About Us

Our Mission

The mission of the Merrill Linn Conservancy is to preserve and protect significant ecological sites in Union, upper Northumberland, and neighboring counties and to engage the public on conservation issues critical to the health of our environment.


The Merrill Linn Conservancy will, through our Linking Landscapes Initiative, significantly enhance habitat and wildlife protection by measurably increasing the number and extent of protected natural spaces and ecosystem corridors in our service area; engage measurable numbers of residents in the Conservancy’s mission and work and encourage them to actively appreciate and nourish their connections with the natural environment we share; develop the long-term capacity, in terms of both financial and human resources, to accomplish our ongoing vision and mission.

What We Do

  • Identify, evaluate, and protect land using conservation easements, land gifts, and purchases;
  • Work cooperatively with other conservation organizations, government agencies, attorneys, estate planners, developers, and private citizens to protect land;
  • Provide non-destructive public access to appropriate protected lands for education and recreation;
  • Provide stewardship of protected lands and established trails;
  • Present tours, events, and public education programs to foster understanding of our natural resources;
  • Educate the public about critical local, regional, and national environmental issues.
  • Produce publications, such as walking trail brochures, Rural Routes and Rural Routes II, as well as videos including two drone videos Merrill Linn Conservancy – Landscape and Habitat Diversity: Preserved in Perpetuity and A Journey on Buffalo Creek: From the Headwaters to the Susquehanna.


The Merrill W. Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy was founded in April of 1988 in memory of Merrill W. Linn, a local attorney and avid outdoorsman who spent much of his life exploring the woods, streams, fields, and byways surrounding his native Lewisburg, and sharing that experience and knowledge with others.

Merrill W. Linn

Organizational Structure

The Merrill Linn Conservancy is governed by a board of 15 members aided by 2 full-time staff members. Four standing committees–Site/Stewardship, Education/Public Relations, Membership/Development and Executive—are composed of board members and other volunteers, who assist the board in addressing the Conservancy’s mission. Our division, the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance, was formed in 2002 to focus efforts on monitoring and protecting the Buffalo Creek watershed which encompasses nearly two-thirds of Union County.


The Linn Conservancy Is a long-standing member of organizations that provide support for land trusts nationwide and statewide.  Those include the national Land Trust Alliance (LTA) and WeConservePA.

We are also a member of Terrafirma, a shared conservation defense service for land trusts.

Merrill Linn Conservancy Board/Officers/Staff

Board of Directors

Diane Donato, President
Beth Capaldi, Ph.D., Vice President
Cheryl Stayton, Ph.D., Treasurer
Karen McGrath, Ph.D., Co-Treasurer
Kylie Aikey, Esquire, Secretary
Michael Gross, M.D.
Kathi Hannaford, Site/Stewardship Committee Chair
Adrienne Hobbins,
Membership/Development Committee Chair
Christopher Martine, Ph.D.
Lance Miller
Matthew Roberts
Matthew Wilson


Chad North, Operations Manager

Rebecca Stugart, Adventure Coordinator

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