MEET OUR BOARD
Douglas Alderfer, M.Ed. (President of the Board)
Doug joined LandHealth’s Board in 2020. A lifelong Philadelphia area resident, Doug is Executive Director of CADEkids—a prevention provider teaching life skills and emotional literacy education for more than 10,000 K-9th grade Philadelphia public school students each year. Programs focus on substance abuse and violence prevention, along with problem gambling awareness. Doug previously coordinated HIV/AIDS Support Services at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, designing and conducting educational programs for youth and adults—on cultural diversity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and STIs.
Doug earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Temple University, while his passion for plants and the environment has guided an ongoing pursuit of horticultural education. At Temple Ambler, he studied native plants in the landscape and the history of landscape architecture; he also volunteered as a youth programs docent at Morris Arboretum. Doug recently graduated from the Barnes Foundation’s three-year horticulture certificate program, at the Barnes Arboretum of St. Joseph’s University.
Elias Kohn (Treasurer of the Board)
Elias joined LandHealth’s Board in 2022. He brings a range of experience advancing ecosystem restoration and community resilience. Elias has enjoyed designing and installing numerous urban gardens and orchards. He has researched, written, and presented internationally on sustainable agriculture, published articles on disaster management, and worked for a permaculture design company conducting erosion control, river restoration, and passive water harvesting.
Elias has also studied aquaponics and designed and installed multiple systems. He holds a sociology degree from the University of Southern California, a master's degree in environmental management from the Yale School of the Environment, and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School where he focused on environmental law. He is currently an associate attorney with a broad practice area at the firm of Kohn Swift & Graf. Elias envisions a Philadelphia full of more accessible greenspace, especially forests and gardens, indoor aquaponic systems feeding those in need of meals, and healthier rivers and streams for all residents to enjoy.
Tonya joined LandHealth's Board in 2020. Born and raised in Philadelphia to working-class parents of African American and Italian descent, Tonya's activism was further fueled by her late husband, an educator born and trained in The Gambia, West Africa who studied and worked in the US as a controller in the hospitality industry. Together they have twins who attended public schools in Philadelphia and the Community College of Philadelphia. Tonya graduated from Philadelphia public schools, Simon Gratz High School with a full scholarship to Temple University. She worked for more than twenty years in hospitality industry, and later in adult education. While living in Washington DC and in Prince George's County, she worked for the US Senate, the Senate Republican Conference, and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Dept of Homeland Security. Tonya is passionate in her fight for social, economic, and racial justice for all. A leader of Opt Out Philly, Tonya educates families, communities and students about standardized testing, gerrymandering, gentrification, mental and emotional trauma, and surviving city life in a capitalist, poverty-promoting, environment.
As a mother of twins with special needs, Tonya is a particularly forceful advocate for inclusive education. Tonya received the
Unsung Hero Award in 2016 from the Johnson House, serves as Vice Chair of Concerned Citizens for Change, a Steering Committee member and Education Committee Chair of Philly
Neighborhood Networks and a stalwart organizer for progressive policies through Win the City, IMPACT, Philadelphia Climate Works, and the Alliance for Phila Public Schools. She is the Home and School President for Widener Memorial School, the School Advisory Council Facilitator for Wagner Middle School, and a member of the Caucus of Working Educators. a member of the 35th District Town Watch and the Broad and Olney Business and Community Association.
Nicole Seahorn Hameen
Nicole joined LandHealth's Board in early 2022. She holds a certification from Temple University as a community health worker and studied Applied Behavioral Analysis at Kaplan University. Prior to her work, she performed field research and data collection for Penn State centered on park usage and community input. She worked for the Institute for Community Justice’s workforce and development team, where she served in client support, outreach, program development and presentations.
Nicole's passion and enthusiasm for health and wellness also led her to managing the program, WeWalkPHL at Fairmount Park Conservancy. She likes to go to parks to tap into her creativity, relax and meditate, play with her children, and to appreciate Philly's natural land to provides health and healing.
Liza leads Research and Evaluation at the Barnes Foundation, an educational, arts and cultural institution in Philadelphia. With more than two decades of experience in education as a researcher, evaluator, educator, and entrepreneur, before joining the Barnes she served as the Director of Academic Research and Assessment at the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship at Drexel University. Liza is Affiliated Faculty at the School of Education at Drexel and also teaches at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania (PennGSE). She served as the Director of the Professional Institute for Educators and M.Ed. in Educational Program Design and Educational Technology at the University of the Arts (UArts), and was the VP of Research, Evaluation and Planning for the Philadelphia Education Fund. Liza holds a BA, MS, and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Temple University. She serves on several boards and is a longtime advocate for public education.
Kristina Kvavle Pinegar
Kristina joined the LandHealth board in early 2022 after learning about their work through her classes at Thomas Jefferson University where she is studying Landscape Architecture. As a fulltime student and a fulltime mother of four incredible kids, Kristina brings a fresh perspective and life experience having moved 13 times over the course of her adult life as a military spouse. Prior to student life, Kristina volunteered as a Master Resilience Trainer for the Air Force at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado teaching life skills courses to active-duty military members and their families as well as speaking on resilience principles out in the community. Kristina was drawn to the field of Landscape Architecture because of her interest in what makes a system - ecological, social, or political - healthy or unhealthy. She is driven to connect communities with the resources they require for vibrant, healthy lives and will continue to advocate for access to stellar education in all communities. After deliberately adopting Philadelphia as her forever home in 2020, Kristina jumped into learning about her area and volunteering whenever possible. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kristina is an avid tree-hugger and lover of people who is excited to collaborate with other LandHealth board members who show up in their communities ready to serve and strive for a flourishing community that benefits all.
Edna Rivera, MPA
Edna joined LandHealth's board in 2022. A resident of Philadelphia, Edna is a Veterans Service Representative for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Edna plays a pivotal role in assisting our nation’s Veterans and their respective families. Edna graduated from Temple University, and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a specialization in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Capella University. Edna is a licensed Zumba Instructor who works closely with nonprofit organizations to foster charitable initiatives to help raise funds and promote awareness.
Ilan studied environmental science and technology when she was in high school, and shortly after, she went to and graduated at the Pennsylvania State University.
Ilan joined LandHealth's board to continue her mother's legacy.
Watching movies, going to the concerts, and spending time with her son are Ilan's hobbies and passion!
Alyssa Schimmel (she/they) joined LandHealth's board in 2020. She is a resident of West Philadelphia, a community herbalist, licensed massage therapist, PA Master Gardener, EarthActivist permaculture designer, and a teacher passionate about regenerative ecosystem design and exploring regional food and medicine ways. She currently teaches two, land-based multiseason programs at Awbury Arboretum (Wild Wisdom, and Herbal Aid Ed with the Many Hands Apothecary & Garden Program). She formerly served as Education Director of the Philadelphia Orchard Project, where she coordinated educational outreach through curriculum and workshop development, network building with universities and community groups, event planning, grant writing, and POP publications with POP's School Orchard Program, serving 14 Philadelphia K-12 schools. She led garden therapy programs at Kirkbride Center and Guild House West, a senior resident facility. With a background in media studies, community building, and regenerative education, she specializes in partner-based, ecological, educational content creation. Her work explores methods of sustaining health at the intersection of ecology, community, and personal levels. Her studies include a B.A. in communication and media studies from the University of Maryland, an apprenticeship with botanical sanctuary Mountain Gardens in Burnsville, NC, herbal education from Sky House Apothecary and Wild Ginger Herb Center and advanced clinical herbal studies with David Winston's Center for Herbal Studies.
Patty West, RLA
A mother, landscape architect, graphic designer and self-proclaimed bricoleur, Patty joined the board of directors in 2017.
With build work in Philadelphia and across the country, she specializes in ecologically responsible design including plant communities and stormwater infrastructure.
She lectures on plant ecology and planting design at the University of Pennsylvania and has recently joined forces with the National Parks Service.
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