Staff

  • Robin Dropkin

    Robin was previously the organization’s Conservation Director. She knew early on that the environment was the field she wanted to work in, and she pursued both an undergraduate and graduate degree in environmental studies. Her first job was with the Vermont Department of Forests and Parks, then Mass State Parks, followed by work for a Berkshire County, Mass Land Tust. She is deeply committed to environmental issues and land use. Most of her “fun” activities involve the outdoors: hiking, bicycling, cross country skiing, and gardening.

  • Dylan Carey

    Dylan moved back to his native Capital Region in 2018 after having spent the previous five years living in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of SUNY Albany in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and of the Pratt Institute in 2016 with a M.S. in City and Regional Planning, Dylan previously worked for New York City’s Office of Management and Budget, the Pratt Center for Community Development, and the Office of Congressman Paul Tonko. Dylan is an avid cyclist and loves being able to explore and discover the history tied to the many trails around the state. He also is an enthusiastic baseball, basketball and soccer fan, with a lifelong commitment to his beloved New York Mets and Syracuse Orange.

  • Candace Charles

    Candace Charles is ecstatic to join the Parks and Trails New York Team and brings nearly 10 years of experience working as an event coordinator in the non-profit sector, most recently as the Education & Programs Associate for Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors - Eastern Division (PSIA-E/AASI). Candace is also a current member of the PSIA Education Staff and works as a staff trainer at Plattekill Mountain in the Catskills. She has previous experience as an environmental research analyst working to remediate formerly used defense sites. She grew up in the Hudson Valley and enjoyed cycling the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. She received a B.A. from Siena College and has lived in the Capital Region since graduating. Her passions include weightlifting, skiing, mountain biking and spending time with her rescue dog Timber.

  • Will Cote

    A native of the Capital Region, Will Coté has a passion for exploring all of the natural beauty of the region and enjoys work that enhances the livability of our communities. Formerly the Food Access Manager of Capital Roots in Troy, NY, Will has also worked as a community center director and teacher. In addition to 3 years of classroom teaching in public schools, Will has over 10 years’ experience in community-based, non-profit program management. Will’s experiences range from at-risk youth programming and food equity initiatives, to active transportation policy and green space development. Will enjoys traveling, having visited over 20 countries and numerous national parks around the world. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with his son, Arlo, cooking and watching movies. Will received his undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from the State University of New York at Oneonta and his Master’s Degree in History from the University at Albany. He is also a graduate of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Institute.

  • Rebecca De La Cruz

    Born and raised on Long Island, and residing in the Hudson Valley for 6 years, Rebecca recently made her way north to Schenectady, NY. She graduated with honors from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a BA in International Relations and Political Science where she developed an interest in political theory and public policy. Prior to joining PTNY, Rebecca was a Research Assistant at Pattern for Progress and an Environmental Program Associate at Scenic Hudson, helping her realize her passion for the outdoors and sustainability. Living in the Catskills only strengthened her appreciation of nature and commitment as an outdoor enthusiast. In her free time, she likes to read, hike with her dog, cook, and play board games.

  • Jonathan Duda

    Jonathan brings 10+ year's worth of experience with non-profit organizations ranging from outdoor education centers to New York State historic sites. Formerly the Marketing Manager, Instructor and Event Coordinator at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, NY He is the founder of Let’s Drum, a travelling music program. He is the former Executive Director of the Grant Cottage State Historic Site in Saratoga, NY. He possesses a lifelong passion for the outdoors as a road and mountain biker, hiker and curious explorer, and thus a constant patron of our open spaces.

  • Frances Gotcsik

    Fran, Director of Programs and Policy, has worked with non-profits, local governments, and community groups for more than 30 years. She began her trails work in 1991 when she became the Local Coordinator for the newly launched 90-mile Genesee Valley Greenway in western New York. In 1993, Fran helped form the non-profit Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway to work in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, five counties, and 17 towns on the development and promotion of the Greenway trail. In 1996, she became the organization’s Executive Director and served in that capacity until joining Parks & Trails New York in 2003. Fran has also served as an environmental communications consultant and a local elected official. Outside of PTNY, Fran enjoys historic architecture, gardening, jogging, cycling and cross country skiing. She received a B.S. from Cornell University, an M.S. from the University of Rochester, and an M.B.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology.

  • Hailey Hamias

    Hailey is overjoyed to be a part of PTNY’s programming staff; she previously served as an Arthur V. Savage Intern and Fellow for the organization. She is an alumna of the University at Albany, SUNY where she graduated cum laude with two undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Public Policy & Management. She has prior background in environmental advocacy and research on local, state, and university levels. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys reading, riding her bicycle, learning about beekeeping, and admiring her cat, Muffin.

  • Shaina Hogan

    After receiving her B.A. in Sustainability and International Development from the University of Michigan, Shaina moved to Utah to work outdoors as a wilderness therapy guide serving at-risk youth. Since college, she has spent extensive time exploring trails in the U.S. and abroad, further cultivating her love of natural spaces and desire to work on environmental issues. When she arrived in Schenectady over 3 years ago, she was enamored by the abundance of green space in the region and is now excited to join the Parks & Trails NY team to help protect and advocate for these spaces. Shaina has prior background in administrative work, event planning and facilitation, environmental policy, and communications. In her free time, Shaina loves to ride her bike, write poetry, explore new places, and enjoy live music.

  • Linden Horvath

    Linden grew up adventuring in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain Range and has been committed to preserving and protecting public green space ever since. From living and working overseas to attaining her Masters in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis, Linden has more than 5 years working in land use, advocacy, and policy. Previously the Development Coordinator at Capital Roots and the Grants and Program Development Manager at the AI Center of Excellence, she is excited to bring her experience creating community around shared causes to Parks & Trails New York. Linden loves the access to green space the Capital Region and New York State provide. When she’s not busy volunteering she can be found hiking with friends, enjoying dinner parties, or reading with her cat Eleanor.

  • Margaret McGivern

    Margaret has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 25 years and enjoys being a part of an organization with a mission to make a change for the better. As director of administrative services, Margaret oversees many of the functioning aspects of the organization including finances, human resources, and information systems. In addition, Margaret maintains the organizations website and oversees the membership program. She received a B.S. in Advertising from Syracuse University and an A.A.S. in Business Administration from Hudson Valley Community College. In her free time, Margaret enjoys being a mom, being involved in church activities as well as volunteering in the community, and spending time in the great outdoors enjoying nature and all it has to offer.

  • Paulina Murray

    A native of the Capital Region, Paulina is a recent graduate of Siena College where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Conservation with hopes to begin her graduate studies in the near future. Her past work focused on studying the invasive plant species of New York State with the objective to direct research initiatives and communicate with public and private landowners to provide potential management solutions. Now, Paulina is excited to join us as our new Arthur V. Savage Intern. Outside of the lab and office, Paulina enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking and long walks with her Chocolate Lab, Coco.

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