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Staff

Arthur Pearson, CEO 716-665-2473 ext 224 apearson AT rtpi.org

Chicago native Arthur Pearson spent twenty-five years with the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, most recently as its Director, Chicago Program. His accomplishments include orchestrating a $7 million public-private funding package to advance restoration at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. He helped numerous museums increase public access to their archival treasures. He structured a multi-faceted program to help Chicago’s small art sector build financial capacity to sustainably pursue artistic goals. He has written extensively about conservation issues and is the author of Force of Nature (University of Wisconsin Press), an award-winning biography of George Fell, founder of The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the entire Natural Areas Movement. A master craftsman, he has made numerous original, natured-based stained glass works, featured in exhibitions at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and in the Center for Humans and Nature’s City Creatures (University of Chicago Press.) A long-time resident of Chicago’s historic Pullman community – the original company town built by railcar magnate, George Pullman – he was part of the leadership team that achieved Pullman’s dedication as a National Monument by President Obama in 2015. As founding president of PullmanArts, he sparked the transformation of two historic structures and an empty lot into a $15 million, 38-unit artist live-work space, Pullman Artspace Lofts. Arthur and his wife Susan, a consultant in energy efficiency and sustainability, are avid birders and big fans of Fika – the Swedish tradition of enjoying a mid-afternoon break of coffee and pastry.

 

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Amy Hudson
Assistant, Operations and Administration
716-665-2473 ext. 227
ahudson AT rtpi.org

A lifelong resident of the Jamestown area, Amy is likely the first person that visitors encounter when arriving at the museum. She combines her extensive background in retail and customer service and passion for gardening and landscaping to ensure a pleasing visitor experience.  Amy maintains the presentation and inventory of RTPI’s museum store, and helps with building and grounds beautification. Amy also assists with operational and administrative functions including scheduling events and arranging facility rentals. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and landscaping, spending time outdoors hiking or camping, travel and photography.

 

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Jane Johnson
Director of Museum Operations
716-665-2473 ext. 228
jjohnson AT rtpi.org

An area native, Jane serves as a member of the Institute’s leadership team, overseeing exhibitions and collections, while ensuring the highest quality experience for visitors to the museum.  Jane will play an integral role in several upcoming initiatives at the Institute, including digitization of the Peterson Collection, and in-house, traveling and virtual exhibitions curated from the Collection. Besides her professional role at and serving as an enthusiastic ambassador for the Institute, she is a member of the Chautauqua County Visitor’s Bureau Board of Directors, serving as Vice Chair, Member Relations. In addition, she a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, and the Carnahan-Jackson Foundation Grants Committee in Jamestown. Contact Jane for questions or information related to exhibitions, special events, the Peterson Collection, or the museum store.

 

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Scott Kruitbosch
Manager, Connecticut Programs
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. Scott has been involved with numerous major conservation initiatives in the past decade as a Vice President of the Connecticut Butterfly Association, Coordinator of the Boothe Park Hawk Watch, Connecticut Coordinator for the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz as a member of the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group, a Board Member of the Connecticut Ornithological Association, and Aspetuck Land Trust Land Management Committee Member. Scott is an award-winning writer, professional photographer and videographer with clients across the country.

 

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Twan Leenders, Senior Director of Science and Conservation
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-five 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 has carried out numerous international expeditions to assess the biodiversity of poorly studied areas – which has led to the discovery of several species new to science, rediscovery of frog and salamander populations once thought to be extinct, and other important biological findings. 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. Since 2012, initially as President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, and now as the Institute’s Senior Director of Science and Conservation, Twan applies his experience to our region and develops new natural history research and education initiatives that aim to spark increased awareness of our area’s exceptional flora and fauna. He has authored several books and book chapters, most recently ‘Amphibians of Costa Rica – A Field Guide’ and ‘Reptiles of Costa Rica – A Field Guide’, both by Cornell University Press and is always working on other book projects. Twan is also an avid nature photographer and is happiest exploring the woods, camera in hand, to document and celebrate the fascinating biological diversity that exists right under our noses.

 

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. She has worked in the Institute Development Department at many levels and draws on her experience to help donors find meaningful ways to support the Institute. 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. Please call or email Linda to discuss giving opportunities.

 

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Melanie Smith
Manager of Education and Communications
716-665-2473 ext. 221
msmith AT rtpi.org

Melanie was born and raised in Western New York, where ample time spend outdoors nurtured a strong appreciation for the natural world and cultivated her curiosity about ecological processes. Driven by her desire to better understand and to help protect our living planet, she pursued an education in the natural sciences, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master’s degree in Biological Oceanography from North Carolina State University. Melanie shares her knowledge and passion through her education and communications work at RTPI, as well as through the earth and environmental science courses she teaches at Jamestown Community College. She also lends her expertise to local environmental stewardship initiatives by serving as chair of the Chautauqua Conewango Consortium – A Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate, and as an active member of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Conservation Committee and Jamestown Community College’s Sustainability Committee. When she’s not working on saving the planet, Melanie is usually off exploring its wonders with her son Oliver.

 

Jonathan Townsend
Manager, Conservation and Restoration
716-665-2473 ext. 231
jtownsend AT rtpi.org

As Manager of Conservation and Restoration, Jonathan Townsend is charged with ensuring that the Institute’s research projects are of high quality and impactful. He is also responsible for managing the Institute’s conservation lands, as well as working with local partners to enhance and expand land conservation efforts in the region. Jonathan holds a BS in Environmental Science and a MS in Biology, both from SUNY Fredonia. He is currently working towards a doctorate in Conservation Biogeography from the University at Buffalo, which has helped to enhance collaboration between RTPI and UB. His PhD project focuses on the potential impacts that environmental plastic pollution is having on trophic interactions between bats, insects and birds. He has worked in a number of environmental and biological fields, including nonprofit land trusts, academic education and research, environmental consulting, nature-based programming, and governmental regulatory agencies. Jonathan is passionate about bat biology, land conservation, and botany.