Our Board of Directors

The Officers and Members of the Board of Directors contribute their time strictly as volunteers and do not receive any financial remuneration from the Alliance as part of these services.  The Alliance thanks them for their service, their passion, and their leadership!

The Hudson River Watershed Alliance is seeking committed people with diverse interests to join our boardLearn about joining our Board of Directors.

Emily Svenson, President
Gordon & Svenson LLP

Emily Svenson is an environmental and land use attorney with the Law Office of David K. Gordon in Poughkeepsie. Her practice focuses on assisting citizen groups advocating for environmental protection and challenging inappropriate development, as well as working with municipalities to develop land use policy. Svenson began her career in soil and water conservation, first with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee working on agricultural pollution control, and later as coordinator of the Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts focusing on stormwater education. A life-long Hudson Valley resident, Svenson lives in Hyde Park with her husband and two sons. She got involved in Hyde Park government as chair of the town’s Conservation Advisory Council and went to serve four terms as a Town Board member and Deputy Supervisor. She was Hyde Park’s representative to the Fall Kill Watershed Committee and currently represents the town on the Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council. Svenson holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a J.D. from Pace Law School.

Matthew Shook, Vice-President
Palisades Interstate Park Commission

Matthew Shook is the Director of Development and Special Projects for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. He has worked in and around New York State parks since 2004, when he began his career as a Student Conservation Association intern at Trailside Museums and Zoo at Bear Mountain. He later went on to serve as Assistant Director of the Highlands Environmental Research Institute, a joint PIPC-Rutgers University partnership before joining the PIPC as Program Manager in 2012. Mr. Shook has written and managed grant-funded project ranging from historic restoration efforts and trail construction, to scientific research and habitat management, archival management, staffing, environmental education, and public programming within NY State Parks. In addition to being a Board Member of the Alliance, he is also the Chair of the Board of Strawtown Studio.

Nicole Laible, M.P.A.P, Treasurer
Westchester County Soil & Water Conservation District

Nicole Valentina Laible is the District Manager for the Westchester County Soil & Water Conservation District where she manages a board of directors, diverse environmental projects and programs, oversees an annual budget and grants, and performance standards. Prior to her service at Westchester County, she was the Environmental Programs Manager for the Rockland County Division of Environmental Resources. There she managed four environmental boards and several professional and community science research projects, including the Rockland County Soil & Water Conservation District (RC SWCD), Environmental Management Council, Water Quality Coordinating Committee, and Agriculture & Farmland Protection Board. In August 2017, Nicole collaborated with many stakeholders across Rockland County to form the Minisceongo Creek Watershed Alliance. Prior to her County government service she served two terms with AmeriCorps at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County, a year with the Student Conservation Association at NYS DEC as an Estuary Fisheries Educator, and later worked as the Assistant Project Manager for Rockland County AmeriCorps while also consulting for the RC SWCD. Nicole sees the value in board member service and has served on the Rockland County Environmental Management Council and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County. She is an Environmental Leadership Program Northeast Program Senior Fellow and holds a Master’s of Public Administration and Policy from American University and a B.Sc. degree from SUNY Stony Brook University where she double majored in Marine Sciences and Coastal Environmental Studies. Nicole joined the HRWA in April 2019.

Larissa Read, Secretary
Common Ground Consulting, LLC

Larissa Read is an ecologist, natural resource planner, and the founder of Common Ground Consulting, LLC. Based near Albany, NY, she provides planning and facilitation services to with environmental, nonprofit, and federal and local government organizations in the Northeast and beyond. Larissa has experience guiding groups through complex decisions about their natural resources while balancing the needs of the human environment. She is especially passionate about working to protect the health of our rivers and streams and engaging the diverse communities that depend on them. Larissa served as President of the Board of Directors for the Eagle River Watershed Council, a member of the Board of Directors for Holy Cross Energy, and a member of the City of Boulder Environmental Advisory Board. Prior to opening her own business, Larissa worked as an ecologist and natural resource planner for the National Park Service and for the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department. Larissa has a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.

Christianna Bennett
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 

Christianna is a Landscapist, Urbanist, writer, and Instructor in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, History & Theory. Her interests include ecology, ethics, biomaterials & material hybrids, experimental horticulture, and the history and philosophy of science, technology, and design. Christianna’s recent projects examine pairing adaptive biological membranes (“plant prostheses”) with plant tissue, elsewhere as tissues in the environment, in an effort to preserve the diversity of soft ecologies for future generations. She is currently researching and publishing a text on the legacies of medicine as it exists within – and is extracted from – landscapes. Christianna’s research explores speculative futures of botanical-cyborgs, and the hybridization of landscape-machines – such as landscapes that generate architecture and architectures generative of landscapes. From her expertise in Landscapes, Architecture, Ecology, and History & Theory, she pursues curiosities concerning the emotional power of images and compelling force of aesthetics to provoke hope and imagination about the future of landscapes and ecologies. Her writing emerges as a fresh tangent, for deepening contemplations on the possible futures of practices of horticulture.

Julia Eisenberg, Ph.D.
Lubin School of Business, Pace University

Julia Eisenberg is an Associate Professor in the Management and Management Science Department at Pace University. She earned her Ph.D. in Management from the Rutgers Business School, with a focus on organizational behavior. Her research interests include collaboration among individuals and teams, leadership, innovation, and human resources management. Julia has published several peer-reviewed academic journal articles and book chapters as well as presented her research at numerous domestic and international conferences. She serves as an associate editor for the Journal of International Management and for the Asia Pacific Management Review Journal. Prior to academia, Julia worked for Goldman Sachs, J.P.
Morgan Private Bank, and Morgan Stanley as a product developer and a manager in the technology and finance divisions.

Michael H. Finewood, Ph.D.
Pace University

Michael Finewood is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Science at Pace University, where he teaches and conducts research in environmental governance, political ecology, water, and sustainability, with explicit attention to environmental justice. Dr. Finewood received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of South Carolina. Over his career Dr. Finewood’s research has focused on how communities perceive and make decisions about water infrastructure, with the goal of improving community engagement and creating equitable outcomes. His current work centers on green infrastructure, stormwater, and the challenges of watershed-based governance. He is also the board secretary of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

Patricia Gardner
JBM Sherman Carmel, Inc.

Patricia Gardner is currently the Assistant Financial Controller of a small contract manufacturing company in rural Bennington Vermont. Sixteen years after receiving her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Patriciawas provided the opportunity to further her education and chose Siena College to pursue her MBA in Strategic Management. Due to high academic achievement, Patricia was inducted as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society in May 2022. Other notable achievements include co-founder and co-organizer of Southern Vermont Homebrew Festival along with other local, Southern Vermont event volunteering and organizing, over a decade as a local youth religious education volunteer, and participation in many school (for her 2 children) fundraising activities. Patricia lives in the small town of Hoosick Falls, New York with her husband, daughter, 2 dogs and a cat. And, due to her adult son, she will soon be adding the title of grandmother to her long list of achievements. 

Tracey Ledder
Delaware Engineering DPC

Tracey is a long-term water enthusiast. She recently returned to the East Coast from Wisconsin, where she was a founding member of a watershed association. She served on the Board,  and acted as technical advisor, setting up volunteer monitoring programs, training volunteers and giving presentations on results. She has  attended several HRWA activities since being in New York, and joined the Board in 2021. She also lived and worked on the Clearwater for a week, as volunteer crew and educator. Tracey is an environmental scientist with 30 years of experience in a wide variety of work environments. She earned her Master of Science in Environmental Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her work ranges from water quality monitoring and laboratory analyses, environmental assessment, grant writing and administration, and project management, to public speaking, writing and editing. She currently assists engineers in water and wastewater infrastructure projects in environmental review under state and federal regulation, permit applications, water and sewer rate restructuring and report preparation, as well as the occasional wetland delineation or water resources monitoring project (whenever possible).

Mike McCann
The Nature Conservancy

Mike McCann, Ph.D. is a Climate Adaptation Specialist with The Nature Conservancy in New York. He was raised in the Hudson Valley and was trained as an aquatic scientist. Mike completed his B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of Notre Dame, then returned to the East Coast to pursue his Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution at Stony Brook University. In 2015, Mike completed his Ph.D. and joined the Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. There, he studied the effect of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marsh food webs. Mike joined The Nature Conservancy in 2016 and currently works on solutions to address flooding across NY that can lead to better social and conservation outcomes. Mike has published several peer-reviewed scientific articles and is the author of the Restoring Oysters to Urban Waters reportMike resides in the City of Poughkeepsie with his wife, kid, and many, many pets. 

Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D.
Siena College

Dr. Katherine Meierdiercks is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Siena College, Loudonville NY, where she teaches courses in watershed management; environmental field techniques; environmental research methods; Geographic Information Systems (GIS); and analysis techniques for soil, air, and water. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Princeton University. For the past several years, she and her students have been collecting field data and doing GIS mapping in the Kromma Kill watershed, a tributary to the Hudson River.

Pammi Price
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission

Pamela (Pammi) Price is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, and Certified Interpretive Guide, with a M.Ed. in Environmental Education from Bard Center for Environmental Policy and a B.T. in Wildlife Management from SUNY Cobleskill. Pammi combines her myriad of skills to engage with community members and share her wildlife and science knowledge with them. She loves to teach about the health benefits of nature and the ways nature helps to create community connections. Her tools to enhance educational opportunities for everyone include place-based and inquiry-based approaches that are mindful of access and inclusion for all. In her role as the Preserve Naturalist and Educator at Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, Pammi is a member of the dynamic education team, assisting with interpretive and educational programming, publications, and opportunities for community engagement, as well as managing the Volunteer Naturalist Program. Pammi often uses community-powered science in her work and has gained knowledge and insight into the practice of community-powered science through the Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences, where she is an active member. Pammi is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Hudson Center for Community and Environment and is active in the New York State Outdoor Education Association, where she is Co-Chair of the Equity, Access, and Inclusion committee and Co-chaired the 2022 Annual Conference.

Dan Shapley

As director of Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program, Dan Shapley coordinates the largest community science water quality project of its kind, sampling hundreds of locations throughout the Hudson River Watershed, primarily to show when and where water is safe for swimming. The data gathered is the basis for advocacy to stop water pollution, by catalyzing needed investments in water infrastructure and watershed management, including drinking source water protection. Prior to his work in the Water Quality Program, he focused on engaging Riverkeeper’s members in activism and volunteerism, including creation of the Riverkeeper Sweep, an annual day of service for the Hudson River.  A lifelong Hudson Valley resident and graduate of Hartwick College, he started his career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Poughkeepsie Journal, where he won numerous awards for writing about the Hudson Valley environment. From 2007 to 2011, he edited, an award-winning website devoted to green living. He lives in Rhinebeck with his wife, son and dogs.