Who We Are

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

Jeffrey Ginter, President

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. Among his current contributions to WWC, he oversees HR and payroll topics and is a member of the Executive, Nominating and Land Stewardship committees. Jeff also spends a great deal of time off hours hiking and working at Bender Mountain, and enjoys talking with other hikers about the Bender Preserve and the work of WWC. Jeff previously chaired the Events Committee and was the WWC Secretary for about four years, and served as Vice President before becoming President in 2021.

Mary Perkins, Vice President

A native Cincinnatian, I grew up camping, hiking, gardening, and having many outdoor adventures. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, I was a research scientist and then a communication expert for the Chief Technology officer at P&G.
After retiring, I became very interested in preserving and protecting woodlands and joined WWC and served on the board. I started a project with WWC to create a Nature Playscape where children can play, learn, and appreciate nature. I am so happy to be asked to be back on the board.

Steve Johns, Secretary

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! 

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.

Tim Sisson

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

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.

John Klein

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 Lutkenhoff

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.

Gary Rapien

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.

Matt Taylor

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.

Richard Stoll

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. 

Roger Auer

For many years, the Western Wildlife Corridor has inspired my admiration. Only recently have I had the time to dedicate my energy to its continued success. I am proud to be the newest member of the board of The Western Wildlife Corridor. I retired from Elder High School after a delightful 37-year career. Being in charge of Community Service at Elder, I have had a long relationship with WWC over the years and have watched numerous students increase their respect for nature because of their involvement with the organization. I know something about board membership after having been board chairman of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing for almost 40 years. It still breaks my heart to see a homeless man or woman on the side of the road, knowing they need far more than a few dollars for their next meal. OTRCH addresses the multiple reasons for why a person becomes homeless. For the same reason, I became a member of WWC. By myself, I could pick up some litter and kill a few honeysuckle bushes. Being a member of WWC enables me to be part of a team that confronts wildlife degradation on numerous levels. I am thankful to be part of both organizations.

I am lucky to have Mary, my wife for 37 years, 3 lovely daughters, and 5 grandchildren who all live out of town, except of course for Mary. I love to do all sorts of outdoor stuff and play my guitar when it’s bad out.

Mary Jo Blazely

Price Hill resident for the past 35 years.
I joke that I’m a professional volunteer; many of my activities
are on an as-needed basis, but the long-term favorites are:
Cincinnati Zoo (retired after 40 years), Cincinnati Parks (35+years),
West Price Hill Community Council (since I moved here), Carson
School, Price Hill Garden Club, and the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Administrative Coordinator

Marie Finn was born and raised in Ohio, graduating from Seton High School before beginning her career in publishing here in Cincinnati. Her career in publishing continued for many years in California, where she discovered a love of nature, especially native wildflowers.

Upon returning to Cincinnati, she began taking courses in art and graphic design at Mount St. Joseph University. It was through the Mount that she learned of Western Wildlife Corridor, and began volunteering in 2016, helping to remove invasive species and working on the newsletter. In her new role, she will continue with the newsletter, and will work closely with the President, Members of the Board of Trustees and Chairs of the WWC operating committees to implement the organization’s initiatives.

 

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!

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