EkOngKar Singh Khalsa enjoys more than twenty five years professional experience in environmental protection and restoration, low impact and Brownfields development as well as broad understanding of the public policy issues associated with these arenas.
Throughout his career, Mr. Khalsa has navigated a wide variety of environmental, design, planning and engineering challenges in pursuit of an intelligent approach to land use and environmental restoration.
Mr. Khalsa’s background includes extensive training and experience in environmental science and due diligence including: wetlands delineation and regulation, stormwater management system design and installation, soil and groundwater preservation and restoration as well as hazardous waste investigation, management and remediation. He has broad experience and background in land use planning, zoning and land use regulations and with commercial site planning and development, residential subdivision design and construction, and professional land surveying and engineering.
Prior to his work as Executive Director, as Director of Development for the Hallmark Companies, Mr. Khalsa was responsible to oversee and manage the multi-disciplinary project teams responsible for a variety of major real estate development projects.
His education includes a BA from the University of Oregon and post graduate work in environmental studies, land use planning, and real estate development at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Northeastern University, Boston University and the University of Alaska.
Patrick Herron a PhD in Plant Ecology from the University of Connecticut, joined MyRWA in June 2009 as the Water Quality Monitoring Director. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Rowland Institute at Harvard University and Marine Biological Laboratories at Woods Hole. He has performed research in Costa Rica, Utah and Connecticut and published research in a variety of areas including invasive species, nutrient cycling, and microbial biosensors. Patrick has broad training in ecology and microbiology and will seek to foster the interest of the scientific research community in water quality issues in the Mystic River watershed.
Outreach and Communications Director
Beth (Meserve) MacBlane began working at MyRWA in June 2009, prior to which she had earned an M.S. in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental education at Antioch University New England. She received her B.A. in environmental studies and anthropology at Tufts University, where she volunteered with MA Community Water Watch as the education coordinator. Her professional experience comprises various educational and community organizing endeavors including four years of work with the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger. Beth is passionate about sustainability, enjoys outdoor activities, and hopes to create a more involved and healthier watershed.
Andy Hrycyna joined MyRWA in April 2014. Andy comes to MyRWA from the Sustainability and Environmental Management Program at Harvard Extension School, where he is finishing a master’s in ecological management. Andy discovered a passion for ecology and environmental protection mid-career, after many years in non-profit book publishing. He has worked with MyRWA previously on a database project and coordinated a summer of water chestnut removal. He’s thrilled to join the staff and looks forward to coordinating the water quality monitoring program. He enjoys biking and kayaking with his wife and two daughters. Andy is a passionate birder (unlike his wife and kids). Send bird-related watershed news his way!
Mystic Greenways Director
Amber Christoffersen is a designer and planner who has worked on active transportation, open space and affordable housing projects in the Boston area and around the country. She most recently launched and led the Emerald Network, a vision for 200 miles of seamless greenways in Metro Boston. She holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary. As an avid long distance runner, she is constantly exploring the region's many waterfronts and parklands, looking for opportunities to make them more beautiful and accessible.
Michelle Liebetreu joined the Mystic River Watershed Association as its first ever fundraising staff in 2016. She has been raising funds and awareness for environmental not-for-profits for the last 12 years—including at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde Costa Rica and the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, IL. A resident of Somerville, she is excited to help her local watershed. A graduate of DePauw University in Biology and Psychology, she enjoys swimming in Mystic Lakes, as well as running along the river.
Kimberly Provo is a resident of Woburn and has lived in the Mystic River Watershed most of her life. She has an Accounting degree from Newbury College. She is currently the Office Manager and has been with MyRWA since 2006. She has had varied professional experiences including an assistant Montessori Elementary teacher at the Stoneybrook Montessori School in North Chelmsford as well as a Human Resource Representative for UPS in Chelmsford for 6 years. Kim is also a member of Woburn Residential Environmental Network (WREN). She enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.
2015-2016 BOARD of DIRECTORS
John Reinhardt is transitioning from his 20-year career as the Branch Chief for Industrial Wastewater Policy and Regulations for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Reinhardt has 30 years of professional experience in environmental policy analysis, ranging from industrial wastewater, drinking water, toxic substance control strategy development, and hazardous waste. His long term involvement with MyRWA started in 1988 as part-time executive director for 3 years; chairing the Water Quality Committee for many years; serving on the Board of Directors since 1997, including president from 1997 to 1999, as well as the current President since 2007. A long time resident of the Watershed, living in Somerville, John has also served on the Somerville Conservation Commission since 1994. John is also a current Board member on a small but effective climate change group called Cambridge Energy Efficiency Teams (or Cambridge HEET for short).
Michael Fager’s experience as an attorney and naturalist strongly informs his board leadership in water quality, land use and other policy issues that face the Watershed. His ecosystem approach starts with understanding and preserving the often neglected, but surprisingly resilient biodiversity of our watershed and other natural resources. His dedication to the watershed is born of a clear vision of both the opportunities and the responsibility to enhance the quality of the natural environment that is the Mystic River Watershed. In addition to his J.D. from the New England School of Law, Fager has a B.S. in Natural Resource Studies from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and is an attorney in private practice in Somerville. He is an avid birder, outdoorsman and Red Sox fan.
Minka vanBeuzekom brings her experience managing business concerns in the biotech sector to provide skillful accounting and financial management to MyRWA as Treasurer. She has been active in Cambridge environmental issues for more than two decades, including seven years volunteering and working with MyRWA on financial and water quality issues. She holds a Master's degree in public health with concentration in epidemiology & environmental health. As a newly-elected Cambridge City Councilor (2012) and a Cambridge resident for more than 30 years Minka is committed to MyRWA for the sake of her own grandchildren and local residents. She works tirelessly to revitalize the Mystic River, an urban jewel that deserves our attention.
Mark Jacobson has an M.S. in environmental science from UMass/Boston, and is the manager of Charles River Canoe & Kayak and the Weston Ski Track. Mark brings the discipline of a small business leader to help guide MyRWA and promote recreational activity on the area’s water bodies. For the past four years he has organized the paddling portion of the Mystic River Herring Run and Paddle, and in 2006 and 2007, he was the race director for both the paddle and run. Mark is a Lexington resident and has spent much of his life in the Mystic River Watershed.
Joshua Boyce has a BSBA in Finance from Suffolk University and received a PGDip in Environmental Management from the University of Auckland, with particular focus on resource finance and economics. Currently C.O.O. of Africa Impact Group, Joshua has operated in 7 countries to perform social and environmentally focused advisory services and project management since 2012. He will bring to the Mystic River Watershed his mix of financial acumen and environmental management as well as a passionate support of improved urban environmental awareness, advocacy, and sustainability.
Caroline Broderick (bio coming soon!)
Debbi Edelstein joined the board in June 2012 to invest in her watershed and offer her experience in conservation, communications, and nonprofit governance. She is the Executive Director of New England Wild Flower Society, the nation's oldest plant conservation organization, and previously served as a senior manager at the Northeast’s regional air quality association; a Vice President of National Audubon Society; head of the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve project for The Trustees of Reservations; and Executive Director of the Taunton River Watershed Alliance. Before changing careers by earning a Master in City Planning degree from MIT, she was a writer and editor in fields as diverse as art, architecture, university communications, and science. Debbi lives in Arlington, where she is a Town Meeting Member.
Karen L. Grossman acts as a catalyst on the Outreach and Fundraising Committees initiating and publicizing projects to educate others, encourage membership, increase involvement, further the mission and enhance the financial stability of MyRWA. She has been a community builder assuming leadership positions in other nonprofit organizations. As President of the Friends of Spy Pond Park since 2004, Karen promotes appreciation and respect for our natural resources. She earned a B.S. from Syracuse University, a M.Ed. from Boston University, and is a retired speech and language pathologist. Karen has been a resident of Arlington for 38 years and lives on the banks of beautiful Spy Pond.
Lori Kennedy is an environmental engineer specializing in sustainable water resources planning and "green" storm water management. Lori holds an M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of California, Davis and a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Lori brings her expertise toward protecting and restoring the Watershed to her work on the Policy Committee. She enjoys hiking, bicycling, and kayaking and is a resident of Arlington.
Alex LaCroix grew up directly on the Upper Mystic Lake and has enjoyed kayaking, swimming, fishing, windsurfing and sailing there his entire life. As a graduate of The University of Vermont his sense of environmental stewardship extended beyond the simple beach cleanups he had done each spring and he became more active in the quest to cleanup and restore the Mystic Watershed. In 2001 he founded Mystic Property Maintenance, a local landscaping company with a unique focus on Integrated Pest Management and other green initiatives. Over the course of 10 years he found himself as spokesperson for the watershed and helped his customers bordering the Mystics and Spy Pond develop a clear understanding of how to properly balance having a great looking yard while protecting the sensitive water bodies abutting their properties. He became a certified pesticide applicator in 2004 and used that knowledge to help people avoid hundreds of unnecessary applications of pesticide. In 2011, Alex sold his business and is now a local residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Arlington. He participated in the first annual Herring Monitoring Program in 2012 and participates in outreach events. His unique combination of having an extensive network in the community, an entrepreneurial background and direct interaction with the newest residents of the Arlington area, positions him well to help the efforts of MyRWA. Alex, his wife and son live in East Arlington and now enjoy Spy Pond for kayaking, running and photography.
Carolyn Mieth, a resident of Cambridge, has been a member of MyRWA for ten years and a board member for eight. Among Ms. Mieth's activities are the following: co-founder of the Coalition for Alewife, a coalition of residents from Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge formed to protect and enhance the Alewife Reservation, Co-President of the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods, President of The Cambridge Club, Co-chair of the Belmont Unitarian Alliance, and First Church Chair of the Flower Committee. For her environmental work in the Alewife Reservation, she has received awards from Cambridge ECO, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, and the State Legislature.
Michael O'Brien supports outreach activities including mailings and events. He has a B.S. in chemical engineering from Gonzaga University and a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from Northeastern University. Michael worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an environmental engineer (permitting/closing hazardous waste facilities and permitting industrial/municipal wastewater discharges) from 1972 until retirement in 2005. He has participated in seven Earthwatch environmental projects around the world. In addition to his other volunteer work, Mr. O’Brien enjoys gardening, is a member of the Friends of the Mystic River and a resident of Medford.
Bindi Tuli (bio coming soon!)