AuSable River Association welcomes new leadership

The Ausable River Association has announced that Kelley Tucker will replace Corrie Miller as Executive Director of the organization.

Miller, who successfully led AsRA through the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and has overseen the organization’s operations for more than two years, has accepted the position of Executive Director of Friends of the Mad River in central Vermont.

“Corrie has been a incredible asset to AsRA, helping us build our organizational capacity, increasing our visibility in the community and especially in reaching out and creating lasting relationships with the many stakeholders in our watershed,” said AsRA board vice-chair Rob Farkas. “We’ll miss her greatly, but she’s leaving AsRA stronger than ever before, and we wish her well.”

Tucker is a long-time member of the AsRA board and co-author of the draft Ausable River Watershed Management Plan that is being prepared for public comment this year.

“We took stock as a board and carefully reviewed our organizational needs, those of the community and the watershed, and we decided we have the right person within our own ranks,” said Board Chair Larry Master.

Miller added, “Kelley brings a depth of knowledge of the organization, the watershed and our partners that would be hard to find elsewhere. She has a passion for the river and this place that will be an excellent foundation for her work with AsRA to strengthen both ecosystem health and community vitality.”

Tucker, a resident of Upper Jay, has worked as a non-profit conservation professional for 20 years, building, managing and leading solution-oriented conservation programs that protect wildlife, land and freshwater resources while working with the needs of communities. She has served as vice president of Programs for the International Crane Foundation, helped to found the Washington D.C.-based American Bird Conservancy’s Pesticides and Birds Campaign, and most recently was the eastern North America program manager for LightHawk, a donor of flights in small planes to effective conservation organizations.

“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to lead the work of AsRA by serving as its new executive director,” Tucker said. “The incredible work of Corrie Miller and Carol Treadwell before her, and that of our many non-profit, municipal, county, state and federal partners has laid a strong foundation for our efforts.

“It is an exciting time for AsRA and I look forward to continuing and growing the science-based, collaborative programs that protect the watershed and its tremendous natural and recreational resources that are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”

It has been a year of new additions for AsRA. The organization also announced the appointment of four new members to its volunteer board of directors. Joining the AsRA Board are: Evan Bottcher, owner of the Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington; Liz Clarke, a professional planner specializing in community and conservation lands planning who lives in North Elba; ecologist and wetlands scientist Raymond Curran of Wilmington; and Rocco Giampaolo from Jay, a professional civil engineer working in the fields of environmental remediation and water resources.

“These new board members add critical technical skills and local knowledge to our effort to protect and restore the Ausable River and we are excited and privileged to have them join us,” Master said.

“The Ausable River Association board is a fascinating blend of scientists, educators, local business owners, fly fishermen, financial and technical experts and community leaders. What brings us together is our shared passion for the Ausable River, the communities we live in that rely on its ecological health and the knowledge that AsRA is making a difference,” Tucker said.

The four join six other Ausable watershed residents on the AsRA Board of Directors: Christian Brammer of Keene, Robert Farkas of Jay, Susan Lacy of Keene, Larry Master of North Elba, Kara Page of Wilmington and Warren Radcliffe of Keene. Members serve three-year terms.

The Ausable River Association’s mission is to identify, conserve and restore the Ausable River watershed’s natural and recreational resources for its ecological value and the benefit of human communities. AsRA works cooperatively with landowners, municipalities and government agencies to conserve the valued resources of the AuSable watershed. AsRA provides scientific expertise, engages stakeholders in responsible watershed stewardship and fosters collaboration and information sharing across the watershed and beyond.