First and foremost, we’re all Cincinnatians, and most of us are West Side residents. We’re focused on our home turf, working to improve our own favorite neck of the woods along the Ohio River between Cincinnati and the Indiana border. The leadership team at Western Wildlife Corridor is a diverse, dedicated, and talented group, and because of that we’re able to do the vast majority of our administrative work, and a good deal of our restoration work with our own internal resources and volunteers. And, that means that we’re able to dedicate more of your generous donations directly to protecting, preserving and restoring new properties.
Meet The Board of Trustees
Tim Sisson, President
Tim grew up in the Western Wildlife Corridor, living in Addyston where the forested slopes of the Ohio River valley were his playground. He took an early interest in nature and still has the loose leaf binder where he collected leaves from trees for a merit badge on the way to becoming an Eagle Scout. His first choice for a career was as a forest ranger. But, his career took a different path. He attended the University of Cincinnati where he earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Tim had a forty year career as an engineer, mostly working as a consultant. Throughout that time, he never lost his love for the outdoors, and regularly hiked and went on camping and backpacking trips. Once he got acquainted with Western Wildlife Corridor, Tim started going to their activities and eventually joined the Board. It was a perfect fit, since he had grown up in the corridor. As he learned more about WWC’s properties, he could see that they suffered from the same difficulty he had noticed long ago at his home – the aliens were moving in! He put the knowledge he had acquired about removing invasive alien plants to good use organizing WWC volunteers (and working himself) to clear Amur honeysuckle, garlic mustard and other invasive alien plants from the Delshire and Turkey Haven Preserves and eventually all the large properties Western Wildlife Corridor protects. The results have been remarkable. The Delshire, Turkey Haven and Bender Mountain Preserves are mostly free of invasive alien plants and the native plants have rebounded spectacularly. Bender Mountain Preserve is now the best place in Hamilton County to see native wild flowers.
Jessee J. Smith, Vice President
Jessee J. Smith grew up in Colerain and graduated from Mount St. Joseph University, where she majored in natural science with a concentration in entomology and fine art with a focus on sculpture. She began a professional career in metalsmithing and jewelry design in 2003 and is the sole proprietor of Silverspot Studio & Metalworks, an Etsy-based business. She has also served as the copyeditor of American Entomologist magazine for nearly 17 years, and as an editor and layout designer for the Ohio Biological Survey (OBS). Jessee recently completed the layout and design of the OBS field guide A Naturalist’s Guide to the Fishes of Ohio and is currently working on field guides for Ohio’s crayfish and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). An avid naturalist, hiker, reader, and traveler, Jessee has worked with the WWC for over eight years and particularly enjoys honeysuckle removal and habitat restoration.
Molly Hunter, Treasurer
Molly grew up in a rural area outside of Pennsylvania spending lots of time hiking and outdoors, generally. She went to college in PA before living in Puerto Rico for four years and Northern New Jersey for 30 years. Outdoor activities, including removal of invasive plants and trail maintenance, were always part of her life. When she moved here to be near family, the hills and great rivers warmed her heart, reminding Molly of her original home. Fortunately, she quickly learned about the Western Wildlife Corridor land trust, and it felt like a great fit with given her interests. It is. Professionally, she was an accountant and, later, an attorney specializing in education law. She retired late into 2018.
Jeffrey Ginter, Secretary
Jeff has been an employee of one of the largest software companies in the world for more than 25 years. He is a people manager and has managed teams and projects of many sizes. Jeff developed an appreciation of nature as a kid when playing in the woods of Price Hill, and as an adult he has been a supporter of environmental groups for more than 30 years. He first learned of WWC during a 2008 hike at Bender Mountain Nature Preserve with his daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and has been a WWC member ever since. Jeff joined the Board of Trustees in 2017 and currently chairs the Events Committee.
Jeff is a lifelong Westsider, University of Cincinnati graduate, and design professional. Growing up, he spent his summers in the woods of Delhi, hiking around Rapid Run Creek and building tree houses and forts with the neighborhood kids. Jeff remembers feeling like he had stumbled upon a forgotten world when he rode his bicycle down the closed portion of Delhi Pike as a teenager in the 90s; a route he still enjoys hiking with his wife, two children and Doberman. He first connected with the Western Wildlife Corridor around 2007 and soon began the task of re-envisioning the WWC website. That is still an ever-evolving mission, currently focused on improving our property descriptions and mapping. Beginning in 2015, Jeff was able to incorporate his day-job skills to take on a leadership role in redeveloping the house at the Kirby Preserve into our new nature center and home office. He is currently serving his second term on Western Wildlife Corridor’s board of trustees.
John is a west-side native of Cincinnati, spending most of his life in Sayler Park and now residing in North Bend. He attributes his early love of nature to the many fishing trips with his father and brother. He met his wife Paige while working together at LaBoiteaux Woods in College Hill as Naturalists where “one nature hike led to another”. They have two adventurous daughters: Brooke, a Friesian horse trainer in Oregon and Brittany, a local aerialist and medical massage therapist. John’s education includes a certificate in Resource Conservation from Great Oaks Vocational School and a Natural Sciences Degree from U.C. He retired as Land Manager of the Hamilton County Park District in 2010 and is proud of the many restoration projects that he helped create there. He currently provides nature programs and hikes to local groups and as a sub-contractor at the Fernald Nature Preserve. He loves sharing his knowledge of nature with others and enjoys working with the many dedicated volunteers at WWC. John is also involved as the former president of the Ohio Chapter of The Society of Ecological Restoration, is a board member and Land Manager at Oxbow, Inc, and is a member of the Fernbank Garden Club in Sayler Park with his wife Paige.
Debbie is from Louisville originally and has lived here for 40 years. She is now retired, but did social work for 18 years and worked in Cincinnati public schools doing various things but mainly counseling at risk students. Her interests include recycling, worm composting, native gardening and being a grandmother to her granddaughter. She is a master gardener, a member of the Wild Ones and have co-chaired the native plant booth at the Civic Garden Center’s annual plant sale for the past decade. She enjoys devoting her time volunteering with Western Wildlife Corridor.
A long-time westsider, his passion for protecting wildlife and preserving green space are the reasons he became a member of the WWC over 25 years ago. Always impressed by the dedication of the Board members and member volunteers, he was asked to join the Board of Trustees after selling his retail furniture business. His current positions are Membership Chairman and the Land Stewardship Committee. He believes the Corridor Preserves are a special gift to the westside community that must be maintained. As a UC grad, he is very involved in Bearcat athletic programs and scholarships. He is married to Susan and they have 2 children and 3 wonderful grandchildren. Other conservation groups that he supports are The Oxbow, The Nature Conservancy, Cincinnati Parks Foundation, Red Wolf Sanctuary, Save the Animals Foundation, Wyoming Outdoor Council and The National Geographic Society.
Most of his early childhood was spent living in Price Hill. His early love of nature came from hiking and bird watching with his dad and brothers there. He graduated from Roger Bacon High School and the University of Cincinnati, then married Norma in 1975. They raised their children, Michelle, Erik, and Paul, while living in Miami and Green Townships. After working in various supervisor jobs, mostly at General and Children’s Hospitals, he became an independent subcontractor at Rumpke Waste Inc. (actually getting paid to work outdoors!). Unfortunately raising children and working long hours resulted in his outside interests being severely neglected for many years. Gary recently retired, ending 34 years at Rumpke. He is very much enjoying his volunteer work with the Western Wildlife Corridor where he is finally spending time doing things he truly enjoys.
Joyce Richter SC
Joyce is a member of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and is a native Cincinnatian. Her career has primarily been in education—teaching mathematics to grade and high school students, serving in High School administration and teaching computer application classes at the Mount. She received an undergraduate degree from Mount St. Joseph University and a masters from the University of Detroit. S. Joyce has always loved being outdoors, walking in the woods, and exploring nature. She has participated in eight Flying Pig half-marathons. Her memberships include the Sierra Club, the Mount’s Sustainability Committee and the Sisters of Charity Grounds and Environment Committee. She has participated in almost all of Western Wildlife Corridor’s flower-a-thons. She sincerely believes in the mission of WWC and is impressed with their unyielding efforts in land restoration in the western part of Cincinnati.
Mark is a lifelong Westsider who has had a love for nature since a young age. He has been an avid birdwatcher for many years. He is a retired family physician after 33 years. He has four grown married children in the area and is a proud grandpa, and has been married to his wife Julie for 40 years now. Mark’s connection with WWC started when his family donated their land for permanent greenspace and began removing invasives. Mark was so impressed with WWC and the many people who make it an incredible organization. He feels lucky to be on the WWC Board of Trustees.
Matt is originally from the Washington DC area. Lots of rock hounding, archeology, sports, science fairs, and exploring the woods and mountains in that area in his youth. Matt missed the first moon landing because he was camped on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park! He went to several schools, accumulating various animal mascots along the way: Virginia Tech (turkeys), Wisconsin (badgers), and Oregon State (beavers). Matt moved to Cincinnati almost 40 years ago to join P&G where he worked as a food scientist, and an environmental toxicologist. Now retired, living in a kid-free household. Matt absolutely loves being active outside, and now gets plenty of that. Frequently too much, followed by napping. He fell in love with the Kirby Preserve, and has worked many hours removing honeysuckle from Kirby. He expanded his contributions to the WWC, met many nice people, and was put on the board. Matt prefers his self-appointed title, Chief Honeysuckle Killer.
Steve Johns is the Planning Services Administrator for the Community Planning Division of the Hamilton County Department of Planning + Development. Steve holds degrees in Community and Regional Planning; Civil Engineering; and Economics. Steve most recently served as the Sustainability Coordinator in the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental & Sustainability. He previously served as the Executive Director of Citizens for Civic Renewal (CCR) – a non-profit dedicated to empowering citizens and serving as a catalyst for civic action in Greater Cincinnati. Steve is a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He now lives in East End neighborhood of the City of Cincinnati with his wife, Kristen, and two daughters. His interests include travel, gardening, and good food and drink. It’s become a family tradition to hike WWC’s Bender Mountain Preserve the afternoon of Christmas!
Richard grew up fishing and hunting with his father who taught him to appreciate the outdoors and the importance of conservation. Richard has a degree in Information Technology from the University of Cincinnati. After leaving the corporate world as an IT manager, Richard and his wife Jennifer are able to spend more time pursuing their passion restoring wildlife habitat at their farm in Indiana. It’s an ongoing process planting native prairie grasses\wild flowers and shrubs to create pollinator and Quail habitat which are in steep decline. When he is not down at the farm, you can find him on the pickle ball court or doing Handyman work for folks on the Westside or organizing a fundraising event for the Western Wildlife Corridor which he truly enjoys.
Mary Ann Rozum
Mary Ann Rozum is a native of the east side of Cleveland and grew up playing a block from Lake Erie and hiking the Cleveland Metroparks. She studied natural resources at The Ohio State University and worked for the US Department of Agriculture for ten years in Ohio and the last 30 in the DC area. Mary Ann retired to the west side of Cincinnati near her sister in 2018. She discovered the Western Wildlife Corridor at the Great Outdoor Weekend and was invited to join the grants committee and help with the nature playscape. She just attended the first national land trust k-12 education summit with 27 other land trust staff and volunteers. She is interested in training the next generation of land trust stewards and getting kids into the outdoors.
Meet the Staff
Ariannah Lambert, Administrative Coordinator
Ariannah moved to Cincinnati from Illinois in 2017. She lived in Illinois for all of her life, but moved to several locations because of jobs, family, and education. Growing up Ariannah played in the creek and forest behind her house. She always had an appreciation for nature, but was not aware of the struggles that nature faces until she started her college career. Several years, two degrees, and working on the third, Ariannah has formed a wide knowledge base about the importance of appreciating nature, stewardship, collaboration, and passing on knowledge. Since she has become a staff member at WWC she has enjoyed walking the trails with her husband and learning how to bird through the girl scout viewing window at Kirby Nature Center.
Get in Touch!
The easiest way to reach our leadership team is to drop us a line through the contact page here. Or, catch us at an event or work session. We hope to hear from you!