Each month, a crew of nature-loving, conservation-minded individuals gathers to ensure that conservation moves forward in southeast Indiana. The Oak Heritage Board of Directors is a group of dedicated volunteers. They lend their professional skills, their wit and wisdom, and often their muscles to make conservation a reality in southeast Indiana. Get to know them a bit more, or come to one of our Board meetings or events to get to meet these fine folks in person.
Andy Kain, President
Andy Kain is working on his Master’s at Indiana University’s O’Neil School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Andy grew up in Plainfield Indiana, he has always had a fondness for the outdoors. In his youth he often took advantage of the trail systems and nearby parks for running and biking. He spent many summers in the north woods of Wisconsin and there he learned the importance of protecting natural forests and preserving land.
Andy has been serving on our Board for three years. He has been serving as our President for two years. In particular, Andy has been building his skills managing large planning projects, examining conservation strategies, and helping lead our organization.
Eric Dodge, Vice President
Eric grew up camping, fishing and exploring the outdoors in Oregon.
His parents stressed how important it was to protect and preserve wild spaces and he believes very strongly that we get a little poorer as a community when a natural area is lost or spoiled.
Eric moved to Madison in 1995 to teach economics at Hanover College. He immediately began exploring the trails below the College and in nearby Clifty Falls State Park.
He enjoys camping and hiking with his family. He’s enjoying serving on the Board and helping protect natural areas in southeast Indiana.
Glene Mynhardt, Secretary
What you do for work and for fun in nature? I teach various biology courses at Hanover College, including my favorite – entomology. I enjoy macrophotography and am always on the lookout for insects that inhabit our local natural areas.
Where do you live? I live in Jeffersonville (Clark County)
What inspired you to join the Oak Heritage board? I want to be part of something that will help connect me and my students to local efforts related to conserving and enjoying our local biota. As a Biology professor at Hanover, I also feel a strong urge to keep Daryl Karns’ legacy alive and am really honored to be part of the group.
Sara Hare, Treasurer
Sara has taught Sociology at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany for the past 20 years. She lives in Madison with a yard that borders Clifty Falls State Park. She love hiking there and also love to kayak, cook, and travel.
Why did you want to join the Oak Heritage board? I think it’s important to work with others to conserve our natural environment. We need to make an effort to leave areas of natural beauty for our descendants.
What do you love about southeast Indiana? I love the beauty of the natural world – the rolling hills and mature stands of trees — in southeast Indiana. I also love getting out in nature by kayaking on the nearby rivers and streams. The Muscatatuck River and Otter Creek in Jennings County are both beautiful and challenging paddles when the water levels are good.
Jamie Schantz, Stewardship Chair
What do you do for work and for fun in nature? I’m retired. My husband and I have three grown children and three grandsons. I’m active in two quilt guilds and one rug hooking group. I joined the board of Batesville Memorial Public Library and found that I loved helping with projects, like our new outdoor Reading Garden with native trees and plants. I love to garden and enjoy all types of needlework.
Where do you live? We’ve lived outside of Batesville, Indiana (Ripley County) since 1975.
You’ve been a member for years. Why did you join the Oak Heritage board? It sounds contrived but to save the woods. My family all spend time together walking the woods. My mother used to take us for walks and taught us all the wildflowers. I worry that their habitat is dwindling.
Richard Stoll, Planned Giving Chair
What you do for work and for fun in nature? I left the corporate world as an IT manager and now work part-time as a Handyman.
For fun my wife Jennifer and I enjoy restoring wildlife habitat at our farm in Versailles Indiana. It’s an ongoing process planting native prairie grasses\wild flowers and shrubs to create pollinator and Quail habitat which are in steep decline.
Where you spend your time? I live in Cincinnati, Ohio but spend most of our time in Indiana down at the farm.
Why did you join the Oak Heritage board? I have a passion for preserving green space and restoring land to benefit wildlife, pollinators and the ecosystem. I want to join the board the help with outreach, membership recruitment, fundraising and cultivating donors to make Oak Heritage a stronger and financially sustainable organization.
Lauren is an outdoor educator in Brown County, where she leads summer camp and school programs in nature. She also works to improve the camp’s fundraising and development programs. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, museum-going, and baking. Lauren been known to pull over to the side of the road to watch a good sunset.
Why did you want to join the Oak Heritage board? I think serving on the board allows me to contribute my time and passion to conservation in a way that I can’t do anywhere else. As someone who works not only within our natural environment but also with children, I think there is so much value in having a land trust like Oak Heritage promising to protect land for generations to come.
What do you love about southeast Indiana? Growing up, my grandparents lived across the river from Madison, Indiana, and many of my childhood memories revolve around watching the beautiful rolling landscape go by as we drove to their house, as well as visiting the amazing different parks and preserves in this part of the state. It’s always surprising to see just how many different types of nature are encompassed in this slice of Indiana.
Travis Cohron is an attorney in the Indianapolis area, focusing on litigation, employment law, and real estate. We know Travis because his father, Bill Cohron, donated a conservation easement, protecting their family’s farm – a 300+ acre hunting retreat in Jefferson County. Many of Travis’s happiest memories involve the family “farm.” He attributes his love of the outdoors to being brought along by his dad and grandfather for their excursions and hunting there. He’s not a hunter himself – he’s always been the crazy guy who blocks two lanes of traffic to help some animal or another cross safely.
Travis loves teaching his two girls, Ella and Avery, how important it is to be good environmental stewards, to identify trees, etc. Travis golfs, fishes, loves to run outside. He’s also been known to stare at old trees and complain about how so many people lack any appreciation for their beauty. Travis says that he hopes to be able to use his experiences to help Oak Heritage grow.
What you do for work? What do you do in nature? I teach philosophy at Hanover College. Two of my courses are Philosophy of the Environment and Animal Philosophy. I also taught Ecofeminism in the past, and would love to do it again sometime. My husband Don Carrell and I live on ~40 acres, and we try to raise most of our food with a vegetable garden, chickens, goats, and sheep. I also enjoy my flower garden. We are letting the majority of our land return from being overgrazed when we bought to natural habitat. It’s been fun to watch the transformation.
Where do you call home? We live in Hanover, my kids went to Southwestern Schools, but our address is Madison.
Why do you join the Oak Heritage board? Of the many things to feel bad about right now, the way we treat the natural world is one of the most abiding and most serious. Rather than just feel bad, I’d like to do something about it with some like-minded people. I like the local, grassroots feel of Oak Heritage Conservancy.
Would you like to lend your skills and passion to the Oak Heritage Conservancy Board? Contact us to talk about serving.
Liz Brownlee, Executive Director
Liz grew up in southeast Indiana, playing in the forests and creeks of her family’s farm. Today, she puts her passion for nature to work for our region. Liz earned a Bachelor’s degree from Hanover College, where she majored in Biology, and a Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Vermont. She’s always looking for ways to get people outside. You can find Liz working on her sustainable farm, reading a novel on the porch swing, or dreaming up a new hike for Oak Heritage members! Photo by Debbie Blank.
If you’d like to join us at a Board meeting, you are very welcome! Please contact us to confirm the meeting time and location, as our meetings do vary a bit. We generally meet on the first Tuesday of each month via Zoom, at 7pm. Our meetings are open to the public.
Interested in volunteering or serving on the Board? Take a peek at our Strategic Goals, and think about how you can help Oak Heritage achieve its goals. Then get in touch to start a conversation about helping make conservation happen in southeast Indiana.