ANCA Staff

Annie Arnold, Energy Circuit Rider

Annie joined ANCA in 2021, bringing with her a deep admiration for nature and the environment. Growing up in the Southern Adirondacks, Annie visited the North Country frequently with her family hiking the High Peaks and skiing at Whiteface. After graduating with a Recreation and Leisure Studies and Outdoor Education Concentration she easily decided to make the North Country her home. Having experience in adventure based therapy, hospitality, and customer service, Annie brings strong people-centered experience to her position as ANCA Energy Circuit Rider and Clean Energy Advisor.

She resides with her husband and two young boys in Vermontville. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and taking her sons on adventures to watch them explore and learn about nature.

Nancy Bernstein, Energy Circuit Rider

Nancy has been living with and promoting her passion for renewable energy for over 25 years, and is very excited to be sharing her skills as an ANCA Energy Circuit Rider. For over 10 years, Nancy organized local green building home tours, and more recently coordinated Solarize Tri-Lakes, a 2-year educational campaign to increase awareness about solar energy, encouraging more than 80 residential and small business solar PV arrays to be installed throughout the Tri-Lakes region.Graduating from Cornell University with a B.S. in Biology, Nancy began adult life teaching environmental education and river ecology aboard the sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River, as well as other sailing ships around the world.

After moving to the Adirondacks in 1990 and building her off-grid solar powered home, she began working in the building trades as a timber framer, carpenter, and instructor. From teaching natural building techniques in rural Nicaragua to an annual timber framing course at the Yestermorrow Design Build School in central Vermont, Nancy enjoys sharing her skills and interest in creating beautiful and functional buildings. As a sideline, she creates freelance nature illustrations and maps of the Adirondack region.(

Outside of work, Nancy skis, hikes, paddles and camps around the Adirondacks with her teenage son. And when time allows, you’ll find her at home playing her five-string banjo or planning her next travel adventure.

Caitlin Bottcher, Market Manager

Caitlin joined ANCA in 2022, as the Market Manager for High Peaks Farmers' Market, which includes weekly markets in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. She was raised in Saranac Lake and is a fifth generation graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and holds a BA in Speech Communications. As a member of Tri-Delta Sorority, Caitlin volunteered extensively in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on her campus, the community, and the Gulf Coast. For the past 11 years Caitlin and her husband have owned and managed The Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington, N.Y. As stewards for the Ausable River watershed, they recognize and promote advocacy for conservation and the local region. 

As a member of the Keene Youth Commission Board, Caitlin believes that youth programs benefit children, parents, and bring the community together as a whole. She has a passion for the local food culture and is excited to serve community members and vendors who participate in the High Peaks Farmers' Market. Caitlin and her family enjoy mountain biking, fishing, hiking, boating, nordic and downhill skiing, and all the wonderful ways you can explore the Adirondacks.


Elizabeth Cooper, Executive Director

Born and raised in the Adirondacks, Elizabeth really developed a love for this region when she was 15 and worked for Scenic Tours, assisting with seaplane rides. She knew then that she wanted to have an impact on this breathtakingly beautiful area. 

After graduating high school from Clifton-Fine Central School, Elizabeth attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy and while there, traveled the world seeing much of Europe, Egypt, Turkey and Israel. Receiving her Commission in the Air National Guard, Elizabeth became an Aircraft Maintenance Officer, developing leadership skills as Commander the Maintenance Operations Flight, and continuing her travels — this time to Greenland, New Zealand and Antarctica, including the South Pole. 

Travel opened her mind, giving her a love of other cultures, other ways of doing things, and diversity. Yet, it also grounded her, giving her a perspective that she tries to incorporate into every aspect of her life.  

She obtained her MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a concentration in Technological Entrepreneurship and then became a Business Consultant for Accenture, where she supervised a team of statisticians located in India to develop a sales forecast for her client.

Elizabeth brings real-world entrepreneurial experience to her role, having started and successfully run a small business in one of the most remote corners of the Adirondack Park. In addition, she has professional fundraising experience and grant administration experience. Most importantly, she has a passion for seeing our region thrive.  

Elizabeth lives in Lake Placid, NY with her husband, her two sons and daughter, and occasionally a foster child. They are a very active family — biking, hiking, swimming, skiing, traveling, and spending a lot of time at the luge track.

Danielle Delaini, Entrepreneurial Program Director

Dani has a passion for community focused business development and effective nonprofit management. She continually strives to  become the type of thoughtful leader who utilizes rational business acumen to achieve a greater idealistic good.

She holds a B.A. in English from Clark University and an M.S.M. in Managing Mission Driven Organizations from Marlboro College. Dani hails from Southern Vermont and previous to working at ANCA held a position as the Director of Programs and Events at a Chamber of Commerce in Boston’s active Metrowest area. Prior to taking on the Entrepreneurial Economy Program Director role, Dani served as ANCA's Business Transition Program Coordinator, where she coordinated partners and programs of the North Country Center for Businesses in Transition. 

She serves as the President of the Board of Directors at the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce and volunteers regularly for community projects and events.

Outside of the office, Dani is often spending time with her young children, satiating her appetite for reading, cooking (actually she is particularly interested in the eating  part),  kayaking, board games, and volunteering.

Adam Dewbury, Local Food System Program Director

Adam has had a long engagement with local food. He spent nearly twenty years working in the restaurant industry, including a decade in Ithaca, NY, an early locus of the farm to table movement. Additionally he has worked with small-scale local food manufacturers in product development and holds a Better Process Control certificate from UC Davis. Adam is an economic and environmental anthropologist whose research interests include the relations between people, capitalism and nature; social and environmental conflicts; and the interdigitation of conservation and development. He earned a PhD in Anthropology from Cornell University with dual concentrations in sociocultural anthropology and anthropological archeology.

Olivia Dwyer, Center for Pandemic Response Program Navigator

As a Program Navigator for ANCA’s Center for Pandemic Response, Olivia Dwyer (she/her) works to strengthen small businesses as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. She grew up in the Adirondacks and has lived in mountain towns from New York to New Zealand, working in retail, hospitality, customer service, and the ski industry. After earning a B.S. in Natural Resources with a concentration in Development Sociology from Cornell University, Olivia worked as a journalist for 10 years, reporting on the intersection of outdoor recreation, economics, climate change, and social issues in North America’s mountain communities. Olivia returned to the Adirondacks in 2016 and transitioned to human services, supporting families facing economic, emotional, social, and environmental difficulties as a foster care caseworker for the Essex County Department of Social Services. She lives in Upper Jay with her husband and their beagle, and spends her free time hiking, skiing, and replacing her lawn with native wildflowers. 

David Epstein-HaLevi, ScholarACTIVIST-in-Residence, Adirondack Diversity Initiative

David earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, where he focused on philosophy of education. David enrolled at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy as the Ruth J. Simmons Fellow and earned his teaching license for all secondary sciences. He earned a master’s in adolescent education, with a teaching license in social studies, from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY in 2011. He then pursued his PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he also served as managing editor for the Comparative Education Review journal. David transferred to UAlbany in 2013 to pursue a PhD in Educational Policy & Leadership with a focus on eco-pedagogy, systems thinking, and their intersections with equity and justice. He has published book chapters as well as journal articles, on topics ranging from critical consciousness, critical civic literacy, inter-being, and eco-social resilience using alternative development methods such as permaculture. 

Erin Griffin, Energy Circuit Rider

As an ANCA Energy Circuit Rider and Climate Smart Communities Coordinator, Erin works with municipalities to take action on climate change. Erin joined ANCA in 2022 with a diverse background of experience in education, climate change, and project management. 

Born and raised in Redford, N.Y., Erin earned bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies from St. Lawrence University, and a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Western Colorado University. Erin’s career path has taken her through incredible ecosystems and communities across the United States. She has taught children about shorebirds on the Oregon Coast, led high school trail crews in National Parks across the country, and helped create an in-school environmental education program in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Erin’s journey eventually brought her back to the Adirondacks where she has held positions at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and The Wild Center. The undercurrent driving all of Erin’s work is the unwavering belief that there is a place for everyone in the climate movement, and that we will not successfully address the climate crisis without everyone’s contributions. 

Erin now resides in Saranac Lake with her husband, and can frequently be found on a bicycle, on a mountain, coasting along on a pair of skis, or in her garden.

Jill Henck, Clean Energy Program Director

Jill started her journey with ANCA in December 2021, bringing an eclectic toolkit of experience to the Clean Energy Team. She earned a Bachelor’s in Environmental Policy from Union College in 2010 and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus in Environmental Planning from the University of Colorado Denver in 2015. Jill got her start in planning in Park County, Colorado where she helped to create and implement local land use policies around the region's biggest cash crop, recreational marijuana. Colorado is also where she developed her appreciation for the peace that comes with immersing oneself in the great outdoors. 

After a multi-month road trip across the United States, Jill, her husband and their two dogs landed just north of New York’s Catskill Mountains where she took on the role as a Sustainability Planner and Clean Energy Communities Coordinator with the Capital District Regional Planning Commission. Several years and a couple kids later, Jill is committed to implementing the change needed to strengthen local communities and preserve the planet for generations to come. She is a strong believer in positive energy, thoughtful conversation and leading by example.

Zach Hobbs, Center for Pandemic Response Outreach Coordinator

Zach Hobbs is a passionate builder of effective partnerships that empower individuals and strengthen communities. Before joining the ANCA CPR team to support the resilience of the region’s small businesses, he worked in experiential education and community partnerships in the Boston and New Orleans areas, including as Director of the Community Service Center at Boston University. Most recently, he served as an Empire State Fellow in New York’s Executive Office of Workforce Development. Zach holds a B.A. in History from Boston University and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University.   

Zach lives in Ballston Spa, his hometown, where he recently returned after 16 years away. He is a hiker, paddler, baker, road tripper, civic engagement enthusiast and media aficionado. 

Brandy Hobson, Director, Finance & Operations

Brandy joined ANCA in 2018, bringing with her nearly 15 years of experience in finance, human resources and business administration. A Saranac Lake resident since 1991, Brandy has created a wonderful life here with her husband, two sons and furry housemates as well. When not playing in Excel, Brandy enjoys hiking and strolling, crosswords and playing the drum set with talented local musicians.

Sean Jackson, Clean Energy Fellow

Sean joined the ANCA team as a Clean Energy Fellow in May of 2022. After graduating from Paul Smith’s College with a Bachelor’s in Sustainability and Natural Resource Conservation Management, Sean moved to the Adirondacks with the hopes to be able to give back to the region that was foundational in forming his environmental ethic. Currently, Sean is a graduate student at Clarkson University pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy while working as an assistant rowing coach.

This new academic venture has afforded him the ability to build on his existing interests in sustainability, energy systems, and ecological management that he established during his undergraduate studies. His research interests include using geographic information systems to guide decision making. When he’s not working towards academic goals, he’s usually on the water. Sean is excited to begin his fellowship with ANCA to explore new energy solutions and mechanisms to create a more sustainable and resilient Adirondack park.

Nancy LaBombard, Staff Accountant

Nancy has been keeping ANCA's finances in order for over 25 years. Using her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Empire State College, she produces financial statements, processes staff payroll, and keeps track of how our financial resources are moving. She has been instrumental in moving ANCA to a top-notch professional organization, and her fervid sense of humor enlivens office debate.

Nancy has lived in the Saranac Lake are for close to 33 years. She actively supports the vitality of region, as Treasurer of the Friends of St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower and her chairmanship of  the Town of Santa Clara Variance Board, and was a founding member and organizer of First Night Saranac Lake, Inc.. She is also a long standing member of the much sought after Adirondack Lawn Chair Ladies, the most popular performance group at the annual Winter Carnival Parade in Saranac Lake.  And in 2018 Nancy was crowned Queen of Winter Carnival, an honor bestowed on local citizens for their contributions to the well-being of the Saranac Lake community through their volunteer work.  When she isn’t working, Nancy spends time with her husband Richard, kayaking in the summer, and skiing in the winter, and she is an avid traveler.

Iris Li, Center for Pandemic Response Metrics & Reporting Administrator

Iris joined ANCA in August of 2021. She was born and raised in Brooklyn and relocated to the Adirondack Park in 2015, where she pursued a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Paul Smith’s College. Being an active member of her community and working closely with and for small businesses within the tri-lakes has allowed her to build strong connections and gain experiences that she would not be able to elsewhere.

Outside of the office, Iris can be found skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, or running around with her horse of a dog, Juneau!


Kim Manion, Director of Finance & Operations and Small Business Specialist

After growing up in Plattsburgh, Kim has lived and worked in many places including France, Egypt, California (twice!) and Montreal. 

With a degree in Finance, Kim thought she was headed to Wall Street, but the Jesuit influence of her alma mater nudged her towards something a bit more philanthropic. She served as a volunteer for one year for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and later worked for six years with Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington DC. 

Wanderlust steered Kim to travel around the world for several months on a bare bones budget, resulting in many interesting stories to share. 

With a M.A. in Human Resources in hand, Kim worked in various corporate human resources positions before leaving corporate life to raise her family in Egypt. After a few more moves, Kim and her husband Dennis, also a Plattsburgh native, were thrilled to return to the North Country to settle down. 

Since her return to the region, Kim has pursued her passion for small business and small business development. She owned and operated Maui North Ski, Bike & Board Co. and worked with the Small Business Development Center. Working with small business owners so they can not only survive but thrive is at the heart of Kim's work passion. 

Kim is active outside of work. With her family by her side, Kim enjoys skiing, biking, sailing and general adventuring.

Ryan Novak, Food Systems Fellow

Ryan joined the ANCA team in May 2022 to support ANCA’s Local Food Systems Program and the Center for Pandemic Response (ANCA CPR) through analysis and aggregation of production and distribution in the North Country. His goal to identify the needs of local producers will help support and streamline our region’s food system.

After serving in the armed forces, Ryan attended Paul Smith's College to pursue a bachelor’s of science in Natural Resource Conservation and Management. Between academic years during college, he served as an Initial Attack Wildland Firefighter. He graduated from PCS in 2021, his education culminating with a independent research project — a case study of the 2018 South Africa water crisis titled “‘The Privilege to Waste:’ Eco-Apartheid in Cape Town, South Africa.”

Having spent the better part of five years in the Adirondacks, Ryan feels he has become a student of the region, eager to learn about and better understand this special place. After years of travel and experience both domestic and abroad, he has chosen the Adirondacks as his home because of its natural environment and strong communities. He wants to be a part of the effort to usher in a new era of success and stewardship for a dynamic, growing North Country community. 

In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time outside, climbing, biking, and paddling, and finding inspiration for his poetry.


Jennifer Perry, Energy Circuit Rider

Jennifer Perry joined ANCA as an outreach coordinator for Governor Cuomo’s Cleaner Greener Communities Sustainability Plan in 2011 which resulted in 3 successful grants bringing in over $4 million in project funding to North Country communities.  In addition to coordinating these projects, she has successfully written several grants, is a member of the Clean Energy Economy Conference planning team, and has coordinated 5 Solarize campaigns resulting in over 750KW of added solar capacity to the region.  Her most recent role at ANCA is as an Energy Circuit Rider which she states, “Gives me the distinct privilege of assisting the hard working municipal leaders of the region in implementing cost reducing and energy saving projects.”   

Perry is a North Country native originally from Malone. She attended Skidmore College and woke up to the need for environmental protection while at college. After graduation she spent several years traveling throughout the United States and Canada living in remote northern communities working in the environmental and outdoor education fields. In 1997 she returned to the North Country to put down roots and start a family. Jen worked in the adventure therapy field for several years, taking time off to raise her family. While her children were young, she began avidly pursuing the development of local food growing and selling vegetables and plants under the name of McCollom’s Market, co-founding the Paul Smiths Farmers’ Market and starting Farm to Family Food Network - a program designed to provide year-round local food to Tri-Lakes residents. During this time, she also completed a master's in sustainability studies. Once her children were of school-age, she began teaching as an adjunct in the environmental science, and sustainability programs at Paul Smiths College and North Country Community College.  A lunch meeting with former ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish in 2011 to discuss agricultural opportunities led to her position as the outreach coordinator for the CGC Sustainability Planning team.  And the rest! history.

Melanie Reding, Associate Director, Adirondack Diversity Initiative

Melanie has been engaged in the fields of environmental education, diversity and inclusion, and communication for over 20 years. As an educator, she has focused on providing high-quality, conservation, climate, and cultural education programs that engage the learner while empowering them to make informed decisions and take responsible actions. Melanie holds a degree in Outdoor/Education and Native American Studies from Northland College in WI and a certificate in Community Based Social Marketing from the University of Florida. Over the last several years she has focused on using research-based communication tools known as Strategic Framing, to help elevate social issues by creating public understanding, unique partnerships, and building public will for social good. In her spare time she develops humane education curriculum for a number of elephant advocacy organizations in North America and Africa and is an EMT.

Lauren Richard, Small Business Services Coordinator

Lauren’s educational background is in biology, ecology and wildlife; she brings this systems perspective to every subject she approaches. Study abroad in South Africa gave her exposure to many different peoples, cultures, ecosystems and approaches to conservation and communication. 

Her early professional career involved a lot of nature education, working with the public in a few different states. After spending some time living in various parts of this big, beautiful country, she knew that home is where the trees, mountains and lakes are and made her way back to the Adirondack North Country where she first came for college at Paul Smith’s. 

Lauren began at ANCA in 2013 as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Over the years, she has brought her ecological and public education skills to each position she has held. She approaches her work with the heart of a student and a teacher, always happy to learn more and help folks along their path. 

When she isn’t organizing Adirondack Buyer Days, attending cooperative development meetings, or working with entrepreneurs, Lauren can be found reading, exploring the outdoors, working with her partner Christiaan on their old barn, or caring for their houseplants, native perennials, chickens, dog, cat, aquarium and snake.


Audrey Schwartzberg, Communications Officer

Audrey Schwartzberg joined the ANCA team in 2016. As Communications Officer, Audrey strives to share ANCA’s story with leaders, communities, residents and visitors across the North Country. Her extensive communications, research and writing experience are an asset to ANCA as we seek better ways of sharing our vision, accomplishing our strategic goals and reaching a broader, more diverse audience.

Audrey holds a B.S. in Photojournalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and an M.S. in Rural Sociology from The Pennsylvania State University. Her interest in rural issues and community development stem from her upbringing on her family’s vegetable farm in Massachusetts. She served as an agricultural extension agent with the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa for two years before entering graduate school. Her Master’s research focused on farm labor management practices on small-scale seasonal farms in Pennsylvania.

Audrey and her husband Ezra, who grew up in Saranac Lake, moved back to the Adirondacks in 2012, eager put down roots and raise their two children in this special place.

Rachel Stender, Center for Pandemic Response Program Navigator

Rachel joined ANCA in 2021, bringing with her a love for her Adirondack roots and enthusiasm to help those owning a business in the North Country. Rachel is a native to the Adirondacks and Saranac Lake. Rachel has experience with small family-run businesses in the North Country along with experience with serving her community through her work in the Human Service field.  Rachel received a AS degree in Business and Marketing in 2007 and is currently working on her BS in Community Health through SUNY Empire.

Rachel resides in Sugarbush with her growing family and four legged friend, Tuvè. She has a love for the outdoors and would spend every day on the water if given the chance. 

“Nature has always had calming effects on me and I feel blessed to live in such an amazing part of our country.”

Caitlin Wargo, Communications and Development Director

Caitlin brings her boundless enthusiasm for everything North Country to ANCA’s fundraising and membership initiatives.   She stewards our relationships with donors, investors and our broad membership including local and county governments and media.   She oversees ANCA's communications strategy, keeping our members informed, engaged and excited about ANCA programs and vision for northern New York.  

Caitlin’s brings 25 years experience in managing giving and capital campaigns for non-profits, communications and marketing for organizations such as the National Geographic Society, where she worked at the Magazine and as a photo editor in the Public Affairs department.  Caitlin graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English Literature. She lives in Lake Placid with her ski racing/soccer playing/mountain biking son and Trudy the Wonder Dog.