Amanda is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania where she grew up catching crayfish in backyard creeks. She studied studio art and biology at Allegheny College, and participated in a variety of community art and environmental initiatives.
Following a year of teaching high school art and geology, Amanda moved to Preston County in 2006 to live with her now husband Jake. From 2007-2010 she worked for Friends of Deckers Creek as their Education Coordinator, building the foundation for their very successful youth programs and implementing over $167,000 in grant funding for environmental service-learning initiatives in Monongalia and Preston Counties. In 2009, Amanda was awarded the “Guiding Light” award from the West Virginia Watershed Network for her enthusiasm and dedication to environmental education outside of the Deckers Creek watershed.
Amanda began her tenure with Friends of the Cheat in July 2010. She is an active community member and a new appointee to the Preston County Litter Control Board and Preston County Solid Waste Authority. Amanda and Jake live with their three dogs in a 100-year old farm house atop Laurel Mountain near Rowlesburg.
Kevin comes from upstate South Carolina where he has enjoyed many years exploring the rivers of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Broadly interested in science and the environment, Kevin considers the maintenance and restoration of healthy freshwater ecosystems a fundamental challenge to a sustainable future.
Kevin graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelors of Science in biology and chemistry and has worked in a variety of scientific laboratories. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Research Fellowship to study soil biochemistry at the University of Idaho in 2010. Recently, he helped develop a water quality monitoring program for the Bellbird Biological Corridor on behalf of a consortium of private non-profit organizations, government agencies, and research institutions in Costa Rica.
When he is not working, he enjoys running, mountain biking, kayaking and other outdoor sports. As Project Manager for the Friends of the Cheat, Kevin is committed to maintaining focused and rigorous water quality monitoring in the Cheat River watershed in order to identify AMD sources and evaluate treatment system performance.
Aubrey Harris is from Houston, Texas, and is a May 2012 graduate from Texas A&M University. She studied biological and agricultural engineering and is currently an engineer in training. Her visits to degraded waterways and her introduction to Friends of the Cheat ignited her interest and study of natural resources. She has taken courses on water quality and natural channel design. She completed an internship in Washington, D.C. for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture where she spent a summer researching the Clean Water Act and informing the states about water policy developments.
Dedicated to sustainable development, she seeks to understand the issues of poverty and water scarcity. Aubrey is an advocate for community gardens and farmer’s markets and hopes to spend her year as an OSM/VISTA promoting economic and community development on brownfields and rail-trails.
Vicky is a native of West Virginia’s birthplace of rivers, Pocahontas County, West Virginia. She has 30 year’s of experience in the administration of Federal and State agreements both with not-for-profits and as an employee in the Acquisition and Assistance Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s, National Energy Technology Center. Her most recent employment before striking out on her own was as the Corporate Business Manager for the international not-for-profit, The Mountain Institute. She has served as a volunteer for many years with various not-for-profits and currently serves as Treasurer for the Friends of Deckers Creek, the Mountaineer Chapter of the National Audubon Society, and the Central District of WVDAR. She also serves as Secretary of the Monongalia and Preston County Literacy Volunteers, Regent of the Hagans-Evans Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and WVDAR’s State Chairman of Literacy Promotion. The WVDAR Literacy Promotion Committee recently received a national first place award. For a different experience, Ms. Shears served as a House Committee Clerk at the West Virginia Legislature during the 2011 and 2012 sessions.
Ms. Shears is a graduate of West Virginia University with a Masters in Professional Accountancy and a Certificate in Forensic Accounting and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Fairmont State College in Education. In her free time she is an avid reader, enjoys traveling and trying new and different experiences.
Emma is from Charlottesville, Virginia, where she grew up rambling through fields and venturing to nearby bluegrass festivals. After stints in North Carolina and New York, she is excited to now call Tucker County home.
Emma graduated from Davidson College with a BA in English, and has worked in creative and administrative capacities for a variety of organizations. Whether organizing community design symposiums or volunteering on goat farms, her work has been motivated by a preoccupation with the constructive intersection of natural and built landscapes. She’s thrilled to engage these issues in celebration and promotion of the Cheat watershed as Festival Coordinator for Friends of the Cheat. Emma spends her spare time hiking, road tripping, and taking a crack at learning the mandolin.
Board of Directors:
Dawn Seeburger, Board Chair, owns and operates Environmental Resources & Consulting (ERC), and is a highly respected environmental consultant with extensive experience working with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ms. Seeburger is a WV Licensed Remediation Specialist (LRS) with over 20 years experience working in the environmental field. She specializes in helping communities assess, remediate and redevelop brownfield sites (e.g., former industrial sites) that result in creating jobs, increasing the tax base, and improving the local and state economies.
Ms. Seeburger is a graduate of Central Michigan University, with a MS in Biology/Toxicology and a BS in Biology. In her free time, Ms. Seeburger is a ski instructor at Timberline Ski Resort; has been an avid white water enthusiast; has raced mountain bikes across the country; and enjoys hiking and backpacking into deep wilderness areas.
With FOC, Ms. Seeburger works with the ED and staff to help improve technical reporting, extend FOC’s outreach and improve the overall professionalism of the organization. Ms. Seeburger has been on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Cheat since December 2009 and has been the Board Chair since December 2010.
Charlie Walbridge, Board Vice-Chair, started paddling whitewater in college and first visited West Virginia in the late 60′s. An active C-1 slalom and wildwater racer, he worked part-time as a river guide on the Cheat River in the late 70′s. He ran a mail order company, Wildwater Designs, for 22 years. After the company closed he and his wife, Sandy, moved to Bruceton Mills. He now works as a sales rep for Northwest River Supplies in Idaho and serves outfitters from Maine to Georgia. A long time member of the American Whitewater board, he maintains their accident database and produces a bi-annual annual report of U.S. whitewater fatalities. He’s also an ACA instructor-trainer in swiftwater rescue and teaches regularly on the area’s rivers. He’s produced several books and is especially proud of A Canoe and Kayak Guide to West Virginia, the updated version of the publication that first brought him to the state. He’s also on the board of Camp Mowglis, the place where he learned to canoe. His web site is www.charliewalbridge.com.
Dr. Robert Spangler, Jr., Board Secretary, was led to the organization by his love of the watershed and a research side road concerning the Cheat Three-Toothed Snail. The Amazing Dr. Bob has worn several hats over the years. In his current stable of hats are those appropriate for an Associate Professor of Physics at Bethany College, the owner and winemaker for The Broken Tractor Winery, and a member of The Halftime String Band.
Dr. Spangler’s formal education includes a B.S. in physics with a Concentration in Environmental Studies from The Rochester Institute of Technology, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics from WVU. In his spare time he is an avid kayaker, a member of the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, a musician, a general outdoors enthusiast, a spoiler of dogs, and he enjoys his farm in Preston County, WV. Dr. Spangler has been on the Board of Directors since time untold [although the archives suggest he joined around MMIV of the Common Era].
Dave Bassage, Board Treasurer, has split his life between caring for and playing in the wild and wonderful aspects of West Virginia. A founder of Friends of the Cheat, Dave served as its initial President and Executive Director, and in the early years, his home doubled as the FOC office. Dave has served in various staff, Board, and volunteer roles throughout the history of Friends of the Cheat.
A lifelong river fanatic, Dave has worked extensively in the whitewater industry, as well as a range of environmental roles, including six years heading the WV Department of Environmental Protection Office of Innovation, where he focused on sustainability concepts. He has led extended wilderness whitewater trips on two continents, and in 2011 completed his seventh 225 mile, three week trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in a dory he built himself.
Dave has organized and chaired numerous environmental conferences, facilitated stakeholder processes, negotiated whitewater releases, and appeared in the HBO movie “Too Hot Not To Handle”, a climate change piece that included Dave and four teammates driving a Toyota Prius hybrid 1400 miles on a single tank of gas.
Today Dave can be found volunteering for Friends of the Cheat, leading trips on the New, Gauley, and other wild rivers, or making something out of wood.
Rick Chaney has been a supporter of FOC since its formation in 1994 when he worked as a river guide.A resident of Preston County since 1992, Rick is an accomplished singer, song writer, and musician. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from WVU in Animal & Veterinary sciences and an Associate degree in Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology.
Mr. Chaney presently works as the Army TrainingSite Environmental Manager at Camp Dawson in Albright, WV. His position requires knowledge of current environmental compliance guidelines along with natural and cultural resources. His office has been able to assist FOC in various projects including water quality monitoring, eradication of invasive species, and grassland restoration. Mr. Chaney hopes to assist FOC in moving forward in spite of cuts in funding at the state and federal level and increased pressure on the watershed from Marcellus Shale activity.
Connie Miller taught elementary education in Kanawha County for several years and then at Bruceton Elementary for 11 years. An FOC member for years, Mrs. Miller became more significantly involved in the work of the organization during her son Andrew’s service as an Office of Surface Mining/AmeriCorps Volunteer In Service To America (OSM/VISTA) for two years. She’s presently completing her Master Naturalist certification along with having completed the WV Save our Streams volunteer monitoring certification last summer. Connie plans to continue to participate in FOC’s volunteer water quality monitoring program and assist in the development of future environmental education programs involving the local community.
Troy Titchenell is a contract land agent and land survey consultant for several energy companies in the area including Consolidation Coal Co., Arch Coal Co., and Mepco LLC. He has done extensive work in passive water treatment systems with the NRCCE and the WVDEP and has constructed passive treatment systems in the mid-nineties during his employment as the water quality control and environmental superintendent for Patriot Mining Company. A Licensed Land Surveyor who worked solely in that field from 1972 until 1985, Mr. Titchenell provides technical assistance to the FOC in the understanding of acid mine drainage and the design and maintenance of passive systems along with knowledge of mining history in the Cheat River drainage.
Mr. Titchenell is a native of Preston County and enjoys hunting and fishing in West Virginia and plans at least one trip to the western states each year to pursue his interest. He also enjoys living on and making improvements (mowing, clearing brush and finishing a log home) acreage he purchased in 2007 just 2 miles from Kingwood near the Cheat canyon rim. Mr. Titchenell has been on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Cheat since 1995.
Leonard Knee is a partner at Bowles Rice with extensive experience in environmental litigation. A member of the WV Bar Association and other legal affiliations, he was named one of the Best Lawyers in America (Energy Law, Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental). Mr. Knee was appointed by the Governor of West Virginia to the state Carbon Capture and Sequestration Working Group and the West Virginia Energy Task Force, was a past chairman of the West Virginia State Bar Environmental Committee, former member of the Brownfield Task Force, and served as Deputy Attorney General for the Environmental Task Force. Leonard also represents clients before the Surface Mine Board, the Environmental Quality Board, the Air Quality Board and the PSC. Mr. Knee is the newest member of the FOC board, joining in April 2012.
Friends of the Cheat continually seeks new Board Members from a wide range of backgrounds to bring new vision to the future of the organization. If you are interested, please review the board member expectations and contact Board Chair Dawn Seeburger: email@example.com