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Staff Members


Laura Tessieri

Executive Director

Laura Tessieri, PE, is the Executive Director for North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D). She is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of mission and financial objectives. The North Jersey RC&D supports programs in areas of water resource protection, agricultural sustainability and community development.


Prior to RC&D, Laura worked with the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) as a Water Resource Engineer. Her career also includes time spent on stormwater management, site design and municipal engineering.


Laura is a licensed professional engineer in the State of New Jersey. She holds a dual B.S. in Bioresource Engineering from Rutgers University. Laura lives in Holland Township, NJ and enjoys spending time in her vegetable garden and hiking with her family. 


Christian Bench

Senior Agricultural Specialist

Christian Bench is a Senior Agricultural Specialist with NJRCD and a partner employee with NRCS. His specialty is production agriculture, protecting natural resources and promoting the soil health initiative. Prior to working for NJRCD he was employed with the USDA Farm Service Agency for 2 years and the USDA- NRCS for 8 years. Christian a has a B.S in Agricultural Science with a focus on crop science from Oregon State University . He and his wife operate a diverse farm in Stockton NJ where they focus on Hay, Straw, Sheep and Lamb production. Christian can be reached at the Frenchtown Service Center at 908-483-2358.


Samantha Loscalzo 

Agricultural Specialist

Samantha Loscalzo is an Agricultural Specialist with NJRCD. She brings her experience in livestock and pasture management to NJRCD. Prior to NJRCD, Sam worked on farms in the Northeast and has an M.S. in Community Sustainability from Michigan State University with a focus on Community Food Systems and Policy. Before diving into agriculture, she worked in wildlife field research and received a B.S. in Ecology and Natural Resources from Rutgers University.  Sam enjoys backpacking, caving, and rock/ice climbing during her free time.


Nate Henderson

Agricultural Specialist

Nate Henderson is an Agricultural Specialist with NJRCD. He arrived at North Jersey RC&D after spending five months on an organic farm in Chiloe Island Chile through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program. There he worked on a variety of soil conservation and livestock management techniques, while learning to speak Spanish. Nate received his B.S in Environmental Science from Ithaca College in 2019 and worked at Cornell University for three years in the Food Safety and Milk Quality Improvement Laboratories. As a Laboratory Technician, he worked with dairy producers on a variety of laboratory and field studies while honing his data management skills. In his spare time, Nate enjoys spending time outside, cooking, fermenting homemade wines, and skateboarding.   


Brenda Berardo

Financial Consultant

Brenda has assisted in managing NJRCD financial accounting since October 2015. Brenda comes to NJRCD with over 10 years of accounting experience concentrating mostly in small business. Brenda graduated from Stockton University in 2000 with a B.A. in Communications and is currently pursuing her CPA education certificate from Raritan Valley Community College.   In her spare time, Brenda enjoys knitting, hiking and spending time with her 4 dogs and 3 cats.


Virginia Lamb

 Sustainable Agriculture Field Coordinator

Virginia joins NJRCD with over 20 years’ experience in sustainability education and consulting, specializing in soil health and composting/organics management. Prior to founding Groundwork Education and Consulting she worked for Monmouth County, Rutgers University and Galloway Township developing and implementing environmental education programs and formulating policy.  Virginia has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Stockton University and an M.S. in Soils from UMass Amherst. She enjoys the outdoors, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her family.

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