Our Leaders

Nancy Stranahan

Nancy has been the Director of the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System since she co-founded the non-profit back in 1995.  In the span of directing the organization over the last 20-plus years, Nancy has cultivated a vigorous citizen advocacy network in Ohio, what Nancy like to refer to as a “tree-roots network.”  In the last 23 years, Nancy has led the charge to save and preserve 6600 acres of natural areas in Appalachian Ohio, representing 22 preserve regions and well over 100 separate real estate negotiations and fund-raising campaigns. In addition to her land preservation work she has been a life-long student and teacher of nature, founding the Arc’s Appalachian Forest School to ensure the perpetuation of natural history skills in our culture, field knowledge that is best taught person-to-person.  Fireflies have become a recent passion for Nancy. She looks forward to the light shows of June each year, and sets aside time during the glowing nights of summer to learn the firefly inhabitants of yet unexplored territories. She LOVES igniting others to the joy of the firefly pursuits. Previously in her career, Nancy served as Chief Naturalist for Ohio State Parks with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources. Later on, she operated Benevolence Café and Bakery in downtown Columbus’ city market for 20 years, where she promoted healthy and intentional food choices.

Brent Charette

Brent is a host and leader for many of the Appalachian Forest School courses. He is passionate about sharing the magic and majesty of the natural world with participants as a means of igniting a wildfire of support for an educated ethical attitude of environmental stewardship for humankind. Over the course of the last several years Brent has been immersed in the annual firefly spectacle. His understanding and appreciation of the complex interaction between male and female fireflies, the complicated inter-species relationships within the firefly family, and the surprising life histories of these illuminating beetles have captured his imagination. With names like “Chinese Lanterns,” “Christmas Lights,” “Little Grays,” and “Blue Ghosts,” it is easy to see how these diminutive beetles with their flashing tail segments or glowing bodies draw and hold his attention. Like most people his relationship with fireflies began as a child on classic early summer evenings, chasing, catching, and observing these sweet summer sparks. Previously Brent has worked in the Ohio State Park system, first as a naturalist (yes, alongside Nancy Stranahan), eventually as manager of Malabar Farm State Park.