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.
Development and Marketing
Lea Montalto-Rook is Director of Operations and Development for the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, responsible for managing the Conservancy’s operations, fundraising, communications, outreach, and events. 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.
Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Daron Blake
Daron joined the team at MHLC as the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in 2016. 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 visitors about the eastern deciduous forest on field trips. Outside of the office, she can be found hiking, singing, playing board games, or roller skating.
Conservation and Stewardship
Sarah is Conservation Director for MHLC, responsible for oversight of land stewardship and assisting with property acquisitions. Sarah brings nearly ten years’ experience in habitat restoration initiatives for bird habitat, riparian and wetland areas as well as experience in protection of conservation lands, non-profit program development, and trail planning. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science from SUNY ESF and her Master’s degree in Science Education from the University of Albany in 2012. Sarah is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys back-country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, paddling, sailing, and bird watching.
Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator, Sawyer Cresap
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.
Kristi joined the MHLC team as a part-time office manager and bookkeeper in the Spring of 2018. She has experience as an Office Manager as well as a Property Services Director. Kristi’s background is in School Counseling in which she received her MS from Long Island University. Kristi has been in the Capital Region since 2005 having settled in Delmar in 2009. She loves yoga, Crossfit and riding bikes along the Rail Trail with her husband and two young daughters.
Board of Directors
Christopher Gorka, Chair
Michael Barrett, Vice Chair
Elliott Shaw, Treasurer
Kim Baker, Secretary
Peggy Sherman, Chair
Peter Ten Eyck