ELIZABETHTOWN — The Adirondack Council recently announced it has hired three new staff members for an expanded fund development and communications team to allow the organization to better help the Adirondack Park meet a growing list of challenges including record popularity, according to a press release.

Joining the fund development team is Amanda Birchenough, of Saranac Lake, in the new position of Associate Development Director.

Amanda has most recently been the Associate Director of Reunion Giving at St. Lawrence University since 2017 and lives in Saranac Lake. She previously worked in fund development for Middlebury College in Vermont and the University of Rochester. She will work with Development Director Debbie Pastore and Development Assistant Jess Kelley, in the Council’s Elizabethtown headquarters, and from an expanded Council office in Saranac Lake.

Former Adirondack Daily Enterprise Outdoor Writer Justin Levine of Vermontville has joined the communications team as Communications and Outreach Assistant. Justin is based at the Saranac Lake office and will work with Communication Director John Sheehan in Albany and Membership Director Tyler Frakes in Elizabethtown, among others. Levine was working in communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and had previously worked as a recreation specialist with the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.

Jessica Grant of Plattsburgh will become Executive and Development Assistant, working with Executive Director William C. Janeway and others in Elizabethtown. She had formerly served as an intern with the NYS Senate and with the Adirondack Land Trust in Keene and was working in communications for the Plattsburgh YWCA until she was hired by the Council.

“It is really exciting to see these three talented young professionals joining our staff,” said John Sheehan, who has been Director of Communications for the Council for more than 30 years. “All three bring expertise and experience to the job and will help us maintain excellent connections with our members, the news media and the park’s residents and visitors. I can’t wait until the COVID crisis has passed and we can all get together in the same place and get to know each other better."

Janeway said he was proud of how well the organization had coped with recent staff transitions. The organization’s staff had briefly dipped from 16 to 11 due to a planned retirement coinciding with the hiring away of key staff by larger organizations.

“More staff means we have a greater capacity to react to emerging problems and to plan out a system of Park improvements that will benefit both visitors and the Park’s ecological health far into the future,” Janeway said. “If New York does a good job of managing visitors, this national treasure we call the Adirondacks will be recognized as a world-class ecological treasure, with world-class outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities.”

The Adirondack Council’s 2020 VISION program plans (published starting in 1988) recommended key additions, about two-thirds of which have been purchased or otherwise protected by the state. The initial stages of the Council’s VISION 2050 park-improvement project are currently underway.


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