Save The River Staff
Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper & Executive Director
Lee has been Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper & the Executive Director since 2012. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Lee came north for graduate school at Syracuse University where he earned a Law Degree and Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School. He brings to Save The River a strong knowledge of River and North Country issues, having previously served as chief of staff to a New York State Senator whose district includes the St. Lawrence River. His career has been diverse, ranging from environmental counsel to an independent power producer to Cornell Cooperative Extension where he worked in youth development. In 2016 Freshwater Future named Lee a Freshwater Hero as the Citizen Advocate of the year for “his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues.”
Kendall Hathaway, Office Assistant
Kendall is a native of Dothan Alabama and recent graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While at Auburn, she worked in the agricultural department where she gained a greater appreciation for environmental conservation. She and her husband Ethan now live in Cape Vincent and spend as much time as possible on the River or in Chaumont Bay where his family has several cottages.
Margaret Hummel, Outreach Coordinator
Margaret joined the staff in late 2017. She grew up in Jamesville, New York but was lucky enough to spend all of her summers on the River at her family’s cottage on Grenell Island. She attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In 2007 she became a year round resident of Clayton, first working in the Thousand Islands School District before joining the staff at the Antique Boat Museum in 2011 where she served as the Director of Events and Marketing. Margaret and her husband, John Nuber, reside in Clayton where they enjoy as much time on the water as possible.
Patricia Shulenburg, Program Manager
Patricia earned her Interdisciplinary M.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior from the University at Buffalo focusing her graduate studies on Great Lakes ecology and stream restoration. She has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the WNY PRISM in invasive species management and education. Patricia most recently worked for the NYS Office of Parks as the GLRI Dunes and Wetlands Restoration Coordinator managing projects at Sandy Island Beach State Park. She also founded the region’s first volunteer monitoring and stewardship program for the federally endangered Great Lakes piping plover and is an executive member of the Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes Coalition. Her passion for the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes developed at an early age visiting her cottage in Henderson.
Bridget Wright, Development Director
While growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Bridget always looked forward to spending as much time as possible at her family's home on Crow Island in The Thousand Islands. After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Illinois she worked as Development Director for Shared Marketing Services in Chicago. In 2006 Bridget realized her lifelong dream and relocated permanently to the River to be near family. She was thrilled to join the staff at Save the River in 2010.
Linda Wright, Bookkeeper
Linda first joined Save the River as our volunteer bookkeeper from 1999-2002, returning in 2005 as a part-time employee. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Math from the University of New Hampshire. Her accounting career has been in both non-profit and for-profit environments. Linda and her husband Eric live in Evans Mills where they raise sheep. She enjoys spending her free time quilting, gardening, and reading.
Save The River Announces Additions to Staff – Updated
Additions to staff in key positions - Program Manager, Outreach Coordinator & Office Assistant - add depth and experience. read more
Northern New York Business Magazine Interviews Riverkeeper / Executive Director
To talk about the environmental and economic impacts of Plan 2014 among other things. read more
Riverkeeper and Executive Director records his Watermark
The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways people interact with water started by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. read more
More on the Documentary “Changing Currents: Protecting North America’s Rivers”
"I am honored, as Riverkeeper & Executive Director of Save The River, to be able to speak about the work we and many others have done to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River as part of what looks to be an excellent documentary about the threats to freshwater bodies across North America and some of the restoration efforts occurring in communities across the continent." read more
Blue Fish Radio Interviews Riverkeeper about Most Endangered Designation
In depth interview by one of Canada's top-sponsored anglers explores damage to River by current water levels management plan and need for Plan 2014. read more
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Executive Director named Freshwater Hero and Citizen Advocate of the Year
In naming him Citizen Advocate of the Year, Freshwater Heroes said the following about Lee: “. . . you can trust that Lee is there, standing up for the St. Lawrence, each and every day.” read more
“Meet the upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper; Save The River prepares to host annual conference”
The upper St. Lawrence River’s largest environmental group holds its annual winter conference this weekend. read more
See our blog for more news!