Board of Directors

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.

VICE PRESIDENT 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.

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. 


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


Paul Leah is a father of 2, a husband, an avid outdoorsman, a person who enjoys athletic races, and an elementary educator in the Penns Valley school district. Paul’s family built a cabin in Penns Valley in 2001, and although he was raised in State College and lived elsewhere, the Valley has felt like home ever since. He happily returned to Penns Valley to live with his own family and children in 2016.

An avid flyfisher since the age of 12, Paul has found a love of the creeks and streams that meander through Penns Valley, inspiring his desire to protect and conserve their delicate ecosystems. He is delighted to serve on the PVCA Board where he can have a greater impact on the Penns Valley area and its community.


Nell Hanssen, chair
Community Outreach
Kat Alden, chair

Erica Husser, chair

Loanne Snavely, chair
Elizabeth Ebeling, chair
Jim Zubler, chair
Molly Buchanan, chair
Art Gover, chair
Chip Taylor, chair

Contract Staff

Marie Taylor
Administrative Coordinator
Torri Withrow
Environmental Educator
JMA Consulting
Johnson Brothers
Lysle Sherwin
Watershed Projects Manager