Sign Up for a Mentorship Session at River Rally 2019
Thank you for your interest in the Mentorship Program at River Rally 2019! Below you will find mentor bios, areas of interest and titles. Claim your mentorship session with any mentor by clicking the link below their bio.
Please note that interested mentees can claim only one mentorship session. These mentors are generously volunteering their time at River Rally. If you find yourself unable to attend your scheduled mentorship session, contact Carly Schmidt as soon as possible.
Consultant, Development for Conservation
- Development Audit / Planning – Strategy Development
- Membership Renewal and Upgrade
- Practice & Process Assessment
- Interim Staffing
- Problem Solving Facilitation
- Staff/Board Training and Development
- Major Gift Coaching
- Capital Campaigns
Development for Conservation LLC assists non-profit organizations in planning, leadership development, and fundraising. David Allen brings more than 30 years of experience in fundraising and administration to the consulting practice, including 13 years for Nature Conservancy chapters in three states (OR, TX, and WI), and 9 years in senior management of the Wisconsin-based Sand County Foundation. He is a strategic thinker, problem solver, facilitator, educator, and program developer and brings a particular passion for conservation and the environment. David is a skilled teacher and presenter, particularly in major gift fundraising, and is a regular presenter at River Rally.
Executive Director and Research Scientist, Stroud Water Research Center
- Freshwater science, watershed restoration, and environmental education
- Grant writing and fundraising
- Non-profit leadership and administration
- Non-profit board of directors management
- Non-profit financial planning
- Non-profit communications and marketing
Dr. David Arscott is the executive director and president of Stroud Water Research Center (since 2017). He is a freshwater ecologist with expertise in watershed and riverine landscape ecology and dynamics, aquatic food web structure and dynamics with interests in aquatic invertebrates, fish and algal ecology, and ecohydrology and the ecology of rivers and flood plains. Dr. Arscott joined the Stroud Center staff as a research scientist in 2003 and was project manager for a 6-year study on the streams and rivers that provide drinking water to New York City. He has worked around the world on freshwater issues since starting his bachelors of science degree in biology, chemistry, and conservation at Central Michigan University in 1990. His graduate studies were conducted at the University of New Hampshire (M.S. in Water Resources Management) and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ETH/EAWAG) in Zurich, Switzerland. Prior to becoming the Stroud Center’s first Assistant Director in 2009, Dr. Arscott worked as a Freshwater Ecologist for the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Donor Relations Director, River Network
- Individual Gift Fundraising
- Fundraising Strategy
- Board Engagement
- Event Planning
- Donor Stewardship
Storey Blackwell is the Donor Relations Director at River Network. Storey has a passion for helping people find ways to connect with and support the causes they care about. She joined the nonprofit sector after working in the mortgage and tech industries. She holds a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and has worked to empower impoverished women through her work at BeadforLife, supported her local nonprofit community at Foothills United Way, expanded national programming for a nonprofit startup, and grew and stewarded the donor base supporting education opportunities for low-income youth at “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County.
Executive Director, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
- Growing Small Organizations
- Building a Board
- Building Coalitions and Alliances
- Working with Agencies
Julia Blatt has been protecting rivers since 1987, when, as a congressional aide, she helped gain federal Wild and Scenic River status for the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers. During her eight-year tenure leading the Organization for the Assabet River, the group’s efforts resulted in precedent-setting phosphorus limits for the river’s four wastewater treatment facilities; their work with Intel Massachusetts, a major corporate water user, resulted in a $1.5M recharge fund for the watershed. Since, 2009, Julia has served as the founding executive director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. Mass Rivers works to improve state river protection and to strengthen and connect its 77 member groups. In 2018 they won big increases in the state’s water agency budgets, filed a lawsuit that forced the EPA to implement the state’s stormwater permit, and defeated the governor’s legislation to transfer water pollution control from the federal government to the state. Julia has been recognized for her contributions to river protection in Massachusetts with awards from the National Park Service, Mass Audubon, the Ipswich River Watershed Association, the Charles River Watershed Association, and Trout Unlimited. A new member of the River Network board, she holds degrees from Brown and Tufts.
Deputy Director of Conservation Programs, Hispanic Access Foundation
Latino Engagement in Conservation
Jenny is Deputy Director of Conservation Programs at Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF). She is a co-founder of HAF and has worked on engaging Latinos on National Monuments campaigns, helped create “Land, Water y Comunidad,” a film on Land and Water Conservation Fund from a Latino perspective, and manages Latino Conservation Week, which boasted 150 events last year.
Succession Planning & Youth Engagement
Dennis Chestnut was the founding executive director of Groundwork Anacostia River DC, co-founder of the Center for Green Urbanism (a green business incubator), and chairman of the Friends of Watts Branch (a sub-watershed organization). A lifelong resident of Ward 7 in the far-northeast section of Washington, DC, Dennis became connected as child to the many green spaces, parks, streams, and the Anacostia River. Dennis is also a board member of Casey Trees Foundation, SEED DC Public Charter School, the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Green Ribbon Committee, the United for a Healthy Anacostia River Coalition, a graduate of and vice-chair of the National Capitol Region Anacostia Watershed Citizen Advisory Committee, and Steward Representative to the National Capital Region Watershed Steward Academy Advisory Committee. He has received numerous awards including the Greater Washington Interfaith Partnership Vision Award, the Lankford/Giles/Vaughn Minority Architect Award for Community Activism, to name a few, and is a Senior Fellow of the Chesapeake Region Environmental Leadership Fellowship Program.
Ward 7 and areas east of the Anacostia River have been described as the “Greenest” Ward and section of Washington, D.C. outside of the National Mall, but also is home to some of the most environmentally challenging conditions in the city. This is why Dennis has committed himself to restoring the health of the Anacostia River, improving the green spaces located in this community and throughout Washington, D.C., and connecting the residents, schools, businesses, civic and community organizations to our many outdoor resources and natural environment through tangible on-the-ground projects that Change Places and Change Lives.
National Youth Program Director, Groundwork USA
- Environmental education programs
- Economically disadvantaged youth engagement
- STEM enrichment and science career trajectories
- Developing youth programs and corps
- Developing funding partnerships with federal agencies (NPS, USFWS, USFS, NASA)
Curt Collier is the National Youth Program Director for Groundwork USA, a title he has held since 2010. Before that, he was the Deputy Director for Groundwork Hudson Valley. In those capacities he has developed a number of award-winning youth programs, especially engaging economically disadvantaged youth of color in environmental careers. Working with the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Collier has developed a number of career pipelines helping youth enter into conservation related jobs. He has developed and oversees corps styled programs at a number of National Parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier and Gateway National Recreation Area (New York City), as well as a number of other parks. Collier oversees a number of training programs for youth leaders, teaches professional development workshops (especially those related to technical skill development such as carpentry, painting, and masonry programs), as well as youth leader safety awareness training (Collier is also an authorized OSHA 10 and 30 instructor), and provides a review of youth program procedures for the GWUSA network. Collier is a frequent guest speaker for a number of federal agencies on engaging youth, and has taught workshops nationwide in this topic. He has extensive experience in developing grants to fund youth programs.
Senior Associate, Institute for Conservation Leadership
- Leading Coalitions
- Leadership Development
- Improving Board Relationships
- Engaging New Constituents
Sarah Clark, Senior Associate with the Institute for Conservation Leadership has over 20 years experience developing and leading collaborative efforts, organization development, local and national programs, and leadership development initiatives with membership, advocacy, volunteer and community-based organizations. She is adept at working with leaders to assess needs, clarify outcomes and develop strategies to create change and meet goals and is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion at all levels of an organization or initiative. Sarah leads ICL’s efforts with the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, fostering collaboration throughout this initiative with over 50 organizations and a variety of teams. Sarah earned her MSOD in Organization Development from American University/NTL in 2010 and her BA in Sociology from Miami University (Ohio).
Owner, Water Words That Work LLC
- Public Relations
- Behavior Change Programs
Eric founded Water Words That Work, a marketing and public relations firm for clean water and environmental organizations, and oversees all the company’s client projects. Eric has more than 20 years’ experience planning and executing environmental outreach and communications programs. Eric is a sought-after conference speaker and has appeared on CNN and been quoted in the New York Times. Before starting the firm, Eric worked for Beaconfire Consulting, American Rivers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Environmental Law Institute. Eric’s skills include message development, online outreach, market research, training, and business development.
Environmental Justice Organizer, Clean Water Action
- Leadership and Advocacy Training
- Message Campaigns
Kim Gaddy is the Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action of New Jersey. She has been advocating for communities impacted by industrial pollution and the goods movement system in Newark and across the country for 17 years. Kim develops and implements the NJ Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund’s grassroots environmental justice campaigns and coalition building efforts. She is a Newark School Board Member,New York/New Jersey Regional Representative for the Moving Forward Network, Port Commissioner for the City of Newark, Appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to serve as Vice-Chair of the NJDEP’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council,former Chair of both the Newark Environmental Commission and the Essex County Environmental Commission,a founding member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance and New Jersey President of the International Black Women’s Congress. Previously, she worked in Municipal government in Newark for 12 years and served as the first female Chief of Staff, for Councilwoman Mildred Crump. Kim was recognized for her Community Service in the 2018 Newark Women from Suffragettes to the Statehouse, 2017 selected as 100 People of Newark, Women on the Move Award recipient and a 2007 recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Environmental Community award.
Water Resource Specialist, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
- Maximizing power and influence
- Helping Leaders stuck at the top excel to next level
- Volunteer Monitoring Management
- Monitoring Program Design
Ms. Horn has worked on water quality issues Colorado Rivers since 1986 as an aquatic biologist for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. She founded the Rivers of Colorado Water Watch Network, which is a volunteer monitoring program which annually monitors over 600 stations on 500 plus rivers in Colorado for chemical, physical and biological parameters. She recently held the Volunteer Monitoring representative on the National Water Quality Monitoring Council. She has served on numerous national and state technical and policy groups. She fell into coaching and leadership training and other transformational work realizing the condition of our rivers is a direct reflection of the condition of our hearts. A Colorado native, she claims she reached her maximum potential when at five years old and has been trying to get it back since.
Watershed Science and Restoration Director, Harpeth Conservancy
- Watershed Biogeochemistry
- Environmental Microbiology
- Ecosystem Restoration
- Science and Data Collection
- Designing Monitoring Programs
Ryan joined the Harpeth Conservancy as the Watershed Science and Restoration Program Director. He will provide strategic direction for our science-based programs and implement restoration priorities based on water quality assessment. Ryan is originally from Ohio where he earned a B.S. degree from Ohio State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Toledo researching issues with water quality and harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie.
Retired Executive Director, The Charles River Watershed Association
Urban Water Systems
Bob Zimmerman is the retired Executive Director of the Charles River Watershed Association. Founded in 1965, CRWA is a private nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization using science and the law to protect and enhance the Charles River and its watershed. He joined CRWA in 1990. During his tenure, CRWA became a leading authority on the science of water in urban watersheds, and developed programs that address stormwater pollution, water quality, low instream flow, nutrient loading, habitat protection and restoration, community zoning, suburban sprawl, sustainable development and water demand, the economics of water infrastructure transformation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Today, US EPA considers the Charles River the cleanest urban river in the nation. Prior to working at CRWA, he co-founded and was the Headmaster of the National Sports Academy at Lake Placid, a boarding school offering a preparatory curriculum and training program for winter sports athletes. He has an MA in English, and a BA in English and History from Central Michigan University. The Charles River and CRWA were the 2011 winners of the International River Foundation’s Theiss International Riverprize.