Friends of Briar Bush Board of Directors
Michael Kleiman, Board President
Michael resides in Dresher with his wife and two daughters. He is a founding member of Bleczinski, Kleiman & Klein, LLC, a King of Prussia law firm, where the focus of his practice is family law. Active in his community, Kleiman regularly serves as a coach as well as league commissioner for the Upper Dublin Junior Athletic Association. He currently is serving a four year term on the Judiciary Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association, which evaluates judicial candidates seeking election to the Court of Common Pleas. Michael also currently is a trail steward for the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association. Kleiman is passionate about all issues regarding nature and the environment.
Stephanie McKenna, Board Vice President
Stephanie O’Neill McKenna is the Circulation Manager at Horsham Township Library and has lived in Abington Township for the past 9 years with her husband and two children. Both kids have attended Briar Bush summer camps and School’s Out programs for the past several years. She is also a volunteer with Wags Rescue & Referral, acting as Surrender Coordinator and fostering 54 dogs (and counting!) since 2015. Stephanie is an avid gardener, scratch cook, and chicken wrangler with a particular interest in native plants.
Michele Kaczalek, Board Treasurer
Michele became an active member of Briar Bush Nature Center in 2000. She was elected to the Board in 2002 and served through 2017. She is a member of the Abington Environmental Advisory Council, the Pennypack Trust, and the Friends of Crosswicks Bird Sanctuary. As of 2006, she chairs the Robert W. Montgomery Jr. Award which recognizes outstanding environmental project and activity leaders in our community. Michele also volunteers as a Poll Worker and Minority Inspector. In 2011, Michele founded the Redeemer Valley Garden Club which supplies local fresh grown produce to food cupboards and farmers’ markets. A loyal friend to Briar Bush, Michele was chosen to receive the Griscom Award in 2019.
Lea Della Vecchia, Board Secretary
Lea has worked at Snipes Farm starting as a fall field trip instructor in 2016, and then joined the full-time staff in January 2017 until the summer of 2019. Lea has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Prior to joining SFEC, she spent five years working at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in the Delaware Water Gap, and served an AmeriCorps term at the Youth Garden Project in Moab, Utah. Presently, Lea is working on a Master’s degree in nonprofit leadership through La Salle University.
Bonnie lives in the Upper Dublin School District with her two daughters and abundance of pets. This is her first foray into the world of Board membership and is happy to be chosen by The Friends of Briar Bush to join their leadership and its long history, proven commitment to the community, and its understanding of the simplistic brilliance of young minds when exposed to open space. Bonnie is the Director of Brand Management with BLB&B Advisors, LLC in Montgomeryville, PA. She is also co-leader of the Girls Friendly Society of PA (GFS)/Ambler Branch, member of the Valley Forge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and avid supporter of youth athletics.
Born and raised in Oregon, where she and her family enjoyed outdoor activities, Brenda relocated to Philadelphia in the 1980s to attend dental school. A resident of Abington for 21 years, she has a family dental practice in Glenside. Brenda and her husband, Paul, enjoy the outdoors with pursuits like hiking, camping, bicycling, and bird watching. Brenda believes that maintaining green spaces in urban and suburban communities is a very important objective, and Briar Bush, a gem in Abington Township serves an important role in this area.
Maggie Brown has served as a nurse for over 33 years. She is nationally certified as an Advanced Holistic Nurse, a Health and Wellness Nurse Coach, and a Nature and Forest Therapy Guide and is trained to teach Mindful Self Compassion. Maggie currently holds an executive leadership position as the Director of Compassion and Caring for Colleagues of the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Introduced to Briar Bush when her children were in preschool, Maggie found herself back at BBNC guiding nurses on nature walks over the past couple of years. Maggie has experience in developing and presenting nature experiences for health and wellbeing. Wanting to help support Briar Bush and its mission, Maggie is pleased to have been invited to join the Board. In her free time, Maggie loves to stargaze, hike, and enjoy time with friends, her pup, and family.
Henry is a resident of the Ardsley community in Abington and has been a volunteer at Briar Bush for over 40 years, starting when his daughter and son attended the former Ranger Rick program. He has been on the Board previously where he served in different functions including the roles of vice-president and president. Henry has been recognized by Briar Bush with their Griscom Award and Volunteer of the Year Award. A retired business manager for UPS, Henry also volunteers in a plethora of civic programs including the Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Abington Community Task Force, Boy Scouts, and the Executive Committee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Henry and his wife, Nancy, also a volunteer at Briar Bush, enjoy the outdoors and traveling.
Kimberly Hamm is an independent nonprofit consultant, focusing on fundraising and strategic planning, to keep organizations healthy, vibrant, and mission-driven. Before branching out into consulting, Kim handled fundraising, engagement, and relations for teams at Manor College, Fox School of Business at Temple University, and the National Kidney Foundation. Kim lives in North Hills with her family and enjoys spending time hiking, camping, and skiing.
Norman S. Marcus of Meadowbrook, PA is a licensed, professional engineer involved in engineering design and operation for the American transit industry and railroads. He serves as the technical advisor for the SEPTA Citizens Advisory Committee and is a consultant for the Philadelphia and New York City Regions. Norman is an active member of the community serving on many other boards such as Meadowbrook Bird Sanctuary and Abington’s Police Athletic League. Norman is an active member of the Germantown Historical Society, Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association, Wyncote Audubon Society, Old York Road Historical Society, Preservation Alliance, Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Norman has been associated with the Friends of Briar Bush since the 1980’s serving on the Board for many terms.
Since moving to Glenside in 2010, Tara and her family have enjoyed Briar Bush’s activities, including Magic Mornings, campfires, lectures, and summer camps. She got a closer look at the workings of Briar Bush in 2019 when her daughter and two friends designed and installed the children’s area mural in the Bird Observatory while earning their Girl Scout Silver Award. Tara has volunteered with Girl Scouts for many years, including serving as the committee chair for Girl Scouts Overseas in Singapore. A registered professional engineer with a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering, she is self-employed as a consultant investigating accidents.
Pamela Olshefski lives in Ambler with her husband and 3 teenage daughters. A graduate of Albright College with a degree in Environmental Science/Biology, Pamela is the Plant Collections Manager at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked at the Arboretum since 2001 and works in the Plant Science department. Pamela is also on the Executive Board of Girls Friendly Society (GFS), and the Branch advisor and co-leader of the Ambler Branch. Pamela coaches field hockey and lacrosse for the Upper Dublin School District as well as recreational teams. Pamela loves youth environmental education and is especially passionate about teaching children to learn, love, and protect our environment for generations to come.
Matt enjoyed volunteering at Briar Bush in his Junior and Senior years of high school. After studying at Temple University and living in Japan for a year, he became the site manager for Shofuso, the Japanese house and garden in Fairmount Park. Matt worked closely with the program committee of the board there and gained experience in the creation and development of programs. He also has worked with the Youth Arts Workshop at Asian Arts Initiative in Chinatown. Currently, he lives in Rockledge, works as an on-road supervisor for UPS, is an active member of his local Citizens Climate Lobby chapter, and enjoys taking hikes with his family whenever possible.
Amy Ricci resides in Glenside with her two daughters and husband. She currently works as the Executive Director of Historic Rittenhouse Town, the site of the first paper mill in North America. Previously, Amy served as a Program Director at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for almost 10 years where she oversaw the organizations' easement portfolio of nearly 250 buildings. Amy has a graduate degree in Historic Preservation from Boston University. She enjoys gardening, stained glass, and instilling an appreciation of architecture and the historic built environment in her two girls. Presently she is most interested in the integration of historic buildings and natural sites and how they can be used as educational environments.