Our Team

Administrators   ·   Advisors   ·   Photo Video Team   ·   Past Members   ·   Researchers   ·   Research Interns

NWNL Administrators

Alison M. Jones: NWNL Director and Lead Photographer

Conservation Photographer

NWNL Expeditions: Mississippi River Basin (9), Columbia River Basin (5), Raritan River Basin (ongoing), San Joaquin River Basin (5), Nile River Basin (3), Omo River Basin (4), Mara River Basin (4), Ganges River Basin (1)

Alison M. Jones is a conservation photographer who has documented ecosystems and resource management for over 25 years in Africa and the Americas. After copiloting with her camera over thousands of miles of Africa’s rivers and lake shores and trekking past Mt Kilimanjaro’s melting glaciers, Alison began her focus on the availability and quality of freshwater resources. She founded No Water No Life® in 2006 to raise public awareness of global water issues by combining the powers of photography and science.

Granted an honorary Masters Degree from Brooks Institute of Photography, she is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photography; member and former Director of North American Nature Photography Association; and member of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). She is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Explorers Club and National Arts Club. In 2015 she became a Committee Member of the Scott Pearlman Field Awards Committee and a Board Member of the Tewksbury Land Trust in NJ’s Raritan River Basin. (See Resumé.) She is a founding supporter of Kenya’s Mara Conservancy, and has studied forest ecology and watershed management at Columbia University’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation. There she wrote a 103-page “Proposed Management Plan for Ethiopia’s Nech Sar National Park” (PDF, 16 MBlow-res PDF, 4 MB). Her images are found in magazines, television, books, workshops, lectures, and exhibits. Her web site is alisonjonesphoto.com.

Sarah Kearns: NWNL Project Manager

Sarah Kearns is an artist who focuses on photography, video, audio and installation. While Sarah’s work is often personal, dealing with memory and nostalgia, she has always found solitude by the water, specifically on beaches and by the ocean. Sarah grew up on Long Island, spending summer days at the beach, and vacations on Cape Cod. She has always felt connected to the ocean; so much that she even has a tattoo of an ocean wave on her arm. Also understanding the importance of our freshwater sources, she is striving to learn more about watersheds and the conservation of fresh water. Recently she has spent more time by freshwater sources, going white-water rafting in upstate New York and Croatia, as well as spending time by different glacial lakes in New York and on Cape Cod.

Sarah graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Art Photography, and a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies in 2012. She has recently interned at the Guggenheim Museum in the Publishing & Digital Media department. While attending Syracuse University she interned at internationally acclaimed photography lab Light Work, under the supervision of Master Printer John Mannion. She also worked for photographer and professor Doug Dubois. Sarah has been a Girl Scout her entire life, and is a lifetime member. Her website is sarahpavlakearns.com.

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NWNL Advisors

Robin MacEwan: NWNL Development and Science Advisor

Environmental Resource Manager

NWNL Expeditions: Columbia River Basin (’07); Mississippi River Basin (’08); Omo River Basin (’08 - Coordinator); Nile River Basin (’08 - Coordinator)

Robin MacEwan is a restoration ecologist who specializes in wetland, riparian and upland environmental restoration and mitigation. Robin’s background includes development of environmental resource assessments and management plans, restoration and mitigation site design, wetland delineation, nonnative invasive species management, and mitigation site maintenance and monitoring. Robin has an M.S. in Resource Management from Antioch University New England and an M.A. in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design.

Robin Sears, Ph.D.: NWNL Science Advisor

Forest Ecologist

Robin R. Sears is a research scientist in forest ecology and management. Since 2016, she has served as visiting Assistant Professor of Forestry at Hampshire College in her native Massachusetts. For seven years she served as Chief Academic Officer at The School for Field Studies, an environmental study-abroad program. Robin has for a long time been engaged in field research and policy analysis related to forest management and timber production systems of smallholder farmers, and her current geographic foci are Amazonia and the Eastern Himalaya. Her research is deeply rooted in this field and is based on long-term engagement with farmers and other actors in the forestry sector. Having climbed glacial peaks in the Andes and Mexico, kayaked on the coasts of Canada and the US, canoed through the flooded forests in the Amazon, and hiked along innumerable mountain streams around the world, Robin appreciates the critical nature of rivers for life on Earth.

Judy Shaw, Ph.D.: NWNL Advisor on Urban Watersheds

Urban Environmental Planner, Watershed Policy Coordinator, Author

Dr. Judy Auer Shaw currently lives on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Kent, Ohio. She works on water quality and environmental protection with a team of researchers at the University of Akron Research Foundation. She previously served on the research staff at the E.J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, Rutgers University. She joined them in 2008 after a 20+ year career with New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and a planning post with the NJ Department of Community Affairs. At Bloustein she directed the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative and conducted research in the fields of redevelopment and security management. Her career spans research and practice in risk communication, urban environmental planning, public participation and site remediation. Her career in public service includes Deputy Director of the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment for the Department of Community Affairs, NJDEP Urban Coordinator and the first Administrator of the NJDEP Office of Brownfield Reuse, which she led for two years. In 2004, she transitioned to the Office of Community Relations to chair the Public Participation in Site Remediation Task Force. She is active in the Ohio Chapter of the American Planning Association and while in New Jersey, she served on the Burlington County Agricultural Development Board. Judy received her doctorate in Urban and Environmental Planning from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 2002. Her latest book, The Raritan River: Our Landscape, Our Legacy, was published by Rutgers University Press in the fall of 2014.

James Robertson: NWNL Advisor on African Conservation

Safari Guide and Conservationist

NWNL Expeditions: Mara River Basin (’09 - Coordinator)

James Robertson, a well-known private safari guide in Eastern and Southern Africa, has been Partner/Director of the renowned Ker & Downey Safaris of Kenya since 1985. As a 4th generation British Kenyan raised in the African bush, he is a deeply committed, forward-thinking conservationist. He has been Partner of Sokwe Camps since 1991 and Asilia Lodges in Tanzania since 2005. As one of the founding directors of the Mara Conservancy, his extensive knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of Kenya’s parks and reserves has helped create a new paradigm of community-based conservation. James has also contributed his knowledge and vision of conservation to Northern Rangelands Trust, Kenya Wildife Trust, Kitirua Wildlife Conservancy, and Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

Laly Lichtenfeld, PhD.: NWNL Advisor on African Conservation

Entrepreneur in African Forestry and Environment

Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld is the executive director and co-founder of the The African People and Wildlife Fund, an international non-profit based in Tanzania and New Jersey. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for her unique work describing human-lion relationships and conflict in Tanzania. Laly lives in northern Tanzania in the village of Loibor Siret on the boundary of Tarangire National Park with her partner and PPF co-founder, Charles Trout.

She has worked extensively with the Maasai and Hadzabe to reduce human-wildlife conflict and is an African lion specialist. Last year, PPF made history when it was the first non-profit in Tanzania to be donated village land for a field center. A passionate conservationist, Laly spends every possible moment working in the bush in the Tarangire and Selous-Niassa ecosystems. She has been featured in a program aired on Discovery Channel Canada, is a recipient of the Fulbright Award, and is currently working on writing her first book. Laly feels fortunate to be living her life’s dream every day that she wakes up.

R. Bruce Shaw: NWNL Advisor on Nonprofit Management

Natural Resource Management Advisor, Personnel Trainer

NWNL Expedition: Tennessee and Ohio River Basins (’13 - Coordinator)

“I became familiar with Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in the early 1960s by traveling on a motor scooter through the Serengeti and the northern and coastal regions. With this experience I became an administrative position on the first Peace Corps staff. This set in motion my involvement in training agriculturists, teachers and administrators how to husband natural resources. This process began with training 2000 Peace Corps Volunteers. After that I traveled in over 100 countries while doing research in the applied fields of planned change, information diffusion and utilization at the University of Michigan and the National Science Foundation. I then worked for GE and consulted for Harvard Institute for International Development, World Bank, AID, USDA and others to train teams of technical personnel to manage the use of scarce natural resources.

“These initiatives came to a natural end when I assumed primary care responsibilities for my paralyzed and blind father and others. During this time I worked on renovating eldercare facilities and programs, securing open space locally, and supporting the uplift of worthy ventures, such as No Water No Life.”

Pamela Cunningham: NWNL Advisor on Nonprofit Management

After an initial stint in the NYC finance world, Pamela moved to publishing, first for three years in editorial at House Beautiful, followed by 8 years at Newsweek in varied positions including corporate contributions, special events, public relations and editing. She founded Jones & Owens, providing marketing services for Tissot Watch Company, Marriott properties, Domecq Wines, Pony Sneakers and Newsweek.

Pamela served on the Council for the New York Philharmonic and the Junior Committee for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. In Connecticut she served on the Darien Arts Council Board of Directors for 3 years, and on the Board of Shakespeare on the Sound for 6 years, 2 of which she served as president.

Continuing her work in the nonprofit arena, Pamela has been with the board of World Ocean School for 8 years, serving as Board Chair for the last 3 years. She has advised No Water No Life since its inception. Pamela lives with her husband Tod, a trustee of The Connecticut River Museum, in Essex, CT, and St. Croix, USVI. They are members of The Essex Yacht Club, The New York Yacht Club and Netflix.

Milbry Polk: NWNL Advisor on Nonprofit Promotion

Author, Explorer and Women’s Mentor

Milbry Polk is a Fellow of The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographic Society and honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She has authored or edited 10 books, including Egyptian Mummies, Women of Discovery, and The Looting Of The Iraqi Museum. She founded the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History and co-founded the Film Festival of the Museum of the American Indian. She has led expeditions, lectured worldwide and created educational programs. She is a contributing editor for The Explorers Journal and Directer Emeritus of Wings WorldQuest, a nonprofit she founded to celebrate women explorers and promote scientific exploration and education.

Molly Mehling, M.En.: NWNL Science Advisor

Aquatic Biologist and Photographer

Molly Mehling is a research scientist, college educator and photographer using visual means to communicate about the nature and science of environmental issues. She has earned a B.S. Environmental Biology from Mount Union College, a Masters from the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Miami Univ. and is now a PhD candidate in Zoology at Miami Univ. As an aquatic biologist and environmental toxicologist, Molly has been at the water’s edge for over 10 years conducting research in headwater streams, wetlands, rivers and lake ecosystems. Her current research projects focus on using the biodiversity of littoral benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators of lake and watershed condition in the Sierra Nevadas and methyl mercury bioaccumulation in experimental stream mesocosm food webs.

Using photography, Molly reaches beyond data tables and figures to share her enthusiasm for scientific discovery and the diversity of life, hoping this powerful communication tool can unify more stakeholders around sustainable solutions to current environmental challenges. Her web site is www.mollymehling.com.

Lynn Hamlen, NWNL Advisor on Educational Outreach

Education Administrator and Entrepreneur

Lynn Hamlen served as Executive Director of the Darien Nature Center for 20 years, where she designed and opened a new state-of-the-art environmental education center in 2002. Prior to the Nature Center, Lynn served as Chairman of the Darien Board of Education from 1988–1993. While living in New York City in the early 1980s, she worked as a Promotion Writer for Newsweek Magazine and the Direct Mail Advertising Association. Lynn’s understanding of how to package and promote No Water No Life to nature centers, land trusts, schools and environmental groups around the country, is a most valuable asset to the project.

Cristina Mittermeier: NWNL Advisor, Ex Officio

Author, Conservation Photographer

Cristina Mittermeier is a Mexican marine biologist, conservationist and photographer. As a photographer and writer since 1996, Cristina has co-edited 8 books, including a series published with Conservation International and Cemex. Megadiversity: Earth’s Wealthiest Countries for Biodiversity (1996), Hotspots: Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered ecoregions (1998), Wilderness Areas: Earth’s Last Wild Places (2002), Wildlife Spectacles (2003), Hotspots Revisited (2005), and Transboundary Conservation: A New Vision for Protected Areas (2005), and Pantanal: South America’s Wetland Jewel (2005) are all part of that series. Her latest book project, The Human Footprint was produced with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York in conjunction with her own organization, the ILCP. Cristina serves on the Advisory Board of Nature’s Best Magazine, is a Board Member of the WILD Foundation and a member of Conservation International’s Chairman’s Council. She was the first Executive Director of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), a prestigious consortium of some of the best photographers in the world.

Administrators   ·   Advisors   ·   Photo Video Team   ·   Past Members   ·   Researchers   ·   Research Interns

NWNL Photographers

Bonnie Muench: NWNL Photographer

Landscape Artist and Nature Photographer

NWNL Expeditions: Columbia River Basin (’07); Omo River Basin (’07, ’13)

“Painting and drawing had always been a part of my life growing up in Wisconsin. Four years of study in Illustration and Advertising at Art Center College of Design for a Bachelor of Arts led to work at McCann Erickson-Hakuhodo and the Koedi Studio in Japan. Back in Santa Barbara I have designed 30 large format landscape photography books for David Muench Photography Inc. Photography became a large part of my life with photo trips to mountains, deserts, forests and oceans. Travels to the Antarctic, Africa, Asia and India have deepened my knowledge of our planet’s limited resources. I focus my work on communicating the interconnected landscape of earth, air and water.” Her web site is www.bonniemuench.com.

Barbara Folger: NWNL Project Coordinator, Photographer

Conservation Photographer

NWNL Expeditions: Upper Mississippi River Basin (’13); Columbia/Snake River Basin (’14)

Always being happier outside than in, Barbara spent much of her childhood along streams in the woods of New York and New Jersey. This led to a summer in Canada with the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, as it is now known. Camera in hand, she worked with the children on the island of Harrington Harbor.

A camera from her husband 45 years ago solidified her love of photography as she recorded the lives of their six children. With the children grown, her photography has expanded to documenting land in transition. Her first project was to document the conversion of an original Spanish land grant in California from agricultural use to conservation land, thus providing better habitat along the Pacific Flyway. Her next documentation was of the transition of the San Francisco Presidio from an Army Base into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Photographing the staff, interns and the many volunteers as they replaced invasive plants with natives was a transformative experience. A natural extension of these interests is volunteering for NWNL as researcher, expedition coordinator and team planner.

Annette Alexander: NWNL Photographer

Facilitator, Manager and Photographer

NWNL Expeditions: Spotlight on California Drought (Mar & Oct ’14)

Annette was Office Manager at Alison Jones Photography in California in the late 1990s. After Alison relocated to NYC, Annette assisted her photography business from long-distance until 2003, and later the NWNL project from time to time. In 2014, Annette was a member of the March and November NWNL Spotlight expeditions on the California Drought. In the late 70s, during one of California’s great droughts, Annette left the corporate world to buy a start-up company in manufacturing and selling low-volume drip systems. Discovered in the Mideast, this means of saving water and plants through root-zone watering became the gold standard of irrigation for tree farms and container nurseries throughout the 1980s. Annette’s company, Aquatic Irrigation, was a recognized leader in its field. Its products were manufactured in Santa Barbara CA and Arizona and distributed to retail nurseries, tree farms and container nurseries throughout the US and in several foreign countries. Her web site is www.annettealexander.com.

Gussie Baker: NWNL Photographer and Researcher

Nature Photographer

NWNL Expeditions: Omo River Basin (’07); Mississippi River Basin (’11)

“Almost 30 years of business experience including project management and a lifetime of world travel has provided me with a solid foundation of skills and sense of adventure. I have reached out to my creative side through my photography, attempting to create a unique look of life and the natural world. As a resident of the Adirondack Park in northern New York and a member of the Garden Club of America and other conservation-oriented organizations, I have a profound respect for our natural resources and their appropriate utilization.” Her website is being developed.

J. B. McCollum: NWNL Photographer

Outdoor Photographer

NWNL Expedition: Raritan River Basin

J.B. McCollum was raised in a quiet New Jersey town surrounded by cornfields and apple orchards, where his father taught him the life of an outdoorsman. He now spends his free time wading small rivers with fly rod in hand or in the Highlands with his Red Setter and English Pointer. Open the back hatch of his red Jeep Grand Cherokee and you’ll find all the necessary accouterments of a sporting life. As an emerging photographer of note, J.B. hopes his images will help protect the waterways and woodlands where he spends so much of his life. In 2009 McCollum graduated from Roanoke College with a history degree, focused on Native American Indian Cultures and Islam. Fascinated by travel, McCollum has photographed in the Caribbean, the Galapagos Islands, and across much of the United States, Peru and Argentina. His sights are now set on Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. A scuba diver for 15 years, McCollum also enjoys sailing and hiking. His web site is www.jbmccollum.com.

Jennifer Weinberg: Contributing Photographer

Nature Photographer

Jennifer Weinberg received her B.A. from Brooks Institute of Photography in 2001 while also interning with Alison Jones. Following a second internship in Seattle with Art Wolfe and developing her portfolio of western landscapes and flora, Jennifer returned to New Orleans in 2004 to focus on photography and be near family. After Hurricane Katrina and the devastating effects to her home and hometown, Jennifer moved with her new husband to North Carolina. Jennifer specializes in portraiture and nature photography. She is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association and was awarded the Russ Kinne Grant in 2004. Jennifer’s work has been exhibited in New York, Washington DC, Seattle, New Orleans, and Raleigh NC, and is published in magazines and nature journals. Currently, Jennifer owns a portrait studio in Cary, NC, and teaches digital photography and nature workshops at Duke University and North Carolina State University.

Administrators   ·   Advisors   ·   Photo Video Team   ·   Past Members   ·   Researchers   ·   Research Interns

Past Expedition Members

Cheryl Green – Author and Artist
NWNL Expedition: Mississippi River Basin (’12)

Alison Fast – NWNL Videographer, Television Producer & Camera Woman
NWNL Expedition: Mara River Basin (’09)

Julie Eckhert – NWNL Documentary Producer & Video Producer
NWNL Expedition: Raritan River Basin (’09)

Peter Berman – NWNL Videographer & Grant Researcher
NWNL Expedition: Raritan River Basin (’09)

Jane Baldwin – NWNL Photographer
NWNL Expeditions: Omo River Basin (’05, ’07, ’08)

Fritha Pengelly – Videographer
NWNL Expedition: Columbia River Basin (’07)

Administrators   ·   Advisors   ·   Photo Video Team   ·   Past Members   ·   Researchers   ·   Research Interns

NWNL Researchers

Erin Vintinner: Research Consultant

Conservation Biologist

NWNL Expeditions: Columbia River Basin (’07 - Coordinator); Omo River Basin (’08 - Coordinator); Nile River Basin (’08 - Coordinator)

After a childhood spent combing the beaches and woods of Massachusetts, Erin was inspired by a truly remarkable high school biology teacher to enter the life sciences. She graduated from Boston University in 2001 with a BA in Biology and initially pursued a career in molecular and cellular biology. However, after two internships with the Student Conservation Association involving Pacific salmon research in Sitka, AK and Eugene, OR, Erin found her true calling in ecology and conservation biology. She recently completed her Masters degree in Conservation Biology at Columbia’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology. She now works at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. Erin is very excited to continue her work as a research consultant for No Water No Life.

Joannah Otis: Researcher and Blog Author

Joannah is a Georgetown University sophomore studying Environmental Studies, Art History and Psychology. A member of the university’s Environmental Club, she enjoys spending her free time in N.J.’s Raritan River Basin, a NWNL case study watershed. During the Fall of 2017 Joannah is researching Ancient Egypt and the Nile River.

Kalista Pruden: Researcher & Upper Columbia River Basin Liaison

Renewable Resource Management

NWNL Expeditions: Columbia River Basin (’07, ’08)

Kalista received her Diploma in Renewable Resources Management from Lethbridge College and live swithin a mile of the Columbia Wetlands in British Columbia. As Wildsight’s Lake Windermere Project Program Assistant in Water Stewardship, Kalista teaches pre-teens about watersheds, non-point source pollution, aquatic ecosystems and the importance of clean water. Her passion for protecting natural landscapes for both human and wildlife uses has motivated her to train volunteers to monitor water quality for Wildsight and to teach local families about the importance of water stewardship and wetlands. Her research for No Water No Life will focus on upstream/downstream transboundary issues in the Columbia River Basin, and then those same issues being faced by the Nile Basin Initiative. In August 2008 she published an article on the Columbia River, titled “Most Dammed River.”

Administrators   ·   Advisors   ·   Photo Video Team   ·   Past Members   ·   Researchers   ·   Research Interns

NWNL Research Interns

Ariel Zucker – Undergraduate at Columbia University pursuing Environmental Biology and Economics. Ariel compiled research on the Blue Nile and Omo River Basin in 2007.

Robert Donovan – Adjunct Professor of Geography at Mercer Community College and PhD Candidate at Rutgers University. Robert shared his complied research on the history of the Raritan River Basin in 2007 and 2008.

Mary Corddry – Author and former Eastern Shore of Maryland correspondent for the Baltimore Sun with long-term focus on soil, water and land conservation. Mary compiled research on the Mississippi River Delta in 2008.

Melaina Macone – Undergraduate at Sweet Briar College pursuing Biochemistry and Mathematics. Melaina compiled a NWNL background report on the Mara River Basin in 2008.

Sarah Doyle – Undergraduate at Sweet Briar College pursuing Environmental Studies and Biology. Sarah compiled a NWNL background report on the Omo River Basin in 2008.

Megan Behrle – Undergraduate at Sweet Briar College pursuing International Affairs. Megan compiled a NWNL background report on the Mississippi River Basin in 2008.

Carina K. Finn – Undergraduate at Sweet Briar College pursuing Anthropology and Theater. Carina wrote and submitted several articles nationwide on NWNL in 2008.