Blue Bluff Nature Preserve

Celebrating our Board Members, Outgoing and New

Like many nonprofits, we rely on a volunteer board to guide our work. These are individuals who care about the natural world and are happy to share their time and expertise to protect it. This month brings changes as several board members’ terms have come to an end. With four board members rolling off and four new ones joining, it’s a good time to express our gratitude to these committed individuals.

We celebrate the contributions of these outgoing board members, who have given many hours of service over the past years.

Curt DeVoe, former board chair, helped us navigate the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and other shifts. He recently retired as a partner at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP. As an environmental attorney, he comes to conservation work with a long history of exploring the woods, streams, and reservoirs of Central Indiana. Along with his wife, Lynn, he looks for a “nature moment” each day that kindles appreciation of the natural world.

Realtor Priscilla Johnson served on our board for nearly a decade. As vice chair of advancement, she helped our organization step up our outreach to new supporters. She is passionate about conserving the best places in Central Indiana and sharing appreciation for nature that was first passed down from her father, Dr. Russell Lamb. In 2015, Priscilla, along with husband TJ and brother Randy Lamb, helped our organization acquire the family property that would become Betley Woods at Glacier’s End—taking a bargain price in the sale. She and TJ also express their generosity and commitment by regularly donating in honor of friends.

Lori Kaplan was an early champion of our “JEDI” (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) commitment. She came on the board in 2013 with a strong background in environmental concerns. Before retiring, she served as Executive Director of Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority. She previously worked for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and JFNew (now known as Cardno). She enjoys bringing friends along on our public hikes. She also likes to volunteer with our stewardship crew, helping beat back invasives at many of our preserves.

Tom Maurath steered us through the shifting economic landscape, serving as both our treasurer and finance committee chair. He joined the board in 2014. As a Senior Portfolio Manager at Goelzer Investment Management, he was well-equipped to advise our organization on best practices in the financial arena. He enjoys golf, biking, racquetball, and hiking, and rarely misses a chance to take a Black Friday hike with us.

We are also welcoming these new board members whose contributions we eagerly anticipate.

Josh Christie previously served on our board, including a term as board chair. He is a partner in Ice Miller’s Business Group where he primarily focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate transactions, joint ventures, commercial agreements, and general corporate matters. Josh earned his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 2003, with a minor in philosophy, and his law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. Josh lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Erica, and daughter, Alice, and spends his time away from the office exploring the woods around Central Indiana and watching Alice dance and act.

David Franklin is the Chief Investment Officer at The National Bank of Indianapolis and manager of their investment division, Diamond Capital Management. In this capacity, he coordinates the investment philosophy, strategy, tactics, and implementations employed by the Bank in managing approximately $2 billion in assets. He is a lifelong nature enthusiast who grew up in southern Indiana, with many adventures camping and boating. A father of two boys, he has enjoyed raising them with the same passion for being outdoors and enjoying nature.

Doug Gray is a nationally recognized birdwatcher who was introduced to the world of birds by his grandfather while growing up on the family farm in near Clarksville, Tennessee. A longtime birding guide at major festivals across the country, Doug has served on the boards of the Amos Butler Audubon Society in Indiana and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ohio. He previously spent over 10 years in active military service in the United States Army. He retired in 2017 after almost 30 years working for Eli Lilly and Company, with most of those years in Parenteral Engineering. Doug is also a pastor, a chaplain, President of the Johnson County Ministerial Association, and Lecturer of Religion at Franklin College.

Ellen Jacquart was one of our organization’s founders. She spent her career managing natural areas in Indiana, working for the Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and The Nature Conservancy of Indiana before retiring in 2016. A major focus of her work was to address the threat of invasive plants to forests, prairies, and wetlands. When the Indiana Invasive Species Council created the Invasive Plant Advisory Committee in 2010, she led it until she retired in 2016. She now chairs Monroe County – Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS), which works to reduce the impact of invasive plants in Monroe County. She was president of the Indiana Native Plant Society from 2018 to 2022. She is the winner of the 2022 Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award from the Natural Areas Association.

Please join us in thanking these outgoing and incoming board members for their commitment to saving nature! For more information, see our full board and staff listing.

Shawndra Miller

Communications Manager

Shawndra is in charge of sharing our story and connecting you to our work. Through our print and online materials, she hopes to inspire your participation in protecting special places for future generations.