Staff


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.

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Stephen J. Grant - Operations Manager

Stephen is the operations manager for the New Haven Land Trust, helping to keep the office running smoothly. Stephen is a New Haven native with a passion for the arts and outdoors. Following his communications studies at Southern Connecticut State University, Stephen worked for local non-profits and start-ups. He is also a writer that has appeared in many well-known online publications including the HuffPost and Paste Magazine. In 2014, Stephen moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he worked as a freelance writer/photographer, English coach and recording artist. In 2016, he self-published his first book and produced the documentary "AFRO BRASIL" for Vann R. Newkirk II and Josie Duffy Rice's media site Seven Scribes. In his spare time, Stephen loves to create music under the moniker Radio Stevie and camp at national parks.

 

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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. 

 

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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, when she isn't tending to either of her parents' gardens, Esther might be reading in a hammock or eating tacos at Long Wharf. 

 

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Cori Merchant - Schooner Camp Director and Preserves Coordinator 

Cori is the Preserve Coordinator and Schooner 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 playing competitive adult kickball in leagues around New Haven and Hartford and traveling to kickball tournaments throughout the US.
 

 
 
Sadilka Lopez Roldan - Growing Entrepreneur
 
Sadilka is seventeen years old and a junior at Wilbur Cross High School. When she grows up she wants to be a lawyer, chef, or photographer. She worked for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and the Land Trust for one summer before joining the Growing Entrepreneurs, where she hopes to gain gardening and business skills. Sadilka loves all fruits and one vegetable: the potato.

 

 

 

 

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 Abuhatab - Growing Entrepreneur 

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 

Nayeli Cruz is a Junior at Wilbur Cross. She is in the Honors Academy. She plays volleyball in the New Haven Volleyball Academy. This is her first job. She wants to study criminal justice at Yale University. One of her ideas for this job is to grow tomatoes as a small business and sell them. She is excited to learn from the job how to be a respectful, responsible, good employee. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nina Javier - Growing Entrepreneur 
 
Nina Javier is a Junior at Wilbur Cross. She hopes to one day open her own business or work with animals. She is working with the Land Trust to gain business and agricultural skills.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kenny Delgado - Growing Entrepreneur 
 
Kenny is a 17-year-old and a Junior attending Metropolitan Business Academy. He wants to be a trauma surgeon in the military or if his plans don't go as planned he would want to become a firefighter and pursue a fire chief position. He wants to learn more about business management skills. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Camila Mendes - Growing Entrepreneur 
 
Camila Mendes is a 16-year-old Junior at High School in the Community. After graduating, she plans to go to art school or become a police officer. The Land Trust sparks inspiration and ideas on future artworks and has taught her responsibility and leadership skills. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frank Lopez - Growing Entrepreneur 
 
Frank Lopez is 15 years old and a sophomore at Eli Whitney. In school, Frank studies the trade of being an automotive technician. He is very happy to be working with the New Haven Land Trust.
 
Cristofer Montano - Growing Entrepreneur 
 
Cristofer Montano is a sophomore at High School in the Community. He is interested in joining the armed forces after graduation to help the country. He plays soccer and basketball in his free time. Cristofer has previous agriculture experience working on a farm with his father and brother. 
 
Alanis Allen - Summer Intern 
 
Alanis is a summer preserves intern for the New Haven Land Trust. She is from Brooklyn, New York where she grew up exploring the many city parks there. Currently, she studies environmental studies and economics at Yale and is particularly interested in climate change policy. In her spare time, she enjoys biking around New Haven.

 

 

 

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Nina Campbell - Summer Intern 

Nina is a community gardening intern with the New Haven Land Trust. She grew up in Washington, DC, and is majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale. Nina has always loved learning about and spending time in the outdoors and enjoys tide pools, salt marshes, all kinds of animals, and most vegetables. She has worked at the Yale Farm in the past and is very excited to get more familiar with New Haven and its green spaces this summer. 

 

 

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Adriana Colon - Summer Intern

Adriana is an intern working primarily in the New Haven Land Trust's nature preserves. She is from Puerto Rico and now lives in Connecticut, studying environmental science at Yale University with a concentration in urban sustainability and conservation. While in school she works for the Yale School of Forestry and as a manager for her college's student diner. Both in her work and personal activism she aims to bring intersectional awareness to contemporary environmentalism.

 

 

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Kevin Zhang - Summer Intern 

Kevin is joining the Land Trust this summer as a preserves intern. He was born and raised in Nebraska but lived his high school years in Beijing, China. Now, he attends Amherst College and is deciding between paths in Environmental Studies, Economics, and Psychology. Kevin has a strong passion for addressing environmental issues of all sorts but has a keen interest in the future of renewable energies. He’s thrilled to learn everything he can about our communities and organization this summer!

 

 

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Anna Thurston - Summer Intern

Anna is excited to be working with the New Haven Land Trust as a community garden intern. While she calls many places "home," she credits Salt Lake City, Utah for her love of mountains, national parks, and deer who loved to eat the tulips in her garden. Currently, Anna is pursuing two master's degrees at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Divinity School's Institute of Sacred Music, where her research centers on spiritually-driven environmental ethics and artistic practices that engage with the natural world. In addition to her experience in the arts, interfaith dialogue, and environmental justice, she enjoys her own community garden where she is learning to love the New Haven squirrels who eat her tomatoes. 

 

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