Meet Our Staff

Joyce G. Austin
Administrative Assistant
215-345-7020 ext. 114

Joyce is the Administrative Assistant for the Properties & Programs Department and the main technical support for production of narrative documents and other printed materials. She has worked in secretarial/administrative assistant positions for over 25 years and has completed numerous documents for the Conservancy.

Laura Baird
Senior Land Conservationist
215-345-7020 ext. 135

With over a decade of experience in land conservation, Laura’s primary role as Senior Land Conservationist is to negotiate land protection transactions by writing grants, meeting with landowners and preparing baseline documentations in order to acquire conservation easements. She also works with municipalities to assist in the implementation of their open space plans. Prior to Heritage Conservancy, Laura was a Community Planner at the Monroe County Planning Commission where she managed the County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. Laura has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from East Stroudsburg University.

Linda J. Cacossa
Chief Operating Officer
215-345-7020 ext. 124

As Chief Operating Officer, Linda is responsible for the day-to-day business operations of Heritage Conservancy. This includes all fiscal activities, fundraising, marketing/branding and communications, property management and organizational strategic planning. She provides guidance to department management, establishing organizational performance metrics; driving the goal-setting process throughout the organization; and conducting regular operating reviews to assess financial results and projections relative to budgets. Linda provides the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the Conservancy has the proper operational controls and administrative procedures in place to effectively grow the organization. Linda, a resident of Doylestown Borough, brings substantial experience including 20+ years in land planning and engineering as well as nonprofit management experience as the Executive Director of Fighting Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Karen Cook
Administrative Assistant / Receptionist
215-345-7020

Karen has over twenty years of experience as an Administrative Assistant, having worked for GE (prior Betz Labs) in Trevose, PA, in the Corporate Sales Training Center. She coordinated weekly sales training classes and sales training events for more than 1,000 sales representatives at the corporate headquarters and other global locations. She also worked directly for the Vice President of Engineering and Vice Presidents of Corporate Sales.

Alexandra Dashkiwsky
Communications Coordinator
215-345-7020 ext. 131

Alexandra is responsible for implementing Heritage Conservancy’s marketing program. She executes the day-to-day communications operations, which include press releases, newsletters, publications, social media, website material and advertising. Alexandra holds a B.A. in English from Millersville University.  

David Dator
Conservation Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 121

Dave works within Heritage Conservancy’s Properties & Programs Department and is responsible for maintaining over 61 of the Conservancy’s properties. Dave holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Temple University and a B.S. in Sociology from James Madison University.

Shannon Fredebaugh
Volunteer Coordinator
215-345-7020 ext. 104

Shannon works within Heritage Conservancy’s Development Department and is responsible for strengthening our volunteer base. She recruits volunteers and matches them with opportunities that suit their interest. Shannon also coordinates community outreach events as well as our yearly Volunteer Appreciation Event. Shannon holds a B.A. in Zoology and Environmental Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Shannon has worked on research projects ranging from wildlife behavior and habitat use to species diversity in biofuel agricultural systems and many more. 

Diane Hillman
Accounting Manager
215-345-7020 ext. 118

Diane manages and performs various accounting functions such as developing, implementing and maintaining the accounting systems, policies and procedures; compiling, analyzing and reporting accounting data for management reports and decision-making purposes.  She brings nearly thirty years of Accounting and Financial Management experience, ten of which were in non-profit, and an additional ten years were spent in residential and commercial development and land acquisition. With a strong interest in environmental issues and conservation, Diane has offered her support and services to several nationally-recognized organizations, one of which included marsh land restoration due to the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

Erin Hockensmith
Conservation Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 134

Erin works within the Conservancy’s Properties & Programs Department to further the goal of our mission by monitoring our own preserved properties as well as privately-owned eased properties. Erin prepares annual monitoring reports for these properties and conducts baseline documentation surveys. She maintains the beautiful grounds of Aldie Mansion, as well as several other Heritage Conservancy properties. Erin also coordinates all weekday corporate and special events at Aldie Mansion, from caterer selection to food and décor. She graduated from Temple University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and brings with her five years of experience in plant maintenance from Bountiful Acres Garden Nursery.

Kris Kern
Senior Land Conservationist
215-345-7020 ext. 101 

Kris has over ten years of land-use planning and conservation experience.  In addition to assisting with Heritage Conservancy’s grant writing and fundraising efforts, Kris works with municipalities and private landowners to protect land via conservation easements and fee acquisitions.  Before joining Heritage Conservancy, she worked for the County of Bucks, administering three grant programs under its Open Space Program.  Kris is a graduate of Kutztown University and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master of City and Regional Planning degree. 

Jeffrey L. Marshall
President
215-345-7020 ext. 113

As President, Jeff leads the Conservancy’s principal mission-related initiatives including Lasting Landscapes, historic preservation, land protection negotiation, and high-level strategic master planning. Jeff has over 25 years of combined experience in land protection and historic preservation. He is actively involved in administering the conservation easement and facade easement programs with expertise in the employment of protection strategies for significant resources. He gives public education programs and acts as a preservation advocate throughout the community. Numerous articles have been published on his endeavors in the preservation field.

Mary Lou McFarland
Senior Preservation Specialist
215-283-0383 

Mary Lou founded The Conservancy of Montgomery County(CMC) and served as its president for over 20 years. As part of Heritage Conservancy’s 2012 merger with CMC, she joined our staff in a leadership role. In this position, Mary Lou oversees the continual monitoring of eleven acquired conservation easements from CMC in addition to the conservation easements in Montgomery County already preserved by Heritage Conservancy. With an extensive background in historical research, she heads historic preservation projects in Montgomery County and surrounding areas as well. Mary Lou received her undergraduate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her Master’s degree from Ohio State University.

Katie Paone
Executive Assistant
215-345-7020 ext. 108

Katie acts as liaison in communicating with Heritage Conservancy’s Board of Directors, various committees and staff members.  She assists executives with daily tasks and communications. She also plans fundraising events for the Conservancy, including our annual Christmas at Aldie gala and Farm to Table dinner. Katie holds a B.S in Tourism and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Destination and Event Management from Temple University.

Tammy Schane
Membership Coordinator
215-345-7020 ext. 107

Tammy works within the Development Department to strengthen Heritage Conservancy’s membership base. She recruits both business and individual members and is responsible for annual giving, special events and external communications of the organization. Tammy previously worked for the American Cancer Society in special events fundraising for five years. She has been with the Conservancy since 2011 as a Historic Preservation Intern, and she volunteered as the co-chair of our Individual Membership Committee. Tammy graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Journalism and History and recently completed a Historic Preservation Certificate at Bucks County Community College.

Jim Thompson
Senior Conservation Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 120

Jim has over 20 years of experience in conservation and land management. He identifies, evaluates and monitors natural resources on conservancy-owned properties and conservation easements. His primary responsibilities include preparing annual monitoring reports for these properties; conducting baseline documentation surveys and report preparation for acquisitions and conservation easements. Jim holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Sandra Yerger
Associate Director of Development
215-345-7020 ext. 103

Sandy has managed all aspects of member relations for Heritage Conservancy including planning, organizing and implementing special events, fundraising, educational programming and volunteer activities for seven years. She is currently responsible for much of the Conservancy’s development of community outreach programs that target both private citizens as well as businesses and corporations.

Sharon Young
Properties & Programs Manager
215-345-7020 ext. 106

Sharon Young has been with Heritage Conservancy for fourteen years and has over twenty-five years of administrative and project management experience. She is responsible for coordinating and monitoring all projects for the Properties and Programs Department. She completed the Conservancy’s successful accreditation application and ensures that all conservation easement and land donation transactions meet land trust standards and practices.

 

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