

 


 


Kurt Anderson

Development Officer



Kurt is responsible for all aspects of major gifts fundraising at FLLT. He establishes and maintains relationships with key donors, aligning their goals with those of the organization to ensure maximum impact and satisfaction. Kurt is an avid outdoorsman and amateur mechanic, often found exploring the Finger Lakes with his wife and their two daughters in a vintage Land Rover. Kurt holds a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Camping, hiking, and swimming

My favorite nature preserve
Wesley Hill Nature Preserve

Conservation quote
“The purpose of conservation: The greatest good to the greatest number for the longest time.” – Gifford Pinchot

 


 


Hannah George

Conservation Easement Steward



Hannah helps ensure that the properties protected with conservation easements are indeed conserved forever by communicating with landowners and visiting the properties each year. While earning her B.S. in Natural Resources and Viticulture from Cornell University, Hannah first got to know FLLT as a summer intern. Hannah grew up in Ithaca, and is delighted to get to know the Finger Lakes region better in her work as well as in her free time.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Cross-country skiing when there is snow, and climbing trees when there is none

My favorite nature preserve
Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve

Conservation quote
“The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry

 


 


Jason Gorman

Nature Preserve Manager



Jason oversees the management and maintenance of roughly 5,500 acres at over 40 nature preserves/conservation areas. He holds a B.S. in Conservation Biology from SUNY Cortland, and first got involved with the Land Trust as a volunteer. While growing up in Rochester, and frequenting a family cottage on Keuka Lake, Jason developed a deep connection to the Finger Lakes. Working with volunteers, clearing trails, and seeing the countless scenic treasures of the region are just a few of the many fulfilling aspects of his job.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Birdwatching, fishing, hiking

My favorite nature preserve
Wesley Hill Nature Preserve

Conservation quote
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” – Gary Snyder

 


 


Max Heitner

Director of Conservation



Max works to acquire new properties and easements throughout the region while also partnering on conservation projects that incorporate both long-term protection and present-day restoration. He grew to love the Finger Lakes during his childhood when visiting his grandparents in Covert on the west side of Cayuga Lake. When not focusing on conservation, Max enjoys outdoor recreation, college sports, and puttering around his backyard with its goats and chickens. He holds degrees in Natural Resources from the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Paddling on Cayuga Lake and exploring the many gorges and creeks in the region

My favorite nature preserve
Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve

Conservation quote
“We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it — for a little while.” – Willa Cather

 


 

Edie Jodz

Assistant Director of Development

Edie manages the Land Trust’s Talks & Treks outreach program and various communications, marketing, and fundraising efforts. She has called the Finger Lakes her home since 1996, and is dedicated to engaging local communities in the Land Trust’s conservation mission.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Stargazing

My favorite nature preserve
Wesley Hill Nature Preserve

Conservation quote
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 


 


Kelly Makosch

Director of Development & Communications



Kelly leads the effort to share FLLT’s mission with people across the region who have a passion for clean water, scenic vistas, local foods, and wild places. She directs our communication and marketing efforts, annual fundraising campaigns, and outreach events. Kelly holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Binghamton University and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University. Outside the office, you can find Kelly with friends and family, running local trails, and chasing the sunshine.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Running and hiking with my family

My favorite nature preserve
Hinchcliff Family Preserve

Conservation poem
“Going to the woods is going home.” – John Muir

 


 


Cat Massa

Development Associate



Cat Massa primarily supports the Development and Communications Team. Before joining the FLLT team, she spent several years working as an outdoor guide for women and girls in the Colorado/Wyoming area. After moving to Ithaca in 2017 to begin her MPA program at Cornell, Cat quickly fell in love with the region. She is proud to say that she is working to conserve the area that she now calls home.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Trail running in the morning, swimming in the afternoon, and visiting a local brewery in the evening

My favorite nature preserve
Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve

Conservation quote
“Wildness is the preservation of the World.” – Henry David Thoreau

 


 


Chris Olney

Director of Stewardship



Chris hails from East Bloomfield, in the northwest area of the Finger Lakes region, and spent many hours of his youth building forts and swinging from vines in the woods, fishing in farm ponds, hiking, canoeing, deer hunting, and stacking hay bales. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies (1995), and a Master’s degree in geography (1997), both from the University of Buffalo, Chris began his career in natural resources and land conservation in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. In 2008 he embraced the opportunity to return to the Finger Lakes to raise a family near relatives and contribute to the protection of the beautiful landscape he cherishes.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Hunting and fishing; camping with my kids

My favorite nature preserve
Roy H. Park Preserve

Conservation quote
“I am in love with this world… I have tilled its soil, I have gathered its harvest, I have waited upon its seasons, and always have I reaped what I have sown. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings.” – John Burroughs

 


 

Chris Ray

GIS Projects Manager

Chris performs geographic analysis for land protection projects and creates maps for planning, outreach, and reports. He enjoys making map products that are communicative and visually engaging, and believes that geographic knowledge brings us together and enhances the conservation message. Chris is an upstate New York native and has been applying spatial methods in environmental conservation for the past 15 years in New York and the American southwest. He holds a B.S. from SUNY ESF and M.S. from Northern Arizona University.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Photo hikes and mountain bike rides

My favorite nature preserve
Roy H. Park Preserve

Conservation quote
“This is the most beautiful place on Earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.” – Edward Abbey

 


 

Gretchen Salm

Land Conservation Support Specialist

Gretchen works as a bridge between the Protection and Stewardship teams by ensuring accreditation compliance and managing the lands database. Fascinated by wild lands and creatures since she was a wee thing, Gretchen holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and rejoices in exploring the Finger Lakes whenever she can.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Birding, hiking the Finger Lakes Trail

My favorite nature preserve
Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

Conservation quote
“The world’s three greatest physicians – Nature, Patience, and Time” – Chinese fortune cookie

 


 


Becky Sibner

Land Protection Specialist



Becky is a Land Protection Specialist, and works with landowners to help them achieve their conservation and land goals. Through her education at Ithaca College and past work with the NYS Hemlock Initiative and NYS Parks, Becky has been repeatedly awed and inspired by the landscape of the Finger Lakes Region, and appreciates the opportunity to keep finding new places to fall in love with and protect.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Climbing trees and looking at plants

My favorite nature preserve
Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve

Conservation quote
“Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.” – Joanna Macy

 


 

Nomi Talmi

Director of Administration

Nomi started working at the Finger Lakes Land Trust in 2014 as a Finance Manager. Since then Nomi’s position has evolved to include overseeing all the organization’s finances, managing the Land Trust’s rental apartments, as well as wearing the HR hat. Nomi grew up in a kibbutz in Israel, which gave her a love for nature and the outdoors. While on the kibbutz, she worked on date palms, which she enjoyed tremendously, giving her lifetime knowledge of date growing and tree climbing. Her professional studies in Ithaca College were in sports medicine, her other life interest; however, her love of math, combined with her passion for recreation and land conservation, led her to her current position. Nomi is truly proud to be part of the Finger Lakes Land Trust team and its accomplishments in protecting our lands and waters!

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Kayaking/canoeing and any other activity that has to do with water

My favorite nature preserve
Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook

Conservation quote
“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” – Aldo Leopold

 


 

Kris West

Senior Field Representative

Kris sees her role at the Land Trust as a ‘real estate agent for nature’ as she helps landowners achieve their conservation goals through conservation easements, land donations or land sales. Kris has always considered people and nature inextricably linked and she loves to help landowners secure their own personal conservation legacy. Born and raised in southern Wisconsin, Kris’ commitment to conservation is rooted in her family traditions of spending time together outside. She earned a B.S. in Animal Behavior from Beloit College and a dual M.S. in Forestry and Conservation Biology/Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Sharing with visiting family and friends all that the Finger Lakes region has to offer

My favorite nature preserve
Lick Brook because it was the first FLLT preserve I ever visited. It was a snowy winter day and a slight up-draft in the gorge made it snow up. Magical.

Conservation quote
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder

 


 


Aquillah White

Bookkeeper/Administrative Assistant



Aquillah assists the Director of Administration with processing payments, managing the office, and handling gifts and grant funds, while also assisting the Executive Director with scheduling meetings with our partners, members, and other constituents. An Ithaca native, Aquillah attended the Cascadilla School and Cornell University, where she earned her B.A. in English, with a concentration in poetry. Aquillah credits her passion for conservation to the work of Thoreau, Romanticist poets, William Wordsworth, and every Ithaca-area gorge that has lovingly overwhelmed her.

Favorite outdoor activity in the Finger Lakes region
Sitting under small waterfalls and climbing things

My favorite nature preserve
Roy H. Park Preserve — great memories with wonderful coworkers

Conservation quote
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” – Henry David Thoreau