Connecting People with that land that sustains us


Meet Our Staff

Patricia Szarpa
Executive Director

Marcie Foster
Stewardship Manager

Marcie grew up in Cooperstown and early on in her childhood developed a love of being outside enjoying the natural world. A recipient of a Clark Foundation Scholarship, Marcie graduated from State University of New York–New Paltz with a BA in geography in 2008. Before coming to Otsego Land Trust, Marcie worked for the Student Conservation Association in Arizona, where she conducted archaeological surveys and traveled around the Southwest camping, backpacking, and visiting archaeological sites. She also served as the Peterson Conservation Fellow, a seasonal position developed in 2008 to honor the conservation legacy of Otsego Land Trust's past president Dr. Earle Peterson. In 2011, Marcie began as OLT's as Outreach Coordinator, while training for stewardship duties.  In October 2013, Marcie became OLT's Stewardship Manager.  She directs and manages the annual monitoring of OLT's easements and Blueway public access sites.  Marcie enjoys traveling, hiking, swimming, rock climbing, identifying plants, and walking her dogs in the Red Creek watershed, where she currently lives. 

From Marcie:  "The Upper Susquehanna River-Basin is not only very beautiful, but ecologically rich with diverse habitats and working farms and forests. How we - people - live here affects so much of the land in small ways and on a large landscape scale. The water that flows through our watershed flows through southern New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland into the Chesapeake Bay. How we treat the land that filters our water matters to us and everyone downstream.  Here at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, I want to be part of leading by example. Working for OLT, I can contribute directly to conservation practices that will protect our lands and waters now and for future generations."


David Diaz
Land Protection Manager
David Diaz joined the OLT team in August of 2017.  A native of the Syracuse area and most recently from Trumansburg, David is an avid outdoorsmen.  He spends his time out of the office fishing, birding, and playing with his dog, Monk. Coming from the Finger Lakes region, he is also a wine enthusiast. 

Bringing over 14 years of land acquisition experience from time spent at three other regional New York land trusts, along with seven years of natural resource management, David got right to work and completed his first conservation easement for OLT in December of 2017. 

David also brings with him degrees in environmental studies from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and viticulture and wine technology from Finger Lakes Community College

David's days are spent talking and meeting with landowners regarding land protection possibilities for their land. He fosters relationships with non-profit and governmental agencies to work on land conservation projects and regional goals.

His hopes for the future of the land conservation idustry are that it will eventually be able to meet the demand for open spaces, healthy forests, clean streams and places for people to experience all three. 


Sara Scheeren
Development and Finance Manager

Sara grew up in agriculturally rich southern Washington County, NY.  She interned for a local land trust throughout high school and at an early age became familiar with the importance of conserving healthy land and water.  Following her passion for conservation and the outdoors, Sara attended State University of New York at Cobleskill and, in May 2011, she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Plant Science with a concentration in Ornamental Horticulture. Sara also holds an Associates Degree in Floriculture Production and a certificate in Floral Design. Sara joined the OLT team in the spring of 2013 employing her vast gardening skills as the Brookwood Garden summer intern. Her work ethic and desire to commit to OLT's mission of land and water protection led to her current position as OLT’s Outreach Coordinator, where she is responsible for organizing events, educational programs, and community communications. 

From Sara:  "I grew up in a small rural farming community, so I intimately understand the concept of working with the land.  Growing up, I was taught that what you love in life always means a give and take relationship - I love having high quality drinking water straight from the ground my house sits on. I love having healthy land right outside my door, land that I can play on, eat and grow from, learn from, and lands to which I  can help to connect others. The healthy land and water takes care of me, my family, my community, so I need to do my part in being responsible in return."