Rick Gregware – President
Rick has been involved with Save The River since its infancy becoming a board member in 1981. He began a career in marine repair in 1969 working at H. Chalk and Sons where he was involved in keeping oil spill equipment running during the 1976 NEPCO 140 oil spill. He currently owns and runs Northern Marine and is a summer resident of Grindstone Island with his wife Janet and three children.
Heather McNally – Vice President
Heather is a former Save The River intern and the third generation of her family to serve as a board member. She spends as much time at the River as she can, with her family on Wellesley Island. She believes that a critical part of being a “River Rat” is protecting the River for future generations and teaching them about how much the River does for us. When not at the River, Heather lives in New York City, where she is a Managing Director, Head of Operations and Human Capital, at Brinley Partners.
John H. Butts III (Jack) – Treasurer
Jack comes from a long line of River Rats. He spent his early childhood on Butts Island near Ivy Lea, where he learned to love the River. Jack now calls Sunnyside Island home. Jack is active in various other organizations on both sides of the River. Jack is the President and CEO of Rome Specialty Company, Inc. (ROSCO). ROSCO is the oldest and largest manufacturer of terminal fishing tackle in the USA and currently in its 4th generation of family leadership. Part of his company’s stated mission is to “advocate for the preservation of fisheries and endorse the use of sustainable fishing practices worldwide.”
Heather White – Secretary
Heather spent as much time on the River as possible growing up and the tradition continues with her children who are 5th generation on TI Park. She earned her undergraduate degree from Buffalo State College and a Master’s in Education from Potsdam State College. Heather taught for over 30 years. A long-time Save The River volunteer, she has served on the Education Committee since 2006 and is passionate about the In the Schools Program. Heather has also served on several boards including the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Stage Notes (a youth theater company), First Presbyterian Out Reach Council and Women of Grace Widow’s Fund, an organization she helped found committed to helping women in Malawi, Africa establish self-sufficiency.
Isabella Colello – Member At Large
Isabella has spent every summer of her life on the St. Lawrence River. She grew up spending time on Grenadier Island with her family, catching frogs, learning bird species and becoming an advocate for the natural world around her. She took this passion with her to college where she studied in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College and minored in Environmental Studies. After her sophomore year, she came home to the River and was an intern at Save The River. Since then, she graduated college and moved to Sackets Harbor with her dog and now works at ABC50 in Watertown where she shares local stories, with her favorite being those that bring her to the River.
Jeff Garnsey – Past President
Jeff Garnsey is a 7th generation resident of Clayton and a 3rd generation fishing guide. He grew up on Grindstone Island where he started working as a deckhand for his grandfather when he was 10 years old. He recently retired from the Navy as a Master Chief Petty Officer with 26 years in the Submarine Service and moved back to Clayton. Since returning he has become a member of the Board of Directors for the Thousand Islands Museum and the Clayton Area Chamber of Commerce. He is the Director of the Muskie Hall of Fame and does volunteer work for the Antique Boat Museum. He owns Garnsey’s Classic Island Cruises and operates the Muskie and the Fin and Feather which provide fishing, wine & cheese cruises and educational tours of the river.
Janet has lived along the Clayton mainland shore nearly all her adult life, raising her family here to be true River Rats. She graduated from the University of Buffalo with a major in biology-education and a minor in environmental science, a 32-year career teaching science in seven different classroom settings. A member of Save The River since the early 1980s, wrote classroom curriculum for the In the Schools program, managed the storefront on some weekends, and made personal testimony at International Joint Commission (IJC) meetings for the initial Plan 2014. Recently assisted with the efforts of the Education and Sustainability Committees.
Laura is 4th generation river resident. Her great grandfather, Orlo J. Hamlin, was one of the original cottage owners on Round Island. His family holdings there were passed down to the Potter, Digel, Kane and Coleman families. Laura’s grandmother was Susan Coleman and her cottages, Hiawatha Lodge and WindSong, are still in the family. Laura has lived here as a year-round resident since 1981. Laura is a licensed clinical social worker, a registered yoga instructor and the owner of St. Larry’s, a natural skincare line.
Heidi is a 4th generation River Rat, currently residing in Kansas with her husband, Derek, as an Account Executive for an Ed-Tech company. She grew up in Richmondville, New York spending every summer with her grandparents, at their family summer. house in Cape Vincent. Growing up on the River she learned very early on how important it is to take care of the River, and it became a passion to keep the River healthy for generations to come. During her summers spent at the River, she was a sailing instructor at TI Park, worked at Spicer Marine Basin, and interned at Save The River for 2 years. The River is a very special place for Heidi, and while she is no longer at a drivable distance of the River, she is always finding ways to keep her roots tied to the place she considers to be home.
Growing up, Matthew B. Elliott spent summers on Wallace Island, just up-river from the Lost Channel on the Canadian side of the Saint Lawrence River. Currently he, his wife, Sara, and three children (Benson, Grace and Michael) summer on Number Nine Island near Goose Bay. Matthew works in account management for the immunology division at Pfizer, Inc. Most recently, Matthew led the public-private redesign/capital campaign committee to update the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center at Wellesley Island State Park – he served as Board President until April 2021. He and his family spend most of their free time along the River boating, fishing, and swimming. The Elliott family looks forward to joining Save The River’s cause and helping to spirit its mission.
Lee Harper, PhD
Lee is a conservation biologist with a special interest in the conservation and management of rare, threatened and endangered species. He has worked with antbirds in the Amazon, macaws in the Pantanal, colonial waterbirds on the lower Great Lakes, and most recently with freshwater mussels on the Niagara River and St. Lawrence River and its tributaries. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology from the State University of New York in Albany for his dissertation on the effects of forest-fragmentation on extinction prone species in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.
Lee has monitored and managed Common Tern colonies on the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario to Quebec for over 30 years, and on Lake Erie and the Niagara River for almost 20 years. Lee and his crew have banded 45,000 Common Terns to learn about their survivorship, post-fledging dispersal, and migration from the Great Lakes to Central and South America and back. He is currently the U.S. Chair of the Great Lakes Area Working Group on Colonial Waterbirds and owner of the consulting firm Riveredge Environmental. An avid boater, diver, and birder, Lee lives on the St. Lawrence River near Massena.
Jim grew up in Rochester, NY and first came to “The River” in 1957 when his family spent some vacation time at the Oak Point Inn. It was two seasons later that he first got to see Salties traversing the Seaway. For many, many years Jim rented riverfront cottages until he and his wife got their own place on the river looking straight out at Crossover Island. Since his retirement in 2009 he has been active in several environmental efforts and organizations, including STR. He served six years on the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council. Jim also served five years on the Tompkins County Water Resources Council. He has now spent twelve seasons managing two tern colonies on channel markers as part of STR’s Tern Project.
Rob has been a life-long admirer of the St. Lawrence, be it through camping, fishing, boating or swimming. Having grown up in Sanborn, NY (Niagara County), summers always meant camping in the Thousand Islands, or boating on Lake Ontario. A second-generation river lover, some of his earliest memories are from Wellesley Island. Rob has a keen interest in invasive species, their impact on the Great Lakes system, and how we can better evolve practice to avoid their introduction. Professionally, Rob serves as the Vice President of Network Engineering for Comcast. He holds dual degrees in Physics and Philosophy from Carnegie Mellon University. Rob splits his time between Little Steamboat Island and Moorestown, NJ, with his wife, Deb, his daughters, Rosie and Gabby, and their dog Hazel.
Rich is a 4th generation river rat. His great grandparents moved to Hermit Port in 1895 and he himself has spent 47 summers on the river with his family on Grindstone. He is the loving husband to Julia Purcell and they welcomed a new baby in fall 2019. His wife’s family are also long-time river lovers and residents on Grindstone and avid supporters of Thousand Island Park and Save the River. He’s a skillful builder and designer for sustainable housing, businesses, and communities
Lisa is a 4th generation St. Lawrence River resident and has spent part of every summer of her life on the River, even as she has lived in Tennessee, Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, and now Missouri. Lisa was an elementary school teacher for 30 years before she retired three years ago. In her classrooms, she emphasized environmental education and turned hundreds of 4th-graders into lifelong birdwatchers. She is a longtime member of Save the River and would welcome the chance to contribute to its mission as a member of the board.
Norma arrived in Clayton in 1961 leaving behind friends, family and career from the Southern Tier and it has been an exciting and challenging journey. She is looking forward to being a part of the STR team. Her work experience started in the North Country with GMAC and when she had the opportunity to return to Syracuse the River and the Community in her blood and looking forward to a new adventure. Norma was employed for 23 years at Frink America and in 2000 when they closed she was part of the transition team for Henderson Mfg. and now enjoy working at Antique Boat Museum, another great asset to our community. May her experience and past dedication to the community be helpful as we all work together to fulfill STR Mission.