Doug Spieles is a professor of environmental studies at Denison University, where he teaches courses on ecosystem management and wetland ecology. A member of the Licking Land Trust Board since 2004, Doug is interested in conservation ecology, environmental education, and ecological succession. He is the author of Protected Land: Disturbance, Stress, and American Ecosystem Management, from Springer publications.
Jim Bidigare - Vice Chair
Jim has been a licensed real estate agent since 1995, specializing in homes and land in beautiful Licking County. He is a commissioner on the Licking County Planning Commission, and has been involved in other community and organizational planning efforts. Jim has experience as a general contractor and has a degree in architecture from MIT with emphasis on real estate law and building construction.
Jim has been involved in numerous charitable and non-profit organizations, usually in a strategic planning of communications role. He has had professional and volunteer experience in annual giving programs for many years. Jim lives north of Granville on 40 acres of farmland, woods and stream and was certified organic in 1993. He is embarking on a more permaculture based approach to agriculture, relying more on perennial crops and seeking long-term sustainability. Jim has four children, recent college graduates Danielle and Luke, and Hannah, and college Sophomore, Claire.
Lyn Boone - Treasurer
Lyn Boone retired in 2010 from the staff of Denison University, where she served as Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations. She has been a resident of Granville for thirty-one years.
In Central Ohio, Lyn has served a number of volunteer organizations and boards, including the Granville Union Cemetery, where she leads the historic preservation project for the town's historic graveyard. She has served on the board of the Licking Land Trust since 2011, and currently holds the position of treasurer.
Lyn holds the B.A. and M.A. from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She and her husband Keith are avid birders, an avocation that inspires their travel.
Whether managing nearly 2,000 acres as Dawes Arboretum’s director of land conservation or working to preserve property in her own community, Shana Byrd has a passion for conservation. She hopes to share her expertise and enthusiasm as part of the Trust’s board.
“I hope to offer support in monitoring properties, working with landowners considering partnership, educating the public on the value of our work and inspiring individuals to donate resources,” she said. “I’m also interested to learn more about how I can best be of service based on needs of our community.”
Shana studied biology at Ohio University and earned a master’s degree in zoology from Miami University. Before accepting her position at Dawes, she worked with the Sustainable Forestry Program of Rural Action and directed the restoration ecology program at The Wilds. She currently serves on the Ohio Invasive Plant Council Board of Directors, where she raises awareness about native plant conservation.
Recent residents of Granville, Shana and her family also own a 10-acre farm in Athens County, where she helped secure adjacent property for preservation.
Shana reflected, “The land trust’s relevance of today helps endear communities to their natural assets; the relevance of tomorrow will be gratitude of future generations.”
A 20-year veteran of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Mary Fitch is a registered landscape architect, who has been involved in park design and also has experience with grant writing and administration. She successfully served on the Trust’s board in the past and returns after a six-year absence.
Mary left the board unexpectedly in 2010 due to her late husband's sudden illness. During her tenure, Mary was instrumental in obtaining a grant to facilitate the permanent protection of the Spring Valley Nature Preserve, and in obtaining a subsequent Surface Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) grant to fund the restoration of Spring Valley’s Salt Run stream.
“The SWIF grant process was extremely competitive. We had a lot of wonderful minds working on that project,” she said. “I have always enjoyed working with the Trust board and supporting the mission, so I was honored to be invited back.”
In her spare time, Mary enjoys kayaking and biking. Her love of open spaces extends to an appreciation of landscape paintings, and hiking to elevated places to reach panoramic views.
As a practicing attorney with a family heritage that cherishes land and the outdoors, Lori brings a wealth of professional skills and personal interest in conservation to the Trust. A partner in the Columbus law firm of Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, Lori practices primarily in the field of civil litigation, representing companies in complex business and employment disputes.
Lori grew up chasing cattle, baling hay and taking naps on farm tractors driven by her father. She and her husband, Neal Bell, moved to Granville in 2004 from Morrow County, where they raised vegetables and poultry. They have two sons, and enjoy watching soccer matches, hiking and all things food-related.
Prior to 2005, Linda spent a 33-year career as a corporate finance banker, managing a national line of business for Banc One Corporation, now a part of JPMorgan Chase. Since then, she has done a complete career switch, building on a lifelong avocation of music. Currently she teaches in Denison University’s Suzuki Program, instructing many young flute students. She also plays in ensembles throughout the area.
Now residing in the village of Granville, Linda and her husband Bill formerly lived happily on their 35 acres of rolling Granville Township farmland, along with two horses, much wildlife, and birds of every imaginable color and song. When not fluting or conserving land, Linda is often riding her Quarter horse, Shawnee, through the woods and fields of Licking County.
Tom Henshaw is an environmental studies professor at Denison University. His career in agriculture started as an agriculture extension volunteer with Peace Corps in Paraguay. Additionally, he has worked as an organic vegetable producer and US Customs agriculture inspector. Tom studied international business at DePauw University, has a MS in agro-ecology from the University of Florida, and a PhD in rural sociology form The Ohio State University. Deeply interested in community agriculture Tom was a founding board member of 6th Street and Growing Community Gardens in Newark in addition to the Licking Land Trust.
Born and raised in Chillicothe, Tom and his wife Erin moved to Licking County in 2009 where they purchased a small piece of property and an old farm house in Granville Township.
Jeremy King is the Sustainability Director at Denison University where he stewards sustainability initiatives on behalf of the College and acts as a resource for other departments and offices. He also serves as a liaison to the surrounding community on issues regarding sustainability and sustainable development. An alumna of Denison, Jeremy brings a wealth of educational and resource conservation experience to the position. He taught high school science in Circleville, Ohio for 10 years and during that time earned a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University. Jeremy served in the Peace Corps and worked on sustainable development and sustainable agriculture projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Jeremy was born and raised in Licking County.
Mike Mickelson is a retired Denison University professor of physics and astronomy and has served on the Granville Township Zoning Commission. He serves on the Licking Land Trust because of his interests in preserving the rural character of Licking County consistent with sensible growth. While on the zoning commission, he worked to redesign Granville Township’s Planned Unit Development ordinance to encourage clustered residential design on smaller lots while designating 50% of the subdivision as undeveloped space. As a Licking Land Trust board member, he has served as vice chair and worked chaired the committee that obtained accreditation for the Licking Land Trust. Land Trust Land Trust Accreditation is designed to help build and recognize strong land trusts, foster public confidence in land conservation, and ensure the long-term protection of land.
Candada J.Moore, an Ohio attorney, currently serves as President of The Lakeholm Company after retiring from Huntington National Bank where she was Manager of Corporate Trust from 1991 through 2013. Prior to joining Huntington, she was associated for ten years with the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, where she practiced public finance law. Ms. Moore received a B.A. in business administration and psychology from Ohio Northern University and a J.D., summa cum laude, from The Ohio State University College of Law. She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. Ms. Moore resides with her husband Steven Mershon in Granville, Ohio, where she serves as President of the Board of the Bryn Du Commission. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.
Randall "Rip" Riley
A retired political science professor at Ohio State University, Rip primarily taught and wrote about American governmental institutions and policies.. Rip has also served on the Pataskala Planning and Zoning commission since 2002. As a commissioner, he strives to obtain a balance between conservation and rational land use. Early in his career as a commissioner he helped develop the city’s comprehensive plan. In 2001 he was heavily involved in a successful campaign to overturn a new zoning law passed by city council that would have been detrimental to open land preservation. Rip and his wife, Grace Franklin, have lived on a 28-acre farm in Pataskala since 2000. They share the property with several cats, a dog, and three horses.
As a child, Rebecca Swab frequently went camping and hiking with her family. Her father’s deep interest in plants soon became her own and she decided to make ecology her calling. She earned a master’s degree in natural resources from The Ohio State University and a doctorate in ecology from University of California Riverside.
Currently director of restoration ecology at The Wilds, Rebecca hopes her environmental expertise will benefit the Trust in decision making, particularly in prioritizing ecological services or particular species.
“Given urban sprawl and development as population grows, having organizations that work to preserve green space within these areas is essential. These areas are valuable for native species, provide important environmental services, and can provide recreational opportunities, both locally and nationally,” she said.
Michael Whitehead has fond memories of the Licking County farmhouse he visited as child. His father grew up on the property, as had his family for generations before, back to the 1830s.
“You’d see horses running down the road. It wasn’t asphalt; it was chip and tar,” he recalled. “When you’re a kid at the farm, you’ve got creeks to throw rocks in, get muddy, woods to run around in.”
Those ties to Licking County eventually lured the Jamestown, New York, native to place roots in Ohio. He attended law school at The Ohio State University, became a partner with the law firm of Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, and recently restored the historic family farmhouse, where he has now settled with his wife and three sons.
Michael said he looks forward to putting his experience in real estate law and background in conservation easements to use through his work with the land trust.
“I am happy to assist with property owners interested in working with LLT,” he said, “to address and solve legal concerns or issues.”
Don Wiper (1931-2015)
The Trust is deeply saddened by the passing of Don "Biff" Wiper on September 24, 2015, while joining the entire community and his family in celebration of his life of huge accomplishment and boundless love. As a long-time member and driving force behind the growth of the Granville Land Conservancy, Don worked tirelessly for 23 years to advance the mission of the Conservancy, which became the Licking Land Trust. Serving as a board chair and member, he shared his passion for conservation of open spaces, working with landowners, members, youth, the community and many others to save undeveloped land as a treasure forever. His love for nature and the land lives on in the Licking Land Trust. He served as chairman of the board from 1996-2006 during which time the area protected by the Trust grew by over 700 acres. Don served as a board member until his recent death in 2015. He lent his legal expertise freely, and was invaluable to member and landowner outreach. We miss him dearly!