David Skeval – Executive Director Email me!
David Skeval previously worked as a Forestry Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County. Prior to his work with extension, he owned and operated Acer Forestry Consulting, working with landowners throughout the Northeast, and previously held a number of positions within the fields of forestry and natural resources.
David holds a Master of Science degree in Forest Resource Management from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a dual B.A. in Advertising and Psychology from Syracuse University. He previously worked as Chief Forester for Cotton-Hanlon and has managed 50,000 acres of forest land in New York and Pennsylvania. More recently, he has worked as a consulting forester serving forest landowners throughout New York. David is a native of Central New York.
Kathy Dischner, MSED, RD, CDN, Nutrition Issue Team Leader - Email me! - Kathy is an Issue Team Leader overseeing Nutrition, Community Food Security and 4-H Youth Development programs for Onondaga and Cayuga Counties, as well as the Nutrition Team Leader for Cayuga County’s Eat Smart New York program. During 2012, she has also served as the Deputy Executive Director for CCE Onondaga.
Kathy has over twenty-five years experience as a professional Nutrition Educator specializing in nutrition education, dietetic practice and program supervision and leadership. Experience includes the development, marketing, facilitation, evaluation of behaviorally-based food and nutrition education programs for community, university and hospital-based outpatient settings. Kathy has been a consultant with the American Red Cross, SUNY at Buffalo, Community General Hospital, Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Institute and the Onondaga County Health Department, as well as an adjunct professor with Syracuse University and the SUNY at Buffalo. She has mentored over 30 students enrolled in the ADA- CDR accredited Dietetic Internship programs for both Cornell and Syracuse University.
Kathy has a Master’s degree in Community Health Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a B.S. degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the State University College at Buffalo. She has been a Registered Dietitian and active member of the American Dietetic Association since 1981. Kathy has served on several boards in the Syracuse Community. These include serving as President of the Central New York Dietetic Association (2006-09); By-Laws Chair (2010-present) Publication’s Chair (2004); and on the Boards for the Interreligious Food Consortium (2003-06), and the American Heart Association (1989-91). Kathy co-chairs the Cornell Family and Community Food Decision Making Program Work Team (2007-present), and has presented workshops and poster sessions at several National and State conferences in the past ten years. Kathy has received several awards for her collaboration in the nutrition community including: an NIH Award for excellence in reducing health disparities through her work with the Genesis Health Project in Syracuse, the National Educational Alliance of Food and Consumer Science Professionals Northeast Regional Memorial Diversity Award (2001) and the Food Safety Award (2002).
Jessi Lyons, Team Coordinator – Email me! – Jessi is the Team Coordinator for the Natural Resources programs including forestry, water quality, horticulture/urban agriculture, and invasive species. Jessi has been with CCE Onondaga since 2010.
Jessi has a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from SUNY-ESF and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Southern Oregon University. Prior to moving to Syracuse to pursue her Master’s, Jessi worked in the fields of forest ecology and restoration with an emphasis on invasive species and prescribed fire for the University of Kentucky, the National Park Service in Virginia, the US Forest Service in Oregon and Washington, and the Regional Ecosystem Applied Learning Corps (an AmeriCorps program focused on ecological restoration) in Southern Oregon. She also has spent time teaching Wildlife Biology for the Portland Public School Outdoor School program, and working on a small vegetable farm and nut orchard. While at SUNY ESF Jessi worked as assistant editor of the Landscape Journal. Her studies focused on sustainable community development and community gardens, and she co-founded Syracuse Grows where she continues to serve as an advisory board member.
Kristina Ferrare, Resource Educator, Forestry -Email me! - Kristina Ferrare holds an MS in Forest Resources Management from the University of Massachusetts and a BS in History from Hamilton College. Her graduate work focused on developing a data management and reporting system to evaluate best management practices on timber sales for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Before coming to CCE, Kristina worked on private forest landowner outreach and education as well as land conservation programming for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. She is a native of CNY.
Anita Bono, Community Nutrition Educator – Email me! - Anita received her Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in Dietetics and Management and is currently ServSafe certified. Prior to coming to CCE Onondaga, Anita worked as a Nutrition Educator for the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) of Onondaga County for ten years. At WIC she counseled a diverse population, including mothers of young children, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, concerning their dietary needs during critical times in growth and development. While at WIC, she was involved in the development and initiation of the Breastfeeding Peer Counseling program. She has always had an interest in promoting a healthy lifestyle through nutrition, activity and awareness.
Cheryl Neal, Nutrition Community Educator - Email me! - Cheryl has a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from Syracuse University. Her experience includes work at local nursing homes and hospitals, with over 10 years at a local outpatient nutrition center. Most of the work involved working with the weight loss clinic. Cheryl is credentialed in Family Development and Serv-Safe certified. She has experienced working with diverse audiences including local refugee’s population i.e. Somali Bantu, Nepalese, Middle Eastern, and Bosnian refugees as well as the visually impaired population. Cheryl’s work focuses on youth and family nutrition.
Sue Parker, Program Educator- Food Systems – Email me! - Sue holds a bachelor’s in Environmental Science from SUNY Empire State College. Sue has had a lifelong interest in local food production; developing and teaching an award winning school gardening program, managing at a local food distributor CNY Bounty, and working on a local sheep dairy farm. Sue is involved in “the NIFA project”, a five-year project that seeks to improve food access for vulnerable communities by analyzing the entire food chain of a selected market basket sold at two supermarkets each in Syracuse and Madison County. By surveying local grocery stores, restaurants, and food distributors, the project will explore how regionally-produced foods could improve food access and affordability for disadvantaged communities. Sue also has extensive experience in arts and the environment, including working as a hotshot firefighter in the Cascades, working as Park Steward at Stone Quarry Art Park and teaching fiber arts to adults and youth.
Erin L. Hull, Agriculture Program Educator – Email me! – Erin has a BS in Natural Resource Management from SUNY ESF. Agriculture has been front and center of Erin’s entire life. She is a native to Tully, NY where she grew up on her family’s Jersey Dairy Operation and crop farm. She owns and operates a small all natural red Angus beef operation in Tully, NY. Prior to coming to CCE she worked as a barnyard planner for the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation Department as well as a crop scout in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed.
Roy Widrig, Community Educator, Water Quality – Email me! - Roy Widrig has a Master in Geological Science from the University at Buffalo in 2012, where he studied the role of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the Great Lakes Region in Holocene climate change. Roy received a BS in Geology & Atmospheric Sciences from SUNY Oneonta in 2009 where he studied climate proxies of the Bering Glacier near Cordova, Alaska and recent flooding events in the Susquehanna headwaters. A native of Central New York, he still enjoys exploring the forests and aquatic ecosystems of the region and dabbles in the cultivation of rare chile peppers and hops. Roy arrived at CCE Onondaga in August 2013 after serving with Onondaga Soil & Water as a Forestry Technician during the previous year.
Brenda Bennett, Community Forestry Educator – Email me! – Brenda earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Botany from Northern Arizona University. During her studies, she worked in a variety of areas within the field of Botany; maintaining the NAU Teaching Greenhouse for two years, interning for a semester at the Deaver Herbarium, and assisting in research in a plant systematics lab for three years. After college, Brenda lived in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, where she managed a wholesale native plant nursery. A native herself to Northern Wisconsin, she grew up exploring the Chequamegon National Forest where her interest in plants began.
Derek J. Conant, Water Quality Program Educator – Email me! - Derek received a duel BS from the State University of New York at Oneonta in Environmental Biology and GIS. Prior to working for CCE he spent his summers interning for Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. There he worked with county residents and municipalities to mitigate natural resource loss and water degradation by implementing best management practices. Derek started with CCE in October of 2011 and is responsible for Project Watershed, Wasp Watchers, acting/interim supervisor for CommuniTree Stewards, facilitates the Otisco Lake Advisory Committee, and manages the GIS database. Derek is a native of Otisco, NY and has a particular fondness for the outdoors and conservation.
Jessica Maxwell, Urban Agriculture Educator - Email me! Jessica earned a BA in Sociology and French from Colgate University and grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Herkimer County. She has been involved with community gardening and urban food systems since moving to Syracuse in 1998 and is a long-time gardener at the Morningside Community Garden on Syracuse’s eastside. Before joining the CCE team, Jessica was a community organizer on a variety of social issues, including working with local refugee populations, homeless youth, and inmates at the Justice Center and coordinating a summer bike repair program for city youth.
Theresa Spain, 4-H Program Educator – Email me! - Theresa holds a Masters in Environmental Science from SUNY ESF and Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Cornell University. She additionally holds a NYS Public School Teachers Certification in Secondary Science. Theresa brings over nine years of experience in teaching science in CNY’s public school system to the program. Prior to becoming a teacher, Theresa’s career endeavors include being a Zookeeper and 4-H Leader with the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and a Business Recycling Specialist with OCRRA. A lifelong resident of New York State, Theresa grew up in Niagara County as a member of the farming community. She presently resides in southern Onondaga County in Otisco Valley.
Kim Zhang, Forestry Program Educator – Email me! - Kim earned her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a concentration in community planning. During her time in school she interned at a cultural garden center, Wave Hill, working with youth in forest restoration. Prior to starting at CCE on the Save the Rain program, Kim worked at New York Restoration Project on the MillionTreesNYC initiative, working with cemeteries, faith-based institutions, and NYS Department of Transportation to get trees planted throughout NYC. Following, she worked with citizens on community planning meetings, garden designs, and supervised the construction of community gardens. Kim really enjoys working with communities at large and hopes to improve neighborhoods through green infrastructure.