Officers / Staff


Michael Lyons Wier • Executive Director

Michael graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history, and moved to Chicago shortly thereafter working in the world of fine art galleries from 1989-1993.  In 1993 he opened his eponymously named gallery in the River North neighborhood of Chicago and helped establish the area as Chicago’s main art district.  Upon completion of a Master of Arts in Arts Administration degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, Michael moved the to New York City to an initial location in the East Village.  In 2001 Lyons Wier Gallery followed the migration of the NY fine art world to Chelsea. In 2010, Lyons Wier Gallery secured it’s current ground floor location in the heart of Chelsea at 542 West 24th Street.  The Gallery promotes nationally and internationally ranked artists at its location in Chelsea and through participation in select art fairs.

In addition to directing and curating the art program at Lyons Wier Gallery, Michael serves as an independent art advisor and consultant for corporate clients and designers.  Michael also conducts workshops as an educator, providing studio practice critiques and career development consultation.

Michael purchased a home in East Quogue in 2011 and began pursuing the creation of a community based art center in his newly adopted community.  His discussions with friends of the Ecological Culture Initiative and subsequent talks with the leadership of ECI made clear that his skills as an administrator, commitment to preserving and nurturing culture and entreneurial spirit made him a natural choice to serve as the first Executive Director of the Ecological Culture initiative.

Marc Fasanella • Permaculturist • marc.fasanella@eciny.org
Dr. Marc Fasanella is a design build specialist for Ecological Design Partners. He has been an educator at the University level for nearly three decades, most recently as a Visiting Professor of Ecological Architecture, and Design in the Sustainability Studies Program of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. He holds a PhD in Art & Art Education from New York University where he wrote his doctoral dissertation The Environmental Design of Jones Beach State Park, which delved into the aesthetic, economic, geologic, political and environmental aspects of the Park’s initial construction. His MA from NYU in Technology and Industrial Education concentrated on using industrial skill and passive solar architecture to produce socially responsible design. Marc holds permanent certification from the New York State Education Department in Art, Industrial Arts, and Technology Education. Throughout his undergraduate training he apprenticed himself to the trades of estate gardening, restoration carpentry and stone masonry. An exhibit curator and author of works on Art, Craft and Design, his recent book about his father Ralph Fasanella: Images of Optimism was published by Pomegranate Press in the Fall of 2017.

Rachel Stephens • Agro-Ecology Director • rachel.stephens@eciny.org
Rachel was born and raised on the east end of Long Island where she currently owns and runs Sweet Woodland Farm in Hampton Bays.  At Sweet Woodland she grows organic produce in addition to raising chickens, rabbits, and sheep.  Her educational background in horticulture has been strengthened by professional work as an estate gardener, in wholesale plant nursery management and her time spent as a farmer. Rachel is a passionate teacher of homesteading skills such as knitting, gardening, home canning and animal husbandry. 

Jerome Lucani • Director of Community Development • jerome.lucani@eciny.org
As an East End artist, Jerome's work focuses on “the fragile, alive beauty of Nature that exists as art all around us”. As an entrepreneur with an MBA from George Washington University, he founded “Carre Bleu Voyages”, a group of travel agencies based in Paris. His exploration of countries such as Costa-Rica, Ethiopia, French Polynesia, Kenya, Morocco, the Reunion Island, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, and Uganda, opened his eyes to our humanist responsibilities in a deeply interconnected world. Think globally, and act locally. Be the change you want to see in the world. These two axioms have led Jerome to join the staff of ECI.

Jeff Schultz • Digital Media Director • jeff.schultz@eciny.org
Jeff earned his B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from Cornell University. He has worked as a Climatologist at Cornell University’s Northeast Regional Climate Center, and later moved to New York City to work in private weather consulting. Born and raised on the east end of Long Island, Jeff has a strong connection to its natural woodlands and waterways. He has served as head instructor for the Town of Southampton's windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding program, as well as the Town of Southold's swimming program. 

Currently working as Still Photographer and First Assistant Camera with Kaufman Films in New York City, Jeff films and photographs decisive moments which tell powerful stories. Jeff is proud to have filmed General Joseph McNeil for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's Greensboro Lunch Counter exhibit. He has also filmed for Fred's Team, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Armory Foundation. Jeff exhibits his nature and surf photography in east end galleries, as well as windsurfs and stand-up paddle surfs at Ponquogue Beach. Alarmed by the amount of plastic and nutrient pollution in our beaches, water, and food chain, Jeff advocates for a return to an ethical and sustainable practice of living.

Shannon Stimpson • Managing Director • shannon.stimpson@eciny.org
Shannon Stimpson, founder of Ecological Design Partners, was born and raised in Hampton Bays. From his childhood home on Tiana Bay, he formed a deep connection with the marine environment, and the organisms that live in our local waterways. After receiving a Science Laboratory Technology degree from S.C.C.C., he interned at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas under the direction of Dr. Samuel “Doc” Gruber, a world famous pioneer for shark research and preservation.  With a strong technology background, Shannon brings his experience with control system programming, electronic system integration, and project management to his role at ECI. His abiding interest in permaculture, marine ecosystems, and a plant-based lifestyle drew him to commit his technical expertise, energy, and enthusiasm to supporting ECI’s mission of education and community outreach.

Angela Stimac-Lapeer Community Outreachangela.lapeer@eciny.org
Angela has spent the past three years working in retail design and management within ethical clothing manufacturing, directing the visuals and merchandising for American Apparel's Eastern Canada stores. Born and raised in a small, sustainable community in rural Ontario, she grew up in the garden, on the lakes, and in the woods. Angela studied art history at Concordia University and spent her first few years in Montreal working on the planning and execution of small and large scale culinary events, both in Montreal and Paris.  She is very interested in the culture of food driven by sustainability, an ethical and ecological farm-to-table supply chain, community building efforts, and protecting our natural waterways and habitats. 

Suzanne RugglesDirector of the Nature Lyceum
Suzanne "The Barefoot Gardener," is on a mission to dissuade people from using pesticides, insecticides, and other damaging elements on their land.  Through her work she educates them about the harm caused by lawns (which destroy wildlife habitat through the use of harmful chemicals and subdue native forest or grassland).  She focuses on the native ecosystem, removing invasive plants (including lawns) and “nativizing” landscapes to encourage biodiversity.  A speaker at The Nature Lyceum for more than15 years, she has led presentations to schools, civic, and environmental organizations, as well as appeared on TV and in film.  A published author on the effects of the suburban landscape, the dangers of overdevelopment, and the benefits of native plants, she sits on The Board of Directors for The L.I. Pine Barrens Society, and spent ten years on the Board of The Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons. She has seen, first hand, the tragedies that befall wildlife caused traditional landscape practice. She has been honored as a “Champion of the Wild” by the Rescue Center, and is the recipient of a “Source Water Protection Award”, sponsored by: The Nature Conservancy, The Neighborhood Network, the L.I. Pine Barrens Society, and the Suffolk County Water Authority. The property surrounding her home is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat.

Anne Moyer • Treasurer, Wellness Director • anne.moyer@eciny.org
Anne received her Ph.D. in Social / Health Psychology from Yale University.  She is an Associate Professor in the Social and Health Area of the Psychology Department and Faculty Director of the Honors College at Stony Brook University. Her research focuses on psychosocial issues surrounding cancer, medical decision-making, the psychology of research participation, and meta-analysis. She is co-editor of a new book, The Psychology of Friendship, published by Oxford University Press. Anne’s personal path to wellness involves time spent with horses, dogs, and cats, as well as her human family enjoying cooking, yoga, and stand-up paddle boarding.

Debbie Johnson • Business Manager • debbie.johnson@eciny.org
An unflappable keeper of accounts Deb has worked as a bookkeeper and office manager on the East End for more than 20 years.  A curious soul, she studied Biomedical Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, Environmental Biology at L.I.U. Southampton, and Accounting at Suffolk County Community College.  She was raised on Long Island, loves yoga, Standup Paddle Boarding, and Mother Earth, and is working on exercising her green thumb.  Her work with ECI draws upon her deep concern for the environment, strong commitment to her home community and keen knowledge of business management.

Doria HughesAgro-ecology Associate • foreverwild@optonline.net 
Doria is a Long Island native who grew up in central Suffolk County. A pioneer graduate of the Ecological Culture Initiative's Organic Gardening Certificate Program, she currently manages her property and household in East Quogue where she grows organic fruits and vegetables while nurturing three young children with her husband. She raises chickens for their eggs and fertilizer, as well as rabbits, and vermicompost worms to further enrich her soil. Her educational background is in horse care and handling, which afforded her the rich opportunity to rehabilitate abused horses (including a wild mustang) and working with children with disabilities in a farm setting. Doria is most at home with mud on her boots. Her concern regarding contaminants in the environment has guided her to actively pursue knowledge in water conservation, organic gardening, food preservation, and pollinator stewardship including bats, as well as honey and mason bees.  

Doria's goal is to create a better world for her children through education and practice. 

Kristen Myers • Ethics and Governance Director 
Kristen graduated from SUNY Oswego as a Public Justice major with a minor in English. Currently residing in Flushing Queens where she was born, she has lived in multiple neighborhoods across Manhattan and Brooklyn, doing the “boroughs shuffle” for as long as gentrification would permit. Hampton Bays has been her spiritual home, having spent family summers living on Squires Pond in Hampton Bays in a house built by her grandfather in the 1940's. She owes her swimming, sailing skills, and fondest childhood memories to the Town of Southampton Parks and Recreation Department.

After two decades of selling compliance solutions with a focus on business ethics, Kristen created JOAN (Justice Organizers Action Network), a consulting service which strives for the “greening" of corporate America through changes in governance, infrastructure, and ethical business development strategy. She chose her business name as an effort to humanize corporate structure as well as embody and celebrate Women's empowerment. With a background in and a passion for permaculture, Kristen is a strong advocate for community gardens and the Worker Cooperative model. In 2012, Kristen completed a Permaculture Design Course at Bona Fide in Nicaragua with the permaculture team from Terra Phoenix. She also participated Andrew Faust's "Permaculture as a Business" course and holds an Advanced Permaculture Design Certificate from Bullocks Homestead. Permaculture is both a lifestyle and a community endeavor, and Kristen feels privileged to work with ECI and the Hampton Bays community, to bring a more ethical, “permanent culture” to the East End.

Sean Deery • Financial Associate, Research Assistant • sean.deery@eciny.org
Sean earned his Associate's Degree in Business from Suffolk County Community College in Spring of 2017 and will be attending Stony Brook University this Fall pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a minor in Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning. While at SCCC, Sean served as the Student Representative for Tree Campus USA, an active member of the Backyard Garden Group, interned for the SCCC Office of Sustainability, held office as the Vice President of the Western Region of New York for Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society (PTK) and President of the Alpha Eta Psi Chapter of PTK. For his dedication to sustainability and campus activities, Sean was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award, the Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team, and the Coca Cola New Century Scholar Award. Sean is excited to work with ECI as he attends Stony Brook.

Mia Fasanella • Secretary, Director of Cultural Affairs • mia.fasanella@eciny.org
Mia is a senior anthropology major at SUNY College at Oswego. She received her Permaculture Design Certificate at Punta Mona Center for regenerative design and botanical studies in Costa Rica and later travelled to Benin, West Africa to study Permaculture at the Songhai Center. Mia has worked professionally as a Yoga Instructor, is an avid sailor, and brings her strengths as a scholar of food culture, health and well-being to her work at ECI.

 

Affiliated Faculty


Dr. Scott Carlin
Associate Professor

Dr. Scott Carlin is an associate professor of geography, faculty member of LIU Post’s new master’s program in environmental sustainability, and Director of the LIU Post Center for Sustainability. He recently served as Co-Chair of the 66th United Nations Department of Public Information / Non-Governmental Organization Conference held in the city of Gyeongju, Republic of Korea from May 30 – June 1, 2016, the first UN DPI/NGO Conference held in Asia. The Conference aimed to end poverty, protect the global ecosystem, ensure human rights as well as prosperous and fulfilling lives for all, as part of a new sustainable development agenda to be achieved by 2030. According to Dr. Carlin “we have reached a critical threshold, where global citizenship has transitioned from something we might do as individuals to something that we must do as individuals. In this new era of climate change what happens to one, happens to all”.

Dr. Carlin, a member of Southampton Town’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, has worked on a variety of sustainable development projects on Long Island, including environmental mapping of breast cancer, green buildings, wastewater management, as well as climate issues and renewable energy.  He is also co-author of Ecology Worldview, published in the International Handbook of Emotional Healing: Rituals and Practices for Resilience After Mass Trauma.

Iman Marghoob MS, RD
New York Farmacist

Iman Marghoob, a registered dietitian, holds a degree in biology and a master’s degree in nutrition from New York University, as well as a degree in landscape design from SUNY Farmingdale. Owner of New York Farmacist, an integrative nutrition consulting business she is also president of the Long Island Community Gardens Association, a not-for-profit that provides education in nutrition, gardening, and culinary skill. She is a voting member of the Suffolk County Food Policy Council, where she is chair of the community gardens subcommittee.

Iman was the founding farmer at Stony Brook Heights Rooftop Farm at Stony Brook hospital. All of the produce harvested went to hospital patients. Passionate about the health of the environment and the gardeners she works with, Iman has lived on the North Shore of Long Island for the past 30 years with her husband and four children (often seen begrudgingly weeding alongside of her).

Dr. Sharon Pochron
Lecturer

Dr. Sharon Pochron teaches Ecotoxicology, Ecology, and Conservation Genetics for the Sustainability Studies Program of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. At SBU she created the Earthworm Lab where her students investigate the role of environmental toxins, like acid rain, Roundup, and fertilizer on earthworm health. Based in the Life Sciences Greenhouse at SBU, this research involves undergraduates at every level: from planning, to data collection and analysis, cumulating in publication. Dr. Pochron received her Bachelors degree from Franklin and Marshall College in both anthropology and biology and her Doctorate from the University of New Mexico in anthropology and biology. She specialized in baboon foraging behavior and statistics, publishing more than 20 peer-reviewed papers involving the behavioral ecology of lemurs, tarsiers, and baboons. She has also studied the levels of heavy metal concentrations in local sea life.  Dr. Pochron writes about science and animals for Highlights, Student Science, and Muse Magazine.

Gordon Thomas
GT Restoration

Gordon brings his creative skill as a fine artist and founder of GT Restoration (which specializes in decorative arts and detailed interior architectural finish work) to the ongoing creation of his backyard permaculture garden.  Born and raised in Northport, Long Island, Gordon studied Fine and Commercial Art at the Art Students League, and embarked on a successful career in photo-retouching before settling into his multidisciplinary decorative arts practice.

In 1994 he bought an historic Sears Roebuck 9’ x 12’ post and beam cottage that had been adapted over the years by fisherman to an 800 square foot residence. Gordon evolved the property from a storm-damaged, neglected lot into an edible food forest featuring fruit trees, berries, perennial vines, mushrooms, annual vegetables, and salad greens.  A self-taught agro-ecologist, he has become expert in many horticultural techniques that he is eager to pass on to other ex-urban gardeners.

Martha Weller
Garden Environments

Martha holds a BA in Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning from Stony Brook University as well as a Certificate in Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Garden.  Creative expression through problem solving is at the heart of Martha’s being, and transfers into her work as a landscape designer and project coordinator.  She has supervised large-scale municipal landscape projects working with the New York City Parks Department and the Army Corp of Engineers on the development of storm-water management and wetland restoration plantings. Her landscape design work specializes in formal native and perennial gardens, blended native landscapes, revegetation, wetland, grassland, meadow, and woodland planting design. Martha works locally through her estate gardening and landscape design company Garden Environments.

 

Advisory Board


Richard Casabianca
Historian, Preservationist

A descendent of Southampton colonists (eight generations in what is now called Hampton Bays) Richard is a graduate of the hamlet’s school system. For the past twenty years Richard has worked tirelessly as a community activist. He has served as both a member and the Chairman of the Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee, as a member of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, was a founding member of the Hampton Bays Historical Society on whose board he served for more than fifteen years and was appointed to the Southampton town Landmarks and Historic Districts board.

His record of outspoken, articulate advocacy at Town Board meetings for issues of Historic and Open Space preservation in Hampton Bays and the surrounding area led to his inclusion in the development of two master plans for the Town of Southampton. He received an award for this work toward the preservation Community Fund properties including the Hampton Frontiers Property, The Prosper King House, Canoe Place Chapel and the the Canoe Place Inn amongst others.

In 2004 Richard purchased the historic Nathan Foster House on Wakeman Road rescuing it from renovation and spearheaded the sale of transfer development rights on an improved residentially zoned property. Subsequently he was the first resident in the Town of Southampton to employ the dormant façade easement program.

Laura Luciano
Graphic Designer, Slow Food Advocate

Laura was named Slow Food's New York State Governor in the Fall of 2017. One of her first exposures to food and cooking was with her grandparents in their kitchen, lending a hand preparing Sunday meals. At a young age she was exposed to the bounty of Long Island: fishing, crabbing, or footing for clams with her father at a summer home in East Quogue.

A trained graphic designer, Laura works to bring the stories and brands of people and  corporations to life. Working from Sheridan Green, in Hampton Bays (an energy efficient home / studio designed by her architect husband Christopher Jeffrey), keeps her close to the kitchen, where she hones her skills as a slow food activist and writer. Creator of the blog Out East Foodie, she directs attention to the slow food stories of the North and South forks of Long Island and builds relationships with the culinary artisans and farmers that make the East End healthy and delicious. 

Alfred L. Scherzer, MD, EdD, FAAP
Clinical Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Al Scherzer is a fifty-year resident of the Red Creek area of Hampton Bays, a life-long environmentalist, and a past president of the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society. A pediatrician specializing in child neurology, he was in private practice in Riverhead, and also served as Director of the Child Habilitation Center of the Peconic Bay Medical Center. He is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the Weill Cornell Medical College, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics (Retired) at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and past president of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.

 

Bill Siegel
Home Builder

A resident of Hampton Bays since 1988, Bill is a graduate of the Hofstra University Zarb School of Business. In 1984 he founded New Age Builders, Inc., and built more than 350 homes in Suffolk County. He focuses on energy efficient, entry level, and affordable housing, including the first NYSTAR State Certified Energy Efficient Home in Hampton Bays (featured in Newsday). Bill was recognized with a Proclamation from the Suffolk County Legislature as a leader in the field of energy efficient home construction. His company has received awards and national recognition for their homes (US Department of Housing and Urban Development, US Department of Energy, Energy Star, NYS Energy and Research Development Authority, as well as the Town of Southampton, Town of East Hampton, Long Island Housing Partnership, and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island).

Earlier in his life Bill competed as a professional tennis player and traveled around the world, earning an ATP World Ranking and induction into the Hofstra University Athletic Hall of Fame. Having made four trips to India, he is especially interested in meditation, spirituality, and yoga. He supports a number of global and local organizations dedicated to peace, sustainability, animal rights, wildlife protection, environmentalism, and veganism. Bill can often be found in the natural habitats of the east end of Long Island cycling, hiking, surfing, kayaking, and enjoying the beaches.

Gerrod Smith
Community Activist

Gerrod Smith is a founder and treasurer of the Native American owned and operated Blossom Sustainable Development Inc., a nonprofit community development organization located in Shinnecock territory that serves to promote the health and wellbeing of the indigenous and underserved peoples of Long Island.

He holds certification from the Falmouth Institute in the preparation of year-end financial statements for government organizations, and strategic planning for Indian Tribes. Having been involved with eel grass restoration, eel aquaculture, coral research, and water quality monitoring, Roddy was an appointed tribal co-leader of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body of President Barack Obama’s Executive Order on “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes”.  His trainings also include Ceremonial Stone Landscape Field Specialist (working with Shinnecock Youth to help protect ancient areas of ancestral cultural resources), Paleo Submerged Landscape Research training to assist the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in monitoring submerged cultural artifacts and assisting in the development of a Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

An inspirational athlete, entrepreneur, and tribal elder - Roddy brings a wealth of environmental economic, and organizational expertise to his work with ECI.

 

Interns


Michael Fasanella
Restoration Carpentry Apprentice