Over the last few months, there have been some big changes here on the Alliance team. It is with great excitement that we announce the addition of six new staff members! Read on to learn more about each of these passionate new employees and hear how they will help us increase our impact!

Christian Anderson joins us as the Virginia Agriculture Project Manager. Christian grew up in the Shenandoah Valley where he spent most of his time hiking, camping, and fishing in the nearby Thomas Jefferson and George Washington National Forest. He graduated from James Madison University in 2014 with a degree in Biology.  After graduating from James Madison University, Christian worked alongside the Forest Service in North Carolina for a brief-term and later worked at James Madison University as an Integrated Pest Management Lead Worker where he helped found the Tree Campus USA committee at JMU. There he created a tree database for all the trees on James Madison University’s campus. In 2018, he started working for a hardwood tree establishment company as a Reforestation Specialist and an Invasive Species Management Coordinator. Here, he helped provide landowners from North Carolina to New York with planting and maintaining riparian buffers. In 2020, Christian joined Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District as an Urban and Agricultural Conservation Technician helping landowners with technical assistance and cost-share in planning and installing best management practices.

Christian is the Virginia Agriculture Projects Manager based out of the Richmond office. He focuses on helping farmers create sustainable farms through implementing Agricultural best management practices and conservation plans to increase the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Christian lives in Richmond and in his spare time he can be found outside enjoying nature with his wife and his dog.

In Pennsylvania, Emily Broich serves as the Pennsylvania Green Infrastructure Projects Coordinator works to engage with local residents and community partners to implement practices that reduce urban stormwater runoff and improve our water quality.

Emily joins the Alliance with a background in erosion and sediment control, having worked for five years with Lancaster County Conservation District. She gained previous conservation experience in seasonal roles with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in both Minnesota and Florida. She cares deeply about our natural world and is particularly interested in the ways that native plants can build resilient landscapes for both people and wildlife.

Emily holds a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. A board member of Lancaster County Bird Club, she loves birding and is a student of all things with wings. She aspires to be a better gardener, and can’t pass up a good roadside produce stand.

Zach Carnegie is joining us as the Maryland Forests Project Coordinator. Zach grew up in Carroll County, Maryland where he spent most of his time outdoors skateboarding with friends, exploring neighboring forests, fishing, and swimming in local waters. After serving 4 years in the Marine Corps, he returned to Maryland and earned a BA in Environmental Studies with a Biology Specialization from McDaniel College. 

While earning his degree, Zach worked as a seasonal employee for the Maryland State Park Service and interned with the Maryland Forest Service. It was during his internships that he found a passion for reforestation while assisting the Watershed Forester with riparian forest buffer inspections and forest data collection. 

Prior to joining the Alliance, Zach worked to fund and implement reforestation plantings in Pennsylvania as a Riparian Forest Buffer Specialist within the DCNR Bureau of Forestry, contracted through the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Zach’s excited to be bringing his experience back to Maryland and looks forward to working with partner organizations and landowners to expand forest cover.

During his free time, Zach likes to stay outdoors kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping with his wife and their two dogs. He still enjoys skateboarding and has recently started saving seeds from his pollinator garden to share with friends and family.

Out of our headquarters office in Annapolis, MD we welcome Eleni Kotsis. Eleni is the Alliance’s Administrative Assistant. She grew up on the water on Long Island and enjoyed crabbing off her parents’ dock.

She graduated from American University in 1999 and received her B.A. in Public Communication with a minor in Graphic Design. Eleni has worked at several non-profits across the U.S., including Wolf Park in Indiana, the Student Conservation Association Fire Education Corps in Nevada and Idaho, and HawkWatch International in Utah. She returned to American University in 2006 to obtain a M.A. degree in Teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She spent four years teaching ESL to middle schoolers in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Eleni was a stay-at-home mom to her two boys. During that time, she and her husband started Demdio Tech Inc., an IT consulting firm. She was also a site captain for annual Project Clean Stream events in her neighborhood. At the time she didn’t know she was destined to work for the Alliance!

Eleni works to support the Maryland office by performing administrative tasks, organizing, coordinating office needs, and assisting with Board Meetings. She loves that every day is different at a non-profit and enjoys pitching in wherever help is needed.

In her free time, she can be found playing hockey and soccer, hiking, hanging out with her backyard chickens, and conducting therapy visits with her dog, Dozer.

Alexandra Neumann joined the Alliance as the PA Agriculture Projects Associate in Summer 2021. She works closely with the Pennsylvania team to develop partnerships with farmers and food system corporations across the watershed, collaborating to implement water quality improvement projects.

An honors graduate of Arizona State University, she earned a B.S. in Sustainability and a B.S. in Conservation Biology. During her time in college, she co-developed a participatory mapping project with the University of Prince Edward Island to engage farmers in sharing the motivations for and effects of diverse land-use practices. This project is being used to grow collaborative capacity among food system stakeholders, and to inform the province’s sustainable agriculture policy.

Over the past three years, Alexandra has dedicated her professional work to building sustainable food systems. She led grant development at Garden Pool, an international nonprofit inventing aquaponic and hurricane-resilient agricultural systems. She then transitioned to create and deliver environmental education with the Arizona Sustainability Alliance’s Urban Ag and Urban Forestry programs. Throughout her work, she advocates for systems-thinking, collaboration, and polycentric governance as tools to improve natural resource management.

Outside of work, Alexandra is often exploring the environment and community she serves. She enjoys volunteering with her church, hiking with her sister Kathryn, and gardening.

Last but not least, we welcome Tyler Walston as our Maryland Agriculture Projects Coordinator. Tyler grew up and has lived his entire life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, just east of Salisbury in Wicomico County. He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and geography from Salisbury University and in 2019 completed an Executive Master of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, which included an international residency in Egypt. He transitioned into the environmental field in 2012 after working with students with special needs in the public school system. In the past, he has served as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer, Maryland Park Ranger, local soil conservation technician and planner, and previous to starting with the Alliance, the Environmental Planner for Wicomico County, Maryland.

Tyler aims to use his experience working with farmers, managing programs, coordinating tree plantings, and developing partnerships and collaboration to advance the Alliance’s efforts to expand their agricultural program into Maryland.

In his free time, you’ll likely find Tyler not too far from his German shepherd, Omar. His hobbies include: working in his native flower gardens, birding, playing the banjo, going to bluegrass concerts, and going on road trips to National Parks. Tyler lives on his grandparent’s old farm in Salisbury.

Congratulations to all six of our new employees! We’re happy to have you on the Alliance team!