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Jason Ulseth, Riverkeeper

Jason Ulseth is a Georgia native who grew up fishing and boating on the Chattahoochee River. During his childhood, he developed a love and passion for the river and our natural environment. In further pursuit of this passion, he attended the University of Georgia and earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health in 2003. He then went on to work for nearly 5 years for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

In 2007, he joined the team at Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) as the organization’s Technical Programs Director. Effective January 2015, Jason assumed the role of Riverkeeper and serves as the organization’s lead river protection advocate and spokesperson. He also serves as CRK’s patrol boat captain and is licensed by the United States Coast Guard as a Merchant Marine Officer to captain passenger vessels of up to 50 tons.

Jason is an expert in stormwater management and is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control and a Georgia certified Design Professional and Trainer. He is certified by the state as an Adopt-A-Stream Trainer and is serving his second term on DNR’s Adopt-A-Stream Advisory Board.

Jason and his wife, Dawn, currently reside in Cumming with their two children.

Juliet Cohen, Executive Director

Juliet Cohen was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There she grew up surrounded by and immersed in pristine tropical waters and rainforests, and developed a love and respect for the natural world. Juliet earned a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Political Science from the University of Miami, Florida, in 1995, with an emphasis in marine biology.

After earning her undergraduate degree, Juliet worked in Washington, D.C. for an environmental education organization, Earth Force. Later she moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to work for the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League as Program Manager for the South Carolina More Than A Port project and volunteered as Conservation Chair for the local Sierra Club chapter.

In 2001, Juliet began studying law at American University’s Washington College of Law where she served on the American University Law Review. She graduated in 2004 with honors Magna Cum Laude and a member of Order of the Coif.

From 2005 to 2007, Juliet worked as a Staff Attorney for the Eleventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals. Juliet has served as Executive Director for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper since January 2015.

Juliet and her husband, Jeffrey, reside in Brookhaven along with their three children.

Atlanta Office


Melanie Baird
Communications and Marketing Manager
Email: [email protected]
Melanie Baird was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Growing up in Iowa, she developed an early interest in the environment by volunteering at a local nature center during their festivals and regularly participating in their summer program offerings. Melanie earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from The University of Iowa, in 2011, with an emphasis in non-profit organizations.

After earning her degree, Melanie made the move from Iowa to Atlanta. She comes to CRK from EarthShare of Georgia where she served as its Administrative and Communications Coordinator for the last several years. Melanie’s duties include managing CRK’s presence within the media, website and social media outlets as well as managing regular CRK RiverFLASH e-blasts.

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Tammy Bates
Outings Manager
Email: [email protected]

Erik Fyfe
Watershed Protection Specialist
Email: [email protected]
Erik Fyfe promotes green infrastructure in the watershed, manages CRK’s Rain Harvesting program, and supports our industrial stormwater pollution program.

Before joining CRK, his work focused on Atlanta’s Proctor Creek watershed, where he worked with community members, government agencies, and other organizations on efforts to improve the environment and quality of life around Proctor Creek. Erik’s prior experience also includes teaching onboard a historic sailboat in the Hudson River, consulting with businesses to help them innovate and become more sustainable, and helping found Atlanta’s first biodiesel program.

Erik holds a B.S. from Emory University and a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale University. He loves ‘messing about in boats’ and jumps straight into the water whenever he can. 

 

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Ogechi Irondi
Henry Babson West Atlanta Water Fellow
Email: [email protected]

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Ogechi Irondi now serves as the Henry Babson West Atlanta Water Fellow. Ogechi is extremely passionate about environmental and social justice in her community. She is a dual degree Chemistry and Chemical Engineering student at Clark Atlanta University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

She enjoys reaching out to residents in her community as well as getting them involved in the upkeep of their environment. After doing a case study on the Proctor Creek watershed specifically in the Atlanta University Center, Ogechi was more than eager to take action in the restoration of the creek.

While at the 1st Annual Proctor Creek River Rendezvous, she expressed her interest in serving as a NWW volunteer. Ogechi has been sampling since 2014, and has gotten four volunteers to participate in the program. She plans to continue educating communities on how to make environmentally conscious decisions.

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Kevin Jeselnik
Staff Attorney
Email: [email protected]
Kevin Jeselnik is the Staff Attorney for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. He supports Executive Director Juliet Cohen and Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth in coordinating and implementing CRK’s programs monitoring and protecting water quality on the river and its tributaries. Additionally, Kevin manages CRK’s general legal affairs, oversees the organization’s litigation efforts in conjunction with outside counsel, and assists the staff in monitoring and ensuring that discharges from industrial operations into the Chattahoochee River watershed comply with state and federal law.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia, Kevin covered commercial real estate as a writer and editor for industry trade publications. During this time, researching and writing about the challenges of remediating and developing environmentally sensitive sites drew his attention to the unique role the law played in protecting Georgia’s lands and water bodies. This interest led Kevin to attend the Georgia State University College of Law, where he focused on environmental law and graduated, cum laude, in 2012. From 2012 to 2014, Kevin was an Associate Attorney at Stack & Associates, P.C., where he represented individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations in various environmental and land use matters.

Kevin and his wife, Brianne, live in Kirkwood and love the diversity, friendships and great restaurants that the eastside of Atlanta offers. On weekends, they enjoy exploring the Chattahoochee and their favorite spots along Sweetwater Creek with their dog Scout.


Becca Klein
Development Director
Email: [email protected]
Becca Klein is Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Development Director. She comes to CRK from the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in Charlotte, NC, and is proud to continue her work within the Waterkeeper family.

Along with her dog Frodo, Becca moved back to Atlanta, her hometown, in June of 2009 from North Carolina where she lived for nine years. Prior to working in the Riverkeeper movement, Becca worked for the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the American Red Cross, where she served as a Major Gifts Officer in their Development Department. After obtaining her B.S. in Communications from Appalachian State University, she also worked for a number of nonprofits in western North Carolina, including: the National Organization for Women, Linville-Central Search and Rescue Squad, and Grandfather Home for Children. Before that, she worked for two years as a reporter and news editor for High Country Media.

Becca works to identify and secure financial support from individuals, corporations and foundations to maintain and grow CRK’s financial base and enable the organization to continue to advocate for and secure protection and enhancement of the Chattahoochee River, its lakes, tributaries, and watershed.

 

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Chris Manganiello
Water Policy Director
Email: [email protected]

Chris Manganiello is Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Water Policy Director.  He leads the organization’s water supply program and will track regional water planning in the Chattahoochee River basin.  Additionally, Chris will work on legislative initiatives to ensure there is enough clean water for healthy communities, environments, and economies.

Chris is the author of a book, titled Southern Water, Southern Power: How the Politics of Cheap Energy and Water Scarcity Shaped a Region (The University of North Carolina Press, 2015).  The book moves beyond the well-known accounts of flooding in the Mississippi Valley and irrigation in the American West to reveal the contested history of water in region presumed to have plenty.

A native of Maryland, he grew up riding his bike in concrete lined ‘creeks’ and exploring the Potomac River’s recreational paradise in the heart of the Washington, DC metropolitan region.  After living on Florida’s coast and in North Carolina’s mountains, Chris received his doctoral degree in environmental history from the University of Georgia in 2010.  He was a Smithsonian Institution Fellow, and a University of Georgia and Georgia Gwinnett College faculty member.  Chris has published in Journal of the History of BiologyJournal of Southern History and Southern Cultures, and was co-editor, with Paul S. Sutter, of Environmental History and the American South: A Reader (University of Georgia Press, 2009).

From 2012 to 2016, Chris served as the Policy Director at Georgia River Network, where he engaged and empowered citizens, river groups, and other partners to advocate for local, state, and federal river protections.

These days, Chris walks with his wife, two young children and their dog in Atlanta’s neighborhood parks.  When he can find time, he enjoys mountain biking in Georgia’s state parks and backpacking in the southern Appalachians’ National Forests.


Mike Meyer
Neighborhood Water Watch Program Director
Email: [email protected]

Mike Meyer is Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Watershed Protection Specialist. Working with former Technical Programs Director Jason Ulseth, Mike’s duties range from field studies and lab analysis with CRK’s newest monitoring program the Neighborhood Water Watch, to conservation and education efforts with CRK’s long successful rain barrel workshops.

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Mike was first introduced to Atlanta’s water quality issues in 2001 while working with Southeast Waters, an AmeriCorps program. Shortly after graduating from Oglethorpe University with a B.S. in biology, Mike began an internship with CRK, which led to his employment in the Technical Programs Department. An avid environmentalist, trained watershed protection specialist and certified Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector, Mike is interested in working to improve urban waterways and greenspaces.

He supports ever-expanding Atlanta’s enthusiasm for conserving and reclaiming its natural spaces for wildlife and people alike. A long-time resident and supporter of Atlanta’s Poncey-Highlands neighborhood, Mike prefers a neighborhood in which you can get “a popsicle, a taco and a video, all on the same block.”


Marcela Moreno
Atlanta Fellow: Protecting Streams and Communities from Industrial Pollution (PSCIP)
Email: [email protected]
Marcela Moreno is currently a Master of City and Regional Planning student at Georgia Tech focusing on environmental and health planning (graduating in August!). During her graduate studies, she has conducted research on wastewater systems along the US-Mexico border, homelessness in Atlanta and solar energy policy in Georgia. Outside of academics, she has been heavily involved in the Georgia Tech Energy Club, working full-time and spending any free moment traveling (probably to the beach).

She is originally from San Antonio, Texas where she grew up with a close relationship to the Guadalupe River and the Gulf of Mexico. The water quality issues she encountered when visiting family in Mexico led her to coursework on human rights, environmental access and health. After moving to Alpharetta, Georgia in middle school, she eventually graduated with her Bachelor of Science in History, Technology and Society with a minor in International Affairs from Georgia Tech in 2013. She plans on pursuing a PhD program in Environmental Health to explore the intersection between climate change, urban planning and human health.


Catherine Lewis Saenz
Development Associate
Email: [email protected]
Catherine Lewis Saenz was born in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 8 years old. Catherine graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video Production.

After earning her degree, Catherine interned with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for a year and a half as the Communications and Development Intern. Catherine is extremely passionate about the environment and animal rights. She loves hiking and backcountry camping at the many state and local parks in Georgia, and makes trips to the Smoky Mountains whenever she can. She is also a member of the National Parks Conservation Association, the Animal Welfare Institute and a prospective member of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Group.


Jess Sterling
Technical Programs Director
Email: [email protected]

Jess Sterling is Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Technical Programs Director. She manages CRK’s Protecting Streams and Communities from Industrial Pollution (PSCIP) program and other monitoring and research projects. She received her B.S. degree from Ohio University in 2003 and earned her M.S. from the Odum School of Ecology at the University Georgia in 2012. For her master’s thesis, she studied the effects of non-point source pollution on urban stream ecosystems in the upper Oconee River watershed.

Prior to graduate school, Jess conducted research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She was active in the Athens environmental community, serving as president of the Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN) and on the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Committee.

Jess is originally from Toledo, Ohio and developed a love of water during summers spent with her family on Lake Erie. She moved to Georgia in 2003, started paddling with friends, and fell in love with Georgia’s diverse rivers. Jess now lives in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood with her husband, Ben, and their three young children. 


Suzette Taylor
Financial Manager
Email: [email protected]

Suzette Taylor is the Financial Manager for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. She supports Executive Director, Juliet Cohen and Riverkeeper and Jason Ulseth in managing all of the financial operations of the organization.

Suzette holds a dual degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.  She has over 20 years of financial accounting/ payroll/ budgeting experience working in education/non-profit institutions, including having the roles of Assistant Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology for 16 years.

In 2015, she decided to work part-time with small non-profit organizations managing their respective financial operations to allow more time for herself and her family.

Suzette and her husband, Steve, have three children and one granddaughter.  A lover of the outdoors, she enjoys tennis, camping, hiking, and running. 

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Christina York
Database Manager
Email: [email protected]
Christina York is CRK’s Database Manager. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia State University in 2002, with a major in Philosophy and minor in Political Science.

Christina became fond of the Chattahoochee River after spending a lot of time during high school at Vickery Creek, which was right down the street from her school. In addition to her interests in space and astronomy, she is an avid reader and lover of music, playing the piano for most of her life.

Christina lives in Cumming with her husband, Eric; her children, Xander and Cora.

 

Headwaters Office (Gainesville)


Dale Caldwell
Headwaters Watershed Protection Specialist
Email: [email protected]
 Dale Caldwell is Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Headwaters Watershed Protection Specialist. Dale works to extend several of CRK’s successful programs into the headwaters region of the Chattahoochee River basin. These programs include Neighborhood Water Watch, Protecting Streams and Communities from Industrial Pollution, Lake Lanier Monitoring, and engaging local citizens in watershed protection.

Originally from the metro Atlanta area, Dale grew up fishing on Lake Lanier and backpacking in the southern Appalachian Mountains. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from the University of Georgia in 2005, he began his work in state government with the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, working with farmers in the Ellijay, GA area to reduce agricultural impacts to local waterways.

Succeeding his first role with the State of Georgia, he spent five years working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Protection Division on the Georgia coast. In this capacity, Dale was known for administering the regulatory processes that prevented degradation to Georgia’s coastal waterways. During his time on the coast, he developed a passion for paddling kayaks and canoes in the region’s blackwater rivers, tidal creeks, and ocean. 


Janet Westervelt
Headwaters Outreach Manager
Email: [email protected]
 Janet Westervelt was born and raised in Decatur, GA and continued to move north where she has been living in the headwaters of the Chattahoochee in Habersham County since 2005.   Her appreciation for water started as a toddler on the shores of Lake Lanier at her parent’s lake house where she eventually became an avid paddler and boater.

Janet began her advocacy work for the environment back in the 1980’s.  She has worked on the Executive Committees for the Georgia and Atlanta groups of the Sierra Club.  Her work with the Club also included leading outings and their Adopt-A-Stream program.  She is currently a Board Member of the Soque River Watershed Association (in the Chattahoochee headwaters) and an organizer for the HemlockFest sponsored by the Lumpkin Coalition. (a non-profit committed to raising money and awareness to protect the hemlocks from the Wooly Adelgid)

Her love of the outdoors carried over to environmental education for young students through training from the Oxford Institute for Environmental Education, Elachee Nature Center and the Environmental Educators Alliance of Georgia.

Janet has a BA in Education from Goddard College in Vermont and is Certified in Primary and Elementary Montessori Education.  She enjoys kayaking, hiking, gardening and nature photography.

Middle Chattahoochee Office (LaGrange)


Hannah Bradford
Middle Chattahoochee Watershed Protection Specialist & Naturalist
Email: [email protected]
Hannah is our Middle Chattahoochee Watershed Protection Specialist and Naturalist on the West Point Lake Floating Classroom. She works to expand CRK’s Neighborhood Water Watch program, West Point lake nutrient monitoring, and act as liaison with other water advocate groups monitoring the Chattahoochee in Alabama.

Hannah is from Valley, AL and grew up enjoying West Point Lake and the River. She earned a B.S of Science in Marine Biology from Auburn University with courses at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Alabama’s barrier island. After graduating, Hannah worked as a marine biologist with the Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy researching sharks and rays in the Tampa Bay area.

She is passionate about bringing Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s message to folks in the Mid Chatt areas of Georgia and Alabama. Hannah currently lives in Valley, AL with her 2 birds, Bonita and Lou, and dog, Ruth.

Laura Breyfogle
Laura Breyfogle
Naturalist: WPL Floating Classroom
Email: [email protected]
 Laura Breyfogle is thrilled to have her long term dream of returning to environmental education fulfilled by working as an instructor on “Miss Sally”, the brand new West Point Lake Floating Classroom.

Being raised by an environmental advocate in Alabama and attending the University of the South (Sewanee) kindled a passion for protecting the environment and enjoying frequent outings. At Sewanee she majored in Natural Resources and then went on to receive her teacher certification and masters in middle grades education at UGA.

She and her husband Sam have lived in Georgia for 31 years with LaGrange as a home base for 22 years. She enjoys canoeing, hiking, backpacking, biking and gardening.

Her employment background includes working as a naturalist in state and national parks, teaching 6th grade science, and working for a variety of nonprofit organizations. She volunteers for the Sierra Club on a local and state level and also works for DASH, a local nonprofit housing organization. 


Henry Jacobs
Middle Chattahoochee Outreach Manager
Email: [email protected]
As Middle Chattahoochee Outreach Manager, Henry is responsible for CRK’s office in LaGrange and programs like the West Point Lake Floating Classroom and Neighborhood Water Watch. In-office, there is fundraising, grant-writing, event planning, outings coordination (paddle trips, trash cleanups) and communications work. In all, Jacobs says it makes for meaningful work, daily learning, and the chance to relate to others through the need for clean and plentiful water.

Born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, Henry attended LaGrange College, and graduated in the Spring of 2013 with a degree in History. He then worked with CRK as a summer intern before assuming a full-time role with the organization in August, 2013.

Henry currently lives in the Hillside neighborhood of LaGrange, and along with his work for CRK, pursues photography, documentary filmmaking and music.

Reach individual staff by using email addresses provided, or contact our offices in Atlanta at (404) 352-9828, Gainesville (Headwaters office) at (678) 696-8866, and LaGrange (Middle Chattahoochee office) at (706) 882-3701.