Program Director

Rob Williams

Email: rwilliams@tnc.org

Phone: 315-297-5634

Rob Williams is educated as a freshwater biologist (Brockport State University) and has extensive experience in working with invasive species, water quality assessments, natural resource management, and strategic planning. Rob is one of the co-founders of the Finger Lakes –Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance and co-founder of the Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative. Rob manages and directs SLELO PRISM contracts, annual work plans, special projects, and initiatives. Rob engages collaborative efforts among partners to align our work with strategic goals. He plays an active role on the New York State Invasive Species Advisory Committee and The Nature Conservancy’s North American Invasive Species Advisory Board and various other Technical Working Groups.

Education Outreach and Communications Coordinator

Megan Pistolese-Shaw

Email: megan.pistolese@tnc.org

Phone: 315-522-1258

Megan Pistolese-Shaw holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Empire State University. She is experienced with aquatic and terrestrial invasive species identification, impacts, modes of introduction, prevention, and management methods. Through her role, Megan coordinates invasive species awareness initiatives and events throughout the region. She also leads our Education and Outreach Committee and co-chairs a state-wide PRISM E/O Committee.  

If you are interested in collaborating on invasive species outreach efforts and events or if you would like to volunteer with us, please reach out to Megan.

Aquatic Restoration and Resiliency Coordinator

Brittney Rogers

Email: Brittney.rogers@tnc.org

Phone: 315-287-6880

Brittney Rogers holds a Master of Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from SUNY Oswego and brings with her extensive experience in aquatic invasive species identification and management and is one of the pioneers in New York States Watercraft Inspection Steward Program. Brittney leads efforts to protect aquatic priority conservation areas from the impacts of invasive species through early detection and rapid response, as well as multiple initiatives to enhance the health of aquatic ecosystems in our region. 

If you are interested in collaborating on aquatic restoration projects, would like to volunteer with water chestnut pulls, learn about eDNA, or just want to know what that weird plant is in your pond, please reach out to Brittney.

Terrestrial Restoration and Resiliency Coordinator

Robert Smith

Email: robert.l.smith@tnc.org

Phone: 315-522-1389

Robert Smith holds a Master of Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and brings with him extensive experience in terrestrial invasive species identification and management including ecosystem restoration and dendrology and is a US Army Veteran. Robert is leading efforts to protect terrestrial priority conservation areas from the impacts of invasive species through early detection and rapid response efforts, in addition to reducing the spread potential of invasive species to and from our region. He is coordinating the Eastern Lake Ontario Swallowwort Collaborative to link researchers and land managers through an online platform to share and learn the best management practices to control swallowwort. Robert is also developing an urban forest sustainability initiative aimed to enhance the resiliency of urban forests in the wake of invasive forest pests and a changing climate. He is creating a guide to help communities plan for the impacts that climate change and invasive forest pests such as emerald ash borer and spotted lanternfly will have on our street trees, parks, and other green spaces.

Please reach out to Robert if you have questions or are working on projects related to the prevention or management of terrestrial invasive plants and animals.

Conservation and GIS Analyst

Zachary Simek

Email: zachary.simek@TNC.ORG

Phone: 518-576-7245

Zack received a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management and Policy, with a minor in Geographic Information Systems, from Paul Smith’s College. He currently acts as the GIS and data analyst for SLELO PRISM and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program. His role informs invasive species survey and management work across northern New York. As a licensed drone pilot, he deploys novel technology to support the programs’ science-driven approach. 

Please reach out to Zack if you have questions regarding the utilization of GIS or remote sensing technology in invasive species management. 

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    Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

    Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

    Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

    Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

    Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

    Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

    Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

    Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.