Open Space Council STL

Staff & Board


Katherine "Kat" Dockery, Executive Director -
A passionate conservationist, Kat has spent years working with non-profits focused on encouraging every generation to get outdoors and explore careers in conservation.  Raised in rural Clarksville, Missouri, a small town on the Mississippi River, Kat was exposed to the great out-of-doors at an early age and quickly became interested and passionate about conservation of land and waterways.  While pursuing a BA in Communication and photography, Kat traveled to SouthEast Asia, Western Europe, and Mexico and then returned to St. Louis to receive her MA in Media Communication from Webster University in St. Louis.  She is an active volunteer and committee member with several local, state, and international organizations including the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Young Non-Profit Network, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the National Wildlife Federation and UrbanHarvestSTL.  Kat previously served as the Director of Development and Programs for The Open Space Council.


Davis Biggs, Jr. - President

Davis Biggs, Jr. has been a practicing attorney in St. Louis since 1976; he is now semi-retired. Tad is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Missouri in Columbia Law School. He has been a member of the Open Space Council and its board for nearly thirty years, and is a past secretary and president.

Celia Bouchard

Celia retired recently after a career as a librarian.  Career highlights were managing the telephone reference department at the St. Louis Public Library and managing libraries at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute and for a law firm.  Her last position was at the Forest Park campus of St. Louis Community College. In the environmental realm, Celia worked as a consultant for the Environmental Support Center in the late 1990’s.  Her task was to assist environmental organizations along the Mississippi River learn to use the Internet and email to further their missions.  She was also instrumental in the founding of Trailnet and was active in the organization for many years.  With retirement she hopes to become further involved in OSC’s projects.

Joe Brinkmann

Joe Brinkmann is an architect with Trivers Associates and holds memberships in the American Institute of Architects, the US Green Building Council and Focus St. Louis. He is interested in serving on the OSC Board because he has been a volunteer with Operation Clean Stream since the mid 80’s. He loves the river and wants to help preserve this important resource. The resources and/or skills he brings to the board are good communications, a network of contacts, a strong work ethic, construction background and a sincere passion for the mission. He is interested in serving on any committee that needs his help. Kat nominated Joe.

Jerry Castillon

Jerry Castillon is in his 52nd year of teaching Biological Sciences. Jerry received his BS & MS from University Of Missouri. Since then he has taken courses & workshops at many Universities and through numerous programs. Currently, Jerry teaches several courses at St. Louis Community College at Meramec.

He has been on the Board of the St. Louis Audubon Society and is active with them on a regular basis. He has been volunteering at the Shaw Nature Reserve for at least 12 years received recognition at an Appreciation Dinner at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in 2009. Jerry is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Conservation Federation of Missouri. He has been on the board of the Open Space Council for over nine years and received their Director's Award in 2008. Jerry has been active in Operation Clean Stream for about 32 years.

In his spare time, Jerry likes to bike & hike.  He also does nature photography, sometimes while hunting or fishing.  Jerry is passionate about interacting with nature and watching young people learn. Jerry has been married to his wife, Linda, for 41 years. They have 2 children and 4 grandkids.

Susan F. (Flicky) Christie - Secretary

Flicky is a retired World Language teacher, having taught 23 years in the Rockwood School District at the middle school level.  She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.A. in French and Spanish.  Her husband, Dan, is the owner and President of Metropolitan Forestry Services, Inc., and she has worked in the business off and on for 30 years, triggering a love of trees and flowers.  She is an enthusiastic gardener of flowers, vegetables and herbs both at home and at their Lincoln County farm.  Cooking and preserving the products from their gardens, raising chickens, antiques and travel keep her busy.  She also enjoys geo-caching, horseback riding and knitting.   

Kimberly Cuddeback – 1st Vice President

Kim is a self-employed small business owner running her own corporate food service & catering company, Extra Thyme. Extra Thyme became a certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association in 2011. 

She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture with a minor in Community Planning from Kansas State University.  Kim is the co-founder and organizer of the Maryland Heights Residents for Responsible Growth (MHRRG), whose main goal is to stop massive commercial development in the Howard Bend Floodplain adjacent to Creve Coeur Park. Kim joined the OSC Board of Directors in June 2009 and was elected Secretary in May.

Scott Emmelkamp

Scott is a principal at Planning Design Studio, a St. Louis based landscape architecture firm with its office located in historic Laclede’s Landing. In his 20+ year career he has provided design and project management services on numerous parks, greenways, theme parks, historic preservation and commercial projects both domestically and internationally. He is treasurer of the Missouri Association of Landscape Architects and is president-elect of the Fay Jones School of Architecture Professional Advisory Board. Scott graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Landscape Architecture and a minor in Art.  He is registered to practice landscape architecture in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Arkansas.

Linda Fenton

In 2000 Linda became actively engaged in preserving a historic quarry and vital wildlife habitat area from development in Kirkwood, MO.  Through this successful endeavor she came to work with the Open Space Council and joined the board of directors in 2001. She has served as board secretary and currently as 2nd Vice President and Chair of the Advocacy Committee.  She served 6 years on the City of Kirkwood Park Board, 4 as Vice President. Linda spent 25 years in senior management in the travel & incentive-motivation industry and retired in 2000.

Linda believes she is fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend considerable time growing up in close proximity to the Meramec River and Mark Twain National Forest and she would like to make these opportunities available for future generations through the preservation of open space and restoration of the Meramec River watershed.  Linda is a kayaker, lifelong gardener and lover of all animals and their natural habitats.

Marguerite Garrick

After majoring in Political Science at Washington University, Marguerite spent 25 years in Washington D.C. where she worked as a lobbyist for wildlife issues for several national conservation organizations. 

In 1998 she became the first Fundraising Coordinator for The Friends of The National Zoo. While there she helped coordinate their first major annual fund raiser: The National Zoofari. 

Marguerite moved back to St. Louis, her hometown in 2000. Since returning to St. Louis, Marguerite conceived and co-chaired the first Forest Park BioBlitz with Valerie Vartanian, then of MOBOT in 2004. They advised again in 2006, as they turned the event over to The Academy of Science. Marguerite is currently a member of several boards and commissions, all related to wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation.

Aaron Hipp

J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his PhD in 2009 from the University of California, Irvine. His dissertation investigated how the perceived and actual environmental quality within California State Beaches altered the visitor experience.

At Washington University, Aaron’s research, teaching, and service are grounded in the theories and scholarship of social ecology, environmental health, and social work and the inherent transdiscipline investigation of people-in-environment. His novel interests and approach lie with how place, specifically public built environments, affect people-environment interaction. His research asks how public built environments (parks, communities, streets) assist in the promotion and/or constraint of healthy community behaviors and health outcomes.

Aaron is currently the faculty advisor of the Environmental Justice Initiative, as well as on the Student Sustainability Fund committee. He serves on the Alliance for Biking and Waking Open Streets Project Steering Committee, co-chairs the Nature and Ecology Network in the Environmental Design Research Association, and is on the board of Perennial, a St. Louis social enterprise that works with diverse populations to creatively reuse and repurpose furnishings and eco-friendly goods. In his free time, Aaron loves exploring the open spaces of St. Louis with his wife and dog!

Jay Hoskins

Jay Hoskins is a Program Manager (Engineer) with MSD and previously served on the City of Eureka Parks and Recreation board. He is also an adjunct instructor in the SLU Civil Engineering program. He is interested in serving on the OSC Board because he cares about water resources issues and has demonstrated that he can lead and build consensus around common solutions. The resources and/or skills he brings to the board are understanding many of the partners the OSC works with and his experience in non-point source water pollution, which affect many of the issues/places OSC cares about. He is interested in serving on the Water Conservation Committee. Bruce Litzinger nominated Jay.

Bob Jung

A St. Louis native, Bob grew up on Affton. He attended the U. of MO at Rolla and graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He worked for IBM, Jung and associates, Inc., and currently the Vice President of Alliance Systems and Programming, a regional software and development and consulting firm in Fenton, MO.  Having a love for nature, Bob is committed to its conservation and wise use of natural resources. He has been involved for many years with outdoor and conservation organizations including the Open Space Council, Missouri Stream Team, and the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club.  He resides in Kirkwood with his wife Judy. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Laurie Knight

Laurie Knight is a solo attorney with an office located in Eureka, MO.  Laurie is a general practitioner and mainly practices in Franklin County, Jefferson County and St. Louis County and City.  She graduated from the University Of Missouri School Of Law in 2005. During her time in law school she worked on the Missouri Environmental Law and Policy Review Journal.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Laurie was a biologist and worked for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Laurie joined the OSC Board in 2008.

Bruce has 25 years of environmental experience working for utilities, and has been in management positions with the District for 15 years. He earned his M.B.A. degree from Lindenwood College and his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla.  Bruce joined the OSC Board in 2005. 

Becky McMahon

Becky is a project ecologist at DJM Ecological Services and holds a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology. She is interested in serving on the OSC Board because she strongly supports the mission of working collaboratively to conserve our land. She would like to be a part of the effort to protect and conserve our natural areas for future generations. The resources/skills she brings to the board are loads of field experience in all of MO’S natural communities, extensive plant knowledge and the drive to kill bush honeysuckle. She is willing to work to spark the same passion in the next generation of conservationists. She is interested in serving on the Land Conservation Committee. Kat nominated Becky.

Steve Nagle

Steve is Director of Planning, East-West Gateway Coordinating Council.  He is a native Missourian who recently returned to St. Louis.  Steve has been involved with planning and resource issues for the last 15 years.  He holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked as a policy and planning specialist and legislative liaison of Mo DNR.  From 1997-2000, Steve served as Director of Environmental Resources for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments.  Prior to that position he served five years with the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, as an Urban Interface Specialist.  Concurrently, since 1993, he taught at the college of The Desert.  Steve has been a member of the Open Space Council since 2001.

Gene Nickason

Gene is a retired executive from Konica/Minolta. He is an avid outdoor recreation enthusiast, including biking, canoeing, kayaking and hiking. Gene is an annual biker and fundraiser in the MS150.  He has been an Operation Clean Stream volunteer for many years. Gene joined the board of directors in 2009.

Ron Nuetzel

Ron spent several years with city planning agencies locally and out of state before joining the architectural field and later retiring as partner and principal in charge of planning and design. He continues work as an independent contractor working with various architects, planners and corporations on commercial and civic projects locally and nationally.
Community service includes several years as chairman of the City of Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Commission and later as the first Chairman of the City's Architectural Review Board. This service along with participation in the City's Facilities Task Force of 1991-92 helped to achieve renewal of downtown Kirkwood's commercial district. Neighborhood service includes seven years as President of the Board of Lakewood Hills Homeowners Association and continued community involvement as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Friends of La Barque Creek. Ron joined the OSC Board of Directors in May of 2010.

Mike Oppermann – 2nd Vice President

Mike is currently the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Webster Groves.  He volunteers with the Humane Society, the Open Door Animal Society, and is a member of the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association and the Rotary Club of Webster Groves.  He enjoys traveling, swimming, gardening, bicycling, and animals of all kinds.  Mike joins the board because he firmly believes in the mission of the Open Space Council.

Thomas Ott

Mr. Ott was born in St. Louis and grew up in Spanish Lake.  He graduated from Rosary High School in 1978.  He attended Florissant Valley Community College before transferring to the University of Missouri, Columbia where he received his undergraduate degree in Fish and Wildlife Management in 1982.  He later attended SIU – Edwardsville and has a Master’s of Science Degree in Environmental Studies.  

Tom has worked for St. Louis County Parks for over 25 years as a Park Supervisor, Program Services Manager, Park Operations Manager and as the Assistant Director for the past seven years. Tom took on the role of Acting Director in May, 2012.  During his career he has had the opportunity to work for Park agencies at the Municipal, County, State and Federal levels. Tom is a member of the Missouri Park and Recreation Association and has served on the Open Space Council Board since May, 2008.  

Robert Rubright

Robert Rubright, OSC board member since 1995 and board president from 1999 to 2011, is a journalist, teacher, marketing counsel to non-profit organizations, and cultural historian. He's written five books, the latest being Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, a look at the signature dishes and the cast of characters at 84 St. Louis area restaurants. Earlier, he wrote two hiking guidebooks, Walks and Rambles In and Around St. Louis (1995) and Weekend Walks in St. Louis and Beyond (2002). From 2008 to 2012 he was chairman of the board of the American Hiking Society in Washington, DC and remains on that board. He is a former assistant dean in the graduate program in health administration at Washington University School of Medicine where he taught pioneering courses in hospital-physician relationships and health and human services marketing.

Natalie J. Ruyle


Natalie graduated from University of Illinois University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 2010 and is now employed by Lewis, Rice & Fingershin downtown St. Louis.  Prior to attending law school, Ms. Ruyle worked for an ‎engineering consulting firm where she was responsible for planning, design, and construction ‎management of water and wastewater facilities. Clients also regularly sought her counsel on matters relating to funding. ‎Before working as a consultant, Ms. Ruyle worked for a design-build firm where she managed ‎construction of financial facilities, hotels, and health care facilities.

Some of her legal and corporate background includes Mandel Legal Aid Clinic Housing Initiative (September 2009-June 2010) and Summer Associate, Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, L.C.‎ (2008, 2009); Project engineer, Heneghan & Associates, P.C. (2003-2007); Project engineer, HBE Corporation (2002-2003).

James Sandfort

As a retired superintendent with the Lindbergh School District, James enjoys hiking biking, canoeing, and reading.  He has served as a board member for SSM Healthcare and Delta Dental of Missouri as well as volunteered with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Wiegand Foundation.  James joins the board with a desire to assist in preserving and protecting green space for future generations.

Scott Seddon

A Professional Engineer with 25 years engineering experience in both chemical process and equipment design. Graduated from University of Missouri with a BS Chemical Engineering.  Seddon works for BIS engineering, a full service Architectural, Engineering and Construction Management firm, and his position is Senior Engineering. He brings professional water treatments experience to The Open Space Council.

Elizabeth Simons

Elizabeth Simons is an Assistant Project Manager with Great Rivers Greenway and currently serves on the Live Well Ferguson events board and Americorps St. Louis Junior board. She also holds membership in the St. Louis Chapter of the American Planning Association and serves on the East West Gateway Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. She desires to serve on the OSC Board because she is interested in preserving and maintaining the region’s outdoor recreation resources for generations to come. The resources and/or skills she brings to the boards are event planning, newsletter content development and partnerships with public land owning agencies. She is interested in serving on the Land Conservation Committee. Aaron Hipp and Kat nominated Elizabeth.

Dennis Wilhelmi - Treasurer

Dennis Wilhelmi is a Certified Public Accountant with 30 years of financial management experience.  In 1997, Dennis started his own consulting business, Dennis D. Wilhelmi, Financial Management Consulting, providing “CFO Consulting” services to startup, emerging growth and troubled companies.

Before starting his business, Dennis was Chief Financial Officer of The Glennon Company, St. Louis, Mo. for nine years and before that spent four and a half years at DMB&B- St. Louis as Vice President-Financial Manager. Before his career in marketing communications, Dennis was a Senior Auditor with Deloitte & Touche. Dennis graduated from Missouri State University with a B.S. in Accounting and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1981. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has been active in various other industry organizations.


Newseltter Sign-Up

Sign up to receive OSC updates


earthshare GoodSearch: You Search...We Give! facebook twitter

P.O. Box 220011, St. Louis, MO 63122  |  314.835.9225
Copyright © 2010 The Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region
Designed by Illustrated Man