Our People

Meet your land trust staff, board and media relations contacts.

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Leadership

Cliff Chapman

Executive Director

As a child growing up in Indianapolis, Cliff sought out every patch of green in the city. “I used to ride my bike along Pleasant Run and spend hours in the creek–looking at interesting rocks, plants and animals.” As CILTI’s Executive Director, Cliff grew up to make his passion for nature his life’s work. He previously worked as an ecologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy in Olympia, WA. He is the former president of the Natural Areas Association and the Indiana Land Protection Alliance. With his deep educational and professional history in the conservation field, Cliff keeps CILTI’s focus on good science and stewardship. He’s mindful that the natural places you love took thousands of years to evolve and could be destroyed in a single day, and that knowledge drives his dedication to their protection. When not with his young family or at CILTI, he enjoys hiking, birding and working on his golf game (with mixed results).

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2008 Meltzer Woods Nature Conservation

Stacy Cachules

Assistant Director

Stacy brings her passion for land protection into her work at CILTI. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve felt a connection to nature, and a wish to protect it,” she says. “Now that I have my own children, making sure we protect and care for what’s left is even more important to me.” Before joining the Land Trust, she worked at Seattle’s Cascade Land Conservancy, managing their robust volunteer program. Currently she serves as president of Indiana Wildlife Federation. At CILTI Stacy has the critical task of tracking our budget, making sure we channel your donations for maximum efficiency. When her workday’s done, Stacy loves to spend time with her two young boys—and when not traveling, she’s likely planning the next travel adventure.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2011 Blossom Hollow Donations, Public Relations

Staff

Andrea Groner

Office and Operations Manager

Andrea got her start in conservation work during an Americorps term at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, Maine, where she helped restore habitat for the New England cottontail rabbit. She comes to CILTI with a master’s degree in philanthropic studies, a passion for the natural world—and an eagerness to dig into spreadsheets and processes in service of our mission. She keeps our office running efficiently from behind the scenes, helping to ensure that the places you cherish can be acquired and managed with care. She is coauthor of Golden Giving: A Guide to a Socially Conscious Retirement, and currently sings with the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus, where she serves on the board. During her leisure time, she dotes on her two cats and schemes up her next cosplay character, having once attended a Chicago convention as Poison Ivy.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2019 Meltzer Woods General Office Inquiries

Jamison Hutchins

Stewardship Manager

Jamison leads our stewardship team in caring for the land that is so important to you. He comes to our team after eight years as Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the city of Indianapolis, where his work had a positive impact from both health and environmental perspectives. An Indiana native, he lived in the outdoor recreation hotspot of Missoula, MT for several years while going to college. His interest in land trust work began with recent family trips to northern Michigan, where he enjoyed hikes led by Leelanau Conservancy. With his bachelor’s in international relations and diplomacy and a master’s degree in nonprofit management, Jamison brings to CILTI not only a love of nature, but an ability to create meaningful partnerships that advance crucial work. He learned teamwork young while playing hockey, and currently plays in a rooftop hockey league. He is known for riding his bicycle everywhere, and has not had to rely on a car for his daily commute for the past 10 years.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2019 Blossom Hollow Nature Preserve Management

Shawndra Miller

Communications Specialist

Shawndra’s earliest writing projects centered around the natural world, starting when a bird inspired to write her first “book” in elementary school. Now she 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. She previously wrote for Farm Indiana, Acres USA, Edible Indy, and other media, focusing on sustainable agriculture and community resilience. She considers her position at CILTI to be a dream job, allowing her to use her skills in service of a mission that’s dear to her heart. Outside of work she can often be found with her nose in a book and a cat on her lap, unless she’s at the yoga studio trying to twist herself into unusual shapes.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2018 Mossy Point Communications Inquiries

Stephanie Paine Crossin

Land Protection Specialist

Stephanie grew up spending part of each summer roaming the woods, beaches and sand dunes of Lake Michigan—an experience that gave her a lifelong love of the outdoors. Now she oversees all our land transactions, helping to safeguard Central Indiana’s remaining natural areas. She previously put her law degree to work in diverse environments, including a free legal clinic, before focusing on family and volunteer work for many years. Currently she serves on the Conservation committee of the Indianapolis Garden Club and is helping to establish Marion County’s Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area. Most of her leisure pursuits are connected to the natural world in some way—whether hiking national parks on vacation or combating invasive honeysuckle at home. Her favorite stress-reliever is her daily run on a nature trail; however, she’s been known to stop midstride to look at interesting birds.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2019 Meltzer Woods Land Protection Projects

Grace van Kan

White River Steward

Growing up primarily in Maryland, Grace van Kan roamed the woods, creeks and wetlands around the Chesapeake Bay watershed. From an early trout-raising project to a “gap year” spent restoring coral reefs in Thailand, her interest in aquatic conservation has only grown. Now she cares for several riverine nature preserves as CILTI’s White River Steward. After serving an AmeriCorps term with a land trust in the Sierra Nevadas, she knew she wanted to put her environmental studies degree to use in the conservation field. She enjoys seeing how her contributions improve an ecosystem for lasting impact, and her CILTI role represents exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. In her off hours she can often be found fixing broken things around the house (or disassembling unbroken things to see how they work), and when she needs a meditative moment, she builds things out of Legos.

Grace’s position is funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, and she will be focusing on our White River Watershed properties.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2020 Meltzer Woods Land Stewardship

Phillip Weldy

Stewardship Specialist

Phillip enjoys nature’s wonders from an up-close-and-personal perspective as he works to restore the natural places you love. As an AmeriCorps member in Asheville, NC, he had his first full immersion in relatively undisturbed land while reconstructing wilderness trails in National Parks and National Forests. That transformative experience made him decide to use his Purdue environmental biology degree in the field. He came to his stewardship role at CILTI after undertaking invasive species control and trail maintenance for Little Traverse Conservancy in Harbor Springs, MI. When not wrestling invasive plants in the field, he stays in fighting shape by kneading bread dough for fresh-baked loaves.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2019 Blossom Hollow Land Stewardship

Traci Willis

Outreach Specialist

Traci has always loved nature, channeling her passion into creating habitat for bees and butterflies (and taking stunning photographs of them). She coordinates our outreach efforts, building key partnerships with organizations. Part of her role involves matching dedicated volunteers with opportunities—whether that’s assisting our stewardship team in the field, serving on our board or working on special projects. She is also the face of CILTI at various outreach events. Leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and researching genealogical records to finally prove she’s royalty keep her busy in her off hours.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2016 Meltzer Woods Volunteer Opportunities, Events, Membership
Staff photos by Emily Schwank.

Seasonal Employees

Phil G.D. Schaefer

Special Projects Coordinator

Restoring landscapes with CILTI—first as a volunteer, then as a seasonal stewardship team member—led to Phil's role as our Special Projects Coordinator.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2015 Meltzer Woods Land Stewardship

Board of Directors

Curt DeVoe

Board President

Curt DeVoe, Senior Counsel at the law firm Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, is a native of Indianapolis and has spent much of his life in and around the woods, streams and reservoirs of Central Indiana. Curt comes to conservation from that experience, his study of the writings of Henry David Thoreau in college, and his career as an environmental attorney. Along with his wife, Lynn, he looks for a "nature moment" each day that kindles appreciation of the natural world.

Thomas Betley

Vice President of Programs

Tom Betley has worked at the IU School of Medicine for 20 years in Financial and Academic administration. He is currently the Associate Vice Chair for Budget and Finance at the Department of Medicine.

Joshua Christie

Immediate Past Board President

Josh Christie is a partner in Ice Miller's Business Group where he primarily focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, corporate transactions, commercial agreements, general corporate matters and financing transactions, including commercial lending transactions. Josh's practice also includes advising clients, including governmental entities, municipalities, bidders and developers, in public-private partnerships.

Joe Hawkins

Secretary

Joe Hawkins works as an attorney at Duke Realty with a practice focusing on industrial leasing, development and brownfield redevelopment in California. Joe began his interest in conservation after spending many days canoeing and sailing in the Great Lakes region and hiking trails all over Indiana and Virginia. Joe is avid cyclist, and he and his family enjoy adventures in Indiana’s natural areas by trail and waterway.

Priscilla Johnson

Vice President of Advancement

Priscilla Johnson is a lifelong Indianapolis resident and graduated with an AB from Earlham College and an MS from Butler University. She was taught to appreciate nature and being in the outdoors by her father, Dr. Russell Lamb and her brother, Randy Lamb. Starting her career as an educator in Washington Township and then Lawrence Township, Priscilla associated with the F.C, Tucker Company as a Realtor/Broker 33 years ago. She has been a lifetime member of The Presidents Club and was named one of the Top Ten F.C. Tucker Brokers in 2002. Priscilla has been on the CILTI board since 2014 and currently serves as Vice President of Advancement. She is pleased to help conserve the best places in central Indiana and to teach others how to appreciate the natural settings that surround us. She is a longstanding member of the Indianapolis Ski Club and enjoys skiing during the winter months.

Thomas Maurath

Treasurer

Tom Maurath is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Goelzer Investment Management with 36 years of experience. He received his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame (Cum Laude) and his M.B.A. at Indiana University. He resides in Indianapolis with his wife and is a member of Holy Spirit at Geist and Hawthorns Country Club. Tom enjoys golf, biking, racquetball and hiking.

John Bacone

Board Member

John Bacone received his Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University with a double major in Botany and Zoology and a Master of Science degree in Forest Ecology from the University of Illinois. He was the first full-time professional naturalist at Turkey Run State Park. He then served as Central Illinois Regional Ecologist on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. He retired in 2019 after 40 years as the Director of the Division of Nature Preserves with Indiana DNR. 

Heather Bobich

Board Member

Heather Bobich works in environmental consulting and specializes in wetland, stream, and native habitat restoration. A wetland ecologist and landscape architect by education, she manages the Indiana office of Davey Resource Group and has a passion for landscaping with native plants. Heather lives in Carmel and enjoys exploring Indiana's parks and nature preserves with her family in her free time.

Lori Kaplan

Board Member

Lori Kaplan retired in 2018 from her position as Executive Director of Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority. Formerly she served as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and as Chief Legal Counsel/Deputy Director for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. She was business development manager for JFNew (now known as Cardno). In addition to volunteering for CILTI both on the board and in the field, she also serves on the board of Indiana Parks Alliance and is a member of Indianapolis Greenways Development Committee.

Kevin McKelvey

Board Member

Kevin McKelvey is a place-based writer, poet, designer and social practice artist. His poetry book, Dream Wilderness Poems, was published in 2018, and another book, Indiana Nocturnes, written with Curtis Crisler, will soon be published. He is at work on a novel and regularly completes workshops, art installations, and placemaking projects around Indiana. At University of Indianapolis, he serves as Professor in the English Department and as director of the university's Masters of Art in Social Practice Art program. McKelvey grew up on the edge of a corn field near Lebanon, Indiana, and attended DePauw University and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Kevin believes in land trusts because they protect land forever, and he helped found Long-Term Ecological Reflections with ACRES and NICHES in Indiana. Land trusts can protect pristine natural areas that remain, and they can help return land to its natural state.

Richard Miller, PhD

Board Member

Richard Miller is a retired professor of Biology at Butler University who used to bring his students to CILTI sites to volunteer and learn about Indiana natural history. Since retiring, Dick has continued as a volunteer both in the field and on the board, considering CILTI’s mission to be critical for the future of our state.

Stephen Simon

Board Member

Stephen H. Simon is the founder of Simon Equity Partners, LLC and has been a managing member since January 2007. From February 1997 to December 2006, he served as president and chief executive officer of Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc., a privately-held real estate and investment company. Stephen serves on the board of directors of the Pacers Basketball Corporation, Yes To, Inc. and Coalision, Inc. He is a director for the Herbert Simon Family Foundation and serves on the boards of two other nonprofits besides CILTI: Conscious Alliance and HeadCount. 

Karen Wade

Board Member

Before retiring in 2017, Karen worked for Eli Lilly & Co. where she provided information systems quality assurance and computer systems validation for global manufacturing systems. Previously she was a configuration manager with Raytheon, Cummins, Gates Aerospace and Computer Sciences Corporation where she was awarded the Astronauts' Silver Snoopy Award for professional excellence. In retirement Karen volunteers for a number of environmental and equine pursuits including Indiana Master Naturalist Certification and Meadowstone Therapeutic Riding Center. Karen earned an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and an applied computer science certificate from Purdue University.

Communications

Jen Schmits Thomas

Media Relations

An award-winning communicator and recognized leader in Central Indiana’s public relations community, Jen helps us tell our story in the media. She is the founder of JTPR, which she and her husband John Thomas own together. She is accredited in public relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America, and loves to camp and hike in perfect weather conditions.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2012 Oliver's Woods Media Inquiries

Shawndra Miller

Communications Specialist

Shawndra’s earliest writing projects centered around the natural world, starting when a bird inspired to write her first “book” in elementary school. Now she 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. She previously wrote for Farm Indiana, Acres USA, Edible Indy, and other media, focusing on sustainable agriculture and community resilience. She considers her position at CILTI to be a dream job, allowing her to use her skills in service of a mission that’s dear to her heart. Outside of work she can often be found with her nose in a book and a cat on her lap, unless she’s at the yoga studio trying to twist herself into unusual shapes.

With CILTI Since Favorite Property Specialty
2018 Mossy Point Communications Inquiries