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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 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.

Brendan Wiltse - Science & Stewardship Director

Brendan started working at the Ausable River Association 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.

Carrianne Pershyn - Research Associate

Carrianne Pershyn 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.

Tyler Merriam - Donor Outreach Associate

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, communications, and marketing efforts. In his free time Tyler can be found paddling, skiing, biking, hiking, and camping throughout the Adirondacks and beyond.

Sarah Chase - Operations Manager

Sarah joined the Ausable River Association in March 2019 after moving back to her hometown in the Adirondacks, following a 7-year adventure across the United States. She comes to this position with a wide range of administrative management experiences for both nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Alfred University. She is delighted to lend her administrative and number-crunching skills to protect the Ausable River watershed. Sarah lives in Jay with her cat, Tegan, where she enjoys hiking and snowshoeing at a sloth's pace and recently learned to down-hill ski.

Jake Hill - River Steward

Jake joins the Ausable River Association as the 2020 River Steward. Growing up outside of Albany, Jake took many trips to the Adirondacks where he developed a deep connection to the area. Jake graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2018 with a B.A. in Biology and Minors in Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies. Following graduation, Jake moved to Southern Utah to complete an AmeriCorps term. Since returning to New York, Jake's passion for water conservation has been the driving force behind his career choices. He is very excited to continue that work this season. When not working, Jake can be found hiking and enjoying the water across the Adirondack Park and Vermont.

Saikat Chakraborty - Water Quality Volunteer

Saikat Chakraborty is an international student from India who has recently completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester. His research involved the development of sustainable systems for light-driven hydrogen production from water as a potential carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels. He was a visiting assistant professor at Utica College, where he developed courses on environmental chemistry with a focus on local and global issues –ranging from acid rain and loon conservation in Adirondacks, to ozone holes and global climate change. Saikat fell in love with the Adirondacks when he first visited seven years ago. Since then he has returned to camp, hike, and photograph; to learn more about the myriad issues that affect this wilderness; and to work towards protecting this special place.

Board of Directors

Liz Clarke - Chair

Ken Brownell - Vice Chair

Charlie Cowan - Treasurer

Wally Walters - Secretary

Evan Bottcher

Christian Brammer

Richard Conney

Nev Dunn

Audrey Hyson

Larry Master

John Schuler

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