Staff & Board
Kelley Tucker - Executive Director
Kelley has worked in the non-profit conservation field for more than 20 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 AsRA, 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.
Brendan Wiltse - Science & Stewardship Director
Brendan started working at AsRA in May 2014 as the Stewardship & Outreach Coordinator; in 2015 his title was changed to Science & Stewardship Director to reflect his focus on water quality monitoring. Brendan holds a B.Sc. from Paul Smith's College and a Ph.D. from Queen's University. His academic training focused on the ecological history of lakes and their historical response to climate change. Brendan is interested in using science to inform policy decisions that help protect the Ausable River watershed and in educating the public on issues facing the river. When he isn't working on these issues, you will likely find him on an Adirondack peak at sunrise, camera in hand, his dog Khyber by his side.
Nicole Pionteck - River Steward
Nicole became the River Steward in June 2015. She provides streamside education and outreach to anglers and the public, helps prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, attends local events, and monitors invasive infestations within the watershed. Nicole graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science - Watershed Science. She was previously a Watershed Inspector for Owasco Lake, where she developed a plan to reduce sediment and nutrient transport in the watershed's ditch network. She also used her GIS skills to map invasive species within Owasco Lake. Nicole is from Windsor, NY, and currently lives in Saranac Lake. She enjoys exploring the Adirondacks during her free time.
Carrianne Pershyn - Science & Operations Associate
Carrianne Pershyn has worked as the 2014 River Steward, and then as Operations Associate since 2014 providing financial, fundraising, and programmatic support to AsRA's staff and board. In 2017, her position expanded to include science and monitoring of brook trout and other native organisms that rely on Ausable streams. She holds a B.S. in Ecology from Plattsburgh State University and an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Her 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.