Team & Staff Members

The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area is managed by the non-profit Schuylkill River Greenway Association. Founded in 1974 as an organization focused on the preservation of the riverfront in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, the organization has grown in its mission and geographic scope over the years. The Greenway Association is governed by a Board of Directors representing all five counties within the Heritage Area. Today, use of the name Schuylkill River Greenway Association is typically reserved for legal and financial purposes, and members of the Board and staff refer to the organization as the Schuylkill River Greenways NHA. The Heritage Area has a small but dedicated staff who work to administer the programs and projects identified in our Management Plan. Members of the staff include:

Elaine Paul Schaefer

Executive Director
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Elaine joined the Schuylkill River Greenways team in 2017 as the Executive Director. Elaine is an attorney who served eight years as an elected Commissioner in Radnor Township, and served as President of the Board for three of those years. Before joining Radnor’s board, Elaine co-founded the Radnor Conservancy, where she served as Executive Director and President and focused on developing a conservation easement program and protecting the last remaining farm in Radnor, Ardrossan. She ran for state representative for the 165th District in 2016. She serves on many local and regional boards. Elaine and her husband John of 27 years have three adult children and she loves discovering the Schuylkill River Trail and river every day!

Tim Fenchel

Deputy Director
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Tim has been with Schuylkill River Greenways since 2006 serving in several roles and functions over the years. He has almost 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and over the last twelve years with SRG has managed multiple grant programs and dozens of projects. His passion is for the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund, a grant program that supports water quality projects throughout the watershed. He is also currently working on a project to develop a series of recreational hubs throughout river town communities along the Schuylkill. Tim lives near Skippack, PA with his wife and three children and when not on the job enjoys fishing, traveling, hanging out by rivers and a good campfire.

Miica Patterson

Communications Director
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Miica joined the Schuylkill River Greenways team in 2018 as the Communications Director. She has a B.S. in journalism from Lincoln University of Jefferson City, MO.  In 2014, she moved to Pennsylvania and became the Fit for Life reporter at The Pottstown Mercury newspaper. She was then the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Pottstown School District’s kindergarten readiness program. Miica serves on the Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos (CCLU) Board of Directors and on the Home Garden Contest committee for Pottstown and Boyertown. She is an Army brat and has one brother and one sister. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family.

Michelle P. Thompson

Finance Director
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Michelle joined the Schuylkill River Greenways team in 2018 as the Finance Director. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, she earned her Finance degree from Grove City College and then relocated to the Philadelphia area, where she received her MBA from Villanova University.  She has over 20 years experience working in Accounting and Finance management for multiple corporations, with the last 7 years in the nonprofit sector.  She currently serves as Vice President for Pottsgrove’s Recreation Board.  Michelle lives in Upper Pottsgrove Township with her husband and three boys. When not working or attending her children’s activities, she enjoys running on the Schuylkill River Trail.

Lori Bernhard

Administrative Assistant
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Lori joined the Schuylkill River Greenways team in 2019. She has 37 years of administrative experience, with 30 of those years being with non-profit organizations. Her responsibilities include working closely with the Executive Director in all aspects of office administration and supporting all members of the staff. In her spare time, Lori enjoys playing pickleball, walking, reading and spending quality time with her family.

Sarah Crothers

Education Coordinator
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Sarah has been with Schuylkill River Greenways as the Environmental Education and Volunteer Coordinator since 2016. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Spanish from Albright College. Sarah developed and established the Schuylkill Explorers program that reaches hundreds of students throughout the watershed. She is passionate about watershed education, especially for urban populations. Overseeing our team of 80+ Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) Ambassadors, Sarah enjoys working with community members to maintain the SRT and promote recreation and natural resource protection. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Sarah now lives in Berks County and enjoys organic gardening, canning, and enjoying the outdoors with others.

Le’Santha Naicker

Trail Sustainability Coordinator
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Le’Santha, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, joined the Schuylkill River Greenways team in 2017 as the the Sustainability Coordinator. AmeriCorps VISTA mission is to strengthen organizations that alleviate poverty through volunteering and the mobilization of resources. As the VISTA for the SRG she has been furthering the SRG mission by working with the Heritage Conservation Corps, Community Garden Initiative and Student Outdoor Learning Odyssey. Le’Santha has a B.A in Environmental Studies and International Relations. She is passionate about helping communities and protecting our shared natural resources. She previously served with AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps in communities across the US that were affected by natural disasters. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and trying new foods!

Julia Farrell Hurle

Trail Program Coordinator
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Julia, the Schuylkill River Greenways Trail Program Coordinator, is a Landscape Architect, Open Space Planner, and Trail Builder. She was on the Steering Committee that worked to create the Schuylkill River State Heritage Area in 1995. She is developing a GIS mapping platform for the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, building water trail launches, and expanding the Schuylkill River Trail. Julia, her husband Mark, and their two college-age kids have moved to the Phoenixville area to be closer to our trail projects.

Robert C. Folwell

Trails Project Manager
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