STEEP ROCK ASSOCIATION STAFF
Kelly Anderson – Office Manager
Kelly joined Steep Rock Association in 2016 as their Office Manager and has been working to keep the SRA Office running smoothly. She assists with development and donation management, communications, and various administrative tasks. She is always available to answer questions about the preserves and encourages visitors to bring their dogs into the (dog friendly) office to meet her!
Kelly has her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing from Western Connecticut State University and comes most recently from Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Davis Raines Design. She enjoys seeing live music, doing yoga, and hiking with her black lab Buddy. Email Kelly Anderson.
Denise Arturi – Judea Garden Coordinator & Head Gardener
Denise joined the Judea Garden project at its inception and has been happily playing in the dirt growing vegetables with many community groups and individuals.
Denise is a graduate of Manhattanville College and the University of Connecticut’s Master Gardener Program. A resident of Washington for over thirty years, Denise has been actively involved in town government, area schools and organizations, lending support where she can. She currently helps run the Soldier Project sending support boxes to our troops in Afghanistan, is a member of the Gunn Historical Museum council, and manages and skates with the Northern Lights Women’s Hockey team. Email Denise Arturi.
Mike Giapponi – Trails & Preserve Coordinator
Mike joined Steep Rock Association in 2018 as the Trails & Preserve Coordinator. He keeps our preserves safe, accessible, and sustainable, as well as organizes and leads volunteers in trail maintenance projects. If you spot him out on the trails, be sure to say hello and ask him what he is working on. He loves to tell stories.
Mike earned his BS in Agriculture and Natural Resources and BA in History from the University of Connecticut. He is a lifelong backpacker and served as an AmeriCorp volunteer building trails in the Sierra Nevadas. For the past four years, he has worked on organic vegetable farms in Connecticut and New York. When he is not out hiking with his dog Kedike, you may find him swing dancing or strumming away at his guitar. Email Mike Giapponi.
Rory Larson – Conservation & Program Coordinator
Rory grew up on the banks of the Shepaug River and spent many childhood days exploring Steep Rock where an interest in its wild inhabitants took hold. He obtained a BS degree in Wildlife Ecology and has since worked on several research projects for a variety of organizations. Positions held have examined sea turtle nesting ecology in Florida, snowshoe hare and Canada lynx population dynamics in Maine, northern goshawk distribution and nesting preferences in the Colorado Rockies, southwestern willow flycatcher distribution on the lower Colorado River, California spotted owl population dynamics in the High Sierras, as well as native and recreational fisheries in Utah, Connecticut, and Vermont.
He returned to the Shepaug River valley to help start an organic farm and joined Steep Rock’s team shortly thereafter in 2013. He has cherished the opportunity to tackle an array of projects and contribute to Steep Rock’s mission. Responsibilities include assisting with land management practices, managing the conservation easement program, performing biological surveys, and leading programs. Rory also serves as a director on the Washington Environmental Council. After hours, you may find him satisfying addictions to nature photography, fly fishing, beekeeping, and beer brewing. Email Rory Larson.
Lori Paradis Brant – Executive Director
As the new executive director at Steep Rock Association, Lori leads the staff in their efforts to conserve ecologically and historically significant landscapes as they enhance the community’s connection with nature. Lori’s collaborative nature supports her focus on community partnerships, environmental education, and volunteerism, as those efforts help increase engagement in and support of local conservation efforts. Prior to her new role, Lori was the Education Director and Project Learning Tree Coordinator for Connecticut Forest & Park Association. Lori has served many community roles, including chair of the CT Urban Forest Council as well as chair of her town’s Conservation Commission.
Lori and her chef husband enjoy camping and hiking with their two energetic children. The Brants’ two cats, one dog, and three Guinea pigs allow them to share their home with them in peace – as long as the cat allows the dog a seat on the couch. Email Lori Paradis Brant.