At April’s Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference in Reading, the board of directors of WeConservePA elected its officers for the coming year. While the board members themselves are elected by WeConservePA’s member organizations, the board chooses its leadership.

The new slate of officers:

Reneé Carey, President

Reneé has been with the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy since 1994, becoming Executive Director in 1998. She is the President of WeConservePA, and has served on numerous committees and in a range of roles in her time with the organization over the years.  Additionally, Reneé sits on the Pennsylvania Forestry Association Board and serves on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Forest Stewardship Committee.

Jeff Swinehart, Vice President

Jeff is the chief operating officer of Lancaster Farmland Trust. In his 18-year tenure at Lancaster Farmland Trust, Swinehart has held several positions, most recently serving as deputy director since 2006. As COO, Swinehart assumes greater operational and management responsibilities, while continuing to work alongside the executive director.

Jeff graduated with a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University and has a B.S. in geography, plus minors in geology and regional planning from Mansfield University. Jeff is a member of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Policy Committee, serves as vice-chairman of the Manheim Township Planning Commission, and is a member of the executive committee of the Lancaster Clean Water Partners.

John Conner, Treasurer

John was one of the original 1996 incorporators of the Manada Conservancy, and served as its president from its inception through 2007. He is a former member of the East Hanover Environmental Advisory Council and was active in efforts to update the zoning there. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975 and is retired from the Internal Revenue Service, where he was employed for 35 years. Along with land preservation, John’s interests include working with other non-profit organizations, organic gardening and his golden retrievers. John serves on the Preservation Committee and chairs both Manada’s Administration and Finance Committees.

Oliver Bass, Secretary

Oliver is president of Natural Lands. Before becoming president, he was the vice president of communications and engagement, where he oversaw communication and engagement efforts, including publications and Force of Nature volunteer program. He also works to foster partnerships between Natural Lands and area organizations, and advocates for natural resource conservation and related causes to state and national policy makers.

Oliver takes much satisfaction from his role in making Natural Lands’ preserves more accessible for people to enjoy. “The results of our work are tangible, permanent, and accessible to everyone regardless of means or background. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

Prior to joining Natural Lands in 1997, Oliver was executive director of the Philadelphia Singers and Performing Arts League of Philadelphia. Before that, he worked in radio.

He earned a B.S. in communications from Northwestern University.