Friends Leadership Council

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 2023, the Council is entering a new phase of development, focusing on fostering more robust conversations, expanding its membership to include more Friends group voices, and identifying opportunities to strengthen collaboration through our network of grassroots groups across the Empire State. The Leadership Council is focusing on:

  • Increasing positive communications with state agencies (OPRHP and DEC)
  • Informing Friends-to-Friends workshops, best-practice webinars and PTNY events
  • Fostering the development of our “Peer-to-Peer Network” 
  • Advising updates to our Best Practices Manual and Friends Gateway Resource Library
  • Supporting State Park's Centennial Celebration beginning in 2024

The Leadership Council meets virtually on the third Thursday of each month, except July, August and December.

Leadership Council Members

  • Leadership Council:
    • Joshua Marnell, Friends of Fillmore Glen
    • Joe Grimaldi, Friends of Fort Crailo
    • Martha Swan, John Brown Lives!
    • Janet Barone, The Caumsett Foundation 
    • Kathleen York, Friends of Knox Farm State Park
    • Carol Rathbun, Friends of Letchworth State Park
    • Rob Basch, Hunter's Point Park Conservancy 
    • Diane Chepko-Sade, Friends of Mexico Point State Park
    • Cynthia Shor, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association 
    • Jessika Creedon, Rockefeller State Park Preserve 
    • Ben Kemp, Friends of Grant Cottage
    • Janey Marie Soley, Friends of Connetquot 
    • John DiNuzzo, Lake George Battlefield Alliance
    • Erik Fyfe, Stony Kill Foundation 
    • Mary Knutson, Friends of Moreau State Park
    • Sonia Clark, Artpark & Company
    • Patti Sullivan, Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park