Staff

 

Pam Bierzynski (she/her/hers) — Communications Manager

pam@legacylandconservancy.org

Pam joined Legacy in November 2013. She is a life long Michigan resident. She has loved the outdoors since childhood, whether playing soccer, gardening, or camping with her family. Eventually, her deep appreciation for nature led her to Aquinas College, a school known for its beautiful forested campus. There she earned degrees in Geography and Sociology.  Pam lives in Plymouth with her husband Tim, daughters Jameson and Finley, and cat, Harley. When she’s not playing in the dirt, brewing beer, or daydreaming about riding motorcycles, Pam enjoys spending time outdoors experiencing nature through the lens of her camera.

Mario Garza, Business ManagerMario Black (he/him/his) — Business Manager

mblack@legacylandconservancy.org

Mario joins Legacy after graduating with a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree from Grand Valley State University. Prior to joining Legacy, Mario spent over 10 years working within the Hospitality Industry. Mario loves spending time with his partner and dog Daisy and enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, canoeing, photography, and film.

Cara Green outdoors with mountains in backgroundCara Green (she/her/hers) — Easement Stewardship Associate

cgreen@legacylandconservancy.org

A Michigan native, Cara spent her childhood outdoors collecting rocks, playing in the woods, and swimming in the Great Lakes. Having never lost her love for nature, she graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2019 with a B.S. in Earth Science and moved to Oregon where she worked with the USFS in the Umpqua National Forest and as an herbalist in Portland. Cara is excited to be back in her home state and caring for the Earth through land trust and conservation work with Legacy. In her free time, Cara can be found foraging for herbs, filming on her 8mm camera, hanging in the kitchen, reading, and spending time with her loved ones.

Ariel Henson in front of a rockAri Henson (she/they) — Preserve Stewardship Associate

ahenson@legacylandconservancy.org

Ari was born and raised in southeast Michigan, often spending many of her days outside fishing, camping, and hiking with her family. This upbringing fostered a passion for the natural world, and ultimately guided her into the wildlife biology undergraduate program at Grand Valley State University. She began her working career in natural resources as a Land Stewardship Intern for the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, where she found a strong adoration for plant sciences and ecological restoration work. After graduating and before joining the team at Legacy, she worked with Ducks Unlimited as a GIS Technician to assist with wetland mapping and conservation. In her free time, she can often be found rock climbing with her partner, going on plant walks, embroidering, playing video games, working in the community garden, or hanging out with her cat.

Krista Gjestland (she/her/hers) — Development Director

krista@legacylandconservancy.org

Krista grew up wandering between cornfields and raspberry patches on Jackson County farmland. With a degree in journalism from Eastern Michigan University, she spent three years with the Ypsilanti Freighthouse – a nonprofit dedicated to historic preservation and community event planning before coming to Legacy in 2020. Krista brings a deep passion for building community through shared experiences. Currently, she serves as the chair of Hero Nation, a local nonprofit that uses nerd culture such as comic books and video games to empower youth who experience marginalization. Krista calls Ypsilanti home, and spends her free time exploring Michigan’s public spaces, usually with a cold beer or hot coffee in hand.

Diana Kern (she/her/hers) — Executive Director

dkern@legacylandconservancy.org

Diana Kern has extensive executive leadership background and a passion for nonprofit management, fundraising, and governance. After 17 years of progressive leadership roles with McKinley, Diana left for the nonprofit world where she served for NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) as Vice President, and then for Eversight as an Executive Director and Vice President of Philanthropy. Diana joined Legacy Land Conservancy at the beginning of 2019 and brings a conservation lens.  Diana has lived in Michigan for over 50 years and has served on numerous nonprofit boards, committees and task forces, including joining an all-volunteer group of community leaders in 2013 to raise over $1.6 million to fund the build and opening of the Ann Arbor Skatepark.  Currently Diana serves as a board member for The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a member of the Ann Arbor Host Lions Club. When not working on land conservation issues, she can be found bird watching, hiking, and listening to music.

Susan LaCroixSusan LaCroix (she/her/hers) — Land Protection Director

slacroix@legacylandconservancy.org

Susan learned an appreciation and respect for the environment at an early age spending summers on Higgins Lake, and Puget Sound. She later earned an undergraduate degree in Environmental Policy and Political Science from the University of Michigan. Susan returned to Michigan after working with other land trusts in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington State. She is passionate about conserving land in local watersheds, especially in the Great Lakes, as well as keeping land affordable for future generations and underserved populations. In her free time, Susan enjoys sailing, knitting, listening to music, cross country skiing, cooking with local produce and spending time with her family, including her dog, Zinnia Stardust.

Clint McGill (he/him/his) — Easement Stewardship Manager

cmcgill@legacylandconservancy.org

Born and raised in east-central Indiana, Clint’s passion for nature was nurtured by summers spent roaming through the woods with his grandfather and helping him tend his garden and orchard. After earning a BA in Biology from Indiana University (IU) and working as a microbiologist at an environmental testing lab, he returned to the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU where he studied ecology and conservation and earned master’s degrees in environmental science and public affairs. He is excited to apply his knowledge and experience with his passion for conservation to help preserve our most valuable natural spaces for future generations. In his free time, Clint enjoys cooking and baking, watching soccer and basketball, and reading (usually science-fiction).

Kyler MoranKyler Moran (he/him/his) — Preserve Stewardship Manager

kmoran@legacylandconservancy.org

Born and raised in southwest Michigan, Kyler spent countless hours growing up playing in creeks and jumping in mud puddles. As he matured, his fascination with the natural world transitioned into a passion for conservation and natural resources management. Kyler began his career by pursuing a degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University as well as studying sustainable natural resources recreation management. He cut his teeth in the nonprofit land trust world with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy where he served as a Huron Pines Americorps member for two years before joining us at Legacy. In his free time, Kyler can often be found lounging with a hot cup of coffee and a Stephen King novel, or out exploring local hiking trails.

Michelle Sigakis (she/her/hers) – Director of Finance and Operations

msigakis@legacylandconservancy.org

Michelle was born and raised on 40 acres of trees and fields in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She played ice hockey at St. Cloud State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an Emphasis in International Business. She worked at Ernst & Young, LLP in the Minneapolis and Boston offices for 16 years and gained valuable experience with not-for-profit organizations, both from a client and volunteer perspective.

She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, Matt, daughters, CeCe and Emme, and the spoiled child of the family, Kona, her Portuguese Water Dog.  In her spare time, you can find her in the winter on the rink either coaching or playing hockey, watching her girls and husband play hockey or in the summer, anywhere outdoors, reading, gardening, biking, walking or hanging at the pool with her girls.

Allene SmithAllene Smith (she/her/hers) — Senior Land Protection Specialist

allene@legacylandconservancy.org

Raised on a llama farm in rural west Michigan, Allene comes to Legacy with a deeply-rooted appreciation for Michigan and its varied landscapes. After earning a BS in Plant Biology from Western Michigan University, she gained stewardship experience while working with The Nature Conservancy, MDNR, the Forest Service, and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. In her free time, Allene pursues education in herbal medicine, nutrition, and the nature of human experience.

Hannah Weilnau, Donor Outreach CoordinatorHannah Weilnau (she/her/hers) — Donor Outreach Coordinator

hweilnau@legacylandconservancy.org

Born and raised in the Southwest, Hannah grew up spending her free time in the mountains and deserts of colorful Colorado. With the hope of helping people experience the joy and dignity that comes from pursuing their passions, she received a degree in Arts Management from the University of Hartford. Hannah moved to Michigan for love in 2015 and is happily living in Ypsilanti with her partner and three cats, Queso, Pinto, and Guillermo. Since moving to Michigan, her desire to support individual expression grew into supporting communities through various jobs in Event Management and Community Outreach. Hannah is thrilled to join Legacy and continue building community to support environmental sustainability for future generations. In her free time, Hannah loves adding to her ever-expanding list of hobbies which currently include cooking, knitting, hiking, dyeing textiles, reading, and making music.

Kai Garcia in natureKai Garcia (he/him/his) — Huron Pines AmeriCorps, Preserve Stewardship Technician

kgarcia@legacylandconservancy.org

Kai Garcia grew up in Ann Arbor, where his love of the natural world was fueled by the time he spent in the many natural areas surrounding the city. He graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science in December, 2023, and aims to put his knowledge and skills in biology, environmental processes, and conservation to good use in the office and in the field. In his free time, he enjoys doing anything outdoors, board games, fiber arts, and spending time with friends. Kai is very excited to be working with Legacy and aims to make a positive impact on the organization and local community!

Annika MoranAnnika Moran (she/her/hers) — Huron Pines AmeriCorps, Preserve Stewardship Technician

amoran@legacylandconservancy.org

Annika was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she fostered her passion for conservation and habitat restoration by volunteering in the city nature areas. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Environment. Annika is a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving Legacy Land Conservancy. In her free time, she enjoys birding, spending time with her dogs, playing video games and going on walks.