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
Kent J. Francois
Dr. Katherine Groninger
Chair, Collections and Exhibitions
William H. Hopple, III
Lee A. Peterson
Tory C. Peterson
Bert Whitney "Whit" Rappole, Jr.
Leslie Coleman Renjilian
Ellen Stokes Shadle
Erika N.D. Stanat
Dr. Jeanne Wiebenga
A Chicago native, Arthur has a richly varied background in the arts, conservation, museum collections and philanthropy. Throughout his career, he has focused on helping nonprofit organizations build the operational and financial capacity needed to achieve their mission goals. Since his arrival in March 2020, Arthur has guided the restructuring of RTPI in pursuit of a revitalized and resilient strategic vision. 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 and Communications
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. In her role at RTPI, she draws on many years of experience in the fields of art, teaching, and hospitality to help guests get the most out of their visit. She is passionate about encouraging people towards a greater appreciation and respect for the world around them. When not at work, she can be found digging in her garden and spending time with her family.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Returning home to her native Chautauqua County, Jill brings a diverse background in entertainment, experiential and partnership marketing. Jill looks forward to helping bring the story of Art that Matters to the Planet to a larger audience. A photographer with a love of wilderness and adventure, the role is the perfect opportunity to align her professional experience with her passions.
Learning and Engagement Coordinator
Born and raised in Chautauqua County, Madelyn is thrilled to be the newest member of the RTPI team. Joining us in 2023, she has had the privilege to work with a large range of mentors, age groups and educational levels to bring new learning and engagement program opportunities that unify both art and nature. She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts for Graphic Design and comes prepared with a willingness to continuously learn and adapt to the evolving needs of the institute with a “never stop learning” attitude.
Events and 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.
Facilities and Visitor Experience Associate
Lifelong resident of the Jamestown area, Amy is part of 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. 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.
A native of Chautauqua County, Rachael Kosinski travelled far afield to prepare for her role as Assistant Curator at RTPI. She attended SUNY Geneseo for her B.A. in Art History and University College London (UCL) for her M.A. in Museum Studies. In London, Rachael wrote her dissertation on aesthetic and numinous responses: a study of the various emotional/physical responses people have to different types of art. As a lover of the Great Outdoors and all it encompasses, the idea of taking her background and using it to create meaningful, dynamic exhibitions at RTPI seemed like the perfect next step.
Programs and Events Director
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.
A Buffalo native, Tina relocated to Chautauqua Lake three years ago with her husband Rhys and resides in beautiful Point Chautauqua with their two dogs Charlie and Ollie, and cat Zoey. An avid explorer of the natural world she quickly fell in love with the area and the ecological diversity of the surroundings. Tina enjoys taking long walks in the woods with the dogs by her side, collecting beach glass along the shore of Lake Erie and traveling to visit her three grown children where there is always a national park or historic site to see along the way. With over 35 years of experience in environmental education, community engagement, and administration, Tina could not be happier to be a member of the team and to have the pleasure of working in a such an extraordinary building and setting.