About Us

Who We Are

The Black Swamp Conservancy is a land trust, a regional, non-profit land conservation organization serving northwest Ohio. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, all gifts and donations to the Conservancy are tax-deductible and stay in northwest Ohio.

The Conservancy is one of over forty land trusts in Ohio and one of more than 1,500 nationwide. We belong to the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts and the Land Trust Alliance.

Black Swamp Conservancy owns land or holds conservation agreements on property in twelve northwest Ohio counties and in Monroe County, Michigan.

Since its founding, Black Swamp Conservancy has grown to be a respected regional land trust, governed by a diverse board of trustees and operated by a knowledgeable staff serving a geographic area larger than the state of Connecticut.

Mission Statement

The mission of Black Swamp Conservancy is to protect and preserve natural and agricultural lands in northwest Ohio for the benefit of future generations. 

History

The Black Swamp Conservancy was founded in 1993 by a group of people alarmed by the rapidly accelerating rate of development in rural northwest Ohio. These concerned citizens recognized the need to protect and enhance the best remaining natural and agricultural areas in this region and to promote responsible stewardship of the land.

Since the Great Black Swamp once covered most of this area, the name Black Swamp Conservancy was chosen. Our first land conservation agreement, covering a six-acre Ottawa County wetland, was signed in December of 1997. Since then, the Conservancy has grown to protect more than 158 properties covering over 19,887 acres.

Our Staff

Rob Krain

Executive Director

director@blackswamp.org

Rob joined the Conservancy in 2007, serving first as its conservation director before becoming executive director in 2013. He holds a degree in environmental policy and analysis from Bowling Green State University and an executive certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. Rob lives in Toledo, and in his spare time enjoys kayaking, camping and American roots music.

    Melanie Coulter

    Conservation Manager

    mcoulter@blackswamp.org

    Melanie joined the Conservancy in 2017 with 20+ years of conservation experience working with endangered wildlife, aquatic ecology research, habitat restoration and natural areas preservation. She has a Master’s in Conservation Biology, and a Bachelor’s in Fisheries and Wildlife. Melanie and her husband live in Toledo and enjoy camping, canoeing, art, and native gardens.

      Freya Berntson

      Land Steward

      Freya joined the Conservancy in 2021 (our first full-time, field-based staff member) to focus on the ecological management of our owned lands and provide easement monitoring support. She holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Stewardship with a focus on Ecological Restoration from Colorado State University. Hailing from the western edge of the historic Great Black Swamp, she and her partner call Fort Wayne home. In her free time, she enjoys camping, hiking, gardening and volunteering with her local native plant society and bird banding station.

      Laura Rodriguez

      Events & Education Coordinator

      lrodriguez@blackswamp.org

      Laura joined the Conservancy in 2019. She develops programming that promotes conservation efforts and furthers an understanding of how our actions affect the ecological systems upon which we depend. Laura holds a Master’s degree in geography from the University of Chicago, a law degree from The Ohio State University, and a doctorate in ecopsychology and environmental humanities from Viridis Graduate Institute. She is on the faculty of Viridis and often gives public presentations and workshops on ecopsychology. Laura lives in Maumee and enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her family. 

        Linda Wegman

        Office Manager

        lwegman@blackswamp.org

        Linda has been office manager of Black Swamp Conservancy since 2005. A lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, Linda is also the office manager of a local family foundation and has a wealth of nonprofit experience. Linda lives in Maumee and enjoys spending time with her daughters and grandchildren.

          Elly Bales

          Social Media & Marketing Intern

          Elly is a third-year student at Bowling Green State University who will graduate in 2023 with a BSBA degree in Marketing. She is no stranger to long drives as she is originally from Normal, Illinois. Most times, you can find Elly listening to music and trying to decide where to travel next. Elly has a passion for photography and tends to bring her camera with her when she goes hiking with her boyfriend or friends.

            Julia Belle

            Happiness Manager

              Field Crew

              Summer 2022

              2022- 2023
              Board of Trustees

              Tim Schetter, President

              Will Lewis, Vice President

              Tim Minning, Treasurer​

              Eric Britton, Secretary

              Steve Bowe
              Mary Fedderke
              Virginia Keller
              Brian Kennedy
              Dana Reising

              Rachael Niemer
              David Nunn
              Josh Unice
              Karen Ranney Wolkins
              Anne Yager

              Advisory Council

              Sara Jane DeHoff
              Mary Kreuger
              Steve Pollick
              Tom Reed
              Deke Welles