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Staff

Becky Convertible

Becky Butryn
Director of Finance & Operations
716-665-2473 ext. 223
bbutryn AT rtpi.org

Becky grew up a stone’s throw from Roger Tory Peterson’s boyhood home. She graduated from Jamestown Public School and Jamestown Community College. She joined the RTPI staff in 2000 as the bookkeeper and has since added human resources and additional accounting to her day. Becky and her husband Steve raised their two boys, Ryan and Matt in the log home they built in ’83. In her spare time she enjoys cooking what comes from the garden, learning about herbs and natural remedies, rock n roll, baseball (New York Yankees), and traveling.

Elyse Henshaw
Conservation Technician
716-665-2473 ext. 231
ehenshaw AT rtpi.org

Growing up in Chautauqua County, Elyse spent many of her days exploring the streams and forests cultivating an interest in the natural world. As she followed her interests, she worked to earn an Associate’s Degree in Science from Jamestown Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with an Environmental Emphasis from Houghton College. Thanks to all the time in the streams and forests, Elyse’s primary interests are in amphibians, reptiles, botany, habitat management and research. Elyse has authored and co-authored various research papers published in scientific journals, and hopes to continue to research the many questions surrounding our local ecosystems. When she isn’t waist deep in water or snow surveying for turtles or invasive pests, she enjoys beating cabin fever during the winter by snowmobiling. She also enjoys photography, biking, hiking, dirt-biking, and kayaking.

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Amy Hudson
Visitor & Administrative Services Assistant, Building Rentals
716-665-2473 ext. 227
ahudson AT rtpi.org

Joining the staff in December 2014, Amy adds her experience in retail, customer service, custom framing, and photography. Primarily in charge of Visitor Services and assisting with the nature store, she will most likely be the first person you see when you come to visit. In addition, she will be transferring the vast inventory of Roger’s records and accessions in the archives to digital format, creating an accessible data base of his original artwork.  She has lived in the Jamestown area all her life, and holds an AA degree from Jamestown Community College in Art/Photography. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, landscaping, and doing various activities with her son – such as camping, fishing, hiking, volunteering at the Humane Society or just being outdoors and taking her camera for a walk. Her favorite place to be is in the mountains or near the water,  of course with a camera in hand.

JaneBio

Jane Johnson
Director of Exhibits & Special Collections
716-665-2473 ext. 228
jjohnson AT rtpi.org

Jane Johnson recently joined the staff at RTPI as the Exhibits and Public Programs Coordinator. A native of Bemus Point, NY, she spent most of her free time during her childhood exploring the outdoors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from Alfred University, and, most recently lived in the Washington, D.C. area, working as an Operations Manager for Gap, Inc. She also served as a Community Leader at her previous position, which allowed her to represent her employer in the communities surrounding Washington, D.C. Using that experience, along with her past experience with RTPI, a strong customer service background, and ties within the Jamestown community, she hopes to be a driving force in ‘getting the word out’ about RTPI. Besides her interest in the natural world, Jane is also very passionate about the arts, as well as social issues such as Veterans affairs. When she isn’t working at RTPI or her second job, she likes to spend her free time with her friends and family (especially her niece and nephews), attending live music shows, visiting galleries and museums, and learning how to be a better birdwatcher.

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Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator
716-665-2473 ext. 224
skruitbosch AT rtpi.org

Scott hails from Stratford, Connecticut, not far from where his office is at Stratford Point on Long Island Sound. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Fairfield University. His primary interests are in birds, weather and climate, dragonflies and damselflies, butterflies and moths, mammals, habitat management, environmental politics, philosophy and law. Scott has been involved with numerous major conservation initiatives in the past decade. He is currently the Vice President of the Connecticut Butterfly Association, Board Member of the Connecticut Ornithological Association, Coordinator of the Boothe Park Hawk WatchAspetuck Land Trust Land Management Committee Member, and Connecticut Coordinator for the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz as a member of the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group. Scott is an award-winning writer and photographer whose work can be found in diverse publications on the local and national levels. In his spare time Scott enjoys his Shetland Sheepdog Zach, photography, baseball, basketball, football, reading, video games, movies, rock and electronic music, and too much TV.

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Twan Leenders
President
716-665-2473 ext. 225
tleenders AT rtpi.org

Twan is a biologist from The Netherlands interested in animal ecology and conservation management. For more than twenty years his work with birds, mammals, plants and especially tropical amphibians and reptiles has taken him to various places on the planet. As a former researcher at Yale University’s Peabody Museum and other institutions he participated in many international expeditions that helped gather data to better understand and protect biologically important areas and their unique species and habitats. Before coming to western NY, Twan taught biology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, and went back into the ‘trenches’ of hands-on conservation research and education while leading the Science and Conservation Office of the Connecticut Audubon Society. As President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, he now applies his experience to our region and develops new conservation research and education initiatives that aim to spark increased interest in the area’s exceptional natural assets while providing economic incentives to promote good environmental stewardship.

Linda Pierce
Director of Development
716-665-2473 ext. 226
lpierce AT rtpi.org

Linda is a lifelong resident of the western New York region, and is a graduate of Jamestown Community College and Houghton College with a degree in Management. Linda handles fundraising and development, as well as donor records and communications, and is a liaison with the Board of Trustees. A longtime member of the RTPI staff, she is a resource for RTPI organizational history and information about Roger Tory Peterson artwork and feels privileged to have known Roger Tory Peterson. Linda enjoys family and friends, pets, books, gardening, cooking and wine, decorating, movies, history, music, art and continuing education – and says her greatest challenge is being a Buffalo Bills fan. If you have any questions about giving to RTPI, Linda is here to help you, and can be contacted at 716-665-2473 x226 or lpierce AT rtpi.org.

MelSmith

Melanie Smith
Communications Coordinator
716-665-2473 ext. 221
msmith AT rtpi.org

Melanie was born and raised in the village of Fredonia. Ample time spent outdoors in this rural environment nurtured a strong appreciation for the natural world, and cultivated her curiosity about biological processes. Driven in part by her realization that human activities were having devastating effects on our living planet, she decided to pursue an education in the natural sciences. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the State University of New York in Fredonia and a Master’s degree in Biological Oceanography from North Carolina State University. Melanie returned to WNY where she became engaged in another biological venture: motherhood. Shortly after her son Oliver was born, she began teaching science courses at JCC and SUNY Fredonia. Melanie came on board as the RTPI Communications Coordinator in 2015. She is grateful to have another wonderful outlet through which to share her passion for the natural world.