Board of Directors

PRESIDENT Erica Husser

Erica Husser lives in Georges Valley with her husband John Spargo, who is director of PSU’s Agricultural Analytics Lab. They have two children Quinn and Sean. Erica and her family chose the Penns Valley region to call home in 2014 because of its agricultural richness and rolling landscapes, waterways, and mountains. Erica has coached and volunteered for Penns Valley Youth Soccer (PVYS), served on the Gregg Township 2025 Committee, and most recently served on the Penns Prairie at Tri-Municipal Park board. A firm believer in the importance of making contributions to community, Erica looks forward to bringing her passion for environmental awareness and learning to PVCA.

Erica earned her PhD at Virginia Tech in Human Development, where she focused on the role of nature in lives of older women living in rural areas. She works in the College of Nursing at Penn State, serves on the Dean’s Sustainability Council, and manages a workforce training and education project, Age-Friendly Care, PA. With an eye on the intersections of health, well-being, education, and conservation, Erica feels an urgency to help protect and grow natural spaces to enhance the health of both the planet and its inhabitants.

VICE PRESIDENT Patrick Leary

Pat is a longtime resident of Penns Valley and a community advocate. Well known for his jokes and quips, Pat’s attitude is “fix the problems without the politics.”

While serving as a Gregg Township supervisor, he coordinated the transformation of the abandoned Old Gregg School building into a community center and youth activity hub. With partner Julie Mason, Pat has fostered hundreds of pets for rescue organizations.

TREASURER Elizabeth Ebeling

Liz Ebeling is an Administrative Officer in the Bureau of Fisheries. In her current position at the Fish and Boat Commission, she manages payroll, taxes, and grant administration. Liz is already familiar with many of PVCA’s partner agencies in developing robust and effective stewardship of the Upper Penns Creek watershed.

A Centre County resident all her life, Liz moved to Penns Valley in 1969 and graduated from Penns Valley High School. Together with husband and avid fisherman Rob McClenehan, she has made Penns Valley her home. When her work schedule allows, Liz heads to the woods to hike. PVCA’s mission to bring meaningful environmental enrichment into schools resonates with her own career and passions. Liz brings her love for this valley, her business acumen and considerable financial skills to the role of treasurer for PVCA.

SECRETARY Molly Buchanan

A resident of Penns Valley for most of her life, Molly has a deep love for its natural resources and people. Recently retired from a career in nursing, Molly is enjoying more time for gardening, hiking, bagpiping, and fishing. Along with husband David “Coo” Atkins, Molly lives on 12 acres in Haines Township where they raise beef cows, chickens, and lots of vegetables.

As a past president of PVCA (2000-2001), Molly has supported the cause of local conservation for decades, and looks forward to more involvement in the years to come.

DIRECTOR Andrea Ferich

Andrea Ferich is a forestry consultant and owner of Ironwood Forestry, focusing on the implementation of agroforestry practices with private landowners. She is current President of the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, and was previously the Executive Director for the Penns Valley Conservation Association.

Andrea is passionate about the economic opportunities in restoration through agroforestry, collaboration, and innovation with the Keystone Tree Crops Cooperative. Her farm is located along Elk Creek in Coburn, where she enjoys bird-watching, growing plants, and swimming. 

DIRECTOR Art Gover

Vocationally, Art has been the proprietor of Fruittown Land Stewardship Services since 2008, providing vegetation management in forest and natural areas settings, and plant community restoration through planning, training, and operations. He retired from the Penn State Department of Plant Science in 2021 after 35 years of service addressing vegetation management including invasive species and habitat management with the PA State Park system, riparian reforestation, and rights-of-ways.

He has participated in PVCA activities for about 13 years primarily through the Watershed Committee, and occasional water rocket wrangling at CrickFest, and became a Penn State Master Watershed Steward in 2022. Other community activities include coaching youth soccer and Scouting.

Art is a member of the state-wide Riparian Buffer and Lawn Conversion technical advisory committees, and has working relationships with Clearwater Conservancy, Chesapeake Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and the Centre and Mifflin County Conservation Districts.

Art lives in Colyer within sight of Boal Gap Run with wife Stephanie, and the youngest two of their six children.

DIRECTOR Nell Hanssen

Bio coming soon

DIRECTOR Butch Rittelmann

Bill “Butch” Rittelmann and his wife Debra moved from their hometown of Butler, PA to Penns Valley in 2015 where they live in a solar-powered home. He is an avid cyclist and woodworker and enjoys exploring the mountains and streams of central PA by gravel bike or kayak. He also enjoys birding with his wife and together they have participated in the Shaver’s Creek Kestrel Nest Box Survey since 2018. They have two adult daughters; Paige lives in Tampa, FL and Fontaine lives in Portland, OR.

Bill earned a BA in Architectural Engineering from PSU in 1986 before going to work for his father’s architectural firm in Butler, PA. His focus in energy conservation and renewable energy led him into a position at IBACOS in Pittsburgh, PA as a consultant to the US D.O.E. Building America program. He currently works for PSU OPP as a Facilities Engineer.

Committees

Agriculture
Nell Hanssen, chair
Community Outreach
Kat Alden, chair
Development
vacant
Education
Loanne Snavely, chair
Finance
Elizabeth Ebeling, chair
Governance
Jim Zubler, chair
Membership
Molly Buchanan, chair
Watershed
Art Gover, chair
WSOV
Lisa Marshall, chair

Contract Staff

Marie Taylor
Administrative Coordinator
Torri Withrow
Environmental Educator
Joshua Brock
Webmaster
Johnson Brothers
Accounting
Lysle Sherwin
Watershed Projects Manager