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 more than 25 years and has completed numerous documents for the Conservancy.

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

With more than 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.

Alexandra Dashkiwsky
Manager of Marketing and Communications
215-345-7020 ext. 131

Alexandra is responsible for implementing Heritage Conservancy’s marketing plan. 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.

jim drennanJim Drennan
Senior Conservation Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 134

As Senior Conservation Steward, Jim’s primary responsibility is to identify and implement conservation projects on our preserved properties to maximize the health of their natural resources for the benefit of wildlife and our community. Jim has a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University. Before joining Heritage Conservancy’s staff, Jim worked as an environmental educator and land manager for the National Audubon Society and as a high school science teacher.

Shannon Fredebaugh
Senior Community Engagement Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 104

Shannon works within Heritage Conservancy’s Development Department and is responsible for strengthening Heritage Conservancy’s 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.

Carryn Golden
Executive Assistant
215-345-7020 ext. 112

Bio coming soon!



john for web 2John Greenwood
Property Caretaker
215-345-7020 ext. 121

John is responsible for maintaining Aldie Mansion and its surrounding nine acres. He has a sales, management, and manufacturing background and uses this experience to meet the daily challenges of maintaining Aldie Mansion and its beautiful verdant grounds, trees, and facilities. John graduated from Philadelphia University with a B.S. in Business Administration and had a thirty-five-year career in industry before coming to Heritage Conservancy. His daily goal is to care for and improve this exceptional environment.

Emily Hart
Development Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 107

Bio coming soon!



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.

Kris Kern
Director of Resource Protection
215-345-7020 ext. 101

Kris has more than 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.

Jess Kraus
Watershed Outreach Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 105

Bio coming soon!

Jeffrey L. Marshall
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 more than twenty-five 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.

MaryLouMary Lou McFarland
Senior Preservation Specialist
215-345-7020 ext. 109

Mary Lou founded The Conservancy of Montgomery County (CMC) and served as its president for more than 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
Manager of Development
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.

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

Jim has more than 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.

TaylorThompsonTaylor Thompson
Senior Conservation Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 128

Taylor’s primary role as Conservation Associate is to assist the Properties and Programs Department with land protection transactions, baseline documentation reports and monitoring of preserved properties. Taylor interned with Heritage Conservancy for two consecutive summers while attending Dickinson College before joining the staff as a full-time employee. She graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.

Nina Valentin
Conservation Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 102

Bio coming soon!



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 more than 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
Director of Properties and Programs
215-345-7020 ext. 106

Sharon Young has been with Heritage Conservancy for fourteen years and has more than 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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