Staff listed in order of hiring date.
Andrew Loza | Executive Director
Andy Loza has served since 2000 as executive director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association where he leads public policy efforts, develops technical guidance, and implements technical assistance and education programs. His initiatives include development of ConservationTools.org and its collection of model legal documents and technical guides. His work is informed by seven years as a land trust executive director and leading land use planning, environmental, conservation, economic development, and trail initiatives for county government. He holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Lehigh University.
In his spare time, Andy enjoys gardening, reading, and defying the aging process in the gym. Among his top passions are eating and music. He’s the proud father of two teenagers. He bicycles to work because he can and it’s good for the planet, his wallet, and his physical and mental health.
Carol Grayshaw | Education and Office Coordinator
Carol Grayshaw has been with the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association since April 2016. Her primary duties include the planning and administration of PALTA’s various educational programs. Other administrative duties include the management of the Conservation Easement Assistance Program (CEAP), database maintenance and support, and providing direct assistance to PALTA members. Prior to her work with PALTA, she spent six years as the Coordinator of Children’s Programs for the Wayne Art Center, a nonprofit community art center on Philadelphia’s Main Line. She holds a BFA degree in fine metals from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
The majority of her spare time is spent with her husband and two sons, exploring the area and enjoying the ample parks and green spaces available. Other interests include making jewelry, reading, gardening, and volunteering at her local library.
Sara Painter | Director of Outreach and Development
Sara joined the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association staff in May 2019. Her roles include outreach to Pennsylvania conservation organizations, developing community partnerships, managing donor relations, and grantwriting. She is a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and a leader for The Climate Reality Project. She graduated from West Chester University and studied writing at the University of Iowa.
Prior to joining PALTA, Sara served as director of marketing and development for French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, where she led fundraising activities for land conservation in northern Chester County. Sara has also worked for the Los Angeles Stage Alliance and The Colony Theatre Company in Burbank, California.
Sara is very active in the arts scene in Media, Pennsylvania and is president of the Media Arts Council Board of Directors. Sara enjoys boating, swimming, playing the drums, and Seinfeld trivia. Her love for land preservation came from spending summers on her grandparents’ corn farm in rural Ohio. Sara is also a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Dramatists Guild. You may have seen her in the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith or in Pennsylvania Lottery commercials with Gus the Groundhog.
Emily Best | Director of Advocacy
Emily Best joined PALTA in November 2019. She helps carry out PALTA’s public policy agenda, from researching issues to advocating for conservation in the halls of the Capitol. She also plays a key role supporting the Growing Green Coalition (of which PALTA is the managing partner).
Prior to joining PALTA, Emily worked on the auditor general’s communications staff, particularly on environmental matters; managed an agricultural co-operative; and apprenticed on an organic vegetable farm. She served in the Peace Corps in Senegal and holds degrees from American University and University of Pittsburgh
Outside the office, Emily is active in the local food scene and local politics. Her hobbies include reading, writing, cooking, and spending too much time on Twitter. She spends her time with her partner and their children, a toddler son and two middle-school aged stepdaughters.
Hilary Hirtle | Communications Specialist
Hilary Hirtle joined the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association in February 2020. She writes, researches, and edits a wide variety of communications materials and educational resources, manages PALTA’s online presence, and spearheads projects to better tell the story of conservation.
Before moving to Harrisburg, Hilary was involved in communications initiatives for a number of environmental organizations within her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University, where she majored in Creative Writing & English, and she is currently pursuing an MA in Biology from Miami University.
When she’s not working, Hilary enjoys spending her time writing, reading, and going on hikes with her dog, Cooper.
Irina Beal | GIS Analyst
Irina Beal joined PALTA in February 2020. She creates, improves, and analyzes spatial data to support conservation-related efforts across Pennsylvania. Her many geographic information system-based projects include updating and improving PALTA’s statewide database of privately and publicly conserved lands.
Prior to PALTA, Irina worked on living shorelines and shoreline monitoring projects in NJ and DE where long-term in situ data were collected allowing for trend analysis and calculating volumetric changes. She has her M.S. in Geology with a focus on Geomorphology from Temple University and her B.S. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maine, Orono. She is well versed in field work, braving talus and scree slopes, ephemeral spits, and pluff mud.