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 as 0ffice and project administrator since April 2016. Her primary duties include handling the organizations daily administrative tasks, as well as assisting PALTA members, providing program and education support, and researching special projects. Prior to her work with PALTA, she spent six years as the children’s educational program coordinator 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.
Nate Lotze | Director of Communications
Nate Lotze joined the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association in 2016. He 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, he managed an organic vegetable farm in North Carolina and organized grassroots support for climate change policy in Ohio. He graduated from Kenyon College, where he majored in English and was captain of the baseball team.
When he’s not working to protect public lands, he enjoys them by hiking, biking, and paddling. Ask him about the Oxford comma.
Josh VanBrakle | GIS Specialist
Josh joined the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association in January 2018. One of Josh’s many tasks is to establish a statewide GIS database of privately conserved lands and develop a system for keeping it current (while minimizing any administrative burdens for land trusts). Before joining PALTA, Josh worked as the research and evaluation forester at the Watershed Agricultural Council, a land trust in upstate New York, where he managed the forest stewardship website MyWoodlot.
When he isn’t working, Josh enjoys writing. He is the author of five books, including two for landowners on managing their woods and enhancing wildlife habitat. He also enjoys hiking, kayaking, and taking nature photos with his wife and daughter.
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.