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.

[email protected]

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. 

 

alex.shaheen@newhavenlandtrust.org

 

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. 

 

 

[email protected]

 

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. 

 

 

[email protected]

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.
 

 

 

Anna Thurston - Part-time Project Coordinator

Anna is excited to be working with the New Haven Land Trust. 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.
 
 
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.
 
Sharric James - Growing Entrepreneur 
 
Sharric James is a junior theater student at Co-op High School. He has been volunteering with New Haven Farms for years and brought his experience with and passion for gardening to the Land Trust this summer. Sharric wants to go to the coast gaurd when he gets older and for college he wants to go to NYU for theater.