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  • About Rock Creek Conservancy


Matthew Fleischer, Executive Director


Matthew Fleischer was appointed as Executive Director/CEO of Rock Creek Conservancy in early 2014. He is dedicated to revitalizing the national treasures of Rock Creek Park - one of the largest Metropolitan parks in the world - and restoring its watershed so that present and future generations can enjoy this natural haven.

Matt brings a new energy to the Conservancy. He understands the value of partnerships, and his vision is that the Conservancy, along with other non-profits, government agencies, businesses, and the surrounding community, will together preserve the lands and waters of Rock Creek. Under Matt's leadership, the Conservancy continues to thrive, expanding its donor base and increasing its impact.

Matt holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Mary Washington and an MBA from the University of Maryland, Smith School of Business. Before his time with the Conservancy, he served as President/CEO of Hook & Ladder Brewing Company, a mission-based business he launched and grew to $7 million in revenue. Hook & Ladder donated a portion of every sale to a local firefighter burn foundation and hospital burn centers across the country. Matt also sat on the board of the Hook & Ladder Firefighter Burn Foundation, and was named one of the top 35 entrepreneurs under 35 in the Washington, DC area by BisNow.

An avid outdoorsman and nature lover, Matt can be found walking the trails of beautiful Rock Creek Park on any given weekend. He also enjoys hiking and backpacking in the wilderness, and the two months he spent backpacking through British Columbia and Alaska is one of his fondest memories. 

Matt lives with his wife, Sarah, their two young sons, and a beloved family dog in Kensington, MD, just outside the Park.

Michelle Kokolis, Director of Programs & Operations


Michelle joined Rock Creek Conservancy in early 2017. Previously, she was the Anacostia Executive Watershed Manager at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), where she provide technical support to the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership including identifying opportunities for collaboration, coordination, and more efficient implementation of restoration projects, Green Infrastructure practices. Michelle also led the Anacostia Trash Reduction Workgroup, which focuses on standardizing the methodologies used by the Anacostia jurisdictions to calculate and report their trash reduction efforts.

Prior to coming to the DC area, Michelle spent 7 years as the Watershed Restoration Project Manager for the James River Association in Richmond, VA, where she was responsible for establishing and maintaining diverse partnerships to implement innovative on-the-ground projects that address stormwater management, sedimentation, habitat restoration, land conservation and other issues facing the James River. She has also worked as an adjunct biology instructor at John Tyler Community College and a life science teacher for Chesterfield County Public Schools. 

Michelle received a Masters of Science in Biology with a concentration in Wetland Sciences from Old Dominion University and a BS in Biology from Susquehanna University.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Michelle grew up on the Allegheny River and has a life-long love of everything related to water. She enjoys spending her free time cooking and baking. When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her wandering around with her dog and taking pictures to support her fallback career as a nature photographer.

John Maleri - Program Manager: Volunteers, Outreach, and Restoration

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If John had a superpower, he’d be “Trail Man!” He confidently goes where few have been before, traversing all of Rock Creek’s trails, big and small! As of now, he’s finished Rock Creek Park and is coming for Montgomery County trails next! Next time you see him at a volunteer event, ask him a question. He wants to you to test his trail skills. His favorite trail in D.C.? Glover-Archbold Park.           

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Kate Arion, Development Manager for Special Events

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On picnics, Kate brings homemade chicken salad, crackers, and strawberries. She uses her Rock Creek super powers for good, by networking and connecting with potential partners and supporters. Having always been a nature lover, she puts her skills to work to restore Rock Creek to its full potential (and throw a Gala or two along the way.)               

Kate's RCC Haiku: 

From Maryland Shore
Granite brains from New Hampshire
Now explores Rock Creek

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Katy Cain, Communications Manager

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Katy is a biology geek with a passion for communications. 

Her background is varied, having worked with national parks, non-profits, and tech start-ups. Before joining the Conservancy, she served as the Visual Information Specialist with Rock Creek Park. There, she developed wayside exhibits and brochures, managed web and social media, and pushed for expanding the park's communications efforts through new technologies. 

When she's not working, you might find Katy traipsing through the forest searching for cool bugs and salamanders to photograph. Don't get to close, or she may make you hold her reflector! Despite her love of the woods, her favorite park in the D.C. area is Georgetown Waterfront Park because it is an excellent example of how green infrastructure can make a city beautiful and functional while keeping the urban ecology healthy.

Scott Einberger, Program Manager: Downspout Disconnect Program

Scott Einberger - Program Manager - History Nerd

Scott is an environmental history dork to the nth degree. As such, his Rock Creek superpower is time travel! His book, "A History of Rock Creek Park: Wilderness and Washington, DC” tells the story of Rock Creek Park and how it came to be the beloved park it is today. We think it’s fitting that he joined us to protect the very park he knows so much about. For the conservancy, he works to improve the water quality of "the national capital's creek” by disconnecting downspouts from the District’s combined sewer systems.

Scott's RCC Haiku: 

Rapids bridge view:
Whitewater creek, sycamore
Running water sound


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Stacey Norman, Office Administrator

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If Stacey was a body of water, she’d be the Caribbean Sea; her favorite outdoor spot in D.C. is Hains Point; and she loves a good concert out in nature. Her Rock Creek superpower is organization, keeping Rock Creek Conservancy in check so we can keep Rock Creek healthy.   

Stacey's RCC Haiku: 

Summer here again.
Music plays sweetly, drifting.
And life is renewed


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