Meet our Team
Mark joined the Conservancy as Executive Director in 2013, but his history of involvement with the organization goes back much further. As one of the organization’s founding board members in 1992, he has had a hand in many of the organization’s conservation successes. Mark’s early work with the Land Conservancy led to a 17-year career with The Nature Conservancy as Director of Land Protection for the Eastern New York Chapter. Before working for The Nature Conservancy he was a Senior Natural Resource Planner with Albany County. Mark began his career working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation helping with the State’s Bald Eagle reintroduction program. A life-long resident of the Capital District, Mark is passionate about sharing an appreciation for the natural beauty of the area by helping to conserve our open spaces.
Lea Montalto-Rook is Development Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, responsible for managing the Conservancy’s fundraising and marketing endeavors. Lea has lived in the Capital Region since 2011. She was previously Director of Individual and Corporate Relations for The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and before that Program Director for the metro-NYC and Northeast marketing activities of Team Enterprises, an experiential and event marketing agency. Lea holds an M.S. in International Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University and a Graduate Certificate in Theater from Villanova University. Lea lives with her husband and two children in Delmar and in her spare time enjoys gardening, coaching soccer, and painting.
Daron joined the team at MHLC as the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in 2016, bringing experience from several academic and nonprofit positions in Kansas, Vermont, and New York. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from SUNY Binghamton and a Master’s in Environmental History from Kansas State University. She has worked with aquatic invasive plant removal projects in Lake Champlain, studied wild bison on the Konza Prairie, and educated students and visitors about the eastern deciduous forest on field trips. Outside of the office, she can be found hiking, singing, playing board games, or skating with the Hellions of Troy Roller Derby League.
Laurie joined the MHLC team as a part-time office manager and bookkeeper in the Fall of 2016. She has experience as a financial assistant for Commonwealth Financial and a background in marketing and software development. Laurie and her family moved to the region in 2011 but she has been coming to the area and spending time on her family’s 60 acres in Westerlo since she was a child. She loves hiking the trails with her family and dog, and is excited to be a part of the MHLC’s efforts to preserve open space for future generations.
Sawyer joined MHLC’s team as the Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator in 2017 as a born-and-raised Capital Region resident. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy from Syracuse University and brings with her several non-profit experiences and AmeriCorps service from across New England. Her background in conservation and land management ranges from conducting prescribed wildfire treatment, to cultivating pollinator gardens, and creating native species habitat corridors. Sawyer enjoys spending time running and oil painting. She is glad to be sharing her love of open space with others in her work with MHLC.
Board of Directors
Cathie Love, Chair
Michael Barrett, Vice Chair
Christopher Gorka, Treasurer
Kim Baker, Secretary
Peter Ten Eyck