The Stewardship Team
John Cecil is Vice President for Stewardship for New Jersey Audubon, where he provides leadership and oversight to New Jersey Audubon's stewardship-related activities. John joined New Jersey Audubon in 2012.
Prior to joining New Jersey Audubon, John spent approximately 10 years with the National Audubon Society as the national Director of the Important Bird Areas Program. In that role John provided guidance and strategic vision to Important Bird Areas activities at the state and national levels, with a particular emphasis on site identification, prioritization, monitoring, and conservation planning and implementation. John served as the National Audubon Society's representative to several national and international organizations and partnerships, including the U.S. Shorebird Council (serving as Chair from 2006–2012), the U.S. National Ramsar Committee, Partners In Flight, and the BirdLife Americas Partnership. He provided staff support to the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas Council and served as a board member of the Bahamas National Trust.
John previously worked for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's Nongame Wildlife Program, where he was involved with wildlife research and monitoring projects in the southern Appalachian Mountains. John has also worked for several other state wildlife agencies in Delaware, Florida, and Virginia.
John received an M.S. from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where his research focused on the management of early successional habitat in roadside rights-of-way for the benefit of wildlife. He received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Frostburg State University.
John has been involved in conservation activities benefiting a wide variety of wildlife, including: freshwater mussels, American Alligators, Bog Turtles, Southern Appalachian and Allegheny Woodrats, Northern Flying Squirrels, Wood Ducks, Mottled Ducks, Peregrine Falcons, songbirds, Piping Plovers, Wilson's Plovers, and numerous colonial waterbirds. John's conservation and birding interests have led him to travel extensively throughout the United States and the Americas.
John Parke is Stewardship Project Director--North Jersey for New Jersey Audubon. He has been with New Jersey Audubon since 2005 helping to enroll a multitude of farmers, landowners, and corporate entities into various conservation incentive programs. John also designs and assists with implementation of numerous habitat restoration projects in the northwestern part of the state on both private and public lands. In 2007 John's habitat restoration plan design for the Verizon Corporate Campus in Basking Ridge, NJ earned Verizon the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for the Healthy Ecosystem Category and in 2011 John's work with Troy Ettel on NJ Audubon's S.A.V.E. initiative earned NJ Audubon the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for the Land Conservation Category.
John received his B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Geoscience from Ramapo State College of New Jersey. He has over 16 years of experience working in private-sector environmental consulting, where he served as Senior Biologist/Wetland Specialist as well as Project Manager for the ecological division of Brennan Environmental, Inc. John is also a certified Professional Wetland Scientist with the Society of Wetland Scientists and a Certified Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America. John is an adjunct instructor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey teaching avian identification. He is also an alumnus of Class VIII of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program and is extremely active with the NJDFW's Wildlife Conservation Corps (WCC) as part of its Venomous Snake Response Team and assists in performing rare species surveys throughout New Jersey for WCC.
Jean Lynch is Stewardship Project Director--South Jersey for New Jersey Audubon and also oversees the Important Bird and Birding Areas program. She works with public and private landowners to restore native ecosystems and enhance habitat availability for native species.
Before joining the New Jersey Audubon staff, Jean was the Coastal Region Biologist for the North Carolina State Parks system. At NC State Parks she worked on restoration and management of a range of coastal plain ecosystems, from longleaf pine to pocosin to salt marsh. Jean is experienced with the use of prescribed fire in ecosystem management and with control of invasive species. She has performed monitoring and habitat management for a number of rare and endangered species, including Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Wilson's and Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, several sea turtle species, and Venus flytraps. Jean has also worked on wading bird habitat in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary; on a colonial waterbird nesting island off the coast of Maine; and at a prescribed fire demonstration site in the Long Island Pine Barrens.
Jean has a Master's Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, where her training focused on landscape ecology and restoration and management of wetlands and fire-dependent ecosystems. She has a certificate in geospatial analysis from Duke University and is a certified wildland firefighter. Her bachelor's degree is from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is based at New Jersey Audubon's Center for Research and Education in Cape May Court House, New Jersey.
Don Donnelly is Stewardship Project Director--Forester for New Jersey Audubon, and oversees the forestry initiatives being undertaken by NJAS throughout the state, with a focus on ecological forestry at a landscape scale.
Don obtained his B.S. in Natural Resource Management with a concentration in Forest Management from Rutgers University. Don has 17 years of experience working as a forester for several government agencies, including the Hunterdon County Parks Department, the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, and the Morris County Soil Conservation District. Don's work has included all aspects of wildlife and natural resource habitat improvements, including traditional forest inventory measurements, invasive species management, wetland and stream restoration projects, wildlife habitat enhancement, and timber management. Don also holds credentials as a NJ Approved Forester and NJ Certified Tree Expert. He is accredited by the NJ Community Forestry Council, is a Qualified Inspector for the American Tree Farm System and is certified as a Wildland Firefighter by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
Gylla MacGregor is Project Director - GIS for New Jersey Audubon. In addition to working on habitat restoration projects on both state and private land, she also oversees NJAS's 28 unstaffed sanctuaries and two conservation easements. Gylla is responsible for acquisition, trail installation and maintenance, biodiversity inventory, and land stewardship of NJAS property holdings. She also uses her extensive GIS/GPS experience to apply mapping and spatial analysis to restoration projects. Gylla has been involved in field research since 1996, working primarily with small mammals and reptiles. She has focused on habitat use, specifically the impact of habitat disturbance on small mammals, reptiles, and the Regal Fritillary butterfly. Gylla has also used radiotelemetry, GIS, and GPS to study habitat use and behavior in reptiles.
Gylla received her B.A. in Biology from The College of New Jersey, and her Master's degree in Biology/Ecology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Gylla holds a current NJDEP Commercial Pesticide Applicator License and has taken advanced courses in GIS, including spatial analysis and remote sensing.
Jeremy Caggiano, Stewardship Project Coordinator – Forester for NJA, serves as the crew leader for landscape level forest inventories throughout northern New Jersey and works closely with the organization's Stewardship Project Directors on various program initiatives including their Forest Stewardship Council Group certification efforts.
Jeremy earned his B.S. in Forestry from the University of Maine's School of Forest Resources and has been practicing his trade throughout the northeast and inland northwestern regions of the United States for more than a decade. He is an active member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and several state forestry and timber product associations. Jeremy holds certification as a Wildland Firefighter and is certified as a Wetland Delineator by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to his work with NJA, Jeremy was Director of Stewardship for one of New York's foremost nongovernmental conservation organizations. In this role he assumed responsibility as a SmartWood Group Manager and worked directly with international certification bodies to develop guiding policies promoting sustainability through Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Jeremy has overseen large scale forest inventory, timber marking, prescription burn, and sale activities as a Certified Forester and is owner and proprietor of a natural resources consulting firm.
Frank Elmuccio is a Stewardship Specialist--Forestry--based in North Jersey for New Jersey Audubon. Frank takes part in a three phase approach to management of public, private, and New Jersey Audubon properties under forest stewardship plans. This includes forest inventory data collection, support to and collaboration with forestry staff in forest stewardship plan writing, and active stewardship on properties through the use of forest stand improvement techniques. Frank also aids the Stewardship Department in many other related wildlife and habitat conservation projects throughout the state
Frank earned a BA in Biology from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. After graduating Frank served two years with the AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Program through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) promoting the practice and implementation of environmental stewardship through individual hands-on fieldwork coupled with direct community involvement and education. Throughout his service years Frank had the unique opportunity to work with the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group assisting on a range of different environmental restoration projects in Northern New Jersey’s Watersheds. This work included assessment, planning, and implementation of stream side reforestation and related restoration projects, and comprehensive watershed assessments and water monitoring in accordance with approved NJDEP protocols.
Lindsay Gafford is Stewardship Department Specialist and coordinates New Jersey Audubon's S.A.V.E. program. She works closely with farmers and retailers to produce and sell S.A.V.E. birdseed and wood products, and to create a statewide network of program supporters. Additionally, she supports a variety of programs within the Stewardship Department and assists with department administrative tasks.
Lindsay graduated from University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with degrees in Wildlife Ecology, Biology and Spanish. After college she worked as an AmeriCorps intern with US Fish and Wildlife’s Columbia National Wildlife Refuge as their Education Coordinator. Lindsay spent a year educating school students about their local environment and working with other stewardship interns to help care for the refuge. In NJ, she’s worked as an Environmental Educator for Fairview Lake YMCA camp which is when she became passionate about helping people in urban and suburban areas form meaningful connections with the land around them. She was also a Teacher Naturalist for NJ Audubon’s Lorrimer Sanctuary in Franklin Lakes.
Kristen Meistrell is Stewardship Specialist—South Region for New Jersey Audubon and works closely with the Stewardship team on habitat management and restoration. She participates in a variety of projects on both private and public lands, working to create healthier ecosystems while also restoring and managing habitats for native wildlife and plants.
Kristen earned her B.S. in Ecology and Natural Resources from Cook College, Rutgers University, and has several years of field biology and environmental education experience. During college, she worked as a seasonal naturalist for both the Hunterdon County and Somerset County Parks Departments, where she created and presented environmental education programs for children and adults. She worked with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, studying a variety of rare wildlife species, including Bog Turtles, Wood Turtles, Longtail Salamanders, Timber Rattlesnakes, and various vernal pool species. Kristen has experience working with radio telemetry and GIS technology as well as habitat assessment and habitat management projects. She regularly volunteers for the Calling Amphibian Monitoring Project as well as amphibian migration surveys and continues to participate in other volunteer opportunities with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and the Wildlife Conservation Corps.
Brittany Dobrzynski, Stewardship Specialist–South Region for New Jersey Audubon, works with the Stewardship team on various habitat management and restoration projects on public and private lands. She works closely with local farmers and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to promote agricultural best management practices for soil and water conservation.
Brittany received her B.S in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from The University of Rhode Island (URI), where she developed skills in field identification and wildlife monitoring techniques. While in school she worked at the URI Outreach Center, creating and teaching ecology lessons for elementary-school children and developing lesson plans meeting state standards for educators to incorporate into their curricula. She worked for Rhode Island Natural History Survey identifying native plant populations and collecting, cleaning, and propagating seed to build a seed bank and grow plants for retail and restoration purposes.
Brittany has worked for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, monitoring protected beach-nesting bird species including piping plovers, American oystercatchers, least terns, and black skimmers. She worked as an environmental educator for Fairview Lake YMCA camp, teaching ecology, science, and team-building lessons to people of all ages. Each year she serves on a small research team in the National Park Service’s annual box turtle survey on Fire Island National Seashore.
Trisha Pitcher is a Stewardship Technician for the South Region for New Jersey Audubon. In this position she assists with on the ground conservation projects including working closely with the Cape May Habitat Restoration Task Force and the Invasive Species Strike Team to identify and manage invasive plants in Southern New Jersey. She assists with the development and implementation of model backyard habitat projects and other projects related to natural resource conservation and wildlife habitat.
Trisha received her B.S in Environmental Science from Stockton College. She held an internship at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ohio where she unexpectedly discovered a love for invasive plant management. She was also able to monitor bird boxes and practice mist netting which gave her an appreciation for birds and birders. After graduating she served two consecutive terms in AmeriCorps as a Watershed Ambassador for the DEP. She spent her time collaborating with local organizations and citizens to host river clean ups, rain barrel workshops and the construction of a rain garden. She held seasonal positions with the NJ Invasive Species Strike Team surveying southern New Jersey for emergent invasive species as well as with Edwin B. Forsythe Refuge as a Salt Marsh and Avian Research Program (SHARP) technician, assisting a PhD student study the health of tidal-marsh bird communities and the marshes they live in. She has been a volunteer Shorebird Steward, C.A.M.P volunteer and Kestrel Box monitor and serves as Vice Chair on the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Joint Environmental Commission.
Judith Bland has been a Volunteer with the Conservation and Stewardship group of New Jersey Audubon since 2004. She continues to be involved in a variety of NJAS activities including stuffing envelopes, refinishing furniture, clearing brush, writing, and editing. Judith has completed more than one thousand hours of volunteer work and is well on her way to two thousand.
Judith earned a B.A. degree in Biology from Thomas More College; and then completed both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Ecological Microbiology at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. Prior to retirement Judith worked in a variety of positions, including postdoctoral appointments, teaching, research, and environmental work in the pharmaceutical industry.
Associate Naturalists and Conservation Interns
- Joseph Hernandez – Associate Naturalist
- Nathaniel Hernandez – Associate Naturalist
- Silas Hernandez – Associate Naturalist
- Ruth Murphy – Conservation Intern
- Wade Veselka – Conservation Intern