About

terrapin iconWHO WE ARE


The major factor that caused the degradation of our waterways is also now our biggest strength and hope for the future: PEOPLE.

In 2002, a committed group of local citizens came together to foster partnerships that would apply public and private resources to the challenge of reducing pollution in the Lynnhaven. That core group formed the nucleus of what has grown into an award winning river restoration project with over 8,000 members called Lynnhaven River NOW. “Now” because the work of restoring and protecting the beautiful Lynnhaven River is something that we can do NOW for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren. Over the years, our programs have grown to encompass the entire city with Pearl Homes, Pearl Businesses, Pearl Faith Communities and Pearl Schools in every watershed in Virginia Beach.

Our goal is clean and healthy Virginia Beach waterways and our objectives are:

  • To identify and reduce sources of contamination in our waterways; reduce nutrients, sediments and chemicals running off of our lawns, parking lots, roadways, farmland and out of our septic systems.
  • To educate and engage the community and partner organizations in restoring and protecting our waterways and natural areas.
  • To restore lost habitats such as oyster reefs, salt marshes,native plants, forests and other buffers that help to filter polluted runoff and protect our waterways and their marine life.

Become a member and get involved in this effort today.
Together we will make a difference!

Lynnhaven River Now

terrapin iconMEET THE TEAM

Karen Forget
Executive Director
When you grow up on an organic farm and then live on a sailboat in the Chesapeake for three years, it’s only natural to become an advocate for the environment. As Director of Lynnhaven River NOW since 2005, Karen gives the river a critical voice in public policy decisions from here to the State Capitol while inspiring our efforts to protect our natural resources and create clean and healthy waterways in Virginia Beach. With a Bachelor’s from Purdue University, a Master’s from the College of William and Mary and a Certificate of Non-Profit Management, Karen has enjoyed living in Virginia since 1976. She has four sons and three granddaughters.
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Helen Kuhns
Assistant Director and Pearl Programs Coordinator
Helen brings over twenty-five years of nonprofit experience in environmental and conservation education and outreach to Lynnhaven River Now as the Assistant Director and Pearl Programs Coordinator. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, focusing on environmental science from Christopher Newport University and has a Certificate in Non-Profit Management. A native of Tidewater and growing up in the Lynnhaven watershed, Helen believes that developing a personal connection to our natural resources is the first step in conserving our world for future generations.
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Terri Gorman
Office Manager and Event Coordinator
Terri Gorman is the Office Manager & Event Coordinator for Lynnhaven River Now. Terri attended Virginia Wesleyan College where she completed her liberal arts degree in Sociology and Studio Arts. Like her liberal arts degree, she brings a broad base of experience to Lynnhaven River Now. She has over 20 years experience in business sales, management and development. Along with years of experience in sales and event coordinating in the Arts. Born in the Appalachian Mountains and raised in a rural town in Connecticut, Terri has made Virginia Beach her home for past 25 years where she enjoys the beauty of the Lynnhaven. She credits her father for teaching her to respect and protect nature and the environment. In her spare time, Terri can be found creating art or walking her dog Daisy along the Virginia Beach waterways.
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Emily Hatfield
Communications Coordinator
Emily Hatfield is the Development and Communications Coordinator for Lynnhaven River Now. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, her weekends were often spent on the water, sailing with her parents in Deltaville, VA. Emily attended Old Dominion University where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Community Health.
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Alyssa Muhlendorf
Development Director

Alyssa’s number one job as the Development Director is to connect nature lovers in Virginia Beach to LRNow's excellent conservation, education, and advocacy work. Alyssa’s father was a geologist focused on environmental remediation, so her family lived around the U.S.: Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Washington state. She received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and graduate degrees from American University and Norfolk State. Coastal Virginia is her adopted home where she settled with her husband and two children just steps from the Chesapeake Bay. The travel bug bit her in college, and Alyssa endeavors to make it to the 7 continents in her lifetime (3 down!). She is continually amazed by the creatures she discovers while oyster, native plant, and butterfly gardening, and loves being part of the LRNow team that conserves these natural treasures.

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Jody Ullmann
Pearl Schools Coordinator
Jody Ullmann is always thinking about ways to get people outside and learning about our natural environment. Jody came to LRNow with vast experience as an environmental educator for our National Parks, at the Virginia Living Museum, through her own non-profit, Mud Puddle Science, and with the Master Naturalist Program. She is a dedicated educator and has successfully grown our outreach to teachers, students and families through our Pearl Schools Program.
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Dana Sizemore
Pearl Schools Program Assistant
Growing up in the Lynnhaven River Watershed, Dana Sizemore is a rare local in the area. Dana brings a broad and extensive background to the team including retail and office management to teaching preschool. She has served as Secretary for Surfrider Foundation, been an active volunteer with Surfer’s Healing, and helped begin an after school program at Cooke Elementary to educate children on organic and sustainable farming. When she’s not working with the team at Lynnhaven River NOW, Dana loves spending time with her husband Mark, daughters Zoe and Kai, and their two crazy dogs.
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Morgan Schmidtendorff
Pearl Home & Pearl Faith Coordinator
Morgan learned at a very young age the importance of conservation and protection of our Earth. She credits her awareness as a direct result of growing up in a small farming community along the banks of the St. Joseph River in Michigan. Morgan earned a bachelor's degree in organizational communications at Western Michigan University and continued to gain a variety of experience through marketing and event coordination. Her love of surfing, hiking, and biking blossoms as Morgan spends her free time exploring all the beautiful waterways Virginia Beach has to offer.
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Vince Bowhers
Pearl Business Coordinator

Vince Bowhers grew up outside of Boston and from an early age found joy in being on the water. Whether fishing for a six-inch brook trout or a six-foot billfish, riding in a kayak or on an aircraft carrier, if it involves the water, count him in. Following graduation from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in Oceanography, Vince became a Naval Aviator and moved to Virginia Beach, where he decided to stay after 35 years of service. Although he spent most of his career on sea duty, when at home, Vince studied the issues impacting our local waterways and volunteered countless hours supporting programs involving the stewardship of our local waters. In addition, he earned a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, taught military planning at Joint Forces Staff College, and worked in our local business community as a licensed financial advisor. Vince brings years of education, observation, and experience to Lynnhaven River NOW in his role as the Pearl Business Coordinator.

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Brent James
Oyster Restoration Coordinator
After a 27-year career as a Navy fighter pilot, Brent was a founder of an international cargo airline, Gemini Air Cargo, and subsequently of PEOPLExpress Airlines, as the VP of Operations with both. He lives on the Lynnhaven and has been active in environmental work for many years. His property has been designated as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat and has a residential oyster reef along the shoreline. His undergrad was at the US Naval Academy and grad school was at Harvard University. He is a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist and is the Founder of the Virginia Beach Notable Tree Program.
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Barbara Duke
Pearl Yards Coordinator

 Barbara Duke joined Lyynhaven River Now as a volunteer many years ago and now works on staff with our Sustainable Homes Program.  Growing up in a Navy family, Barbara has lived in several coastal towns and cities across the country and has chosen to settle in Virginia Beach mainly because of the ecological diversity in this area.  For over two decades, she worked in neighborhood and park planning,design and construction for the City of Virginia Beach.  Barbara is a strong community advocate for sustainability, ecosystem preservation and outdoor recreation.  She is a Virginia Beach Master Gardener and serves as a Director on the Board of the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Foundation.

terrapin icon2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Andrew Fine

  • Barry Frankenfield

  • Lillie Gilbert

  • Steve Herbert

  • Brent James

  • George Kotarides

  • Jan Dillard

  • Emily Steinhilber

  • Winston Bibee

  • Dave Jester

  • Harry Lester

  • Cathy Maston

  • Bob Miller

  • Craig Cope

  • Joan Spore

  • Robert Taylor

  • Gene Ross

  • Richard Serpe

  • Bob Wells

  • Karen Forget

  • Michael Barrett

  • Lisa Eure

terrapin iconUseful Resources

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