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Our Board & Founders

Greetings from the ACES Board! We span different ages, backgrounds, countries and life experience. We share a passion for the health of our planet, our community and future generations. We believe that global issues start locally and we're committed to changing the world for the better, beginning right here at home. Please join us!

I am only one but still I am one; I cannot do everything but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.                                                                                                                      -J. Everette Hale
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Ellen Neumaier

Some things are inborn- my love for Nature, for one.  I have always preferred being outside with the creatures.  My parents took a picture of me as a bib-overall clad toddler, carrying a split-basket to collect rubber bands for reuse. Recycling wasn’t even a word then.


My university experience was with the arts, not science, yet when my late husband, Gerhard, started a world-wide environmental consulting firm, Ecology and Environment, Inc. in 1970, I instantly became a volunteer partner, interested in the most pressing environmental problems.


Through E&E, who employed scientists from Archaeologists to Zoologists, I've had the immense pleasure of meeting and attending conferences with many key scientists and world thinkers.  Though much of my scientific knowledge has been through “osmosis,” I have experts to consult.


ACES works to solve environmental problems in our community, which affects the rest of the world.

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Anita Conron

My mother was a woman before her time. As very young children we were taught to turn off the lights when leaving a room and given the reason why. Not to waste and to reuse was just a way of life around our home. When we played in the woods we were always reminded to leave the area as you found it, but that directive was quickly followed up by my mother saying, “No, leave it better than you found it.”
When I was a Cub Scout leader I tried to impress on my charges to be aware of the beauty and fun of nature.
As the community education director of the Howard County, Maryland Ornithological Society it was my responsibility to familiarize people with the birds found locally and, hopefully, create a lifelong interest in birding.
My focus today, as a member of ACES, is to educate people in our community to the dangers of applying pesticides on their property. 

Judy Weidemann

I was one of the founding members of ACES in 2012.  I was Principal of the Parkdale Elementary School in East Aurora from 1987 to 1998. I was also an adjunct professor at Canisius College for 20 years, and retired in 2010. 

I was secretary of ACES from 2012 to 2020. I was inspired to join by the intense environmental interest I found in the other ACES Board Members.  I have learned so much from all of them!


For a few years we met at my home on Nye Hill in East Aurora.  Then we thought it would be more welcoming to meet in a public place. 

and we have since been meeting at the Mandala School on Main Street."

Ellen Moomaw

I am a life-long recycler, reducer and re-user, having grown up with my parents who had lived through the Great Depression. I've been composting and organic gardening for 45 years. I'm also a long time member of the League of Women Voters.  Back then, anyone  interested in environmental issues within the League attended the monthly group meetings in East Aurora.


We worked on the Bigger Better Bottle Bill as well as promoting Integrated Pest Management in the schools and for our homes and parks. When the New York State Climate Smart Initiative began in 2012, ACES was formed so we could promote its adoption by East Aurora's Village Board.

Steve Bjella

I am a  passionate advocate for a sustainable planet. Before moving to East Aurora, I was a member of the Interfaith Community for the Earth and Citizens Climate Lobby in Wisconsin. In addition to serving on the ACES Board of Directors, I am also engaged as a member of the Town of Aurora's Climate Smart Community Task Force.

Please Join Us!
Jeannet de Jong

As a long time ACES Board member, I have often focused on Plastic Pollution. The first action was aimed at doing away with the styrofoam cups at East Aurora's annual December Carolcade. Now, they are officially outlawed in NYS, but still can be spotted at businesses.

I am very much aware of the huge task of reducing my CO 2 footprint as an individual
as well as a global citizen, who emigrated to the US from the Netherlands. 


As a multimedia artist and art teacher I strive to connect my art ideas in the fight against plastic- It draws an audience of all ages.


I can not fix the planet, but trying to help in a
small corner of WNY, is a step forward. To do this with other like minded people is the best way to continue.


I believe that we, ACES, have been and are making a difference.

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Claudia Newton

After fixing up 2 older homes, my husband and I decided to hand-build our own super-insulated house where we could be comfortable and healthy while saving money on heating.  After 35 years we are still living happily here in that same home in East Aurora where we raised our 3 children.


I work part time at the Town of Aurora Library and my husband, John Newton, a lifelong teacher, founded the Mandala School where he instructs children of multiple ages. My passion for energy efficiency has carried into my efforts toward building a Climate Smart Community in East Aurora.

The environmental challenges of recycling and invasive species are also areas of significant interest to me. 


I am also serving as member of the Town of Aurora's Climate Smart Ommunity Task Force.

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Nicole Morris-McLaughlin

I am the Senior Energy Development Specialist for Erie County. Our project goal is to make clean energy, electrification and energy efficiency accessible to everyone who lives in our county. I recently worked in Massachusetts for an Environmental Justice organization.


I've also worked on Community Solar, Rooftop Solar, and Offshore Wind campaigns. I love hiking, reading and entertaining. I am the proud mother of two and I know what is at stake for our future and the future of our children.

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Susan Russell

I believe that positive change begins with the personal. In our home, we strive to maintain a zero-waste lifestyle. We employ rooftop solar & electric heat pump technology to meet our household’s electricity and heating needs. We drive our car only when necessary and prioritize living in a walkable community where we can ride our bikes and walk.

My passion for protecting the natural world began as a teen growing up in the shadow of Love Canal and the post-WWII chemical industry in Niagara Falls, NY. As a Cornell Climate Steward & member of the Town of Aurora's Climate Smart Community Task Force, I believe that education & responsible planning are vital to ensure balance between a sustainable environment and human priorities.

Michelle Bjella

I am a retired Speech and Language Pathologist & mother who became involved in environmental and progressive actions in Wisconsin and helped establish the Plastic Bag Reduction Campaign. I joined with with local leaders forming Interfaith Community for the Earth, focusing on education on sustainable living and the impacts of Climate Change. I'm an active member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, lobbying members of Congress for a Carbon fee and dividend, and also Now a Cornell Climate Steward and attendee of Town of Aurora Climate Smart Community Task Force, I'm glad to return to WNY and be part of ACES. 

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