Meet the Stewards

IMG_1214 2Rachael Church is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Biology with a minor in Geography, and is from Homer, New York. She is looking forward to positively influencing the Finger Lakes region through the Watercraft Steward Program. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking with her dog, and going for runs. She is excited to be part of an organization where she can help improve the state of the Finger Lakes while using her interests in biology and ecology to talk to the public about invasive species.

IMG_1216Emily Cosgrove will be a senior at SUNY Cobleskill, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Management. She is from Honeoye Falls, NY and has grown up on the Finger Lakes, spending time on her family’s boat every summer since she was born. In her spare time, Emily enjoys riding horses, skiing, playing tennis, camping, boating, and being outdoors.  She was a Watercraft Steward during the summer of 2016 for the first time and loved it, which brought her back this summer to work with Finger Lakes Institute again. She is now serving both as a Steward and the Data Manager for the WSP, and is excited to learn about the behind-the-scenes aspect of the program while still being able to talk to people about the beautiful Finger Lakes that she loves.
IMG_1208Christopher Cramer graduated from Finger Lakes Community College in the fall of 2016 with an Associate of Science in Environmental Studies. He is currently a second semester junior at SUNY-ESF studying natural resource management. Chris was born and raised on Seneca and Keuka Lakes. In his free time, Chris enjoys fishing and hunting with friends and family. He is currently on SUNY ESF’s collegiate bass fishing team and is involved with club lacrosse. Chris looks forward to interacting with the public and informing them of the potential dangers that aquatic invasive species can cause in the Finger Lakes and surrounding waterways.  

IMG_1215Garrett Crysler is currently attending SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and majoring in Environmental Resources Engineering. Garrett has lived in the Finger Lakes most his life and has spent a lot of time on Otisco Lake both working at the marina and fishing. In his free time, he enjoys hunting and fishing and is a part of the ESF bass fishing team. He became interested in the Finger Lakes Institute Watercraft Steward Program because he wants to help protect the native fish populations and ecosystem for future enjoyment.

IMG_1178Ryan Fordham is a junior mechanical engineering major at the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University. Over the summers he enjoys boating, swimming, and fishing in tournaments. His overall love for the outdoors and the Finger Lakes region is what sparked his interest in the Finger lakes Institute. Through the Watercraft Steward Program he hopes to keep our local lakes clean, and the fishing productive.

IMG_1181Collin Horrocks is a sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in Biochemistry. He is from Penfield, NY and lives on Conesus Lake during the summer. In his spare time, Collin enjoys water skiing, tubing and enjoying the lake. His interest in biology and chemistry led him to the Finger Lakes institute to keep the Finger Lakes in good condition. He looks forward to being out educating the public about invasive species, and soaking up the sunshine.

IMG_1176Cara Miller just completed her third year at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) as a Wildlife Science Major. Cara was born in Auburn, New York, and was raised on the shores of Owasco Lake. As a result, Cara became very familiar with the Finger Lakes region and is frequently out on the water swimming and boating in her free time. Growing up on the lake is what nurtured Cara’s love of freshwater ecology, and her time at ESF gave her a great passion for conservation. Seeing the ecosystems of the Finger Lakes change so much over her life, Cara has been inspired to do her best to affect change in the public and the environment, and to keep the lakes she calls home as beautiful, as fun, and as amazing as they have always been. Her interests include swimming, gardening, and reading. In participating in the Watercraft Steward Program, Cara hopes to gain knowledge about the ecology of the Finger Lakes, as well as learn about all the ways she can make a difference and participate in the conservation of the region she calls home. She also hopes to be able to use this program as a first step towards a lifelong career in freshwater ecology and the conservation of the Finger Lakes ecosystems.

IMG_1185Kelly Minnehan is currently attending the College at Brockport and is majoring in Recreation and Leisure. She is a native of Livonia, New York. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and being outdoors. Her interest in the environment brought her to the Finger Lakes Institute. She is looking forward to being outside and protecting the Finger Lakes from invasive species.



IMG_1191Ben Myers is originally from Rochester, NY although his grandparents have always had a house in Canandaigua which he often visited with his family. Ben is currently attending Allegheny College, where he’s double majoring in Biology and Environmental Science. Ben heard about the Watercraft Steward program from a family member who suggested he apply for a summer position. Ben was excited to learn that he would be involved with the Finger Lakes Institute for the Summer Watercraft Steward Program. Not only is Ben able to gain valuable skills to aid him in future environmental-oriented careers, but he is also able to educate people about invasive aquatic species in the Finger-lakes Region.

IMG_1167Luke Pizzo has spent two semesters at Unity College studying Wildlife Biology. He is hoping to graduate in 3 years and go out into the field to practice his major in the real world. Luke grew up in the Rochester area and spent much of his time at his family cottage on Keuka Lake, where he now lives. Luke was fascinated by the ecosystem there on Keuka Lake, and wanted nothing more than to spend his time observing it and taking in all of its wonders. Luke enjoys reading, caring for animals, and hiking. He is interested in the Finger Lakes Institute’s Watercraft steward program because he sees this as the perfect way to take a hands on approach to keeping the lakes how they should be.

IMG_1192Dan Robeson is pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in biology, with a minor in English and recently finished his junior year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A native of Canandaigua, Dan is currently residing with his grandfather in Vine Valley, NY. Dan’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, aquatic sports and hanging out on Canandaigua Lake as much as possible. The Finger Lakes Institute’s Watercraft Steward Program drew attention to Dan thanks to their overall mission to keep the Finger Lakes as the beautiful bodies of water he has loved and grown up with. The WSP gives Dan the perfect opportunity to get experience in the field, as well as helping educate the public about the importance of keeping the water clean so we can all continue to enjoy the Finger Lakes.

IMG_1170Sasha Salayda is currently enrolled at Finger Lakes Community College as a Natural Resource Conservation Major. Sustainability and the local landscape have been her passion for several years. Prior to returning to school this past year, Sasha has experience and training in permaculture, herbal medicine, emergency medicine, and organic agriculture. In 2015, she initiated her own agricultural enterprise. As a resident of the area who spends most of her summers swimming, kayaking, and fishing in Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, Sasha fully understands the importance of protecting the local watersheds and ecosystems for both human enjoyment and intrinsic value. When she isn’t working as a watercraft steward, Sasha is an intern at the Finger Lakes Land Trust, takes online summer classes, and spends as much time outdoors with her partner and dog as possible.

IMG_1172Candace Schermerhorn will be entering her senior year at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where she majors in Aquatic Science. She was born and raised in The Hudson Valley, but since moving to Syracuse, the Finger Lakes region has gained a special place in her heart. When she’s not providing public outreach and helping to prevent the spread of invasive species, Candace works as an Aquatic Resource Education Steward with the NYS PARKS, and also enjoys hiking and riding her bike. This summer she looks forward to engaging with the public and inspiring others to protect their local ecosystems.

IMG_1163Jessica Sich graduated in 2016 from Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) with an Associate’s Degree in horticulture, and a certificate in Natural Resources Conservation. She works at FLCC as a geographic coordinator, systems supplemental instruction leader, and an academic strategies coach during the academic year. Jessica grew up in Henrietta, New York and moved to Canandaigua 10 years ago, where she fell in love with the lake. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, painting, crafting, and spending time with her family. Jessica loves her role as a Watercraft Steward because of her passion for aquatic ecology and the conservation of natural resources.

IMG_1165Tosha Sloughter is a recent graduate from FLCC with a degree in Natural Resources Conservation-Law Enforcement.  When she is not stopping the spread of aquatic hitchhikers, she enjoys music, hiking, geocaching, canoeing the local lakes, and finding any excuse to get outside. Her interest in aquatic invasive species and the overall health and ecology of the local lakes lead her to the Finger Lakes Institute and the Watercraft Steward Program. Tosha is looking forward to being out at the boat launches this summer, talking to the public about how they can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. Tosha also worked as a Watercraft Steward for FLI in 2016.

IMG_1179Scott Walker graduated from FLCC in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Conservation Law and is now attending the College at Brockport, where he studies Criminal Justice. Scott hopes to become an Environmental Conservation Officer with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He looks forward to informing the public about invasive species in the Finger Lakes Region, and the ways to prevent the spread of these species.

IMG_1160Cortney Tauriello






IMG_0503Sarah Powers is one of the two Program Coordinators for the Watercraft Steward program. She earned her Master of Science degree in Natural Resources Management from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2017. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Recreation Management from SUNY College at Cortland in 2014. Sarah was a watercraft steward with New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation in 2015 and 2016, and currently works part time as a Naturalist at Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville, NY. Sarah loves to teach the public about nature, and to inspire others to become stewards for the environment. In her spare time, she loves to explore new places. Her favorite activities include reading, hiking, gardening, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. This summer she is excited to work with the watercraft stewards and the public to help protect our local ecosystems.

IMG_0500Evan Genay is one of the two Program Coordinators for the Watercraft Steward Program. He is pursuing a degree in Environmental Resources Engineering from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Evan transferred to SUNY ESF from Lehigh Carbon Community College in Allentown Pennsylvania, where he was born and raised. Previously, Evan was the Activities Director for Blue Mountain Adventure Camp, a ski instructor, and ropes course supervisor at Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Outside of work and school, Evan is an avid climber, biker, stand-up paddleboarder, skier, and backpacker. He hopes to work with the stewards to educate boaters to prevent the spread of invasive species, and keep aquatic ecosystems thriving.