Michael C. Collins
Michael Collins has been the Executive Director of The American Climate Partners since 2012, when he led the merger of Conserv with Public Policy Virginia, Inc. (PPV), a non-profit organization focused on the use of biomass for combined heat and power.
Director, Rapidan Institute
Mr. Waldon began working with the American Climate Partners as the new Director of the Rapidan Institute in February of 2020. This new role encompasses development and strategic planning for this new component of the American Climate Partners. The Rapidan Institute will focus on watershed restoration through the Rapidan river valley.
Mary Dennis lives Orange County, Virginia, where she and her husband have a small farm growing produce for market and seed stock for organic seed catalogs. For the previous 15 years, she worked in the nonprofit sector, most recently in administrative operations at the Pew Charitable Trusts and The Wilderness Society, both in Washington DC. In past lives, she also worked in client services for small technology companies in Northern Virginia and Ohio and, at the beginning of her career, managed an independent bookstore in Columbus, Ohio. She has a BA in English literature and creative writing from the Ohio State University, an MBA from Case Western Reserve University, and has visited all 50 states.
Program Director, Southern Climate Restoration Solutions
As American Climate Partners expands its work catalyzing climate-smart practices across the Southeastern United States, Kara collaborates with the leadership team to architect the organization’s new Southern Climate Restoration Solutions program, starting with the orchestration of a multi-year, $2m grant-funded initiative in collaboration with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) across 12 states. This project supports NRCS’s nationwide implementation of a new Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activity (CEMA), encouraging widespread adoption of conservation practices by providing financial assistance to producers for measuring soil organic carbon stocks before and after.
Agriculture and Wildlife Habitat Services Manager, SoilKeepers
Virginia born and raised, Caleb joined ACP in Spring 2022. In his time at ACP, Caleb hopes to improve the resiliency of his home of Orange County by connecting residents with the local systems that maintain and improve the health of our area. Since graduating from William and Mary with a B.S. in Biology, Caleb has pursued fine woodworking, architectural salvage, and green design. At home Caleb and family cultivate a ¼ acre no-till vegetable and seed garden where they focus on soil health as the basis of nutrition. In his free time Caleb can be found canoeing on Mine Run, juggling or skateboarding.
Estate and Residential Lawn Services Manager, SoilKeepers
Paul joins us this year with experience in landscaping, lawn management, and a focus in organic gardening techniques. During his time working in this industry, he has owned and maintained his own business operation working with many residential homeowners and estate owners throughout Virginia. He is excited to join our ranks and learn more about using organic and regenerative techniques to restore our soils and maintain our climate.
Team Leader, SoilKeepers and Program Coordinator
Kyle joined ACP in September 2023. His career until that point honed his skills in landscape management, cultivation of plants, both edible and ornamental, soil and compost sciences, and operation of heavy machinery. He has worked with soil and plants from farm to table and back again. As a Virginia native, Kyle has a great appreciation for the beauty and symphony of our own ecosystem. As a road-trip enthusiast, he has gained appreciation of other ecosystems across the country, too. Out of great respect for the natural systems and cycles that have kept our ecosystem in balance for many years, Kyle is committed to a low-impact approach in landscape management and beyond. When he is not digging in the dirt or on the road, Kyle may be playing music, gardening, or enjoying time with his partner and their dogs at their Gordonsville home.
Field Technician, SoilKeepers
Born and raised in a small town in Missouri, Justin has always had a love for the outdoors and adventure. This love turned into a passion for worldwide experience and knowledge, which led Justin on a journey of military service for nine years, during which he worked as a military intelligence electronic warfare specialist (electronics geek), providing him the opportunity to travel to many of the 50 states, as well as internationally to South Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and other undisclosed locations. Upon completion of service, Justin pursued his dream of becoming a fisheries biologist. He earned a BS in Biology with an emphasis in Fish and Wildlife Management from Augusta State University in Georgia in 2011, then found himself on many fishing boats in and around Alaska working for the National Marine Fisheries Service. After that experience, Justin’s persistent endeavor for knowledge, education, and adventure led him to Virginia, where he wants to spread the love, knowledge, and appreciation of the outdoors.
Field Technician, SoilKeepers
Pete is a former Marine, hails from Michigan, and provides unbridled positive energy to SoilKeepers through his fieldwork. Though he’s old enough for a free National Park Pass, he keeps up with folks half his age. Pete brings a level of attention to his work born out of his concern for the wildlife, specifically the homes and places to roam animals need to thrive.
Project Manager, StreamSweepers
Wilder joined the StreamSweepers crew in 2019, first as a Sweeper, then as an On-Water Manager. In 2023, he is now the Project Manager, overseeing our clean-up program in Southwest Virginia. While at Eastside High School in Wise County, he volunteered in many extracurricular clean-up projects in Southwest Virginia. This year, he is responsible for a maintenance sweep of the Clinch River in Russell County and the assessment and clean-up of the river in Tazewell County.
On-Water Manager, StreamSweepers
Andy joined the crew in 2021. He is a graduate of Rappahannock Community College and is currently pursuing a degree in Biology from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He strives to promote good stewardship of our natural resources through community involvement and hard work.
Clinch River StreamSweepers 2023 Crew
Mary “Maddie” Gordon
Special Advisor, StreamSweepers
Maddie is the former project manager for our Clinch River Clean-up. Her passion for the Clinch River comes from growing up fishing the river with her granddad who grew up along the Clinch. Her granddad and his family depended on the river for many things including water and food. He shared with her his passion of being on the river from the time she was able to walk, and she still remembers the times they had together. Maddie says that having the opportunity to help clean and preserve the river her grandfather loved so much was an amazing opportunity.
Maddie worked for StreamSweepers from 2017 through 2022, leaving to devote more time to her family’s business ventures: Greystone Manor, an assisted living facility located in Castlewood, and Clinch Life Outfitters in St. Paul.
Richard “Buzz” Van Santvoord
Special Advisor, Virginia Wildlife Habitat Cooperative
Buzz has extensive experience in designing fulfillment systems and processes for direct to consumer as well as business to business programs. He has been a Vice-President of a multi-title $185mm catalog company and has more than 30 years of professional work experience in the land management, construction, civil engineering, retail management, and distribution and business operations industries.
Special Advisor, Farm Fields and Grasslands
Myron Neuhaser has significant experience in farm management consulting, operations, agronomy, and urgent-operations management including animal care, maintenance and repair. Born and raised in South Dakota, he has worked throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern US regions.
Program Manager Emeritus, SoilKeepers
Dan joined ACP in early 2021 and spent two years developing and growing our SoilKeepers program into an innovative regenerative landscaping service. Following his dream to live near mountains and water, where there is also enough snow for skiing, he moved to Alaska in 2023, where he works on an organic farm and is pursuing an online graduate degree in Wildlife Management from Oregon State University.
Staff photos atop the Rapidan Mill courtesy of Evan Clinthorne.