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The Staff & Board

Valley Crest Preserve Staff

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Linda Tesauro

Executive Director and Trustee,  Valley Crest Preserve

With Linda’s extensive experience in nonprofit management, fundraising and marketing, she is an indispensable part of Valley Crest Preserve, the farm’s nonprofit arm. In addition to overseeing the environmental educational programs and administrative responsibilities for the Preserve, Linda also coordinates the farm’s special events such as weddings and other celebrations.  Linda has a BA in English and Education from the College of New Jersey and an MA in Communications from Montclair State University.

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Mark Hunt

Farm Assistant

Mark is a jack-of-all trades and does just about any job at the farm that’s needed – from landscaping to fixing farm equipment.  Always a lover of the outdoors, whether coaching his son at baseball and soccer games or spending a day fishing in Round Valley Reservoir, he loves to be surrounded with the natural landscape.  After working indoors for years in various positions, Valley Crest is now the perfect place for him.  “I enjoy coming to work to see my coworkers and every day brings a new experience!  It’s a great place to work!”

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Marija Aksena

Farm Stand Manager

Marija has been with Valley Crest over 15 years and oversees Valley Crest’s farm market (66 Allerton Road).  From Lithuania originally, Marija received her university degree in art, which may be why her annual springtime Lithuanian Easter egg decorating workshop is so popular!

“Using only natural elements from seeds, plants, vegetables and more, creates beautiful egg designs.  I am happy to teach others about this art of egg decorating that my grandparents taught me,” Marija states.  When she’s not talking to her many customers, Marija is usually found in the garden or in the farm’s kitchen making delicious fruit preserves, pickles, pesto and more – all home grown on the farm.

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Butch Sorge

Farm Manager

Butch has been engaged in farming and agriculture for most of his life.  His specialty has been horticultural practices in fruit production. As farming practices change over time, he now puts into practice sustainability efforts (less input) and more nutrient recycling (manure composting) to grow the best fruit and vegetables in the area!  Butch says, “the good spirit and cooperation of my coworkers at Valley Crest allows me to adapt to the ever changing nature of agriculture.”

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Rachel McGovern

Naturalist

Rachel McGovern joins Valley Crest as an educator and naturalist. With a focus on clean water and sustainability, Rachel is excited to bring fun, hands- on activities to families, scouts and students. Rachel received her B.S. from Rutgers University in 2014 and spent the following year as an Americorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador. Through this program, Rachel discovered the joys of environmental education while completing stream assessments and projects designed to reduce non- point source pollution in New Jersey’s water. Rachel is excited to move forward bringing new faces and programs to Valley Crest Farm while focusing on programs that celebrate our connection to the environment.

 

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Peter Moretzsohn

Farm Assistant

Peter has been passionate about working with the Earth since his youth. After studying Philosophy at an Environmental Liberal Arts college in Vermont, he continued on to work in landscaping, nursery, and construction, before coming to Valley Crest.  At the farm, he has led Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and special needs groups from the orchard to the kitchen, and through its various walking trails, has deeply enjoyed learning the intricacies of season-round orchard management.

 

Board of Directors

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Bob LeCompte

Founder

A former Eagle scout and advocate of education and teaching children about farming and nature, Bob generously donated acres of his original farm to Valley Crest Preserve, a non-profit charitable organization in 2009.  His vision is for the farm to be a destination for the community to enjoy through its beautiful woodland trails and its  nature-based  programs for families and scouts.  Although he resigned from the Board at the end of 2016, his hope is to provide a sustainable preserved farm for the community to enjoy.

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Devon LeCompte

Trustee

Devon has earned her B.S. degree in Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources from Oklahoma State University.  Throughout her youth, she worked extensively with her family to develop the grounds and buildings that now comprise Valley Crest Farm and Preserve.  We appreciate her history in this community and long time devotion to the vision and mission of the Preserve. With her background in farming, excellent skills in marketing and outreach, along with her passion for helping others, Devon is a tremendous asset to the board of trustees.

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Dr. Richard Wellbrock

Trustee

Dr. Richard Wellbrock is the retired President of Wellbrock, Inc., a management consulting firm and a certified member of the Institute of Management Consultants. He was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Industry Leaders Fund, an SEC registered mutual fund, and served as Chairman of Hilltop Community Bank based in Summit from 1985 to 2013. Dick served as a Trustee, Vice-Chairman, and retired as Chairman of the Board at Raritan Valley Community College. He currently serves as a member of the Governor's Council on Higher Education. He is an Eagle Scout, a past Scoutmaster in Watchung, and presently serves as "grandpa" for a Cub Scout Pack in Tewksbury.  His knowledge of financing and education will no doubt be a tremendous asset to Valley Crest as we move toward financial sustainability.

 

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Brooke Sellas

Trustee

A transplant from Texas, Brooke B. Sellas, lives in Hunterdon County and loves living in the Garden State.  She is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & Founder of B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and a purveyor of psychographics. Her marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign.”  She hopes to offer her incredible marketing talents to Valley Crest and keep the community informed about our mission and programs. Be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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Frank Greenagel

Trustee

Frank Greenagel brings years of experience in higher education and local government to board deliberations—a dozen years on the Planning Board in Tewksbury followed a term on the Township Committee there including serving as Mayor in the late 1970s. For 18 years he was engaged as a Hunterdon representative on the Board of Raritan Valley Community College. Greenagel earned a PhD. at the University of Minnesota, where he was a member of the faculty; he also taught at the University of Colorado before leaving the academic world for work as an industrial psychologist, and later, a book publisher. He spends his time now in photography and writing scholarly books on the early architecture of New Jersey.

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Mike Beneduce

Trustee

Mike Beneduce Jr. is the vineyard manager and winemaker at Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown. A fourth  generation farmer, he took his family's legacy as home winemakers a step further by studying grape growing and winemaking, graduating from Cornell University with a B.S. in Viticulture and Enology in 2010.  He is highly involved in promoting Hunterdon County as a unique tourism destination for agriculture related businesses.  “I hope to apply my expertise in sustainable farming to Valley Crest and ensure that we're utilizing each unique parcel of the farm to its highest potential.  There is great value in our educational programs for families and scouts.”

 

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Tom Curley

Trustee

Tom is a Scouting commissioner, a scoutmaster and has extensive experience in the Boy scouts of America as well as various youth groups. Tom provides guidance to align the mission of Valley Crest Preserve to serve the needs of the local youth organizations. In addition to overseeing the Merit badge educational program, Tom helps coordinate Eagle Scout projects and provides guidance to youth who perform them.  Tom has a BA in Business Administration from Phoenix University, and currently works for a multinational corporation as a global project manager.  Tom is a certified project manager and holds numerous IT certifications.

Valley Crest Farm & Preserve grows and donates fresh produce to help people in need, maintains its farm and forest for education and recreation, and encourages respect for farms and nature.

Valley Crest Preserve Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

14 Allerton Road, Lebanon, NJ 08833 • 908-238-9696 • info@valleycrestfarmnj.com