Staff and Board
R. John Dawes, Executive Director
As Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds since 1994, Dawes has supervised small grants to over 350 environmental and watershed associations throughout the state. The intent is to provide seed money to allow a local group to access agency funding through the Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Office of Surface Mining, the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers. This has resulted in over $159 m. in project cost. The majority of this small grants budget is for abandoned mine reclamation.
For five years Dawes was consultant to the Heinz Endowments Environment Program where he supervised grants to regional watershed groups pursuing a DCNR Rivers Conservation Plan. Other duties included participation in sustainable forestry round tables, and the facilitation of a state-wide watershed advocacy group called POWR-the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.
o Alternate Commissioner on the Governor’s 21st Century Commission on the Environment
o Board member of Penn Future
o Board President of the Progress Fund
o Former, President of the Board of POWR, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers
o Member of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network
o Gubernatorial Appointee, then Chair of the CAC of the Chesapeake Bay Commission
o Member of the White House Committee–Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable on Indicators
o Chair of the PA AML Campaign—reauthorization of this fund took place on Dec. 9, 2006 bringing $1.4B to Pennsylvania for historic mine reclamation.
Dawes is the author of a research paper on the value of planted riparian zones resulting in the funding of the largest privately funded initiative for streamside planting in the state.
Dawes graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a M.Ed. Since 1970, he has owned and managed a purebred Angus farm in Huntingdon County where conservation practices have been implemented, including streambank fencing, forest stewardship planning, a 10kw windmill for electric power production, and spring development using photo-voltaic panels. The farm won the 2007 Governor’s Award for Conservation.
Branden S. Diehl, Grants and Project Consultant
Branden S. Diehl is a 2001 graduate of Juniata College with a major is geology, environmental studies, and surface water hydrology, and having a minor in politics. He was a two-term AmeriCorps member serving a seven county nonprofit. In that position he managed nearly $3.5 million in projects, including a SuperFund site. In 2004, he started Earth Wise Consulting where he assists both for-profit and nonprofits with project development, funding and implementation. Branden’s clients received nearly $3 million in stimulus funds—one client received $2.2 million for the construction of a LEED certified fire station. Branden’s passion for the environment is used at the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, where his firm assists with grant writing for the Foundation and management of their small-grants program. He is currently overseeing a regional effort that aims to combine several mine pools into one with the resultant outcome being a $12 to $15 million treatment system. This project will result in the restoration of 35 stream miles to a fishable status. This project is part of a $3.5 million settlement fund, for which Branden is serving as a grant and project manager. In his spare time, he serves as the Public Information Officer and is a Pennsylvania certified firefighter at the Saxton Volunteer Fire Company. He is a proud recipient of his Eagle Scout Award, a Top 100 finalist in the Volvo For Life Awards, and recipient of the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service.
Teresa Grissinger, Administrative Assistant
Teresa Grissinger has served as the Foundation’s Administrative Assistant for nearly four years. Her prior banking experience provides assistance in developing budgets, managing office expenses, and tracking expenses. The skills she developed as an owner and operator of a home day care, assists her in event coordination, scheduling, and time management.
Growing up on a farm, Teresa has a passion for the environment, and enjoys the outdoors. She feels privileged to work on environmental issues, and likes ensuring her grandchildren and future generations will have cleaner water.
In her spare time, Teresa enjoys helping people find their ‘perfect house’. As a state-certified realtor, Teresa enjoys the challenges and demands of the real estate sector. The mother of three children, Teresa also enjoys spending time with her 11 grandchildren. She’s a fantastic cook, and loves traveling, camping, and is in the process of returning to her childhood roots by buying a new home with the hopes of developing a farmette.
Andrew Heath, Renew Growing Greener Coordinator
Andrew Heath has served as executive director of Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener Coalition since 2010 and brings a wealth of leadership experience – both in the public and private sectors — to the organization.
Prior to joining the Growing Greener Coalition, Andrew handled marketing strategy, media relations and event planning for the office of Jonas & Anne Beiler, philanthropists and founders of Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels. He also successfully managed the campaign of State Sen. Mike Brubaker and later served as executive director of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County, winning all 15 countywide races in 2007.
In addition, Andrew previously worked as a banquet director for Crown Plaza Valley Forge/Liberty Conference Center, where he trained and developed a staff of more than 50 employees and helped implement a strategic plan for the property, which included 24,000 square feet of meeting space that averaged $175,000 of business a month.
Under Andrew’s leadership, the Growing Greener Coalition has grown to become Pennsylvania’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and historic preservation organizations. Recently, the Coalition has led successful campaigns to ensure preservation funding in Act 13 and protect Keystone ’93 from being eliminated in the 2012-2013 state budget.
A Delaware County native, Andrew grew up exploring and enjoying Pennsylvania’s many natural treasures. He received his B.A. in politics from Messiah College and currently lives in Lancaster County.
Board of Directors
- R. John Dawes, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
- Brian Hill, RK Mellon Foundation
- Scott Roberts, former DEP Deputy Secretary of Mineral Resources
- Dr Neil Korostoff, Pennsylvania State University
- Michael Kane, The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
- H.W. (Skip) Wieder, Jr, Geisinger Foundation
- Andrew McElwaine, Heinz Endowments as Ex-officio