A list of confirmed program leaders for the 65th Allegany Nature Pilgrimage will be released in early 2023 View the leader bios from the 2022 event below
Baird, Timothy - Salamanca, NY - Tim is a retired teacher and nature enthusiast who has lead walks for many years at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. He has spent much time studying local natural history and enjoys nature photography.
Baker, Conrad - Mt. Morris, NY - Conrad is an outdoor educator at Letchworth State Park. As an insect collector, he tries to pose butterflies and moths in their natural resting postures rather than according to rigorous academic or museum standards. At work and at home he helps gardeners plan pollinator gardens that are effective and attractive.
Carra, Mark - West Valley, NY -Mark started as a wildlife educator in 1989 and has spoken to more than 800,000 people since then. He was the naturalist in residence for Beaver Meadow Audubon Center in North Java, NY and has worked as a representative and presenter for Animal Planet, National Geographic Channel and public television and handled animals for many of their celebrities. His passion for learning and obsession to communicate what he has learned has kept him going all these years and loving the entire journey.
Contrino, Kathleen - Akron, NY - Kathy promotes the use of native plants in residential gardens in order to improve ecological diversity. She has been growing native plants and designing native plant gardens since 1997. As an avid birder, Kathy participates in Cornell Cooperative's FeederWatch program/Habitat Network as well as volunteers for Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and the Buffalo Audubon Society leading tours. Currently Kathy is recreating the Great Lakes ecosystem on her 10 acres in Akron, NY where she participates in the open gardens section of the Gardens Buffalo Niagara. Kathy is a member of the Western New York Plant Collaborative.
Corrigan, Peter - Buffalo, NY - Peter is an amateur naturalist whose interest in birds and birding spans over 25 years. He is a member of the Buffalo Audubon and Buffalo Ornithological Societies.
Corrigan, Teresa - Buffalo, NY - Teresa is a certified yoga instructor, an avid amateur naturalist, hiker and yoga practitioner, and a retired elementary school teacher. She teaches yoga to children at Power Yoga Buffalo and adults at Yoga Parkside. She is also a volunteer tour guide at NYSDEC's Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve.
Craft, Jim - Rochester, NY - Jim spent much of his youth exploring the Bristol Hills near Honeoye Lake while helping his dad build their family cabin. Those experiences led to interest and degrees in geology from SUNY-Brockport and Binghamton and a stint in the oil patch of offshore California. After exploring the western US (living in a van down by rivers), Jim returned east and joined the NYSDEC as an engineering geologist. Now retired from a 30+ year career of chasing groundwater pollutants and polluters, a return to "fun" geology has produced field guides for the Salamanca Conglomerate at Rock City State Forest. Currently, Jim is using orthoimagery/LIDAR/DEM data with GIS to track and study the Salamanca and other conglomerates and to analyze various landforms across Allegany State Park and beyond.
Crombe, Frank - Scottsville, NY - Frank’s extensive knowledge of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, etc. comes from his interest in the natural world. This included working outdoors as a gardener and caddy among other activities. He currently grows native plants and is an active member in various conservation and not-for-profit organizations.
Daniel, Steven - Pittsford, NY - Steven has spent the better part of a lifetime studying natural history and teaching others, formally and informally. He took an early retirement from teaching to develop Nature Discoveries, an ecotour company which he co-founded, and for whom he has led over 140 trips to some of the world's finest natural areas. He was a founder and first president of the Rochester Area Mycological Association. He developed biotic inventories and master plans for The Nature Conservancy preserves, and the Genesee Country Museum Nature Center. He teaches Field Natural History (a class he developed nearly 40 years ago) at Monroe Community College. In recent years he has grown quite passionate about dragonflies, butterflies and moths, and sedges. Now semi-retired, he spends much of his time exploring the great ecological treasures of New York's North Country. He is a board member of the New York Flora Association, co-curator of the Rochester Academy of Science Herbarium and has served on the executive council of Burroughs Audubon Nature Club. He has an M.S. in science and environmental education from Cornell University.
Danielson, Erik - Gerry, NY - Erik is a naturalist from Chautauqua County, NY who serves as the stewardship coordinator for the Western New York Land Conservancy. Erik loves plants large and small and he's out looking at them all year: winter is the best time of year for tracking down and measuring the largest and tallest trees in NY state, while in midsummer he might be found lying down at eye-level with a tiny moonwort fern.
Driscoll, Angela - Hamburg, NY - Angela has a bachelor's degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from SUNY Geneseo, and got her masters in Botany at Miami University of Ohio, conducting spatial studies on invasive plants for her thesis. While at Miami, she taught a field botany course. After grad school, Angela worked at WNY Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, primarily conducting surveys and managing invasive plants. She also taught a Great Lakes Education Program through Cradle Beach in various Buffalo schools. She currently works as a Wetlands and Waters Ecologist at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, focusing on wetland and stream permit review, conducting wetland delineations and enforcement.
Deck, Brian - Java Center, NY - Brian is a self taught naturalist and tour leader. He has led many previous Pilgrimage tours. He currently works as an independent tour guide, doing tours at Niagara Falls during warmer months and in the Big Bend/Rio Grande, TX area during winter. Dustin, Laura - Honeoye Falls, NY - It seems Laura has always loved the outdoors and Allegany State Park. As an undergrad and graduate student she explored the wonders of the natural world, especially vascular plant taxonomy. She started leading at the ANP as an undergrad. Later, much later, she began her career as an educator, facilitating students' love of the sciences. Now that she is retired, she dabbles in outdoor activities and physics.
Fendya, Jennifer - Buffalo, NY - Jennifer is certified by the Association for Nature and forest therapy and has been guiding Forest Bathing walks in and beyond Western NY since 2017. She is a Licensed Psychologist/Sandplay therapist, an active member of both the International Climate Psychology Alliance and the Climate Reality Project - WNY Chapter and a practitioner of contemplative photography. She is excited to return to the Pilgrimage for her third year.
Gall, Wayne - Lancaster, NY - Wayne has been a program leader at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage since 1982, missing only two non-pandemic years during that interval. Wayne served on the staff of the Buffalo Museum of Science from 1983-2001, as the Museum's first Administrator-Naturalist of Tifft Nature Preserve and then as Curator of Entomology. From 2001-2016, Wayne was Western Regional Entomologist for the NYS Dept of Health. Since 2016 Wayne has been Entomologist (Identifier) for the US Dept of Agriculture, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, based on the Peace Bridge Plaza in Buffalo. Wayne earned his BA in Biology at SUNY Buffalo; MS in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and PhD in Zoology at the University of Toronto. Wayne and his wife, Susan, a retired School Nurse for the Lancaster School District, have three children and six grandchildren.
Gallineau, Kevin - Lake View, NY - Kevin has been coming to ASP for 68 years and is part of the third generation of six generations that have enjoyed ASP. He has camped, hiked, fished and hunted in ASP. In around 2008, Kevin became interested in Allegany State Park Historical Society and became member. In 2012, seven people including Kevin, started doing volunteer work in ASP. Shortly there after, Paul Crawford came up with the idea of forming a Friend's Group. Long story short, this became the Friends of Allegany State Park. Since then he became the first VP of FOASP and one of 8 Founding Father's. He has been involved in I Love My Park Day since it started as well as National Public Lands Day and First Day Hikes. He has been the tour guide for many fire tower tours. He has led several 3rd Saturday Hikes for ASP. Since he started volunteering in ASP he has chocked up over 600 hours of service.
Gardner, Frank - Bedford, MA - Frank has been an amateur birder for over 35 years. He has served as a Christmas Bird Count coordinator for 20 years in Massachusetts and was a contributor to the New York State breeding bird atlas project. He has been a field trip leader at ANP for over 30 years. Frank also developed the bird checklist for the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage.
Hillman, Jennifer - Hamburg, NY - Jennifer and Bill McKeever are co-authors of Secret Places of Western New York: 25 Scenic Hikes, available through Reedy Press April 1, 2022.
Jager, Nancy - Dunkirk, NY - Nancy is a nature enthusiast who enjoys nature photography and learning about plants, local native, edible weeds, invasive species and garden herbs. Nancy is a Chautauqua Master Gardener of Cornell Cooperative Extension. She holds a M.S. in Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She has NYS teacher certification in 4 areas: TESOL, Spanish, Home Economics, and Elementary Education. She is presently teaching international students at Fredonia State University. She has been a participant of Allegany Nature Pilgrimage since 2009 and leader since 2014. Nancy has given talks about Wild and Wonderful Weeds at Chautauqua Institution, has given a presentation on deer and voles in your garden at the annual "Grow Jamestown." Nancy was a participant in the Wildflower Pilgrimage at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg, TN) (April 2014). Nancy is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Paraguay. Bilingual English/Spanish.
Kerr, Tom -Tonawanda, NY - Tom has been educating others about the natural world since he began to understand it. With the help of his neighbors as a child, he created a bug zoo from his Tonawanda backyard, and gathered other neighborhood kids to view his collections. Inspired by many family vacations to National Parks, Tom studied environmental science in college. At SUNY ESF he was part of the first class that graduated with a Natural History and Interpretation degree, selecting the major because he understood the growing need to communicate the scientific world. Tom has spent his entire professional career in environmental education. He worked as a Park Ranger in the New York City Parks for five years, teaching school programs, leading an after school program for high school students and monitoring piping plover habitat. Living in a major migration fly way in a dense urban environment, it was in NYC he developed a love of birding. Tom came to Buffalo Audubon to lead the For the Birds! program for elementary school students, and now as a naturalist enjoys leading bird tours and teaching people about all nature in Western New York. If you catch Tom in his free time, you will most likely find him with a pair of binoculars around his neck, setting up his spotting scope to make sure everyone gets a chance to view whatever wildlife is around. He also enjoys raising his two sons to appreciate the wonderful natural landscape of Western New York.
Klycek, Fred - Byron, NY - Fred has been a leader at the Pilgrimage starting in the 1980s. He is an avid outdoor sports enthusiast and has presented nature programs to scouting and school groups.
Leenders, Twan - Jamestown, NY - Twan is a conservation biologist and avid nature photographer. Although he tries to learn as much as possible about plants and animals of all types, he grudgingly admits that there simply is too much nature out there to get to know. However, his favorite amphibians and reptiles will always get his undivided attention. Twan is happiest exploring woods and wetlands to see these animals in their natural environment.
Light, Garner - Gasport, NY - Garner is President of Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Co-Compiler for the Wilson-lake Plains Christmas Bird Count and Coordinator for The Len Anderson Memorial Bluebird Trail in Clarence & Lockport, NY.
Light, Judy - Gasport, NY - A retired art educator and Pilgrimage attendee/leader for 30+ years, Judy is always busy capturing nature through art by photographing, stamping, journaling, folding and tangling. At Pilgrimage she is either leading, wandering off seeking salamanders, photographing bits of nature, birding or siting off by herself drawing. Judy grew up on a small farm in Cattaraugus county and attending the Pilgrimage always feels like coming home!
Lodi-Smith Hebrank, Jennifer - Kenmore, NY - Jennifer grew up hiking the Appalachian Trail but realized her love of nature following her kiddos' passion for nature in general and birds in particular. She is a professor at Canisius College where she studies personality development across the lifespan and supports faculty development opportunities through her administrative role. Jennifer is on the board of the Friends of Reinstein Woods. Her favorite bird is the barred owl.
Maisie - age 8 - is the founder of the WNY Young Birder Club. She really likes birds. She has wanted to be an ornithologist since she was three. Birds are awesome!!!!!!!!
Makeyenko, Lauren - Buffalo, NY - Lauren lives in Buffalo with her husband Josh, daughter Ruby, and two dogs - Sausage and Clarice. She has held education positions with Tifft Nature Preserve, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve and Buffalo Audubon.
Maliki, Andy - Red House, NY - Andy is a lifelong lover of Allegany State Park. At the age of seven, he knew that he wanted a career at the park! He has served with the Allegany State Park Historical Society as acting president and volunteers with the Summit Fire Tower Restoration Committee. He is currently employed with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation at Allegany State Park. Andy has lifelong experience working in the outdoor/camping industry.
Martin, Jeremy - Friendship, NY - Jeremy has had an interest in nature for as long as he can remember. His patient mother tolerated pans of pond water in his bedroom and encouraged his early butterfly collections by making (and then frequently repairing) a butterfly net. While that early interest in ponds and entomology never became a career, Jeremy is lucky enough to now relive those early days of discovery with his two boys. Through photography, he enjoys documenting nature all over Western NY including wildflowers, dragonflies, moths, butterflies and various other insects. He also participates in various citizen science projects including the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly survey, where from 2005 to 2009 Jeremy volunteered as citizen scientist discovering numerous county/species records in Western New York.
Mason, Sheri - Erie, PA - Dr. Mason (aka Sam) earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. Her research group is among the first to study the prevalence and impact of plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems. Among her accolades Dr. Mason has been selected as an EPA Environmental Champion in 2016, the Heinz Award in Public Policy in 2018 and the Great Lakes Leadership Award from the Great Lakes Protection Fund in 2021. Sam currently serves as the Director of Sustainability at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College.
McKeever, Bill - Hamburg, NY - Co-author of Secret Places of Western New York: 25 Scenic Hikes, Bill McKeever served from 1999 to 2004 as Buffalo Audubon's first Executive Director. During his tenure, he worked with Bruce Kershner on environmental advocacy projects protecting the old-growth forests of DeVeaux Woods, Zoar Valley and Allegany State Park. Bill and his wife Jennifer Hillman teamed up with the Kershner literary estate to reimagine, update and bring back to the community this much loved, award-winning book.
Myers, Chris - Landenberg, PA - Chris studied geology at the University of Delaware and now works as an environmental geologist in the Northeast. He first attended the ANP in 1992 when he was 6 months old. His hobbies include outdoor activities, astronomy, photography and rock and mineral collecting. Chris loves learning and sharing knowledge with others.
Myers, Lon - West Chester, PA - Lon is an avid self-taught naturalist with a lifelong passion for nature. He has led walks at the Pilgrimage for 45 years including Beginning Birds, Sharing Nature with Children, Family Nature, The Splash Hike, Stream Adventure, Night Hike and Adults Only.
Myers, Maggie - Landenberg, PA - Maggie is a professional geologist and currently works in Delaware as a technical manager for an environmental consulting firm. Her hobbies include various outdoor activities, cooking and home improvement/DIY projects. She frequently gives presentations to staff as well as school groups and young children. This is her second year as a leader at ANP.
Nusstein, Matt - Derby, NY - A student of the natural world, Matt is interested in every aspect of nature. His goal is to learn about and share the incredible diversity of life that surrounds us. Matt currently works for the New York State Parks as an environmental educator and has also worked at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, Rogers Environmental Educator Center and was the teaching assistant for SUNY Buffalo State's ornithology class.
Podet, Allen - Williamsville, NY - Ph.D. & DHL & DD, he has been leading field trips at Pilgrimage for 20 years. Dr. Podet learned about ferns through classes, clinics and experience. When not at Allegany State Park, Dr. Podet is a professor in the philosophy and humanities departments at Buffalo State College.
Podet, ValerieJill - Williamsville, NY - ValerieJill has been leading Pilgrimage walks for over 20 years. She holds an M.S. in zoology and is ABD for a doctorate in geology. The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage is the high light of her year.
Prill, Ellen - Rochester, NY - Ellen has paddled both kayaks and canoes since the 1980s and time has not dulled her enthusiasm. Ellen has been a long-time member of the ADK Waterways (Adirondack Mountain Club) Committee and got her start in boating (quite by accident) there. For a few years she was involved with the Freestyle Canoe Club where she attended lessons, and enjoyed watching the yearly competition where individuals or couples "danced" with their boat on water. Regularly Ellen canoes on the many fresh water springs in Florida during the winter. Ellen's love of boating and nature is the perfect combination for the ANP!
Roenburg, Chuck - Elma, NY - Chuck has a B.S. degree in wildlife management from Purdue University and an M.S. degree in biology from the College of William and Mary. His master's thesis focused on barn owl habitat use, as determined using radio-telemetry. For the first 15 years of his professional career, Chuck worked as a private environmental consultant completing a broad variety of ecological studies. Since 2006 he has served as a wetlands ecologist and habitat protection manager with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Chuck is an avid birder and has led numerous Owl Prowls for Buffalo Audubon Society and other groups.
Rosenburg, Kristen - Elma, NY - Kristen has always enjoyed spending time outdoors, nurtured by family camping trips to the Adirondacks, Algonquin Provincial Park and Yellowstone National Park. As a child, she attended her very first beaver colony tour and owl prowl at Allegany State Park. While attending graduate school at SUNY-ESF, Kristen returned to Allegany State Park to conduct field research studying beaver behavior. After completing a master's degree in wildlife biology, she has been employed since 2000 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as an Environmental Educator at Reinstein Woods Nature Pre-serve in Depew, NY.
Schelble, Stephanie - Orchard Park, NY - Stephanie is a Park Ranger at the Erie County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry department. She has spent a lifetime learning about the small intimate lives of insects and other small creatures and always looks forward to sharing what she has learned.
Taylor, Garrett - Bradford, NY - Garrett has been surveying the park for interesting fungi with the assistance of DNA sequencing the ITS barcode region since 2018. He has led at least one hike for the Pilgrimage every year since he first attended as a participant in 2013, except this last year when the park was closed to groups.
Thompson, Craig - Falconer, NY - Craig learned his birds on France Brook Road while still in grammar school. He was a teacher/naturalist at Jamestown's Audubon Community Nature Center in 1978-79 and thereafter worked for 33 years with NYS DEC in Albany. He has also served as the President of the Capital Region Audubon Society and Vice Chair of the Audubon Council of New York State.
Todd, Michael - Akron, NY - An avid angler of all seasons and an aquatic biologist with New York Department of Environmental Conservation's Bureau of Fisheries. Michael administers the DEC's "FISH NY" fishing education and outreach program in Western New York. He and his DEC colleagues will be teaching the basic fishing skills needed for successful angling adventures.
Vaillancourt-Alder, Andrea - Derby, NY - Andrea is a British Canoeing Coach and enjoys sharing her passion for wildlife and conservation. A Leave No Trace Master Educator, Andrea brings LNT principles into all of her tours and courses.
Wellman, Adele - Salamanca, NY - Adele has been playing with plants since a little kid. Daisies and dandelions, forget-me-nots and hawkweed were common delights in the woods and lawns growing up. As the Environmental Educator at Allegany State Park, she enjoys sharing this passion for the little things in nature to all ages throughout the year. When she is not looking at plants she is riding mountain bikes or Telemark skiing at the local ski areas and state forests. She also has a degree in Biology and Horticulture and has been working at Allegany for 22 years.
Williams, Keith - Conowingo, MD - Keith is a naturalist, educator, writer and photographer. He has a BS in Environmental Biology from Kutztown University and MS in Ecological Teaching and Learning from the Lesley University Audubon Expedition Institute. He has established outdoor education programs in Puerto Rico and China and has established outdoor education programs for the US Forest Service across the U.S. Keith is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Lancaster Conservancy where he serves as the Conservancy's lead naturalist, develops and manages volunteer and education programs and manages the interpretive ranger program.
Wopperer, Jay - Williamsville, NY - Jay has been bird watching for many years. He studied with many experts and has taken classes with Audubon and the Buffalo Museum of Science. He is a long-standing member of Audubon and the East Aurora Birding Club. Jay has led many bird-watching activities and trips, including for many years at the ANP.
Wymer, David - Portville, NY - David has been interested in astronomy and nature his entire life. He began doing astrophotography and aurora-photography in the late 90s. Never fully about the pictures but about getting to those rare, quiet, DARK places that so few see anymore. Seeing the sky and listening to nature all around.