Our Team

Kate Sayles, Executive Director ·

Kate joined the Council in 2021 as the new Executive Director. In this role, she will continue the Council’s legacy of advocacy work for land conservation and land trusts at the statehouse, and look for new and unique ways to assist land trusts with capacity building and programming that highlight conservation successes across the state.

For the last decade, Kate worked for the Northern RI Conservation District (NRICD) as Agriculture and Forestry Program Manager. In this position, she helped private landowners and small nonprofits solve conservation issues by utilizing funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), writing grants, creating partnerships and focusing on regional collaborations. Over the years, Kate wore many hats including farm manager at Snake Den Farm, facilitator of the Forestry for RI Birds Program (through the RI Resource Conservation & Development Council), and compost trainer/enthusiast. She also assisted in easement programs and land conservation deals through NRCS and Forest Legacy. Kate is the co-coordinator of the RI Woodland Partnership and in 2019 she co-authored The Value of RI Forests report.

Kate grew up in Rhode Island and graduated from the University of RI with a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology in 2008.

Shannon Dowling, Philanthropy Associate ·

Shannon joined the Rhode Island Land Trust Council in March 2021 as the Philanthropy Associate, supporting the development program. Previously she managed the membership program at the Preservation Society of Newport County. Born and raised in South County, she received her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from Western New England University. Shannon enjoys hiking with her family, especially at The Nature Conservancy’s Francis Carter Preserve and South Kingstown Land Trust’s Browning Woods Trail.

Candace Powning, Program Coordinator ·

Candace began working with the Council in 2019, organizing Land Trust Days, coordinating the RIWalks Challenge, running social media accounts, and producing a monthly eNews with resources for land trusts. Candace also serves on the board of the RI Tree Council and is staff for the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program. Her favorite places to walk are Scituate Land Trust’s Lawton Farm & Audubon’s Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge! Candace has a B.A. in American Studies and Hispanic Literature from Wesleyan University.

Malcolm Drenttel, TerraCorps Regional Collaboration/Land Stewardship Coordinator ·

Malcolm has been working on small, organic farms in Florida, New York, and Maine since graduating from Brown in 2018, but after exploring all around the country he couldn't resist returning to the Ocean State. He first fell in love with Rhode Island's lands back in the summer of 2016 while working on Southside Community Land Trust's Urban Edge Farm, and in the years since he has enjoyed countless weekends rambling through the fields and forests of this state's many land trusts.

He is shepherding the Council's GIS mapping program while also helping to build out plans for a state-wide volunteer corps to help land trusts & working to turn last year's Public Trust legislation into a real tool for protecting and conserving land.

©Copyright 2011-2016 RI Land Trust Council/TSNE