to the Planet
Our Mission & Vision
Home to the largest collection of Roger Tory Peterson’s work, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute is a leader for the study, exhibition and nurturing of art that matters to the planet. Through world class exhibitions and programs, RTPI illuminates the beauty of nature; challenges us to confront environmental issues of regional, national and global concern; and inspires us to preserve the earth’s biodiversity – with a particular emphasis on the natural area wonders of Western New York.
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is a living embodiment of the Peterson Field Guide. It is a trusted source of information, inspiration and illumination. It is a gateway to the natural area wonders that inspired Roger to his career as one of the world’s premier artist-naturalists and international ambassador for the protection of nature. It is a leader for driving the cultural economy of Jamestown and the surrounding area.
Art Matters — among the many ways to raise awareness about conservation, art has a unique and underutilized power to engage hearts, minds and hands
Biodiversity Matters — RTPI embraces the full diversity of the biological community
People Matter — RTPI embraces the full diversity of the human community
Sanctuary Matters — RTPI is a safe space, a refuge for nature, a place of reflection, renewal and rejuvenation for people
Speaking Out Matters — RTPI takes no sides regarding politics but will always side with nature no matter the politics
Roger Tory Peterson
Roger Tory Peterson’s signature contribution to the arc of the American Conservation Movement was the modern field guide. Trained as an artist, Peterson understood the power of art to inform, inspire and illuminate people about the natural world. His illustrated field guides allowed for easy, accurate identification in the field. The experience of using the field guide has helped millions of people across the globe really see the natural world. To be inspired by it. To fall in love with it. Throughout his multifaceted career, Peterson helped us to see the challenges, too – the devastating impacts of pesticides, habitat loss and other environmental ills. He also demonstrated that each and every one of us can make a difference in protecting the earth’s diversity of plants and animals.
Wilson D. Mudge
Diane M. Carlson
Douglas L. Schutte
Chair, Development & Communications
Dr. Katherine Groninger
Chair, Collections and Exhibitions
Lee A. Peterson
Tory C. Peterson
Leslie Coleman Renjilian
Ellen Stokes Shadle
Erika N.D. Stanat
Linda G. Steckley
Chair, RTPI Foundation
Dr. Jeanne Wiebenga
A Chicago native, Arthur has a richly varied background in the arts, conservation, museum collections and philanthropy. Over the course of 25 years with the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, he worked hand-in-glove with a large portfolio of nonprofit groups, with an emphasis on helping them to build the operational and financial capacities they need to achieve their mission goals. Arthur is the author of “Force of Nature,” the award-winning biography of George Fell, father of the Natural Areas Movement and the driving force in the founding of The Nature Conservancy.
Visitor Experience Associate
As a Visitor Experience Associate for RTPI, Jana strives to bring her years of experience in the fields of art, teaching, and hospitality together to help guests get the most out of their visit. A native of Chautauqua County, Jana fell in love with nature at an early age and believes that we are all stewards of this beautiful planet. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been instilling a sense of respect and love for the environment and its creatures into her two (now adult) children. When not at work, she can be found digging in her garden and spending time with her family.
Visitor Experience Associate
Nature lover, recycling enthusiast, along with a divine appreciation for art brings Amelia to her dream job working at RTPI. Amelia is a proud mother of two who grew up in the scenic woodland landscapes outside of Bemus Point. Spending much of her time in the woods, listening to the birds, critters, and the rustling of the leaves always brought such joy and peace which grew into an immense appreciation for the natural world around us. Amelia has over 25 years of experience in the hotel, restaurant, and retail industries and is thrilled to be in a museum setting interacting with guests from near and far.
Having grown up in nearby Erie, PA, Maria is excited to be part of the curatorial team at RTPI. A lover of animals, nature, and art, Maria is thrilled to be in a position which celebrates the vital role of all three in our lives. She is passionate about the important role of art and museums in shaping communities, and looks forward to implementing dynamic exhibitions and programs at RTPI. Maria is an experienced registrar and has worked primarily with museum collections and exhibitions. She studied Art History and Museum Studies (M.A.) at the University of Memphis, and Art (B.A.) at Penn State University.
Development and Communications Director
Prior to coming to RTPI, George was a tenured biology professor, teaching courses in Ecology and Evolution with published research on coral snakes and their venom, and on non-venomous species of snakes that mimic coral snakes. George has degrees in biology from SUNY Fredonia (B.S.) and UNC Chapel Hill (Ph.D.). Prior to embarking on a career in biology, he was an IRS auditor and a self-employed tax preparer. George has a lifelong interest in nature and the fascinating organisms that inhabit it, and enjoys hiking, camping, and other activities that allow him to spend time in nature.
Facilities and Visitor Experience Associate
Lifelong resident of the Jamestown area, Amy oversees the Visitor Experience Team helping to ensure the highest quality experience for visitors to the museum, as well as expanding/maintaining the museum gift shop. Amy also provides administrative support for both George Harper, Development Director, and Arthur Pearson, CEO. She brings a background of 25+ years of customer service/retail management to the Visitor Experience team. Her interests have always included a love of the outdoors, with nature photography topping the list. Striving to share the essence of a moment or memory through photos, has been a passion for a very long time.
Programs and Events Manager
After living in NYC for the last 26 years, David is excited to be back in Chautauqua County and part of the team at RTPI. He spent the last 7 years as Director of Service at upscale event companies in NYC (Canard Inc, and Cloud Catering and Events). Before that, David was a professional AEA actor based out of NYC. He left Western NY after high school to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and spent many years performing all over the United States. He now resides in Jamestown with his wife, Julia, and their fat cat, Abby.