Jennifer Fish has been director at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District for 17 years, she has led the development of the organization into one of the largest districts in Ohio. She directs and supports a staff of 17 natural resource professionals with the mission of promoting responsible land use decisions for the conservation of soil and water resources. This is accomplished through conservation easement acquisition, storm water program planning, storm water pollution prevention, development plan reviews, construction site management, green infrastructure and stream restoration demonstration projects, stream resource and natural resource mapping, and education and outreach to county residents.
Jennifer has a Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Baldwin-Wallace College. Jennifer has co-authored two published articles: “An Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Residing Near a Rural and Recreational Greenway” in the Journal of the Community Development Society and “Perceptions of Landowners Toward Natural Resource Conservation in the Big Walnut Watershed” in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. She is also certified as a Certified Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Specialist through EnviroCert International, Inc. and serves on the board of the Ohio Stormwater Association.
Josh Garver is assistant director at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. Previously he was GIS natural resources specialist and member of the geomatics team, where he provided technology guidance and support to staff, maintains GIS data layers, and was involved in a variety of projects providing GIS expertise and support. Josh also coordinates GIS-based projects with various Franklin County agencies and local municipalities, which focus on improving water quality and meeting requirements of the NPDES permit held by Franklin County and its townships.
Josh has a Master’s Certificate in GIS from North Carolina State University, a minor in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University and a BS in Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water, Josh worked several years in landscape architecture and planning firms as a project landscape architect, designing and managing a variety of urban, park and GIS-centric projects.
Kyle Wilson is conservation program manager at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where he is responsible for the administration of Franklin Soil and Water’s conservation implementation program. Kyle works to acquire new, and inspect current conservation easements, as well as organizing volunteer tree plantings and clean-ups on conservation lands. Kyle sits on the District 3 Natural Resources Assistance Council and is the incoming Chair of the Darby Accord Open
Space Advisory Committee. In addition to grant writing and managing conservation implementation projects, Kyle provides technical assistance in riparian land management, stream restoration, and agricultural best management practices.
Kyle is a graduate of TheOhio State University.
John Bailey is water quality field coordinator and a member of the geomatics team at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. John works with local municipalities on the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination portion of the NPDES Phase II permit and is a level 3 Qualified Data Collector in Chemical Water Quality through the Ohio EPA.
John received a BS in Natural Resources Management with a specialization in Fisheries Management from The Ohio State University and an AS in Fish and Wildlife Management from Hocking Technical College. Prior to working with Franklin Soil and Water, John worked in the environmental consulting field, landscape industry, and with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sara Ernst is conservation implementation specialist at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where she leads backyard conservation programs with a focus on rain gardens and other storm water management practices. Sara has worked as a field botanist in Florida and Pennsylvania, performed environmental education in various parts of Ohio and Central America, and led several Greater Cincinnati schools and communities in the installation of rain gardens.
Sara earned her BA in botany from Miami University, studied environmental education at Antioch University, and received her Master of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati. In addition, Sara has served as a volunteer with Americorps and Peace Corps. Sara is particularly interested in creating and preserving habitats so kids everywhere have a creek to play in, and to return to when they’re big and in need of reminding.
Brooke Frusher is urban conservation specialist at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where she works with county, township and municipal partners to manage and maintain the technical aspects of the NPDES stormwater permit requirements and issues within their community and with their residents. Brooke is involved with the review of construction plans, ordinance reviews, and comprehensive plan and master plan development for the inclusion of sustainable development practices that will protect the existing ecosystem services our natural resources provide.
Brooke graduated from Hocking College with an AAS in GeoEnvironmental Science, where she focused on subsurface processes and the procedures for monitoring and remediating soil and water resources impacted by hazardous substances and petroleum products. Brooke is a Certified Erosion, Sediment and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI) and is a member of the International Erosion Control Association.
Aaron Hebert is GIS specialist and a member of the geomatics team at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where his responsibilities include coordination with GIS staff in managing data related to current programs and projects.
Aaron graduated from Western State College of Colorado, with a BA in history with a geography minor. He has also completed a GIS-certificate program at Columbus State Community College. Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water, Aaron interned with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, editing land parcel data in eastern Ohio.
Kristin Hilson is program coordinator at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District where her responsibilities include administration & coordination of the GreenSpot Rain Barrel program, special event planning and registration, social media & website updates and public outreach. Kristin also assists with document design and graphics for our annual meeting & the Greenspot rain barrel program, office newsletters and outreach handouts & brochures.
Kristin graduated from ITT Technical Institute with an associates degree in multimedia design and information technology. She has lived in Brazil and speaks Portuguese and Spanish. Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water Kristin worked in office administration in the veterinary field.
Kurt Keljo is a watershed coordinator at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where his responsibilities include implementing water quality protection and improvement projects in Franklin County. He works with jurisdictions, agencies and private landowners to identify both potential projects and funding options. As part of his work, he coordinates the District’s volunteer program, including volunteer sampling work in Franklin County’s creeks.
Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water, Kurt was a watershed coordinator for Blacklick Creek at Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and was the volunteer Chair of the Friends of Blacklick Creek for 12 years. He also worked for fifteen years as the University Pastor at Capital University. His educational background includes a BS in zoology from the University of Michigan with an emphasis on limnology, a MDiv from Luther Seminary, a PhD from Emory University in theology and personality, and a MS in environmental science from The Ohio State University.
Carol Loopstra is the environmental education assistant at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District where she assists with bringing educational programs on soil and water conservation into the schools.
Carol holds a MS degree in agronomy from the University of Maryland. She has four years of previous experience as a soil conservation planner with Charles Soil Conservation District in southern Maryland where she also became involved with instructing high school students in their Envirothon program. Throughout her career, she has taught undergraduates through teaching assistantships, instructed young children how to grow vegetables, and presented soil basics to professionals, college students, and schoolchildren through workshops and seminars. She is excited to be working with a team of fellow conservationists and glad to be in a place where she can help children see and understand the world under our feet.
Sacha Mkheidze is a water quality field technician and a member of the geomatics team at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. Sacha has earned an associate’s degree in ecology from Vanier College in Montreal, Canada and a BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin. He also minored in GIS while at UWS. Sacha has spent over ten years working with a variety of bird species from all around the US. He has assisted in research efforts with the Smithsonian Institution
throughout the east coast and has spent several years heading up a raptor research station in Duluth, MN.
Dorothy Park is our administrative assistant. She is the first face that you will see when coming into our office.
Dorothy formerly attended The Ohio State University studying Environmental Policy Management and Decision Making. She is now pursuing a degree at Franklin University in Public Administration. Before joining FSWCD she worked with Columbus CEO’s Best Business Law firm of 2014 assisting in all day to day activities for the 70+ legal staff.
Returning to her original interests in natural resources she is excited to serve Franklin County’s environmental needs. She will be a Notary Public in July 2015.
Linda Pettit is environmental education specialist at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. She has held this role since 1994, providing presentations about soil and water resources to school classes, after school, scout and summer camp groups, as well as in-service and pre-service trainings for formal and non-formal educators. Linda coordinates TREE, Terrific Resources for Environmental Education, which is a consortium of agencies that provide environmental education in central Ohio. Linda is also the Region 1 Director for the Environmental Education Council of Ohio (EECO).
Linda earned a BA in Nature Interpretation from the University of Findlay and a biology teacher certification and MS in Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has worked with students of all ages and truly enjoys educating people from all walks of life about the importance of our soil and water resources.
Jeff Pierce is GIS natural resources coordinator and a member of the geomatics team at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.
Jeff graduated from Wilmington College (OH) with a BA in English and Communications. He also holds a MS in Educational Leadership and a Master of Environmental Sciences in Applied Ecology and Resource Analysis from Miami University. Jeff has served as a past member of the NRCS statewide GIS committee, as the
Chair of the Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program’s statewide hydrology committee, and as a voting member of the Heart of Ohio RC&D Council. He has been with Franklin Soil and Water since 1995 and founded the first soil and water conservation district GIS program in Ohio.
Katie Phillips is a GIS technician working specifically on the Columbus Watershed Project. She is assisting with the development and maintenance of district GIS data. Her emphasis is on developing urban subwatershed delineations within the county to be incorporated into the stormwater management initiative.
Katie graduated from Bowling Green State University, with an MS in geology focused in hydrology and paleoclimate studies. Katie also received a BS in geology from Ashland University. Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water, Katie worked for Bowling Green State University as both a teaching assistant and a research assistant. Her research was part of the Lake El’gygytgyn Scientific Drilling project, focused on size variation of planktonic diatoms over glacial-interglacial time scales from the sediment of Lake El’gygytgyn, in north-east Russia. Her research was funded by the United States National Science Foundation, Collaborative Research: Millennial-scale Arctic Climate Change for the last 3.6 My: Scientific Drilling at Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia, directed by Dr. Jeff Snyder.
Ryan Pilewski is watershed implementation coordinator for the Lower Olentangy and Alum Creek watersheds at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where his responsibilities include managing available resources to promote reasonable land use decisions and coordinating watershed stakeholders to support, secure funding, and implement conservation and restoration driven projects.
Ryan graduated with honors from Slippery Rock University, with a BS in Park and Resource Management, with a concentration in open space planning, and a MCRP with a concentration in watershed management from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water, he conducted behavioral surveys of the gray wolf and common loon in Wisconsin and Michigan at Northland College. Ryan has also worked as a Recreation Planning Associate, evaluating federal recreation lands within the Allegheny National Forest.
David Reutter is an urban conservation specialist at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, where he works with with county, township and municipal partners to manage and maintain the technical aspects of the NPDES storm water permit requirements and issues within their community and with their residents. David is involved with the review of construction plans, ordinance reviews, and comprehensive plan and master plan development for the inclusion of sustainable development practices that will protect the existing ecosystem services our natural resources provide.
David is a Certified Erosion, Sediment and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI) and is a member of the International Erosion Control Association, the Water Management Association of Ohio and the Water Environment Federation.
Elizabeth Veljanoski (aka Liz) is the financial & payroll specialist at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. She is responsible for account management, payroll, and vendor relations. Liz prepares financial reports while working closely with the board treasurer to ensure proper review and documentation.
Liz graduated cum laude from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in public affairs with dual concentrations in public administration and health administration, as well as a minor in business administration. She holds prior experience in accounts payable, HR, payroll, and grant reporting.
Katie Wears is the Marketing Coordinator at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. As Marketing Coordinator, she is responsible for the coordination and development of District Newsletters, e-updates to partners and homeowners, updating media outlets (including the website and all social media), and collaborating with County Partners to provide soil and water conservation information county-wide. She will also be assisting with Backyard Conservation and Water Quality Programs.
Katie graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Agriculture and a minor in Community Outreach Education. Prior to joining Franklin Soil and Water, Katie worked in Conservation Education at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and while interning at The Ohio Wildlife Center. Most recently, Katie worked for The Ohio State University Extension as a Program Assistant in 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture and Natural Resources.