Staff


Nelson Villarrubia

Nelson Villarrubia

Executive Director

After 10 years with Trees New York, Nelson became Executive Director in 2013. As Executive Director, Nelson has introduced a host of innovative new projects and programs, including the Young Urban Forester Internship and FruiTrees New York. Over the last few years, Nelson has made several keen personnel choices, bringing strong and creative new staff and board leaders to the organization. Nelson spearheaded the most successful fundraising effort in the history of the organization. In addition to his aptitude in managing people, projects and fundraising, Nelson is a strong collaborator and has forged fruitful partnerships with groups as diverse as the New York City Housing Authority and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. Nelson has an MS in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Environmental Policy.

Samuel A. Bishop II

Samuel A. Bishop II

Director of Education + Arborist

Sam is Trees New York’s Director of Urban Forestry and Education. Sam has over ten years of experience in urban and community forestry. He oversees all adult environmental education programs, tree plantings and green infrastructure projects.

Sam’s passion for trees is apparent in all that he does. When he isn’t teaching, he is out planting or pruning or huddled over a book researching. If he doesn’t already know the answer to your question, he will soon. As we like to say in the office, “Sam eats, breathes and sleeps trees”. We are lucky to have such a committed expert on our team.

Sam is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and Municipal Specialist.

Maeve Bace

Maeve Bace

Communications Director
Cheryl Blaylock

Cheryl Blaylock

Director of Youth Programs

Cheryl is Trees New York’s Director of Youth Programs. She has 9 years of experience engaging youth in hands-on community greening projects. Cheryl is the lead educator for the FruiTrees New York Program and the Youth Environmental Literacy Programs. She has also helped students develop their own afterschool environmental clubs.

Cheryl has a talent for creating fun and engaging lessons for students of all ages and backgrounds. Her background in acting and puppeteering provides her with an ease in front of audiences and her comedic leanings make her teachings entertaining for all.

Ashleigh Pettus

Ashleigh Pettus

Operations Manager + Educator

Ashleigh is Trees New York’s Operations Manager and the Environmental Educator for our Young Urban Forester Internship.

Ashleigh’s six years of environmental education experience include teaching at Wave Hill and at Heifer International in Perryville, Arkansas. Ashleigh has led many community clean up projects and is passionate about urban farming.

In addition to her years of professional experience, Ashleigh brings positivity, energy and cheer to everything she does. She is a wonderful asset and a joy to work with.

Ashleigh graduated from Lehman College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Childhood Education.