Staff - St. Simons Land Trust

Staff

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EMILY ELLISON

Emily Ellison, a sixth-generation Georgian, grew up hiking and camping with her parents and siblings, and nearly all her favorite activities still include being outside, surrounded by nature – gardening, hiking, biking, kayaking, and occasionally playing a round of golf. Although she had planned to retire upon moving to St. Simons fulltime in 2015, one trip to Cannon’s Point Preserve won her heart, and she is honored to be a member of the Land Trust team. A former journalist, book editor, and writer, Emily is the author of several published books, including the award-winning novel, The Picture Makers. Emily has also been a non-profit executive for more than 25 years. She was the visionary and co-founder of the Atlanta Girls’ School, a nonsectarian college-preparatory school for girls; served for five years as the President and Executive Director of Literacy Action, Inc., a community organization working with undereducated adults; and, immediately before moving to the Georgia coast, was the CEO of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, a nearly 120-year-old Atlanta nonprofit serving women, children, and families. She is Trustee Emerita of the Atlanta Girls’ School and serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of Fort Frederica.  She is married to Chuck Perry, a retired journalist, editor, and book publisher, and they are the proud parents of one adult daughter who lives with her husband in a historic area of Brunswick, Georgia. Emily’s favorite Land Trust property is seen from the lookout tower at the north-end of Cannon’s Point Preserve.

 

FINANCE, OPERATIONS & STEWARDSHIP DIRECTOR, SUE TUTTLE

Before moving to the Golden Isles from Connecticut in 2005, Sue ran her own full-service bookkeeping company and has maintained long-standing relationships with her original clients along with new ones she developed in the St. Simons area. She started as a part-time contractor for the Land Trust in 2008 and was hired full-time in 2011. In addition to accounting, Sue has worked in the construction, real estate, property management, civil engineering, and manufacturing industries as well as in the non-profit sector providing the perfect professional background for her positions overseeing land stewardship and finance at the Land Trust. Since a young girl, she has always loved gardening, hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and being close to the beach. These passions are also in keeping with the important roles she holds on the Land Trust team. For Sue, the only thing better than being outdoors is spending time with her children and grandchildren in Las Vegas, NV, and Charleston, SC.

 

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, LORI A. LEWIS

Lori Lewis joined the St. Simons Land Trust team in July 2022 as Development Director.  Lori and her husband Jeffry White have wonderful memories of family vacations and their oldest daughter’s wedding on SSI, where they have owned a home for more than a decade. After moving from Washington, D.C, earlier this year, St. Simons is now Lori and Jeff’s fulltime home, and they look forward to sharing many more good times and adventures with family and friends. They are proud parents of two accomplished daughters and adoring grandparents of a granddaughter and two grandsons. Lori’s professional career began in her home state of Ohio, working for 19 years in public education serving the needs of young children with disabilities and providing support services for their families. She was a strong advocate for children as a teacher and administrator serving special needs and low-income families living in Appalachia, and she developed pre-school programs in Athens, Co., Ohio.  She was also an adjunct faculty member at Ohio University’s College of Education. Following nearly two rewarding decades in primary and early childhood education, Lori began a successful career in higher education.  She led fundraising and alumni relations efforts at large public and small private institutions committed to traditional liberal arts and science education. At each of these institutions she was charged with building, mentoring and leading effective advancement teams that were engaged in multi-million-dollar comprehensive campaigns. Lori has been an advancement professional at her alma mater Ohio University, as well as at Virginia Tech, Marietta College, McDaniel College, Western Carolina University and, most recently, George Washington University. Lori held the position of Vice President of Institutional Advancement at three of the institutions.  She is thrilled about the opportunity to contribute to the valuable work of the Land Trust and be an active member of the St. Simons and Glynn County community.

 

LAND CONSERVATION MANAGER, STEPHANIE KNOX

Stephanie was born and raised in Narberth, Pennsylvania. Her love of the outdoors began at a young age when she enjoyed camping, fishing and hiking with her family. She attended the Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, PA, where she studied wildlife Conservation and Management and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Biotechnology and Conservation. In May 2010, she began an internship with Little St. Simons Island conducting breeding monitoring of the American Oystercatcher. This position evolved into the Ecological Management Technician at LSSI, and she fell in love with coastal Georgia. In January 2014, Stephanie began her current position as Land Conservation Manager with the St. Simons Land Trust. Her responsibilities include overseeing a wide array of scientific research projects, natural and cultural resource management, and community education. Stephanie works alongside numerous private and public partners who assist with making Cannon’s Point Preserve a model for conservation and a platform for education through the ecological management plan and the practices that take place on site. Stephanie sits on the board of another local nonprofit, Coastal WildScapes, and volunteers with the SSI Sea Turtle Project as part of the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative.

 

Land Steward Technician, Rebecca Cushing

Originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rebecca moved to Georgia in 2014 and has made a home here in St. Simons Island. From an early age, Rebecca has always loved the outdoors and learning about nature. With a background in art, education, and ecology, she has taken many opportunities to express this passion. Rebecca graduated from the College of Coastal Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Coastal Ecology and Environmental Science in May of 2022. She is the newest member of our staff and works to maintain and care for the beautiful properties protected by the Land Trust. As part of the Stewardship team, Rebecca works closely with staff members, volunteers, and Land Trust partners to coordinate and carry out land management and community outreach. In her free time, Rebecca works as an artist and draws inspiration from the native flora and fauna of coastal Georgia. Her favorite Land Trust property is Cannon’s Point Preserve, where she can feel completely immersed in the peaceful maritime forest that is protected there.

 

MEMBERSHIP MANAGER, DALIA PATTERSON-CHARLES

Dalia, a mother of two daughters and a University of Florida graduate, is a Florida native who relocated to the Golden Isles in 2015. Originally from Juno Beach, she lived for 31 years in Deland, FL. In her previous life, she taught middle and high school social sciences and was a reader for the College Board. Putting her history background to good use, she spent two years as a museum and historic district tour guide on Jekyll Island. The organizational and communication skills she developed as a teacher are invaluable in the multiple roles she plays at the Land Trust, including never forgetting a supporter’s name. Ironically, during the 1970’s, her grandfather lived on St. Simons, and she used to visit the island as a teen. Life has come full circle, and Dalia is happy to be living in beautiful Southeast Georgia with her husband, Fred. She is a gardener extraordinaire and a fabulous cook who often treats the SSLT staff to delicious pots of homemade soup. Dalia’s favorite Land Trust property is 1810 Frederica Road, our office, with its beautiful backyard.

 

Communications and Outreach Manager, Raleigh Kitchen

Raleigh is a native of St. Simons, with a passion to protect it. She attended the University of Georgia where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Ecology. From 2012-2018, Raleigh worked as a Naturalist for the Sea Island Company, where she led thousands of nature tours for guests and members. She also managed the sea turtle conservation program on the island. Raleigh began working with the Land Trust in October of 2018 as its Membership and Outreach Manager. Since then, she has shifted focus slightly to manage the organization’s Communications and Outreach. Raleigh served on the board of Coastal WildScapes from 2014-2020, is involved with Green Scene of Coastal Georgia, and is an active volunteer with the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative where she patrols St. Simons’ beach for sea turtle nests from May-September. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a stroll down the beach, or a hike at a Land Trust property, Raleigh and her family love spending time outdoors. Since welcoming her daughter in 2021, Raleigh’s favorite Land Trust property is the John Gilbert Nature Trail with its beautiful boardwalk and views.

 

PENNIES FOR PRESERVATION MANAGER, SARA BAKER

Sara has been living the southern coastal lifestyle for more than a decade. She relocated from Michigan where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Advertising minor from Oakland University in Rochester. When her family grew by two (twins) she felt the need to do more to ensure that her children and generations to come could continue to enjoy the beautiful greenspaces and live oaks that make St. Simons so special. Sara was a founding member of the Land Trust Ambassador group in 2014 where she utilized her 15 years of corporate marketing experience to increase land conservation awareness with young generations. From there, she became a Program Manager, creating the Pennies for Preservation program, and soliciting and managing sponsorships for the Land Trust. With strong community and business support, the Pennies for Preservation program was awarded the Partner of the Year in 2019 at the Golden Isles Hospitality Celebration. Sara enjoys hiking with her family at the John Gilbert Nature Trail where they admire the magnificent 200-year-old oak tree in the center of the trail named “John’s Oak” and end with having a picnic on the viewing deck on the eastern marsh.

 

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, MARTY MOODY

Marty’s concern for land conservation and community planning brought her to the Land Trust in 2011. Since then, she has worked in a variety of roles, including volunteer, administrative assistant, and coordinator of the annual Oyster Roast. Under her direction, the Oyster Roast increased from 400 attendees to more than 1,400. Today she serves as the Land Trust’s Volunteer Program Coordinator. Having grown up in California, exploring state and national parks with her family, Marty has always had a love for the outdoors. She is committed to fitness and enjoys daily gym classes, hiking, biking, and kayaking. She attended Modesto Junior College and Western Kentucky University. Marty has been a member of P.E.O. International for 21 years. She and her husband Berry and their three sons are true citizens of the world, having lived in Australia, South Africa, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia as Berry worked on various construction projects on nearly every continent. They continue to enjoy traveling and cherish time with family. The Old Stables Corner is Marty’s favorite Land Trust property and she is grateful to see its beauty every time she drives past it.

How You Can Help

The St. Simons Land Trust is genuinely grateful for the many ways that it is supported by this community.
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