Friends Leadership Council

Leadership Council 2022

Parks & Trails New York launched a pilot initiative in 2021 to develop a steering committee of Friends groups.  Dubbed the Friends Leadership Council, this advisory committee strives to strengthen Friends organizations and therefore enhance stewardship of New York state parks, historic sites, and public lands.

Goals & Objectives

The Leadership Council’s activities focus on information sharing and dialogue, capacity building, identifying best-practice resources, and providing a unified voice for Friends groups across the state. In 2022 and 2023, the council is entering a new phase of development, expanding in both its size and scope, to include a core council and two sub-committees. The core Leadership Council is focusing on:

  • Increasing positive communications with state agencies (OPRHP and DEC)
  • Planning our Fall 2022 Statewide Conference and Friends-to-Friends workshops
  • Informing strategies for the Friends by the Numbers survey, happening during the Summer of 2022
  • Advising aspects of our upcoming Park and Trail Partnership Grant Program expansion

Based on last year's feedback, we have created two sub-committees that will not only support PTNY staff on upcoming projects but create a succession plan for the core Leadership Council, enabling new perspectives to be included each year. 

The Communications Committee is focusing on:

  • Planning one listening session for each State Park region
  • Supporting aspects of the Friends by the Numbers survey
  • Advise and support Big Check Events and Ribbon Cuttings for grant recipients
  • Contribute to our You Gotta Have Friends newsletter

The Technical Assistance Committee is focusing on:

  • Advising sessions within the statewide conference in November 2022
  • Supporting the development of future Friends-to-Friends workshops
  • Launching a “peer-to-peer support network” to engage and support Friends groups that are forming and/or need targeted support

Leadership Council and Committee Members

  • Leadership Council:
    • Joshua Marnell, Friends of Fillmore Glen
    • Joe Grimaldi, Friends of Fort Crailo
    • Martha Swan, John Brown Lives!
    • Howard Axel, F.D.R. Four Freedoms Conservancy
    • Janet Barone, The Caumsett Foundation 
    • Andrew Kane, Friends of the Nature Center
    • Kathleen York, Friends of Knox Farm State Park
  • Communications Committee:
    • Carol Rathbun, Friends of Letchworth 
    • Vickie Dymock, Friends of Reinstein Woods
    • Rob Basch, Hunters Point Park Conservancy
    • Diane Chepho-Sade, Friends of Mexico Point
  • Technical Assistance Committee:
    • Cynthia Shor, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association
    • Larry Paoloa, Friends of Point au Roche