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Key Personnel


Brian Hurley

Executive Director

Brian Graduated from WVU with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries.  The following two years he was a ski bum disguised as a graduate student and earned his master’s degree studying Acid Mine Drainage and how it impacts the Cheat River.  After a few years living by beaches and palm trees in Southern California, he yearned to be back in the mountain state.  Brian found his way east as a field technician for Friends of the Cheat and later continued fieldwork as a Biologist for the U.S. Forest Service.

With a field-based background, Brian is glad to be mostly out of the elements and leading FODC.  Outside of the office, you can find him on a bison farm in Preston County and playing in the mountains around West Virginia.  Brian is thrilled to be the new Executive Director at Friends of Deckers Creek and can’t wait to take FODC into a bright future!

Maya Mier-Thomas

Operations Manager

I’m Maya, a West Virginia native and FODC AmeriCorps VISTA alumni recently brought back for a new role as Operations Manager!  I hold a Multidisciplinary Studies degree concentrating in Conservation Ecology, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, and Studio Art.  I have spent my life gaining professional experience through nest guarding endangered avian species in Massachusetts, providing enrichment for animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium Waters’ Edge, and managing game lodges in Botswana by remediating the environment through erosion control, controlled burning, anti-poaching efforts, wildlife rehabilitation, and educational game drives. 

When not at the office, I like to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible with my creek dog, Ace.  We love anything that gets us outdoors and in nature; from hiking local trails to backpacking portions of the AT, riding horses to carving down the slopes, practicing yoga to observing the behavior of the world around us.  These days, we’ve been slowing down to smell the beebalm and appreciate the little things nature has to offer.  I hope to serve our environment, FODC, and the community to the best of my ability!

Maya backpacking at the crest of Dolly Sods kneeling and holding hands with her dog, Ace.
Michaela Collins

Michaela Collins

AmeriCorps VISTA

I’m Michaela, and I’m so excited to be starting as FODC’s VISTA for the next year. I’m a 2020 graduate from WVU with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and I also have an associates degree in Wildlife Resources Management. I’m from a small town in southeastern Ohio, but have lived in Morgantown for about 4 years. Previously, I have worked in a fish hatchery, for WVU as an undergraduate research assistant, and for a non-profit very similar to FODC called Racoon Creek Partnership. Fisheries and conservation work is truly my passion in life, and I couldn’t be more ready to start helping make a positive impact in the watershed and the community!

Grace Townsend

AmeriCorps VISTA

I’m Grace, and I’m so excited to be starting as FODC’s VISTA for the next year. I’m a 2021 graduate from WVU with a Master’s in Geography with an emphasis in Energy & Environmental Resources. I hold a bachelor's degree in Environmental Geoscience and I also have a certificate degree in University Teaching. I’m from Charleston WV, but have lived in Morgantown for about 8 years. Previously, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of Geology and Geography at WVU where I taught the Physical Geography Laboratory. Additionally, I was a graduate student of the Wilderness Geography Lab. Environmental remediation and education work is truly my passion in life, and I’m excited to begin making a positive impact in the watershed and the community of Deckers Creek!


Board Members

KK Photo

Krista Kent


Krista, Director of Planning & Operations at the WVU Foundation, is a long-time South Hills resident and wants to help better the beautiful creek that runs near her house.

Heather Jewell

Heather Jewell


Heather is a native West Virginian and environmental scientist with undergraduate degrees in Business and Geology from West Virginia University and a Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies from Point Park University. Through her position as a Project Manager at Downstream Strategies, she focuses on environmental site investigation, brownfields redevelopment, environmental due diligence, geologic studies, and regulatory compliance.


Stephen Valentine



Bill Pennington 3

Bill Pennington


Bill is a lawyer and long-time FODC supporter. He is a three-time WVU grad with bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering and  law. Bill is a member of Trout Unlimited and has helped FODC with land purchases and stocking Deckers with trout.

Bryan Silverberg and his husband interacting with cats.

Bryan Silverberg

Bryan Silverberg was born and raised in Southern California, then attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, followed by Brooklyn Law School.  He practiced in the area of wills, trusts, and estates in New York City for several years before meeting Benjamin Silverberg, the love of his life, who is an MD.  Together they moved to West Virginia, got married, bought a house, and recently had twin babies via surrogacy.  Bryan’s life-long goal is to end the animal extinction crisis in any way he can; to that end, he has taken several courses in animal welfare and environmental law, worked as a citizen scientist with the Audubon Society, founded The Animal Friendly Business Blog, and volunteered at an animal cognition laboratory at UCLA, where he studied learning behavior in pigeons.  In his spare time Bryan enjoys meditation, learning languages, traveling, and raising his twin babies.  He is also proud to currently be serving as Vice President of his local HOA.

Rick Landenberger

Rick Landenberger

Rick grew up in southern California and moved to upstate New York as a teenager.  He maintained a close connection to nature and eventually studied environmental science and ecology in college.  Rick took a position with the US Forest Service that brought him to West Virginia in the late 1980’s.


Aldona Bird

Aldona is a journalist with the Dominion Post, writing a weekly column on homesteading and living locally. She is also a freelance photographer and studied Photojournalism at Point Park University. She has volunteered with Friends of Deckers Creek since 2006, serving as a volunteer and leader at age 16.


Christian Root

Christian is a biology and anatomy teacher at Morgantown High School. After studying Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Maryland, where he also worked in a biotechnology lab investigating the merits of using transgenic fungus to combat Chestnut Blight, he earned his Master’s in Teaching.

David Raese

David Raese

David is the owner of the Dominion Post and the WV Radio Corp, as well as the District Governor of the Rotary Club of Morgantown, with whom he's served with for over twenty years.


Erica Skorlinski

Erica has always had ties to conservation and science and earned her undergraduate degree in wildlife biology. Three years ago, she went back to school for biology education and is currently working as a science teacher in Preston High School. It was there that she had her first experience with FODC, when staff came to her classroom to do an educational activity.


Steven Spriggs

Steven Spriggs works as a professional technologist at West Virginia University and is the owner of S3 Consulting LLC. Steven is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys long hikes in the Deckers Creek Watershed with his wife, Octavia, and his German Shepherd, Roxy. Steven also developed, FODC's website for anonymously reporting watershed pollution.


Brenden McNeil

Brenden McNeil is an associate professor of Geology at WVU. He uses fieldwork, remote sensing, and GIS to examine human impacts on the spatial patterns of forest ecosystem services.


Sarah Cayton


Bily Brown