James Foster


EDUCATION: Environmental Resource Management, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

The President is responsible for implementing the organization's strategic plan, meeting requirements of the Board of Directors, and providing strategic input to advance the mission of the organization.


Erin Borgeson Castelli

Chief Operation Officer

EDUCATION: BA, French and Psychology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine

Erin has more than 20 years of experience in fundraising for non-profit environmental organizations. She grew up loving and exploring rivers, streams, lakes, and creeks in Minnesota, the "Land of 10,000 Lakes!"  She works with the Anacostia Watershed Society's president, board, and staff to build relationships and partnerships that raise funds to help achieve a swimmable and fishable Anacostia River.  She engages and seeks partnerships with individuals, corporations, foundations, governmental agencies, and various organizations. 


Steve Kinzer

Maintenance Engineer

DEPARTMENT: Operations

Steve works hard to keep things running smoothly at AWS and around the George Washington House. He has previously worked as a plumber, electrician, painter and carpenter and now brings his expertise to AWS.


Emily Conrad

Development Manager

DEPARTMENT: Development
EDUCATION: BA, Anthropology and Literature, American University, Washington, DC

Originally hailing from the Texas Hill Country, Emily first developed an appreciation for the environment and the outdoors while going on camping trips with her family as a child. She joins AWS as a member of the development team researching new funding streams and grant opportunities while helping to maintain AWS’s current committed relationships. Feel free to contact her if you have any questions on how you can support AWS’s critical work to restore the Anacostia Watershed.


Simon Plog

Administrative Manager

DEPARTMENT: Operations

Simon coordinates and manages financial accounts, payroll, and benefits; provides administration, and clerical support; participates in organization-wide efforts such as community events; and assists in proposal and report preparation. Before coming to AWS, he was owner/operator of a bookshop/coffeeshop. He also worked in contract management for 11 years at a Maryland based health consulting firm.


Mary Vasse

Director of Development

DEPARTMENT: Development
EDUCATION:MA, Regional/Environmental Planning, University of Pennsylvania
EDUCATION: BA, Urban Studies, Hobart & William Smith

Mary brings her perspective of fundraising as a partnership between donors and AWS. Her role in the Development Team is to build long-term partnerships with corporate and individual donors. Mary became a conservationist hiking, running, and climbing in her hometown mountains in Upstate New York. She is a fan of canoeing and has her sights set on canoeing from the Anacostia to the Chesapeake Bay. Her experience includes supporting river restoration and sustainable forestry as a grant maker and fundraiser. Contact Mary to become a part of growing the Anacostia Watershed Society’s good work.


Joanna Fisher

Manager of Volunteer Programs

DEPARTMENT: Development
EDUCATION: MA, Environment and Development, American University
EDUCATION: BA, Anthropology, Colby College

Joanna has worked on connecting people to their nearby nature in a variety of ways in several cities, and she is thrilled to be at the Anacostia Watershed Society as Volunteer Program Manager. In this position she has the opportunity to not only share these urban natural landscapes with others, but also provide people with hands-on opportunities to make a positive impact on the watershed.


Jorge Bogantes Montero

Stewardship Program Specialist: Natural Resources

DEPARTMENT: Stewardship
EDUCATION: BS, Natural Resources Management and Protection, Universidad Estatal a Distancia, San José, Costa Rica

Before coming to AWS, Jorge worked for six years in biodiversity conservation issues and natural resources management in Costa Rica. Since April 2009 he has been working with the staff of the Anacostia Watershed Society doing reforestation, wetland restoration, as well as other revegetation projects, and invasive plant management. To do this work Jorge leads volunteer events engaging watershed residents and the public in meaningful outdoor stewardship activities. Jorge also helps AWS's team of educators to teach people about conservation and restoration issues. Additionally, he supervises our stewardship interns from spring to fall. AWS's restoration programs improve habitat quality for many native plants and wildlife, as well as the outdoor experiences of hikers, joggers, bikers, and others using our shared parkland every day.


Masaya Maeda

Water Quality Specialist

DEPARTMENT: Public Policy and Advocacy
EDUCATION: BS, Chemistry, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Masaya came from Japan where he worked for the government in Mie Prefecture for 7 years. He is a chemical engineer graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo. In contrast to his AWS colleagues who engage in positive activities, like tree planting, wetland planting, and native species protection, Masaya is charged with a darker responsibility. He locates pollution, tracks it to its source, reports it to the proper authorities, and makes sure the issue is addressed.   Masaya also is our resident trash trap expert who not only builds traps to collect trash from entering the river but analyzes the trash to create the data and information to support our Advocacy department’s efforts to support passage of the District’s Bag Bill, styrofoam ban and bottle deposit initiatives.


Jo-Elle Burgard

Stewardship Program Specialist: Landscape Designer

DEPARTMENT: Stewardship
EDUCATION: BLA, Bachelors of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, LEED AP, ASLA

As a native from Southern Louisiana, Jo-Elle’s connection and commitment to the natural world and sustainability go hand and hand with her design approach to environmental  and community projects.   With over a decade of work in the field of landscape architecture, Jo-Elle looks forward to being part of a team for implementing low impact development projects in partnership with local communities throughout the Anacostia watershed.




Want to make a difference in your community and our world right away? Join our AWS family today!



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