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 preserve and enhance natural habitats and family farms in northwest Ohio for the benefit of current and future generations.

Our Vision

Black Swamp Conservancy will take direct action to permanently preserve and improve northwest Ohio’s natural habitats and family farms for the benefit of current and future generations. By protecting our valuable land and water resources, we will support healthy communities with strong, sustainable economies. Our work will ensure that the diverse habitats of our region will be protected for future generations; and that our children and their children will forever be able to enjoy this special place.

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 175 properties covering over 21,000 acres.

Our Staff

Executive Director Rob Krain photo

Rob Krain

Executive Director

[email protected]

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 C. Conservation Manager

    Melanie Coulter

    Conservation Manager

    [email protected]

    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.

      Laura R. Events & Education Coordinator

      Laura Rodriguez

      Events & Education Coordinator

      [email protected]

      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 W. Office Manager

        Linda Wegman

        Office Manager

        [email protected]

        Linda has been the 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.

          Land Steward Scarlet Rice photo

          Scarlet Rice

          Land Steward

          [email protected]

          Scarlet has been working with the Conservancy since early 2022, both as an intern and as a member of our summer field crew, and has since joined the team full-time as our Land Steward. She recently graduated from The University of Toledo with a degree in Environmental Sciences.

          Ellie S. Conservation Associate

          Ellie Schiappa

          Conservation Associate

          [email protected]

          Ellie grew up in western Pennsylvania, where she also obtained her bachelor’s degree in Geography from Slippery Rock University. She joined the Conservancy in 2023 soon after graduating from Michigan State University with her master’s in Community Sustainability. Ellie lives in Perrysburg and enjoys paddleboarding, cross-country skiing, and crocheting in her free time.

          Tim Dow

          Development Officer

          Tim joined the Conservancy in 2024. He is an experienced retail manager with a 15-year track record at The Home Depot, 84 Lumber, and Goodyear. He’s also a creative entrepreneur who started a printing business during his Graphic Art studies. For 7 years, he’s been with Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, rallying support for home-building. In his spare time, Tim loves outdoor adventures with his wife, Mallory, and their three kids.

          2024 Field Crew

          Julia Belle

          Happiness Manager

            Nellie Happiness Intern photo

            Nellie

            Happiness Intern

              2024- 2025
              Board of Trustees

              Will Lewis, President

              Tim Minning, Treasurer​

              Eric Britton, Secretary

              Tim Schetter, Immediate Past President

              Steve Bowe
              Mary Fedderke
              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

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              Early bird tickets are just $75 until June 1st!

              Help us celebrate our region’s wild places and support future conservation and restoration projects.

              Join us for a yummy backyard BBQ dinner and groove to the sounds of musical guest Joshua Davis.