Lucienne Nicholson was always curious about the wonders in the natural world around her. Lucienne was born in Haiti where she spent most of her childhood summers on her grandmother’s farm, an idyllic setting which included an off-the-grid lifestyle absent of built roads, cars and noise pollution, dirty streets and crammed-up human beings in imposing architectural structures.
At sixteen, Lucienne immigrated to the United States with her parents and siblings. As she describes it, the loss of everything familiar was immediate and unbearable. Sadly and quite necessarily, many of these losses including childhood ties like extended family members, favorite school friends and familiar anchor places like her last physical dwelling place faded away overtime.
Through the years, the imprints of childhood summers spent in nature did not leave Lucienne. In fact, these memories grew larger over time becoming the bedrock of a resiliency she found nowhere else. “Nature,” writes Lucienne, “is the infinite teacher of everything I have ever needed to navigate my new country and from nature I learned to understand human beings including myself.”
At a young age, Lucienne made a silent promise to herself to one day create unimpeded and continuous access to nature for all of America’s children regardless of their socioeconomic standing, race, or physical differences.
But first, Lucienne focused on her education and raising a family. In the years since arriving to the United States, Lucienne earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Science with Distinction and a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Gender Studies, magna cum laude. Lucienne’s academic excellence is well documented; while doing graduate work at The College at Brockport -- SUNY, she was the first recipient of the Fannie Barrier William: Women of Courage Award and the 2015 New York State Adult Student Achievement Award. A McNair Scholar, Lucienne is also a Schumberg Fellow, a Byron Fellow and was honored as New York State Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of University Women, and the Women of Courage Award.
The call of nature grew stronger in recent years. Since moving to the Rochester area twenty years ago, Lucienne has been casually inviting close friends and family members to join her on joyful outdoor excursions. Part of the magic in these short, fun, easy hikes was that she was able to encourage a more diverse group of people to feel comfortable enjoying the spiritual, emotional and physical benefits of spending time in nature. In 2018, Nicholson joined together with a few friends to begin the process of starting a non-profit organization that could serve our community. Inclusive Woods and Us was formally created in early 2019.
Dionne Jacques, Board President
Jacques is Deputy Director of the Enterprise Center - Buffalo at Pathstone Corporation. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Lehman College and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Regis University.
Rebecca Russo, Esq., Vice President
Russo is Supervising Attorney at Legal Assistance of Western New York. She earned a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law.
David Riley, M.U.P., Treasurer
Riley is Senior Associate at the Center for Governmental Research. He has a Masters of Urban Planning from University at Buffalo.
Dahlia Watts, Deputy Treasurer
Watts is the Director of Finance at Brighton Central School District. She has a Masters in Education Administration from the University at Buffalo.
Ann Binstock, M.P.H., Secretary
Binstock is a Communications and Strategy Consultant. She has a Masters in Public Health from the Milken Institute School at the George Washington University.
Holly Brookstein, Assistant Secretary
Brookstein is Grant Writer at Pace Women’s Justice Center. She has a Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern.
Grequan Carter, Program Director, Leadership Development
Carter is Placement & Career Services Director at Pathstone Corporation. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy from the State University of New York College at Cortland.