Staff

Betsy Aiken – Executive Director

Betsy studied at the University of Pittsburgh for a B.A. in English Literature and an M.B.A. in Operations Research.  Betsy’s experience includes managing Quality Assurance for a precision manufacturer, serving as Chief Administrator for the Municipality of Murrysville, and work at a strategic planning consulting practice.

Betsy has served on Murrysville’s Parks & Recreation Commission, the PA Trails Advisory Committee, the boards of the Westmoreland Conservancy and the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, and as a founding member of Friends of Murrysville Parks and the Murrysville Trail Alliance.  She serves on WeConservePA’s Policy Advisory Committee and the Citizen’s Advisory Board for Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation.  Betsy and her husband Arvind Paranjpe live in Murrysville.  In her free time she enjoys travel, gardening, hobby farming, and spending time outdoors.

 

Brian Jones – Manager of Operations

Brian worked as the Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Western PA Conservancy for many years.  He has extensive knowledge of land management and bird, plant, and animal life.  He most recently managed the physical facility for the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

Brian has been a member of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association (LWA) since 2014, and currently serves on the LWA board and the LWA Land Stewardship Committee.  He is a resident of Latrobe with his wife Cindy and twin daughters Mackenzie and Madelyn.

 

Paula Purnell – Coordinator of Educational Programming

Paula Purnell, D.Ed., brings years of experience in educational research, project development and assessment, environmental education, and arts integration to the Westmoreland Land Trust.  Dr. Purnell maintains Sense of Place Learning, LLC to raise awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the unique ecology, history, heritage and artistic works of the places in which we live.  Paula served as an Assistant Professor in the Professional Studies in Education Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Paula is also an accomplished musician who has released eight albums of original music, including three Parent’s Choice award-winning children’s albums. With her band The NewLanders, Paula researches, records, and performs roots music of western Pennsylvania. She lives in Greensburg with her husband Bruce Adamson.