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.

Denise Baker, Office Manager

Denise has more than 20 years of administrative, fundraising, marketing and communications experience working with environmental non-profits. She has served as Advancement Director for the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and as Assistant Development Director at the Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana’s largest environmental organization. Denise launched Monitor, Indiana’s environmental magazine. She also served as Assistant Editor of Whisper in the Woods nature journal. She enjoys hiking, photography, kayaking, talking to sunflowers and gazing at rivers for hours on end. Denise is the author of Eat the Apple, a book of poetry; her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals. Denise graduated cum laude from Indiana University with a double-major in Journalism and English. She puts those communications skills to work protecting our rivers and forests.


Richard D. Archeski

Richard Archeski graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.S. Fish & Wildlife 1978 and in 1989 received B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Richard’s previous employment included toxicity research on fish and aquatic invertebrates for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, McDonnell Aircraft Company as an Electronics Engineer and U.S. Army at the Charles Melvin Support Center as an Environmental Engineer. Richard is currently employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District as an environmental engineer conducting water quality monitoring, environmental assessments, pollution control studies, and project management for environmental work. Water quality monitoring is conducted on local Corps owned lakes and major rivers in the St. Louis area.

Richard has served on the committee to incorporate the city of Wildwood and assisted in the development of the city of Wildwood’s master and town center plans, and natural resource and tree protection ordinances. Richard also served on Wildwood’s first Planning and Zoning Commission and was recently re-appointed to that position in 2010. In addition, he is a member of the Pond Athletic Association board of directors and has been a Stream Team leader for twenty years. Rick joined the OSC Board in 1996.


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.

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.

Gary Crabtree

Gary Crabtree is proud to be a seventy-four year old native and life-long resident of the St. Louis /St. Louis County. After residing in the City of St. Louis for thirty-five years, Gary and his high school sweetheart bride made their single move from the City of St. Louis to the present address.

Indicative of his residency, Gary attended the historic Adams Elementary School, Roosevelt High School and Washington University.  He received a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Urban Affairs.

Vocational experience spans fifty-six years of participation in various aspects of City/Urban planning in the public and private sectors. Service in the public sector includes sixteen plus years with the City of St. Louis Planning Commission, nearly fifteen years in charge of the Current Planning Division of the St. Louis County Department of Planning, and most recently, nine years as Community Development Director with the City of Fenton. During the interval of service with St. Louis County and the City of Fenton, Gary was Vice President in charge of Planning with Fox &Cole an sequentially the Principal of Crabtree Consulting, Inc. for fourteen years before accepting a position with the City of Fenton.

Gary’s professional organization affiliations include: Charter Member of the American Planning Association (discontinued), Missouri Flood Plain Managers Association (City of Fenton), St. Louis County Department of Planning attendee to NAIOP, City liaison to Fenton Chamber of Commerce. Now retired, Gary has time to pursue his favorite recreational interest, golf and home woodworking, and enjoy frequent events with his wife, Charlene and family (actually a clan).

Kimberly Cuddeback - Secretary

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.

Margaret Culver

Graduate - Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (APP) Program - St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. MSW - George Warren Brown School of Social Work - Washington University in St. Louis. Leadership St. Louis – Class of 1995 – 1996. MS - Natural Resource Development -Texas A&M University. BA - Social Sciences - Colorado State University

She is presently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice.

Margaret’s volunteer commitments: Board Member of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIAMO) serving as Chair of the Education Committee and as facilitator of the BIAMO Support Group in St. Charles County.

Open Space Council Board Member since 1984 or 1985 (on and off the Board). Member of the Land Use Committee and presently on the Executive Committee as Chair of Marketing.

Co-Chair of a Bridges across Racial Polarization Group since 1996.
City of Weldon Spring in St. Charles County – for the past 25 plus years she has served as both an appointed and/or elected official in various capacities ranging from Chairman
of the Board of Trustees to Mayor – to Chairing land use plan – and is presently serving as a member of the Board of Adjustment which she has chaired in the past.

Margaret is married to Steve who is the Technology Administrator for Community School. Margaret and Steve have two grown children; their son Taylor lives in New

Jersey and is in an MBA Leadership Development Program with The Hertz Corporation and their daughter Maisie lives in LA and is an assistant to an executive producer on an ABC television show. Margaret enjoys her family, reading, painting, traveling, writing, her ponies and her dogs.


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 - 2nd Vice President

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


Donnie Greenwalt

Formerly on the Open Space Council staff, Donnie joined the Board of Directors in 2006 shortly after graduating from Maryville University.  He worked as an environmental consultant before taking his current position of Environmental Compliance Manager at Wallis Companies.

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!

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 Litzsinger

Bruce Litzsinger is a Manager in the Division of Environmental Compliance for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. In his current position, he manages a staff of 15 employees implementing several environmental compliance programs impacting customers of the District, including the St. Louis County Phase II Storm Water program, and the District’s Fats/Oils/Grease program. He is responsible for coordinating municipal implementation of a storm water management plan for 61 co-permittees in St. Louis County to comply with the Phase II storm water regulations and their MS4 permit. Bruce is also responsible for the District’s Regulatory Affairs Unit, providing technical assistance to ensure MSD’s compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations through the development and implementation of an environmental management system.

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.


Jim McHugh

Following his service as President of the University of Missouri's Board of Curators, James McHugh has dedicated much of his efforts to educational programs, the support of university based research and to community service. He is active in organizations that support these efforts, including service on the boards of the Council for Educational Advancement, the Center for Emerging Technologies, the Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis, and the St. Louis County Cable Television Education Commission.

Through his vision and commitment to advanced information technology, he has been instrumental in the creation of the network of Telecommunication Community Resource Centers throughout the State of Missouri and continues to advance telecommunication projects consistent with the interests of our clients and the community.

Mr. McHugh's work also involves extensive ties with businesses, universities and governments in Ireland and Japan. Through these ties, he has been successful in bringing together international enterprises for public policy planning and economic development, including the World Agricultural Forum, which sponsors the World Congress in St. Louis every two years. Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. provides legal support for these enterprises.

Steve Nagle - Vice President

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

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.

Richard Orr

Rich Orr has been the Camping & Paddlesports Buyer and Activities Consultant for Alpine Shop, Ltd, Kirkwood Rd. for 28 years.  Rich graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis in 1982.

Rich has been actively involved in promoting camping, paddling, caving, hiking and preserving open space through his work at the Alpine Shop, Sierra Club, OSC, and National Speleological Society. In decades past he was heavily involved with various groups fighting the Meramec dam and in stopping lead mining proposals for the Irish Wilderness and later in Conservation areas near the Current River. His main environmental concern has been, and remains, the tendency of Federal, State, and local governments to want to close and/or sell parklands when their budgets become strained.  Rich has been a member of the Board of Directors for several years.

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.  

Jim Pona

Jim Pona Graduated with a B.A from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1970.  In 1978 Jim earned a M.A. from St. Louis University-Center of Urban Programs.  Jim has a consulting practice providing planning and zoning services in the St. Louis area. His work includes planning greenways, trails and other bicycle facilities.  Prior to his present position as Principle of James Pona & Associates, he served in the following capacities:  Project Manager, Horner & Shifrin, Senior Planner for the Community Development Agency, Special Projects Manager at St. Louis Development Corporation, and Director of Planning for Gateway Trailnet.                                           

Jim is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the American Planning Association (APA), and is a Past President of the St. Louis Section of the APA.  In addition, he is a Co-Founder of Gateway Trailnet, Inc.  Jim has been a member of the Open Space Council since 1992.  He is married with three children and is an active cyclist.

Robert Rubright - Past President

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.

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.

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.


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