Cortney Worrall, Senior Regional Director, Northeast Region
Cortney came to NPCA from New York City’s Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, where as Chief Operating Officer she established a hallmark program to reform waterfront permitting, facilitated community involvement and developed waterfront policy for the award-winning New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, spearheaded the development of the first waterfront edge design guidelines for the New York-New Jersey Harbor and waterfront, and oversaw the tripling in size of the organization and its board.
Cortney has worked in the environmental field for more than 17 years. She began her career as an environmental specialist in state and federal storm water regulations, eventually working with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to form the only environmental organization charged with protecting one of Delaware’s most rapidly developing watersheds. After moving to New York City, she served as Executive Director of the Coastal Marine Resource Center in Brooklyn, developing beach clean-up programs at Gateway National Recreation Area’s Jamaica Bay and starting the first public fishing programs using large nets on the beach under the Manhattan Bridge.
Cortney represents NPCA as a member of the Regional Plan Association’s Parks and Landscapes Working Group, ensuring that parks and open spaces are prioritized as vital regional infrastructure in the face of NY/NJ/CT’s intense development and rapid population growth.
An accomplished athlete, Cortney is a former competitive swimmer and water polo player, and a once-in-a-while tri-athlete and soccer player. Cortney holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in public administration and environmental policy from Columbia University. She serves on the board of the friends group for the third largest public park in New York City, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, and is on the board of Fireboat John J. Harvey. She has a personal interest in ecology, conservation biology, ancient human history, societal responses to climate change, and is the mother of two growing girls.
Oliver Spellman, Director, New York State and New Jersey
Oliver Spellman brings NPCA’s Northeast team decades of innovative urban park renewal experience, having worked in, revitalized, and directed parks departments in three major cities around the country. He directed the Urban Park Service for the City of New York Parks & Recreation Department, focusing his attention on the expansion of the Urban Park Rangers, the environmental education arm of that city's park department. Oliver later assumed the position of Borough Parks Commissioner for Queens and expanded his environmental education programmatic focus to include urban forestry, park protection, and community-based partnerships.
His parks career also includes stints as Parks Director in Cleveland and Houston, where he continued building public awareness about urban park issues, environmental conservation, and the value of open, green space in non-traditional community settings. Oliver was responsible for coordinating the completion of a $700 million parks master plan for the City of Houston. His involvement included traveling to London, Paris, and Amsterdam to study their "best practices" used to plan park systems in cities with unbridled growth. The Houston City Council adopted the comprehensive parks master plan for implementation in 2000.
Oliver brings a broad sense of American history and political processes to this team. He holds a Bachelors degree in American Studies from St. Michael's College and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University Law School. Prior to his urban park career, Oliver taught law for several years in the criminal justice department of Alabama State University, Montgomery.
Timothy Leonard, Northeast Regional Coordinator
Joining NPCA in 2014, Timothy serves as the Northeast Regional Coordinator. Timothy spent his youth in the Hudson Valley, where frequent camping and hiking trips with his family resulted in a lifelong interest in environmental conservation. After graduating from Vassar with a B.A. in Urban Studies, he worked at a New York-based law firm while continuing to explore his particular interest in nature’s ongoing battle with urban development. Timothy is thrilled to be working in support of our national parks and historic sites and looks forward to getting even better acquainted with regions across the country.
In his free time, Timothy enjoys singing, playing in several recreational sports leagues, and in the summer can usually be found at New York’s Gateway National Recreation Area or Fire Island National Seashore.
Elizabeth A. Bowler, Northeast Program Manager
Elizabeth Bowler joins NPCA following five years of professional experience working with diverse populations in the design and preservation of parks and public spaces. After growing up in Oakland, CA, influenced by both inner city dynamics and treasured places like Big Sur, CA, she received a bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from UC Davis and a Master’s in Environmental Systems Management from Pratt Institute. Her professional experience includes serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in East Oakland, leading adults in forest restoration and park maintenance efforts through a green jobs training program with the New York City Parks Department and supporting the civic improvement projects and urban gardening work of 18,000 national volunteers with The Garden Club of America.
During her time at NYC Parks, she was also a Project Manager for a green roof installation and research project financed by the NY State Attorney General’s Office and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This study was designed to evaluate the ability of green roofs to capture and retain stormwater, which directly impacts the frequency of combined sewer overflows that are contaminating local communities throughout New York City. Elizabeth is thrilled to join the NERO team and employ her background in design, systems thinking and social justice to protect natural and historic places for the benefit of all people.
Lauren Cosgrove, Northeast Senior Coordinator for Find Your Voice
Lauren started working with NPCA in October 2014 to build a network of advocates who stand together and use their voice to protect and improve the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. Since then, she has joined NPCA’s Northeast Regional Office full time to continue to engage and train passionate Jamaica Bay Advocates and extend NPCA’s Find Your Voice initiative to other Northeast parks.
Lauren spent the majority of her life on the East Coast, exploring green urban spaces, open coastline and vast mountain ranges in NY, CT, MA and VT. Lauren obtained an Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Studies from Saint Michael’s College and has gone on to work for a number of non-profit land conservation organizations across the country. She grew her love for national parks by working on-the-ground with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in places like the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park and educating urban youth with Student Conservation Association at Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn, NY.
Joining as the newest member of the Northeast Regional team, Lauren is eager work more closely with community groups, NPCA and NPS to educate, engage and empower the next generation of national park advocates in New York and beyond.