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.
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.
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 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.
Events & Education Coordinator
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 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.
Social Media Coordinator
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.
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 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.
Board of Trustees
Will Lewis, President
Tim Minning, Treasurer
Eric Britton, Secretary
Tim Schetter, Immediate Past President
Karen Ranney Wolkins
Sara Jane DeHoff