Since 1958, Heritage Conservancy has been preserving and protecting our natural and historic heritage.
Heritage Conservancy is an accredited not-for-profit conservation organization that specializes in open space preservation, planning for sustainable communities, natural resource protection, property stewardship, historic preservation, adaptive reuse of existing structures, wildlife habitat restoration and biodiversity.
Through 60+ years of professional land use planning and design; innovative land conservation and historic preservation strategies; public outreach and education; and the application of “best management practices” for property stewardship, the Conservancy has established itself as an acclaimed full-service leader. Its national accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission affirms Heritage Conservancy’s commitment to excellence, trust and permanence.
Our Board of Directors
- Jeffrey H. Nicholas, Esq.
- Lynn T. Bush
- Douglas L. Carr, CPA
- Christopher B. Chandor, Esq.
- Brian J. Clark, Esq.
- Stephen G. Darlington
- Nicholas DeRose
- Ralph C. Fey, AIA
- Louis J. Lombardi
- David Oxley
- Frank C. Palopoli
- Kevin Putman, Jr.
- Scott A. Reines, MD, PhD
- Beth Snyder, DMD
- Kathy Summerall
- Julia R. Toner, Esq.
- William Hart Rufe III
- Marvin L. Woodall
- Elizabeth H. Gemmill, Esq.
- J. Lawrence Grim, Jr., Esq.
- Joseph R. Kempter, CPA
President & CEO
COO & CFO
Conservation Acquisition Specialist
215-345-7020 ext. 135
As a Conservation Acquisition Specialist, Matt advances collaborative and lasting partnerships with private land owners, local municipalities, and public agencies to protect lands throughout the greater Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley region. He joins Heritage Conservancy with 15+ years in the environmental/outdoor education field, having most recently served as the Site Director at Abbott's Mill Nature Center of the Delaware Nature Society in Milford, DE. Matt holds a B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in Outdoor Education from Virginia's Longwood University. He enjoys connecting with the natural world through fly fishing, birding, astronomy, canoeing/kayaking, and backcountry camping.
Senior Development Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 105
As Senior Development and Community Engagement Associate, Liz is responsible for donor and new member outreach as well as engaging the broader community with the Conservancy’s mission. She assists with the organization of engagement programs and special events and managing donor’s relationships. Liz holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Kenyon College and a certificate in Historic Preservation from Bucks County Community College. Before joining Heritage Conservancy’s staff, Liz worked for the Bucks County Parks and Recreation Department.
Senior Development Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 107
As Senior Development Associate, Emily focuses on cultivating both individual and business members for Heritage Conservancy as well as planning and hosting outreach events, which include Heritage Conservancy’s two major fundraising events, Christmas at Aldie and Farm to Table. Prior to joining Heritage Conservancy, Emily worked at Pennsylvania Ballet where she expanded the Young Friends program, working to cultivate the next generation of donors. Emily also has experience in special events after serving as a development intern at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Emily holds a B.A. in History from Temple University.
Community Programs Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 157
As Community Programs Associate, Kaylyn focuses on developing and implementing environmental education and community programs. She helps people of all ages to connect with nature, the environment, and the historic heritage of our community in meaningful ways through fun and interactive learning experiences. Kaylyn holds a B.A. in Environmental Conservation and a minor in Communications from Cedar Crest College.
Linda J. Cacossa
Chief Operating Officer
215-345-7020 ext. 124
As Chief Operating Officer, Linda is responsible for the day-to-day business operations of Heritage Conservancy. This includes all fiscal activities, fundraising, marketing/branding and communications, property management and organizational strategic planning. She provides guidance to department management, establishing organizational performance metrics; driving the goal-setting process throughout the organization; and conducting regular operating reviews to assess financial results and projections relative to budgets. Linda provides the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the Conservancy has the proper operational controls and administrative procedures in place to effectively grow the organization. Linda, a resident of Doylestown Borough, brings substantial experience including 20+ years in land planning and engineering as well as nonprofit management experience as the Executive Director of Fighting Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Land Conservation Manager
215-345-7020 ext. 134
As Senior Conservation Steward, Jim’s primary responsibility is to identify and implement conservation projects on our preserved properties to maximize the health of their natural resources for the benefit of wildlife and our community. Jim has a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University. Before joining Heritage Conservancy’s staff, Jim worked as an environmental educator and land manager for the National Audubon Society and as a high school science teacher.
Community Engagement Programs Manager
215-345-7020 ext. 104
Shannon works to connect people of all ages to the natural and historic wonders on Heritage Conservancy’s preserved properties. She develops innovative cross-curriculum educational programs in partnership with local schools and works to provide moments of awe in nature for individuals, partner organizations, and students through community programming. Collaborating with communities and across regional watershed-wide initiatives, Shannon helps to connect the local work that Heritage Conservancy does to broader environmental initiatives. Shannon holds a B.A. in Zoology and Environmental Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Shannon has worked on research projects ranging from wildlife behavior and habitat use to species diversity in biofuel agricultural systems and many more.
Donor Engagement Officer
215-345-7020 ext. 103
As Donor Engagement Officer, Heather is responsible for building relationships with new and existing donors, stewarding their passion for conservation, and helping shape their philanthropic goals. She works closely with the development team, board members, and executive staff to plan and implement effective, multi-year strategies for the continued growth of Heritage Conservancy and its positive, lasting impact on Bucks County and the surrounding region. Heather holds a B.A. in English from Saint Joseph’s University. Before joining Heritage Conservancy’s staff, she began her fundraising career writing grants and running after school programs for Saint Charles Mission in San Carols, AZ on the San Carlos Apache reservation. Since then, she has spent the past 25 years serving the missions of organizations ranging from education, to animal advocacy, and cancer research. She most recently worked in the Advancement Department of Solebury School in New Hope, PA.
Conservation Easement Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 154
As one of the Conservation Easement Stewards, Sebastian is responsible for completing baseline documentation studies for new property acquisitions and monitoring existing conservation easements. Sebastian is a conservationist with a background in ecological research. He graduated from Delaware Valley University with a B.S. in Biology, and earned his M.S. in Biology from East Stroudsburg University studying Timber Rattlesnake ecology. He has worked with a number of threatened and endangered reptiles and amphibians, as well as native and invasive insects.
Senior Community Engagement Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 110
As Senior Community Engagement Associate, Whittier collaborates closely with local partners and individuals in order to create inclusive public programming. He is passionate about utilizing our shared land as a catalyst to form new connections and start important discussions. Whittier earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies from Richard Stockton University. Previously, he worked with schools and youth from low-income areas as an Outdoor Educator and summer camp Coordinator at College Settlement Outdoor School.
215-345-7020 ext. 118
Diane manages and performs various accounting functions such as developing, implementing and maintaining the accounting systems, policies and procedures; compiling, analyzing and reporting accounting data for management reports and decision-making purposes. She brings nearly thirty years of Accounting and Financial Management experience, ten of which were in non-profit, and an additional ten years were spent in residential and commercial development and land acquisition. With a strong interest in environmental issues and conservation, Diane has offered her support and services to several nationally-recognized organizations, one of which included marsh land restoration due to the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
Aldie Mansion Caretaker
215-345-7020 ext. 121
As Caretaker of Aldie Mansion, Laura is responsible for maintaining the integrity and beauty of the building and grounds. Before working for the Conservancy, Laura worked for the McCarter Theater in Princeton (some of the props she crafted have gone on to Broadway and international tours!) and the Bucks County Playhouse, and she joined Heritage Conservancy’s staff to continue working for an organization that values the protection and stewardship of cultural and natural resources. Laura holds a B.F.A. in Theater Design and Production from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Saint Margaret College, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Conservation Acquisition Specialist
215-345-7020 ext. 153
As a Conservation Acquisition Specialist, Kim works with land owners, local municipalities, and public agencies to conserve critical habitat and open spaces within the Delaware and Lehigh Valley regions. Kim grew up on an active farm in Solebury Township, on which she still lives and helps with in her free time. Prior to joining Heritage Conservancy, Kim worked in the commercial real estate field after attending Penn State for a degree in geography and NYU for real estate.
Director of Resource Protection
215-345-7020 ext. 101
Kris has more than ten years of land-use planning and conservation experience. In addition to assisting with Heritage Conservancy’s grant writing and fundraising efforts, Kris works with municipalities and private landowners to protect land via conservation easements and fee acquisitions. Before joining Heritage Conservancy, she worked for the County of Bucks, administering three grant programs under its Open Space Program. Kris is a graduate of Kutztown University and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master of City and Regional Planning degree.
Digital Communications Associate
215-345-7020 ext. 112
As Digital Communications Associate, Kate assists the Communications Department through the management of Heritage Conservancy’s social media outlets, the production and distribution of the organization’s e-newsletter, and updating content featured on Heritage Conservancy’s website. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and English from Franklin and Marshall College and is interested in social justice and historical preservation from an archaeological perspective. In her free time, she enjoys fashion styling, poetry, and painting. Before joining Heritage Conservancy, Kate worked as a Lifestyle Editor for Mood of Living Magazine.
215-345-7020 ext. 102
Tyler conducts conservation projects on our preserved land to help restore ecosystem health, benefiting both wildlife and our community. His previous experience includes conducting ecological restoration projects and studying wetlands, reforestation, and wildlife conservation in multiple countries. Tyler holds a B.S. from Shippensburg University and an M.S. from James Madison University in Biology.
President and Chief Executive Officer
215-345-7020 ext. 158
Bill joined Heritage Conservancy in fall 2021, after 15 years as a senior leader with The Nature Conservancy. He brings deep experience helping organizations accelerate the pace and scale of land conservation and developing innovative strategies around conservation funding, community engagement, sustainable forestry and agriculture, urban conservation, and climate resilience. Before becoming a conservation leader, he was a Division Chief at the Federal Communications Commission and worked as a management consultant, an attorney, and in academic publishing. Bill brings to Heritage Conservancy a passion for nature and history, the two foundations of the Conservancy’s mission: he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, and as a young child, he fell in love with nature through birding excursions to Hawk Mountain in Berks County and Brigantine (now Forsythe) National Wildlife Refuge near Atlantic City.
Development Associate - Volunteer and Historic Events Coordinator
215-345-7020 ext. 120
As Development Associate, Melissa manages the volunteer program to maximize volunteer opportunities and engage the community with the Conservancy’s mission, with an emphasis on the historic side. She coordinates with other staff members to determine volunteer needs and then matches volunteers to various events and positions in accordance with their skills. Melissa holds a B.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology and a minor in History from Millersville University.
Jeffrey L. Marshall
215-345-7020 ext. 113
As Senior Advisor, Jeff will use his 40 years of combined experience in land protection and historic preservation as well as his relationship with key stakeholders to provide the organization and the President with expertise to implement the Conservancy’s strategic plan, advance programs and support fundraising efforts. He will continue to act as an advocate and ambassador for the organization.
Mary Lou McFarland
Senior Preservation Specialist
215-345-7020 ext. 109; 215-283-0383
Mary Lou founded The Conservancy of Montgomery County (CMC) and served as its president for more than 20 years. As part of Heritage Conservancy’s 2012 merger with CMC, she joined our staff in a leadership role. In this position, Mary Lou oversees the continual monitoring of eleven acquired conservation easements from CMC in addition to the conservation easements in Montgomery County already preserved by Heritage Conservancy. With an extensive background in historical research, she heads historic preservation projects in Montgomery County and surrounding areas as well. Mary Lou received her undergraduate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her Master’s degree from Ohio State University.
215-345-7020 ext. 108
Katie is responsible for overseeing and managing the daily activities to implement fundraising and outreach efforts. Her role entails organizing engagement programs and special events and managing donor relationships. She also works to align individuals from the community to support strategic initiatives, continue organizational growth and expand mission awareness. Katie holds a B.S in Tourism and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Destination and Event Management from Temple University.
Conservation Easement Steward
215-345-7020 ext. 106
As one of the Conservation Easement Stewards, Katie is responsible for completing baseline documentation studies for new property acquisitions and monitoring existing conservation easements. Recently graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Earth and Environmental Science, Katie was the Alliance for Watershed Education Fellow at Heritage Conservancy before joining the staff in 2020
Resource Protection Coordinator
215-345-7020 ext. 150
As Resource Protection Coordinator, Stephanie manages the administrative needs of the stewardship team, including outreach to landowners and vendors, as well as managing the filing system and schedules for the team. Stephanie is also involved in many cross-departmental tasks, such as daily operations for staff, as well as planning and implementation of many of our events. Stephanie initially studied kinesiology at Bridgewater State College in MA, but has always been passionate about outdoor spaces and their preservation. Prior to joining Heritage Conservancy, Stephanie was an administrator at the Y.A.L.E. School in Manayunk.
Development Administrative Assistant
215-345-7020 ext. 131
As Development Administrative Assistant, Hayley provides direct support to the Development Department with the membership renewal and landowner outreach processes, as well by processing gifts and acknowledging donors. She also assists with the registration process for organizational activities, general office operations, and meeting coordination. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Minor in Communications from Eastern University and is interested in the equitable preservation and sustainable use of land to combat environmental discrimination. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and crafting. Prior to joining Heritage Conservancy, Hayley handled Volunteer and Client Coordination at Meals on Wheels of Lancaster, PA.