Meet the Board of Directors
WNYEA maintains a 9-13 member board with seats elected every year to serve a two-year term. The Board officers include the positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.
Pollinator Conservation Association, Advocacy Chair
Jay Burney is a long-time conservationist, educator, naturalist, and community activist. He is also a writer, media maker, and publisher. He attended college at the University of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and UCLA. He attended and later taught at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. He has produced, written, and helped market a number of projects including for Warner Brothers, PBS, National Public Radio, CTV, the BBC, and CBS. He is the Executive Director and Special Projects Director for the Pollinator Conservation Association. He was one of the founders of the Friends of Times Beach Nature Preserve. He served as chair of the Niagara River Corridor Globally Significant Bird Area coalition that worked to obtain that designation. He is one of the founders of the Our Outer Harbor Coalition, is the U.S. Chair of the Birds on the Niagara International Festival, and is the founder and chair of the Pollinator Conservation Association.
Most importantly he is a husband to Jonna, and the father of two children, Jajean Rose Burney, and Jamie Hamann-Burney.
Partnership for the Public Good, Secretary
Jessica is a PhD Candidate in the Geography Department at the University at Buffalo and a research Associate at Partnership for the Public Good, as well as secretary for the WNYEA. Through these roles, Jessica employs scholarship and activism to address food injustice within WNY communities, with a particular emphasis on racial justice and a just transition, which promotes the health and well-being of both people and planet. Growing up in the Finger Lakes, Jessica has been engaged in addressing environmental issues since middle school, during which she attended the Environmental Classroom Opportunity program at Cumming’s Nature Center in place of “normal” middle school. She received her BA from SUNY Geneseo in 2013 before moving to Buffalo for graduate school. In addition to being a student herself, she teaches environmental courses at both the University at Buffalo and SUNY Geneseo, through which she guides students in learning how to support local environmental efforts. When she is not working, she is usually hiking or biking in the numerous beautiful parks throughout the WNY region or gardening in her backyard.
JAJEAN ROSE BURNEY
Western New York Land Conservancy
Jajean was born and raised in Western New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design and a master’s degree in urban planning, both from the University at Buffalo (UB). After graduating in 2007, he worked at the Urban Design Project, a research center at UB, on several local planning efforts, environmental coalition building, and non-profit development. As a graduate student, Jajean studied in the Sustainable Futures program in Costa Rica, and taught in the same program while working for the Urban Design Project.
From 2010 to 2012 he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed with Mexico’s federal environmental agency in Puebla, a large city in southern Mexico, along with his wife Ana.
Jajean is currently the Deputy Executive Director of the Western New York Land Conservancy.
University at Buffalo
Dr. Nick Henshue has a B.S. in Environmental Education, Master’s in Biology, and Ph.D. in Ecology. He currently looks for ways to utilize earthworm ecology together with Restoration and Soil Ecology to improve habitats in Western New York. His current courses taught include Ecology, Restoration Ecology, Soil Ecology, and Phylogenetics and Taxonomy. Additionally, he is the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Environment and Sustainability at the University at Buffalo. Nick’s research interests include restoration, earthworms, ecology, science outreach, and helping teachers teach amazing science.
Partnership for the Public Good, Treasurer
Andrea Ó Súilleabháin is Executive Director at Partnership for the Public Good, which she joined as Deputy Director in May 2017. She leads PPG’s work on criminal justice reform and community policing, immigrant rights and language access policies, and the annual Community Agenda. Previously, Andrea was a Research Fellow at the International Peace Institute in New York, focused on bringing community voices to United Nations policymaking and increasing women’s participation in peace talks. Her research has informed UN policy and US law, and has been cited by Foreign Policy, The Guardian, PBS, and other news sources.
Andrea has worked as a lawyer on refugee cases in the US and Ireland, on ending the death penalty in the state of Indiana, and on peacebuilding in countries from South Africa to Sri Lanka. She holds a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law and a BA in Political Science and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Brian is the Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), a 120,000-member, non-profit, non-partisan organization that empowers communities and advocates solutions to protect public health and the environment in New York State. He is based in Buffalo and has been a board member of the WNYEA since 2018.
Brian has spent nearly two decades at CCE working on campaigns at the local, state, and federal level on issues that impact WNY. His work includes a strong focus on grassroots advocacy, and addresses issues that include protecting and restoring the Great Lakes, fighting climate change, advancing renewable energy, reducing plastic pollution, cleaning up toxics, addressing emerging contaminants, and protecting special places such as Allegany State Park and Zoar Valley. He is a state lead of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition and serves as an at-large board member of the Tonawanda Commission for Conservation of the Environment.
Brian is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia with a BA in Political Science. He resides in Tonawanda with his wife and two daughters.
Cornell Cooperative Extension, Vice Chair
John served as the District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service from late 1985 until he retired in January of 2019. In addition to more than 39 years of professional experience, John was a founder and long-time Director and Treasurer of the Western New York Land Conservancy. He remains an enthusiastic supporter of the open space, farmland and natural area protection work of the WNY Land Conservancy and many other local land conservation organizations and initiatives. He has considerable experience in geographic information system data development, project management and mapping. John also served on the Erie County Environmental Management Council as an at-large member for many years. John now holds a part-time position as an agricultural educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County.
John is a 1982 graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where he studied Natural Resources & Agronomy. Other interests include nature photography, woodworking, gardening, and music. As a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, John can be seen and heard in various venues in and around East Aurora where he resides with his wife, Laura.
Sierra Club Niagara Group, Chair
Lynda is Professor Emerita of the Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo/SUNY and 2019-2021 Chair of the WNYEA. Throughout her career she has worked to connect environmental and social activism, design practice, teaching, and scholarship around both professional and citizen engagement in the practice of “placemaking.” She engages people and institutions in the work of healing the world and the creating beloved places. She holds an MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin, has taught at Schools of Architecture from 1976 to 2011, and is author or editor of six books and numerous articles.
Schneekloth has been active in regional environmental work to include being one of the founders of the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and the WNY Environmental Alliance. She also serves on the board member of the Sierra Club Niagara Group and participates in the Crossroads Collective. With these organizations and others, she has facilitated collaborative work in climate justice with special attention to youth and frontline involvement, public trust matters as in Outer Harbor protection, the restoration of our ecology through the Native Plants Collaborative, and the moral imperative of both the climate and biodiversity crises through the Interfaith Climate Justice Community. Schneekloth seeks to deepen people’s connections to the earth both culturally and environmentally.
KELLEY ST. JOHN
City of Buffalo, ex-officio
Kelley St. John is a Resiliency Grants Manager for the City of Buffalo who works to secure unique funding streams that support the City’s sustainability and resilience initiatives. In this role, St. John is responsible for coordinating the City’s Climate Smart Community Task Force – a collaborative climate action stakeholder group that assists to guide the City’s participation and implementation of state-sponsored climate and energy programs. St. John brings experience from her contributions to applied research and policy making in communities across US. She holds a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and undergraduate degrees in Environmental Design (B.A.) and Environmental Studies (B.S.) from the University at Buffalo.
Kelley is a life-long resident of Western New York, growing up among the rural landscapes of Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties on her family’s fourth-generation dairy operation. Kelley currently resides in North Buffalo with her husband, Nathan and together they enjoy exploring the National Parks system and listening to live music. Her interests include gardening,
thrift and vintage shopping, and winter activities.
Brenda Young, PhD, LEED AP is Professor of Biology at Daemen College and Chair for their Global & Local Sustainability Department. Trained as an ecologist with additional coursework in sustainable design, she teaches courses in ecology, animal behavior, conservation biology and environmental sciences. With students, she works on campus sustainability initiatives including demonstration green roof and rain garden projects.
Brenda and her husband own Niagara Malt LLC, a certified organic farm business producing carbon-neutral malt for craft brewers and distillers. Additionally, she is a beekeeper and uses agricultural practices that promote biodiversity.
Brenda serves on the boards for Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Western New York Sustainable Energy Association and WNY Earth Day Expo. She also helps manage Allenberg Bog owned by Buffalo Audubon Society.