The Long Island Conservancy is a young organization, but its founders and first board members are all passionate environmentalists with decades of experience in environmental education and community engagement on Long Island. Here is a partial roster of what we have accomplished in 2022, our first year.
We have a strong network of environmental experts, policy makers, and civic leaders to draw from, as we develop leading edge community-based practices to restore local habitat. 2023 has been a very busy year for us, as we launched a series podcasts, streams, and public discussions around plants, native and invasive, about the crucial importance of habitat restoration in every place on Long Island we can find — sumps, parks, and most importantly our yards.
The Long Island Conservancy seeks civic leaders and environmental scientists throughout Long Island to join our fight to rebuild habitat in communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk County. Our local wildlife is depending on us!
Invite The Long Island Conservancy to come speak to your community. People need to know what is at stake, and what each of us can do to create a better future for Nature and for us on Long Island.
Marshall Brown — Executive Director and Co-Founder
Marshall Brown is a social entrepreneur who empowers others while building movements. Starting the mid-90’s, Marshall worked with many internet startups in New York’s “Silicon Alley” then in the “Civic Tech” space, assisting them in the development of their technology and business plans.
He then helped create the public Wi-Fi movement in NYC in the 2000’s, lighting up 10 parks in 18 locations in 4 boroughs as well as Time Square and Union Square. From 2012 until present, Marshall has been standing for the environment and for habitat restoration, for building sustainability at scale and in every community.
From 2012 to 2020, Marshall led Save The Great South Bay, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, creating a group of over 15,000 members that became a powerful local voice for the environment, bringing together scientists and local communities to address a shared problem.
In 2021, recognizing the urgent need for habitat restoration, locally, nationally, and globally, Marshall Co-Founded and became Executive Director of The Long Island Conservancy, which focuses on local community-driven projects. We must repair nature where we still can — in our public and commercial spaces, and in our yards.
In 2022, Marshall joined Spadefoot Design and Construction in their Water Treatment practice, where the emphasis is on leading edge nature-based management of wastewater, runoff, and polluted waters — three major issues for Long Island.
Throughout his varied career Marshall has championed the greater good and has led by inspiring others. He believes we each have our gifts, and that together much can be accomplished. He is committed to belief that we can and must intentionally build a future we would want to live in, and that information technology tempered with an understanding of community values, and with a firm embrace of nature, is how we achieve that.
Frank Piccininni Co-Founder and Board Member
Frank Piccininni is a biologist, environmental attorney, and passionate environmentalist who is dedicated to restoring functional habitat to our human-impacted landscape. Frank received his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, his M.S. in Biological Sciences from Marshall University, and his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
As a Partner and Co-Founder at SMPIL Consulting, Ltd., Frank provides expert testimony for community and advocacy groups. Frank also collaborates with real estate developers to inform their land use decisions with sustainable design and empirical data. Additionally, Frank Piccininni conducts research projects to further the understanding of local environmental issues and the efficacy of potential interventions.
Informed by his field research in ecology, Frank founded Spadefoot Design and Construction, LLC. Through Spadefoot, habitat restoration services are offered to private, public, and commercial clients. Although its menu of services is continually expanding, Spadefoot specializes in invasive species identification and removal, ecological restoration, construction of green stormwater infrastructure (e.g., bioswales and rain gardens), and adaptive management.
As a fervent advocate of local environmental stewardship, Frank has no peer. Frank is Co-Chair of the Land Use Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.
As the Regional Co-Director of the American Chestnut Foundation he works to establish mother orchards across Long Island to breed blight-resistant Chestnut trees.
For six years, Frank served on the Board of Directors of Save The Great South Bay and was Chair of The Habitat Restoration Committee.
Frank has several peer-reviewed publications, and he is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Environmental Claims Journal. Most importantly, as a native Long Islander and father, Frank aspires to bring back the health of this beautiful island for the prosperity and enjoyment of future generations!
Dr. Hildur Palsdottir Board Member
Hildur Palsdottir is a certified meditation instructor, Reiki Master Teacher, Eco-minister and the co-founder of Sol Center, a nature-based healing arts center in Port Washington, NY. Hildur took refuge in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in 2001.
Also in 2001, Hildur completed her PhD in Cellular Bioenergetics at the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics, Germany. After post-doctoral research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, she worked as a research scientist at the New York University Medical School.
Hildur grew up intimately connected to land in Iceland and feels passionate about “rewilding,” ecosystem restoration, conservation and care for both the inner and outer environment. Her personal practice is at the intersection where spirituality and science meet in the experience of Deep Ecology.
Hildur completed the Shambhala Teaching Mindfulness 200-hr Certification with Dr. Shante Smalls, David Perrin, and Ethan Nichtern. She is a member of the Natural Dharma Fellowship and participates in their Margha program. She also sits on the advisory board at the Center for Earth Ethics, whose mission it is to facilitate the needed moral changes in cultural consciousness and policy in order to establish a new and viable value system, based on protecting the rights of nature and well-being of all.
Hildur is an environmental educator, climate activist, community organizer and co-founder of ReWild Long Island. She is a founding steering committee member of Transition Town Port Washington and President of the Board of Trustees at The Science Museum of Long Island, where she participates in stewarding Leeds Pond Preserve, while inspiring future scientists to care for the natural world. Hildur also contributes to a weekly environmental column Earth Matters in the Island Now newspaper.
In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities with her family and friends of all species. She especially enjoys bird watching, wildlife tracking and gardening.
We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 -2022)
Dr. Kristin Perret Board Member
Dr. P is passionate about achieving social enterprise through helping underserved populations, promoting sustainable development, securing access to open space, and ensuring responsible industrial practices. Further, Kristin aspires to utilize the empirical and theoretical framework of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to engender prosocial behavior within and among groups and to foster the evolution of a modern land ethic.
Areas of expertise:
Helping underserved populations, Promoting sustainable development, Securing access to open space , Ensuring responsible industrial practices
Masters Degree, Clinical Psychology, Hofstra University, Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, Hofstra University
Perret, Kristin A. (2014). Can Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Increase Rehabilitation Adherence for the Treatment of Sport Injury? (Doctoral dissertation) (UMI Number 3636935).
Dr. Artie Kopelman – Board Member
Dr. Arthur “Artie” Kopelman is a marine mammal population ecologist whose research interests include the populations of fin and humpback whales of New York and New England. Since 2006, using photo-identification, Dr. Kopelman has been examining the site fidelity of harbor seals at Cupsogue Beach Park in Westhampton Beach, NY. Dr. Kopelman is President of CRESLI (Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island).
Dr. Kopelman is a Full Professor of Science in the Department of Science and Mathematics, Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), and was appointed to the rank of Distinguished Service Professor by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.
Dr. Kopelman’s passions are environmental protection and environmental education through citizen science involvement in offshore and coastal ecosystems. He sees the bays as ecosystems in which we and other species exist and upon which we and other species are dependent. We must all act in ways that preserve and protect those interconnections and reverse the ravages of the past.