Executive Board

The Friends of the Ashley Schiff Preserve Executive Board is composed of four officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer), a community liaison, and the chairs of all standing committees. We meet monthly, and any member of the FASP is welcome to attend our meetings.

Schiff Family Representative: Dorothy Schiff-Shannon


President: Sharon Pochron


Sharon Pochron teaches in the Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook University and is the PI of the Worm Lab. She is also the director of the Ecosystems and Human Impact major. She joined the FASP because the woods offered her students an opportunity to escape the walls of campus and a place to study interactions between people and the environment.

Vice President & Membership and Development Committee Chair: Maureen Murphy


Maureen M. Murphy is the Project Coordinator for Stony Brook University’s Gelfond Fund for Mercury Research & Outreach through the Consortium for Inter-Disciplinary Environmental Research.  Maureen conducts the educational outreach for The Gelfond Fund.   Maureen is an attorney with a background in public affairs and environmental science.   Maureen joined the Friends in 2015 because she enjoys walking in the Ashley Schiff Preserve woods and wants to promote the benefits of greenspace on campus and to conserve the natural beauty of such a peaceful place.

Secretary: Sue Avery


Sue is a botanist, a certified landscape designer and has experience volunteering for various conservation organizations, namely Seatuck Environmental Association, Long Island Native Plant Initiative and Four Harbors Audubon Society.  She is passionate about conserving open space for the benefit of all.

Treasurer: Donna Digiovanni

Donna DiGiovanniDonna DiGiovanni is the Assistant to the Chair for the Department of Ecology & Evolution at Stony Brook University.   She joined the Friends of the Ashley Schiff Preserve in 2005 when the committee was recruited to advocate for the preserve.  She echoes the goal pf the Friends: to ensure that it would not be developed and to keep the preserve “forever wild”, highlighting the importance of natural areas.

I’ve been involved with the Preserve since I started my job here in 2004.  I was looking through department archives when I found a folder of old Ashley Schiff historical records.  After looking at all the information, I realized two facts–the Preserve is a very special place, with a unique history to honor Ashley Schiff, and it also never received the full legal protections to keep it forever wild.   I decided then to get more involved with the Friends committee to hopefully protect this ecological gem on campus.    All wild spaces are treasures but they are quickly disappearing due to development pressures.  Please join us to keep the Preserve intact and forever wild! – Donna Digiovanni

Nomination Committee Chair: Lauren Donovan

Photo of Lauren Donovan

Education Committee Chair: David Taylor

12654355_10208975819901562_3726075520903351947_nDavid Taylor is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Sustainability Studies Program housed in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. His writing crosses disciplinary boundaries and genres—scholarship, science/technical writing, creative nonfiction, and poetry. However, at the core of his work always is an interest in and concern for environmental sustainability and community. He is the author and editor of nine books. Most recently, he is Lead Editor and Contributor for An Island in the Stream: Ecocritical and Literary Responses to Cuban Environmental Culture (Lexington Books, 2019).

The Ashley Schiff Woods serves multiple purposes on Stony Brook’s main campus, from science research to inspiration for art. The work of the Friends of the Ashely Schiif Woods is to make sure preservation of this parcel of land remains at the forefront of SBU’s plans and continues to be a place of joy, respite, engagement, and research for students and faculty alike. All of my students in every class make a trip to the woods so that they begin to see its vital role at SBU. – David Taylor

Other Roles

Although not members of the Executive Board, the following members play prominent roles in the FASP:

Scholarship Coordinator: Melissa Cohen


Emeritus Board Member (Former Vice-President, and Scholarship Committee Chair): Paul Siegel

Paul Siegel

Paul has been a member of the Friends since its resurrection by the campus environmental committee. He has at various times served as vice chair and chair. As chair he is most proud of having worked with the membership to create and enshrine the by-laws and creating the Guardian of the Glade award to recognize those individuals who have provided exceptional service to the Friends. He sees the Preserve as providing a tangible measure of honoring the University’s beginnings and one of its early professors.