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Staff & Board


Kelley Tucker - Executive Director

Kelley has worked in the non-profit conservation field for more than 25 years developing and leading science-based regional, national, and international efforts to protect birds, other wildlife, and the ecosystems that support them. She served as Vice-President of Conservation for the International Crane Foundation working with staff in 22 countries to conserve cranes and their freshwater habitats. Earlier, at the American Bird Conservancy, she was director of the Pesticides and Birds Campaign and effectively advocated for pesticide regulations more protective of birds. Kelley holds degrees in economics and political science from Rice University, and pursued her doctoral work at the University of Chicago. Besides overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Ausable River Association, Kelley leads the organization's natural stream restoration programs. She plans and implements collaborative projects that help streams regain their balance, improving wildlife habitat, water quality, and flood resilience. Kelley also coordinates a model program of culvert replacements in the watershed, engineering designs to reduce flood damage, restore stream resilience and habitat, and enable aquatic and amphibious organism passage. She lives in Upper Jay with her husband two fine cats, a trusty dog, and rides her horse through the lands in and around the Jay and Sentinel Mountain Wilderness.

Carrianne Pershyn - Biodiversity Research Manager

Carrianne has worked in many capacities for the Ausable River Association since 2014. In late 2018, she became a full-time research associate for the organization, supporting our Biodiverse Habitats program and monitoring brook trout and other native organisms that rely on Ausable streams. She holds an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY and a B.S. in Ecology from Plattsburgh State University. Her masters thesis research focused on Brook Trout habitat use, recruitment, and population genetics in high elevation, groundwater-fed tributaries of the headwaters of the Ausable River. She is formally trained in natural history and ecology of freshwater habitats, with a variety of past research experience on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. Her 2018-2019 field projects with AsRA include expanding and maintaining a network of temperature loggers across the watershed, designing and implementing eDNA field and lab studies to map the spatial distribution of brook trout and other salmonids, and planning future research projects that focus on Brook Trout ecology and conservation in the Adirondacks. She has worked in Adirondack conservation and lived in the Park for more than a decade, and when not working, can be found adventuring on Adirondack waterways and in wild forests.

Gary Henry - Stream Restoration Manager

Gary has worked in the environmental field for nearly two decades. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology and has been a licensed professional geoscientist since 2006. His professional connection to rivers began in graduate school when he started working part-time on geomorphic surveys of rapidly urbanizing streams in north-central and central Texas. After a stint at the Brazos River Authority during his final year of graduate school, he took a full-time position as a hydrogeologist/project manager at an environmental engineering firm in Dallas. In 2009, Gary joined the faculty at SUNY-Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh where he developed and taught environmental coursework in two degree programs. During his tenure at Clinton, he received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Working closely with AsRA’s Executive Director, Gary will transition to leading the survey, assessment, design, construction, and long-term monitoring of stream restoration projects, including climate-ready-culvert replacements. Gary lives in Peru with his wife and son and likes to spend time working in his backyard garden and hiking/camping in the Adirondacks. He has been a live musician since the late-1990’s, performing as a soloist (vocals/guitar) at local venues for the past decade.

Tyler Merriam - Donor Outreach Manager

Tyler fell in love with the Adirondacks and its waterways while spending summers at his family's cabin in Tupper Lake. He moved to the Adirondack region permanently in 2010 and has been working with a variety of businesses, colleges, and nonprofits ever since. Tyler holds a B.S. in Outdoor Education from Houghton College and M.S. in Recreation Management from SUNY Cortland. He also holds credentials as a Certified Park and Recreation Professional, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, Paddlesport and Wilderness Medicine Instructor, and Licensed New York State Guide. At the Ausable River Association, Tyler is responsible for donor outreach and engagement, event planning and programming, fundraising and grant management, and communication efforts. In his free time, Tyler can be found paddling, skiing, biking, hiking, and camping throughout the Adirondacks and beyond.

Leanna Thalmann - Water Quality Associate

Leanna has lived in the Lake Champlain Basin since 2014 and joined the Ausable River Association in 2021. Leanna received her master's degree from the University of Vermont with a focus on nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agricultural fields with and without tile drainage. Prior to AsRA, she worked at the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute assisting with their water quality program. Before working at the Miner Institute, Leanna trained with the U.S. Forest Service in Sitka, Alaska as a subsistence fishery's intern. She also has two degrees in Environmental Science and Geology from SUNY Plattsburgh. She is passionate about environmental water quality specifically in the Adirondack Watershed. In her free time she enjoys hiking, birding, and cooking.

Liz Metzger - Research Associate

Liz has visited, and briefly lived, in the Adirondacks at various times throughout her life and returned in 2021 as the River Steward. She is excited to be staying with the Ausable River Association as a Research Associate. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Juniata College in Central Pennsylvania. During her time there, her focus was on fisheries and aquatics. Liz continued on this path and spent a summer as a stream barrier technician with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. She then spent a field season as a fisheries technician with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. As much as she enjoyed her time in the west, she is happy to be back in the east working and exploring within the Adirondack Park again. In her free time, Liz enjoys paddling, crocheting, hiking, and spending time with her pup, Otis.

Board of Directors

Liz Clarke - Chair

For almost 40 years Liz has worked with communities, parks, and conservation organizations across America. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 with a master of regional planning degree, she joined the firm of Wallace McHarg Roberts and Todd (now WRT). In 2013, Liz left WRT, where she was a principal, and began a new consulting practice. Over the years, Liz has focused on four areas of professional practice: planning for national parks, land conservation and open space planning, community comprehensive planning, and environmental compliance. Liz has been involved in many community volunteer activities – serving on the boards of the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF), the Skating Club of Lake Placid, and the Lake Placid Land Conservancy (formerly the North Elba Land Conservancy).

Ken Brownell - Vice Chair

Ken retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Northeast Region located in Hadley, Massachusetts December 31, 2015. A licensed professional engineer in the states of Washington and Maine, Ken joined USFWS in 2002 working as a fish passage engineer producing detailed conceptual designs for Alaska Steeppass, Denil and nature-like fishways, and assuming the position of Regional Dam Safety Officer. In 2007 when the Engineering Division was eliminated Ken was transferred to the Fisheries Division where he assisted USFWS hatcheries with project planning, design, construction and maintenance of systems used for fish rearing such as air-cooled chillers, and water/wastewater treatment plants.

Charlie Cowan - Treasurer

Prior starting Long Run Wealth Advisors LLC in Lake Placid, Charlie had been employed as an advisor and manger with Kidder, Peabody & Co., Paine Webber, A.G. Edwards and Janney Montgomery Scott. He has been in the investment business for 38 years. Charlie received an undergraduate degree from the University of Utah with a BS in Speech Communication before going on to earn an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He served as treasurer for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) and is still on the board. He has been a long-term board member for the Lake Placid Outing Club.

Wally Walters - Secretary

Wally is recently retired from over 35 years in public service in a wide array of executive level leadership and strategic responsibilities including: chief of staff of national security executives promoting interagency reform, strategist and senior strategic communicator for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Army District Engineer (Hawaii/Pacific and subsequently Arkansas/Missouri). He also served as the U.S. Defense Attaché to Bosnia negotiating major international agreement and director of testing for new military equipment. He holds a B.Sc. from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, a M.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University, an M.Phil. from Columbia University, and M.Sc. degrees in military studies and strategy from the Marine Corps University and the U.S. Army College.

Evan Bottcher

Evan was raised at the Hungry Trout Resort in Wilmington, NY and learned to fly fish on the Ausable River when he was ten years old. Evan honed his skills in Southwest Colorado fishing the Animas River and surrounding Rocky Mountain Streams. Fly fishing has brought him many places, having cast a fly in Belize, Labrador, Bahamas, Alaska and most western states. He would return each May to guide a roster of return clients, which he prefers to exhaust in full day excursions to remote sections of the Ausable river. Evan and his wife Caitlin are now in their seventh year growing the Hungry Trout Fly Shop and since 2017 overseeing the Hungry Trout Resort.

John Braico

John is a retired board-certified pediatrician who maintained an active clinical practice in Glens Falls, NY from 1978 – 2012. An active angler and lover of rivers, John has been active with several nonprofit organizations. Most notably, he has served active member of Trout Unlimited at the national, state, and chapter level advocating for natural stream restoration approaches, river restoration, and the protection of native species, especially brook trout. He founded the Adirondack Chapter of TU in 1985. John has training and experience with fluvial geomorphology, river analysis, field studies, and restoration work. He has completed all 4 levels of training in fluvial geomorphology, assessment, and design with David Rosgen of Wildland Hydrology.

Richard Conney

Rick and his wife live in Ausable Acres with their two Labrador retrievers. He’s an avid fly fisherman, paddler both canoes and kayaks, hiker, cyclist and general outdoors enthusiast. Rick has served on the Pere Marquette Watershed Council board of directors in Michigan including serving as president. Additional board memberships included several community-based organizations: Lake County Community Foundation, Ferris State University Hospitality Management Program, Local Rotary Club. He is a member of the Ausable Valley Rotary Club, ADK Mountain Club, American Canoe Association, and Vermont Paddlers Club.

Audrey Hyson

Audrey has been a resident of Lake Placid and Keene Valley for 28 years. In this time, she has been involved with many non-profit organizations working to protect the wilderness of the Adirondack Park. These include the Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Land Trust, Northern New York Audubon Society and the Adirondack Loon Center. Audrey was a founding member of the North Elba Land Conservancy, now the Lake Placid Land Trust. Audrey has an undergraduate degree in Botany and pursued a master’s degree in biology. She has worked in the field of natural history interpretation and continue to pursue her personal interest in natural history, botany, & ornithology as recreational pursuits.

Larry Master

Larry Master has been photographing wildlife and natural history subjects for more than 50 years. After doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, Larry spent 20 years with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and 6 years with NatureServe, most of that time as Chief Zoologist. NatureServe is an offshoot of the Conservancy and is the umbrella organization for the network of natural heritage programs in every U.S. state and Canadian province as well as in many Latin American countries. Larry has authored and contributed to a variety of publications including Rivers of Life: Critical Watersheds for Protecting Freshwater Biodiversity. He serves on numerous national and regional non-profit conservation boards.

John Schuler

John is a long-standing professional in the hospitality industry with a career in the private club field. John has managed clubs ranging from yacht clubs along our coastal waters to country clubs where he worked with golf course superintendents to achieve Audubon Sanctuary status at Woodway Country Club in Dairen, Connecticut. He and his family have been acquainted with the Adirondacks for many years with his daughter participating in horseback riding in Lake Placid. In 2014, John joined the AMR – Ausable Club as their General Manager and has since purchased their home and settled in Keene with his family.

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