Staff &board of Directors

Steep Rock Association is a land trust whose mission is to conserve ecologically and historically significant landscapes in and around Washington, CT and the Shepaug River Valley and to enhance the community’s connection with nature

Kelly Sarandrea

Office Manager

Kelly is the latest addition to the Steep Rock Staff. She lives happily in Thomaston with her family and plethora of pets. She is incredibly excited to come on board and help with some of the amazing work that is done at Steep Rock Association as our new office manager. Before taking the job here at Steep Rock, Kelly was an office manager at an autobody shop for 10 ½ years and before that worked in customer service for food distribution. Kelly does an amazing job treating all people with kindness thanks to her training in customer service and is already picking up new skills here at an incredible pace. Outside of work she loves to spend time with her family outside, whether it’s tackling a new trail at one of the Steep Rock preserves, going to the beach, or relaxing by the pool at her house. Her kids are a huge part of her life with her 17-year-old son and the two daughters she has been blessed with from her fiancé. Kelly also loves to cook courtesy of her background in the culinary arts and does charcoal drawings. Email Kelly Sarandrea

Denise Arturi

Judea Garden Coordinator & Head Gardener

Denise joined the Judea Garden project at its inception and has been happily playing in the dirt growing vegetables with many community groups and individuals. Denise is a graduate of Manhattanville College and the University of Connecticut’s Master Gardener Program.  A resident of Washington for over thirty years, Denise has been actively involved in town government, area schools and organizations, lending support where she can.  She currently helps run the Soldier Project sending support boxes to our troops in Afghanistan, is a member of the Gunn Historical Museum council, and manages and skates with the Northern Lights Women’s Hockey team.  Email Denise Arturi.

Mike Giapponi

Trails & Preserve Coordinator

Mike joined Steep Rock Association in 2018 as the Trails & Preserve Coordinator. He keeps our preserves safe, accessible, and sustainable, as well as organizes and leads volunteers in trail maintenance projects. If you spot him out on the trails, be sure to say hello and ask him what he is working on. He loves to tell stories. Mike earned his BS in Agriculture and Natural Resources and BA in History from the University of Connecticut. He is a lifelong backpacker and served as an AmeriCorp volunteer building trails in the Sierra Nevadas. For the past four years, he has worked on organic vegetable farms in Connecticut and New York. When he is not out hiking with his dog Kedike, you may find him swing dancing or reading a good book. Email Mike Giapponi.

Rory Larson

Conservation & Program Coordinator

Rory grew up on the banks of the Shepaug River and spent many childhood days exploring Steep Rock where an interest in its wild inhabitants took hold.  He obtained a BS degree in Wildlife Ecology and has since worked on several research projects for a variety of organizations.  Positions held have examined sea turtle nesting ecology in Florida, snowshoe hare and Canada lynx population dynamics in Maine, northern goshawk distribution and nesting preferences in the Colorado Rockies, southwestern willow flycatcher distribution on the lower Colorado River, California spotted owl population dynamics in the High Sierras, as well as native and recreational fisheries in Utah, Connecticut, and Vermont. He returned to the Shepaug River valley to help start an organic farm and joined Steep Rock’s team shortly thereafter in 2013.  He has cherished the opportunity to tackle an array of projects and contribute to Steep Rock’s mission.  Responsibilities include assisting with land management practices, managing the conservation easement program, performing biological surveys, and leading programs.  Rory also serves as a director on the Washington Environmental Council.  After hours, you may find him satisfying addictions to nature photography, fly fishing, beekeeping, and beer brewing.  Email Rory Larson.

A Land Trust Supported By Your Donations - Storywalk

denise arturi & rory larson

interim c0-Executive Directors

With a combined eleven years of working for Steep Rock, Denise & Rory will lead this amazing staff during the next step in leadership. Email Rory Larson or Denise Arturi

Ehrick K. RossiterFounder

From the Collection of the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum

Board ofDirectors

Eugene Pinover, President
Kirsten J. Feldman, Chair
Natalie H. Dyer, Secretary
John Santoleri, Treasurer
Linda Allard
Sheila M. Anson
Howard Barnet Jr.
Barbara Brown
William Coleman

Sally Cornell
William Fairbairn
Joseph J. Hanggi Jr.
John Herrmann Jr.
Gregory Heyman
Rachel Jacobellis
Michael Lloyd
Mark Lyon, ex-officio
Eric Madoff

Audrey Heffernan Meyer
Robert Micheletto
Alan G. Mnuchin
Reese Owens
Whitney M. Raith
Raymond Reich
Thomas M. Rickart
Allison Rubler

Jodi Schwartz
Joanna Seitz
Stephen Solley
Peary Stafford
Denise D. Trevenen
Leslie Rubler Warner
Lynn Werner
Edmund White

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep your eyes on Steep Rock. We're going places!!!