Board & Staff

Massena Nature Center Executive Director Tracy Thomas

Executive Director:

Tracy L. Thomas

Tracy Thomas is the Executive Director of The Nicandri Nature Center in Massena, NY. Prior to that, she was the Manager of Visitor Experience at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, where she spent ten years managing their 150 member volunteer program and visitor services. Tracy is a Certified Volunteer Administrator and has spoken at conferences on demographics in volunteering and on the up and coming field of virtual volunteering. When not teaching outdoor education, managing all the things, or working with volunteers, Tracy enjoys hiking, kayaking, adventure activities, and time with her dog, the incredibly goofy Cader.

Our Staff

Linda Besio

Linda Besio has worked in the environmental education field for 23 years, starting as a NYS Parks Recreation Aid. She began working for the Friends of the Robert Moses Park Nature Center in 2011, after a 2010 fire destroyed the State Park facility and original nature center. The replacement, Nicandri Nature Center (a NYSOEA Affiliate), opened in 2017 and is one of the gems of the North Country. Linda continue to work for the Friends of the Nature Center as a Naturalist and due to the pandemic, she has become very familiar with virtual programming.

Linda has lived in Massena, NY my entire life and really enjoy being outside no matter what season. She comes from a family of 9 children and spent most of my childhood living in a home surrounded by 4 acres of wooded land.

Linda is a “Mom” to an 11 year old chihuahua named Remington George, like most chihuahuas, has a big dog mentality. Love for the outdoors and the love of all animals makes this the perfect job for her.

Blair Cryderman

Blair Cryderman is the newest member of our team! She is a long time nature enthusiast who grew up running wild in the woods. Blair is a lifelong learner who enjoys podcasts and documentaries on wildlife and wild animal care. Though she majored in English Literature and Communications at SUNY Potsdam in college, Blair discovered her true passion lay in teaching.
Blair hopes to inspire education and appreciation in all the visitors she has the pleasure of interacting with and firmly believes the best way to learn is through fun and engaging activities. She looks forward to planning new and exciting programs for school groups and our NAP program.
A self proclaimed “fur mom”, Blair spends her free time reading with her cats or being dragged through muddy trails by her dogs.

Lucas Hanss

Lucas Hanss has worked at the Nicandri Nature Center for over two years. He learned outdoor
skills in his time in the Boy Scouts where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. His love of botany
and nature led him to intern at the WISER Center (Wagner Institute for Sustainability and
Ecological Research) at SUNY Potsdam for three years. At the WISER Center he learned how
to control various agricultural pests and greenhouse management.
After this he graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a bachelors in Environmental Studies and
biology. He is also a member of the Saint Lawrence County Environmental Management
Council where he advises the County Board of Legislators on environmental issues and laws.
Lucas’ favorite programs are Ice Age New York and Treerific Trees. In his free time he can often
be found gardening, hiking, and playing tabletop games.

Joel Danko

Joel Danko is a long time nature enthusiast who used to visit the old nature center when he was a child. He graduated SUNY Oswego with a bachelors degree in a science program.

Joel joined the nature center staff team in 2011 and served as the Facility and Trails Manager until early 2022. Now he works part time, helping us with big projects and programs, so that he can spend more time with his family now that he is a dad!

Joel’s favorite programs to teach are: swamp school, outdoor survival, and cross country skiing.

When not working, Joel loves outdoor activities including snowboarding, fishing, and canoeing. He also is a very involved paint ball enthusiast.

Noah Love

Noah Love is a senior at Massena Central High School. In high school, Noah is apart of the National Honors Society and the Spanish National Honors Society. Alongside those acknowledgments, he spends time in extracurricular activities that include performing in the school musicals, varsity baseball, and participating in a Wiffleball team alongside his friends.

Noah is a Part-Timer here at the Nicandri Nature Center. He enjoys to go hunting with his Grandfather, Uncle, and his Father, he finds enjoyment in fishing, and has a keen desire to learn more about the great outdoors.

Octavia Viskovich

Octavia Viskovich attends Le Moyne College and is studying Chemistry. Octavia has earned a spot on the Dean’s List during the semesters she has attended. She is also a Special Events Co-Chair on LSPB at Le Moyne College.

Octavia is a Part-Timer here at the Nicandri Nature Center and has been coming out to the Nature Center since she was younger. She is excited to be apart of the Nature Center crew and to learn more about nature.

In high school, Octavia was involved in many extracurricular activities that include President of Student Council, President of her graduating class, Varsity Basketball and Volleyball, and finished her high school career, top of her class, earning the spot of Valedictorian of her class.

Piper Auger

Piper Auger is a senior in high school and attends the Agricultural Studies Academy through BOCES.  She plans to continue her studies after graduation and go into diesel mechanics.

Piper is a Part-Timer here at the Nicandri Nature Center and she enjoys helping with animal care and doing nature crafts!

Outside of work Piper enjoys figure skating, coaching skating, and horseback riding!

Friends Board of Directors

Jocelyn Seavey-Perry

Vice President
Joanne Gustafson

Lee Harper

Betty Robillard

Miriam Morrow

Shelby Bero

Ed Harvey

Karen Bage

Linda Freiman

Alysse Ouimet