Derek Betts - District Manager NCSWCD
Derek assumed the role of District Manager for the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District in the summer of 2021. With over a decade of experience working in the conservation field, Derek began his career with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Anthropology from the University of Miami, followed by a master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. Tapping into his love for conservation and a penchant for travel, Derek then spent several years in the field working for various international conservation NGOs. Beginning with the Peace Corps, Derek served as a natural resource management volunteer in Mali, working with local communities to promote sustainable ecotourism and elephant conservation. From there, Derek lived in Gabon, Switzerland, Kenya, and Ethiopia, and worked for organizations such as the United Nations, The Born Free Foundation, The Aspinall Foundation, and Princeton University. Since returning to the US in 2015, Derek worked for Panthera Cooperation, The African Parks Network, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, helping to manage a suite of conservation projects across the globe. As a native Long Islander with strong, long-lasting ties to Nassau County, Derek is thrilled to focus his conservation efforts back home and help safeguard Nassau County and its environs for generations to come.
Olivia Calandra - Conservation Technician
ISA Certified Arborist
Olivia began working at the Nassau County SWCD part time in 2018, with a background in environmental stewardship and a Bachelor of Science in the environmental field. Olivia has extensive knowledge in the identification, monitoring, and control of invasive species throughout New York state. She worked for the SCA/AmeriCorps. as an Excelsior Conservation Corp. member in an internship for ten months. Olivia was part of the mixed stewardship crew which focused on trail maintenance, green infrastructure, and invasive removal. Her position at the Nassau County SWCD was made available to assist with the monitoring of the Southern Pine Beetle throughout Massapequa State Park. Her job focuses on ground truthing throughout the park and collecting data on the health and stability of Pine Trees that have potentially been infected by the Southern Pine Beetle.
Sean Rooney - Conservation Technician
Sean started working for Nassau County SWCD in August 2021. He has an educational background in Physics with minors in Mathematics and Geography. Previously working as a water quality monitor for NYS Parks stationed out of Connetquot State Park, and as an intern for the Dept. of Environmental Conservation Region 1 office in Stony Brook. Since working for NCSWCD he has worked on maintaining the health of Muttontown Preserve, website design and organizing educational resources. Some of Sean's passions are invasive species management, ecological restoration, and the implementation of green infrastructure in urban planning. Future educational goals include Entomology, Mycology, Drone Pilot Certification, Geographic Information Systems, Arborist Certification well as better understanding local ecology to be a better steward of the land.
Tom Parisi - Conservation Technician
Tom is a Conservation Technician who started working at the NCSWCD in September 2021. His educational background includes Sustainability Studies and Geographic Information Systems—recently having earned degrees in both subjects from Hofstra University. Before coming to work for the District, Tom worked at the Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation & Waterways as a GIS Technician
Yoan Carrillo - Bookkeeper
Eric Swenson - Treasurer, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee
Eric Swenson served as Superintendent of Environmental Control for the Town of Oyster Bay for 26 years, and is currently the Executive Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, a position he held for the past 19 years. He is the former President and Treasurer of the NYS Association For Solid Waste Management, and a founder and former Secretary of the Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations.. In addition to serving as a Board member of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, he also currently serves as the Secretary of the Evan R. Liblit Scholarship Committee, a Board member of the New York Product Stewardship Council, the Vice President of Friends of Cedarmere, and the Secretary of the Friends of the Bay, while also representing the Village of Mill Neck on the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Harbor Protection Committee.
Patricia Aitken- Secretary, At Large
Pat Aitken is an Oyster Bay native. Patricia is currently the Coordinator for the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee, an intermunicipal affiliation dedicated to improving water quality in the Peconic Estuary.
Prior to this position, she was Executive Director of Friends of the Bay, an environmental advocacy group in Oyster Bay, whose mission is to “preserve, protect and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Watershed”. While at Friends of the Bay, Patricia supervised the citizen science water quality monitoring program, which was honored with an EPA Region 2 Environmental Quality Award in April of 2009. Patricia was named as a “Trailblazer in Women’s History Month” by Nassau County Legislator Judith Jacobs and a “Woman of Distinction” by New York State Senator Marcellino.
In addition to serving as an at large member of the Board of Directors of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, Patricia is the President of the New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA). The mission of NYSOA “to foster interest in and an appreciate of birds, and to protect birds and their habitats” is close to her heart, as her experiences seeing birds as a young child led to her interest in the environment. She is also a member of the Whaling Museum and Education Center at Cold Spring Harbor. Pat’s participation with the Soil and Water District, the Museum and Education Center and NYSOA combine her love of water and the marine environment, dedication to her local community and passion for birding.
Meagan Fastuca- Vice Chair, Town of North Hempstead
As an Environmental Specialist for the Town of North Hempstead Meagan works on sustainability initiatives involving wildlife conservation, sustainable landscaping, water quality and conservation and climate action. Meagan has always been passionate about protecting the environment and has master’s degrees in biology and environmental studies. She is a native of Long Island and is very enthusiastic about increasing local wildlife habitat in her own landscape as well as educating others on how they can do the same. Meagan also serves as Secretary of the Board for the Friends of Hempstead Plains.
Reese Michaels- Board Member, At Large
Reese Michaels is an accredited Master Gardener in both Suffolk (2005) and Nassau (2009) Counties. He has helped develop gardens and led seminars at several camps, schools, and churches. He is also a Certified Square Foot Gardening teacher (2012). Currently, a Board Member of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, he is also mentoring the Long Island Community Agriculture Network (LICAN). He has built and tended his own vegetable garden for over twenty years. His great leadership and management skills are the result of owning three bsinesses and managing over 100. Hygenia Medical Supply Company, Inc. in Carle Place, NY is one of them.
Tara Schneider- Board Member, Nassau County
Mary Studdert - Board Member, Nassau County
Town Councilman Lou Imbroto - Board Member, Town of Oyster Bay
Councilman Lou Imbroto was elected to the Oyster Bay Town Board in 2017. Lou Imbroto is a graduate of Chaminade High School. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Fordham University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He worked as a Manager of Policy and Government Relations and In-House Counsel for the Long Island Contractors’ Association, where, he advocated to repair and rebuild our roads, bridges and local infrastructure. A former Assistant Town Attorney, he once oversaw general litigation and served as a prosecutor for code violations in District Court. To further help protect the quality of life in local communities, Councilman Lou Imbroto was appointed by Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino to serve as our representative on an important countywide environmental committee known as the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District.