Justin Elicker – Executive Director
Justin works to ensure that the Land Trust is advancing its mission of providing community gardening spaces, preserving open spaces and educating New Haven residents about the environment. Justin grew up in Connecticut and is an active member of the New Haven community, including running for mayor of New Haven in 2013. Justin is an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University and has worked as a sustainability consultant, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and a high and elementary school teacher. Justin received joint masters’ degrees from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Management in 2010 and a BA from Middlebury College in 1997. In addition to a passion for gardening Justin and his wife Natalie raise five chickens and a dog named Captain.
Alex Shaheen - Operations Manager
Alex is the operations manager for the New Haven Land Trust, helping to keep the office running smoothly. Alex has lived in New Haven for 12 years and enjoys being an active member of the New Haven arts community. After studying English at Albertus Magnus College, Alex worked as a substitute teacher prior to gaining her administrative and operations experience at an Engineering company. Alex prefers to spend her time outdoors and loves warm weather. In her spare time, Alex likes to garden, write poetry, camp, and create various forms of artwork.
Bradley Fleming - Community Garden Manager
Bradley oversees the Land Trust's 55 community gardens throughout New Haven. He is an Elm City native who has worked on farms both urban and rural, as well as numerous food access and community building projects. Most recently, Bradley managed the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm. He is passionate about healthy living and is excited to bring his knowledge and expertise back home to share with the New Haven community.
Esther Rose-Wilen - Garden Education Coordinator
Esther Rose-Wilen is a New Haven native with a degree in Environmental Science from Rutgers University. She has been volunteering with agriculture projects and community gardens since the 8th grade in Connecticut, New Jersey, Argentina, and Spain. She is incredibly excited to help manage both the Growing Entrepreneurs program and the Incubator Gardens program at the Land Trust. In her free time, Esther might be reading in a hammock, playing with her cat Miel, or eating tacos at Long Wharf.
Cori Merchant - Schooner Camp Director and Preserves Coordinator
Cori is Preserve Coordinator and Schooner Camp Director for the Land Trust. She comes from a background of over 15 years of working with youth in environmental, camp and recreational programming in eight different states. She grew up near Madison, WI spending much of her time outdoors and at her grandparent's dairy farm. She has a strong interest in helping others build a love of the outdoors and looks forward to spending her summers with the youth of Greater New Haven! When not working, she spends time with her dog, Chase, or playing competitive adult kickball in leagues around New Haven and Hartford and traveling to kickball tournaments throughout the US.
Anna Thurston - Part-time Project Coordinator
Xavier Hernandez - Growing Entrepreneur
Xavier is a Latino graduate of James Hillhouse High School. He is working hard to become a motorcycle mechanic, graphic designer, or engineer. He worked with the Land Trust for two summers before joining the Growing Entrepreneurs. Xavier loves all types of vegetables.
Rasha is sixteen and is a junior attending Metropolitan Business Academy. She wants to be a Registered Nurse or a Pediatrician. She has gained a lot of new and useful skills during her experience with the Growing Entrepreneurs such as carpentry, gardening, and business development skills. She loves all fruits and vegetables.
Carlos Veliz - Growing Entrepreneur
Carlos Veliz is 15 years old and a sophomore at Eli Whitney. In school, he studies the trade of being an automotive technician. During the time he has spent working with the New Haven Land Trust, he has learned many valuable skills and is happy to be part of the Growing Entrepreneurs team.
Brianna Chance - Growing Entrepreneur
Brianna is a 16-year old junior at Wilbur Cross High School. She is a classical musician, actress, vocalist, and enjoys the fields of science and English. She hopes to combine her interests in the future and attend college.
Nayeli Cruz - Growing Entrepreneur