The Allegheny Defense Project has three employees to run its campaigns. Our Executive Director, is Ryan Talbott. Ryan was born and raised in the Allegheny National Forest. Born in Warren, he grew up in Marienville, Pennsylvania on the southern boundary of the Allegheny. Ryan got involved with ADP in 2000 when oil and gas development destroyed his favorite camping spot in the Salmon Creek area in Forest County. He has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology from Clarion University, a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and is currently attending Lewis and Clark Law School.
ADP’s Forest Watch Coordinator is Cathy Pedler, who served on the board for five years and last year took up her current role of heading up the ADP’s campaign opposing the industrial destruction on the ANF. Cathy Pedler was born in Abington, Pennsylvania and grew up in Poughquag, NY; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and Greenbrier County, West Virginia. She received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, and has studied Permaculture at Slippery Rock University, and Applied Intelligence at Mercyhurst College. She has worked as an archaeological researcher, sustainability coordinator, and intelligence analyst at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. She has been camping and hiking in the Allegheny National Forest since the mid-1990s and has been active with the Allegheny Defense Project (ADP) since 2003. Cathy says of her work,
“As an anthropologist, I find it fascinating the lengths the Forest Service will go to maintain an unsustainable and damaging level of extraction. It's our forest and they are giving it away. And I love Mary’s vegan date cake.”
Cathy works between Erie, PA, and Kane, PA with the Outreach Coordinator, Megan Rulli. Megan Rulli was first introduced to the Allegheny National Forest during her time as a student at Mercyhurst College. After learning of the extent of industrial extraction in the ANF, especially the severe damage caused by the oil and gas industry, she became involved in the Allegheny Defense Project. She thoroughly enjoys hiking and camping in the Allegheny and is actively pushing for recreation and preservation to become priorities for those managing the Forest. Megan also grows organic vegetables for Community Supported Agriculture in Erie, Pennsylvania. Of working for the ADP Megan says,
“I mainly try to convince people to believe in and fight for the existence of the Allegheny as an intact forest ecosystem. I’m going to transform Pennsylvania into a place that recognizes the inconceivable goodness of forests as one of those self-evident truths.”
Together, Ryan, Cathy, and Megan make up the staff of ADP. ADP also has a six-member Board of Directors which collectively represents 70 years of grass-roots organizing experience.