PUTNAM PARKS & PATHWAYS
SARA CAMPFIELD, PRESIDENT
After graduating from Purdue, with a degree in agronomy, Sara worked in schools in West Central Indiana for nine years, including five years as a biology and chemistry teacher. In 2019, she was named executive director of the Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation District, and she, her husband John and their two daughters moved to Greencastle. The Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is a government organization dedicated to helping residents and land owners in Putnam County preserve our natural resources. The SWCD can help with identifying natural resource concerns and getting technical assistance to help with those concerns. The SWCD office is co-located in the USDA Service Center in Greencastle.
Sara says she learned a lot about identifying plants by participating in FFA in high school. Today she is a member of PC RIP, the county’s task force to educate the public about invasive plants and work to remove invasive plants in public areas in Putnam County. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking trails and camping.
ALLISON LEER, VICE-PRESIDENT
After graduating from Greencastle High School, Allison earned an electrical engineering degree at Purdue, where she met her husband, Tom, also an electrical engineer. She then spent nearly 30 years in a variety of engineering and supply chain management roles with Eli Lilly and Co. After 34 years away, she and Tom returned to Putnam County, retiring on a small farm near Putnamville.
A glass artist, she served as vice president of Art in Hand Gallery, in Zionsville, where she sold her 3-D fused glass collage work. For a while, she extended her passion for art by owning a framing business. A fan of holiday lights, she began a tradition in Carmel that saw her property win the “Best Display in Central Indiana” award numerous years. She continues that passion in retirement, designing and installing more than 40,000 lights last year in displays around her farm.
Allison loves dogs and has always had a rescue Weimaraner or two. A consummate entertainer, she, Tom and Gunner, their dog, regularly host “Cocktails in the Creek,” where friends gather in DeWeese Branch as it flows just a couple inches deep through her woods. A certified Advanced Indiana Master Naturalist, Allison is active with Putnam County-Remove Invasive Plants and is a member of the Putnam County Parks Board. She also holds the rare distinction of having run a marathon and a half-marathon in all 50 states, giving her lots of exposure to trails and pathways around the U.S.
ASHLEY WELLS, TREASURER
After graduating from South Putnam High School, Ashley received her BA in economics and finance from Hanover College. In 2017 she established a consulting company, Lift Financial, serving as a Virtual CFO for small- to medium-sized businesses all over the country. At the same time, she earned an MBA from IU’s Kelley School of Business and a Master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University. Today she also serves as Controller for Liberty Trailers, a Fillmore-based manufacturer.
An avid runner, Ashley loves the experience provided by the beautiful trails in Putnam County. She and her husband, Jackson, live with their four children at Heritage Lake.
SCOTT ZIMMERMAN, SECRETARY
Scott and his wife, Nola, have lived in Greencastle since 2018 where he is City Planner and coordinator of the city’s stormwater management plan. Scott had been the Richmond, Indiana, City Planner since 2004, where he updated its zoning code and comprehensive and transportation plans. He is a former president of Wayne County’s Society for the Preservation and Use of Resources, which promoted trail development and conservation efforts, and has been the Wayne County and Putnam County representative on the National Road Heritage Trail board of directors.
Scott was a canoeing instructor (and stamp collecting merit badge coordinator!) for Troop 114 where his sons, Riley and Russell, earned their Eagle Scout rank. He and Nola are working to remove the invasive plants which have taken over the half acre of their 1877 home, which fits into Scott’s role as vice president of Putnam County Removes Invasive Plants (PC/RIP). The two also are coordinating the effort to put 20 acres behind their church home, Peace Lutheran Church, into quail habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program.
John and his wife, Gail, have lived in Putnam County for 45 years. John taught at Cloverdale High School for 10 years and spent 30 at Greencastle High School teaching chemistry, physics and environmental science. He is an active member of Cloverdale United Methodist Church and a 10-year member of the Greencastle Sustainability Commission, currently serving as board chair.
For the past five years, John has organized the Nature Play Days in Putnam County and serves on the Indiana Children and Nature Network (ICAN) committee. He is an administrator for the Putnam County Families in Nature group on Facebook, the catalyst for many pollinator gardens in the county and works with schools to organize outdoor areas and outdoor activities.
Growing up in Mount Meridian, Matt was homeschooled through his K-12 education and connected to the community through 4-H, sports and church. Working at Greencastle Physical Therapy his junior year, he discovered a career focused on optimizing health through movement.
Matt attended Bethel University, in Mishawaka, on a basketball scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. During summers, he worked in the Plainfield Parks maintenance department. What started as a way to earn a little money, and get a pass to the aquatic center to access weights and the basketball courts, helped him see how public parks, trails and recreation opportunities positively impact the health and wellness of communities.
After earning his doctorate in physical therapy from IU in 2017, Matt began working at Athletico, in Greencastle, and today he manages the clinic. He, his wife Danielle and their four children, are involved in the community through events and opportunities associated with the parks, including youth soccer for their oldest two girls, ParkFest picnics with friends and the revitalization of a Greencastle running club on Tuesday nights. Outside of work and family time, Matt enjoys running, hiking, biking, disc golf, the occasional pick-up basketball game, and playing music.
Greg’s career has focused on outdoor recreation and coaching. After earning a degree in public relations from Ball State University and a master’s degree from DePauw, he launched the women’s soccer and softball programs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and managed the day-to-day operations of its NCAA Division III athletic program that included 24 coaches/support staff. He went on to manage 45 full-time and 75 seasonal employees as superintendent of Terre Haute Parks and Recreation with responsibility for 30 park properties, two municipal golf courses and 15 miles of recreational trails. Since 2012, he has overseen club, high school and college-level women’s soccer programs in Wisconsin.
A Putnam County native, avid runner, hiker, and outdoor recreation enthusiast, Greg and his wife, Jody, have a son, 14, and Greg has three grown children, 21, 25 and 26 years old, from a previous marriage. He returned “home” in 2022 when he was named director of the Greencastle Parks & Recreation Department.
Abbi moved to Greencastle in 2019 to start her career as an Extension Educator at the Putnam County Extension Office. She and her fiancé, Jake, a lifelong Putnam County resident, are active members of Roachdale Christian Church, and the duo enjoys spending time outdoors, especially camping and hiking. Abbi is an avid deer and turkey hunter.
After earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition and dietetics at Ball State University, Abbi became a nationally certified Registered Dietitian. She then worked in Parke County, at the federally funded WIC program providing nutrition counseling to mothers and their children. At Purdue Extension, her work focuses on nutrition, health and wellness, and she spends every fall and winter hosting walking groups throughout the county. Abbi’s position with Purdue Extension, and her work with Putnam Parks & Pathways, mesh perfectly to make Putnam County a healthier place!
After graduating from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Management, Tara continued her career in Human Resources and has spent over 20 years building and leading visionary, results-oriented teams in a variety of organizations. Tara is a lifelong Hoosier, having grown up on a farm on the east side of the state. She moved to Bainbridge 10 years ago with her husband, Tim.
Tara is an active supporter of the Putnam County Playhouse and is the marketing co-chair for the Indiana State HR Conference. Tara is an avid traveler and reader and has a strong passion for her local community – specifically the parks where she walks with her father frequently.
A Greencastle native, Brittney is chief photographer for DePauw University and owner of her own company, Brittney Way Photography. Her imagery wheelhouse includes storytelling, travel, lifestyle, and portraiture. She says the most enjoyable aspect of her work is “drawing out the authentic aspects of a subject through different perspectives of the lens.” She enjoys travel and drawing fresh inspiration from places around the world. In the last year, she added Yosemite and Iceland to her photography passport.
Brittney has a heart for the community. She joined the Putnam Parks & Pathways board as chair of its arts committee because she has many aspirational ideas to help the county thrive artistically. A quote she refers to as her motto is: “I am going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.” Elsie de Wolf
Relationships are most important to her and she recently welcomed a new and very important family member, her daughter Jade. Becoming a mother has instilled in Brittney an even greater passion to be involved in the community, establish connections and help beautify Putnam County. She believes in making the world a better place now and for generations to come.
A Montgomery County native, Jim was raised on a farm where the original acres have been owned by family for more than 100 years, land recognized with the Hoosier Homestead Award. He continues to be connected with the farm with activities like mowing, invasive plant control, tree pruning, and wild mushroom hunting, “all the things no one else wants to do” on the 320-acre property.
A Purdue University graduate, with a degree in agriculture systems management, Jim’s career was in soil conservation work, with the Department of Natural Resources and Indiana State Department of Agriculture, serving a total of 30 years and 10 months. Retiring in 2020, gardening more has become a daily warm season activity – raising healthy produce for use, preservation for use later, and giving to family, friends and neighbors. He also became a lot more interested in invasives, saying it’s a learning process that started years ago on the family farm. Jim has lived in Greencastle since 1980 and quickly is becoming the go-to trail maintenance expert on the nearly 18 miles of People Pathways.
Lisa Zeiner is director of the Putnam County Planning and Building Department and Deputy Emergency Management Agency Director, both roles drawing from experiences in an extensive career. Before her current appointment in 2020, Lisa worked as an environmental health specialist for the Putnam County Health Department, at an engineering firm, in healthcare, at a title company, and with the Hendricks County Planning Department. She has extensive knowledge of zoning regulations, septic system design and construction, as well as land surveying and engineering, and emergency preparedness.
In 2008, Lisa and her husband, Todd, moved from Hendricks County into his grandparent’s farmhouse north of Fillmore. There they raised their four children and ran a dairy/beef farm. A grandmother of two, she homeschools her youngest child, who is in eighth grade. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, sewing, hiking, and camping.
ERIC FREEMAN, STAFF
Graduating with an English degree from DePauw University in 1984, Eric returned in 2016 to serve as tourism director for the Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the county’s marketing and promotion agency focused on leveraging Putnam County’s unique assets to encourage visitation and support economic development.
The CVB has focused on partnerships during his tenure, with the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Greencastle sharing the Visitors Center as a headquarters, creating a team approach to retail and restaurant development related to tourism. In 2020, the CVB assumed responsibility for People Pathways, the county’s 18-mile trail system, launching partnerships with Friends of the Park of Putnam County and the Putnam County Parks Board, which also now share the Visitors Center as a headquarters. The four organizations completed the county’s first five-year master plan for outdoor recreation and are now pursuing it as a team.
Eric holds a master’s degree in non-profit administration from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife, Beth, a kindergarten teacher, have three children, with the youngest currently studying at DePauw.
MIKE RICHMOND, STAFF
With a B.S. in business marketing from Indiana State University, Mike launched a social media program for the Putnam County Visitors Center in 2018, where he also leads email marketing and website development. In 2019, he became executive director of Main Street Greencastle and still holds both positions, working under the title “Community Developer.”
A member of the Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County board, Mike organizes the county’s First Fridays program which draws thousands to Greencastle’s Courthouse Square April through October, and he is a volunteer for many music and other events around the county. Mike is an avid trail runner and middle school cross country coach; he is also a golfer and an IU Basketball fan.
Indiana natives, Mike and his wife, Annie, a third-grade schoolteacher, live in the country south of Greencastle. His interests and work life find balance on the Putnam Parks & Pathways Board, where he co-chairs the Events and Public Relations committees and leads a variety of outdoor recreation-related marketing and design efforts.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Hundreds of people were involved over 25-plus years, but longtime elementary school teacher Joy Marley created, and has been the driving force behind, People Pathways since it launched in 1995.
Joy’s mission for People Pathways is its mission today – to enhance the quality of life of our community by developing a network of multi-use trails for walking, running, bicycling, and horseback riding where possible, to promote community connections, non-motorized transportation, citizen interaction, outdoor education, recreation, safety, and good health.
With a preliminary plan and no funding, a grassroots group started People Pathways, creating the vision for what is now a cross-country, multi-use trail. This somewhat rags-to-riches tale required collaborative public/private partnerships and many phases and incremental steps as opportunities/resources became available through grants, event fundraising, invaluable volunteer in-kind services, donations, and by engaging good people dedicated to a common goal.
In 1995, the vision first took shape on a handshake agreement with Magic Circle/Dixie Chopper Founder Art Evans, who allowed seven miles of the former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor he owned to be repurposed as a multi-use trail east of Greencastle on a path toward Fillmore. In the next 10 years, six more miles of trail were developed, including the three-mile Big Walnut Sports Park Loop Trail.
In 2006, the Pathways committee launched its second decade with a $12,000 contribution to its new endowment fund in the Putnam County Community Foundation. Today, the fund’s assets exceed $160,000. It also supported creation of the National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT), a 150-mile cross-state trail for non-motorized travel, from Terre Haute east to Richmond, along the former Pennsylvania/Vandalia Railroad and/or Historic National Road corridors, both of which traverse Putnam County.
In 2012, People Pathways entered into a formal agreement with the NRHT that outlined specific responsibilities and management details as the NRHT began purchasing more trail property in the county. The following year, the 4.7-mile Putnam Vandalia Trail was completed.
In 2014, nearly 20 years after the trail first took shape through a partnership with Magic Circle Owner Art Evans, the committee got its first major opportunity for trail ownership when Evans offered to sell the trail corridor. A generous offer to retain the People Pathways/Vandalia Trail came from NRHT President Greg Midgley, whose board loaned NRHT funds for the purchase. The transaction made People Pathways’ footprint permanent, and the NRHT continued as a financial facilitator for ownership of other trail property in Putnam County.
Over the next four years, the 3.5-mile Putnam Nature Trail opened in three phases and, by 2020, People Pathways consisted of eight segments totaling 17.7 miles. It also became city/county-owned through an interlocal agreement and, through grant funding from the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust, ownership began transferring from the NRHT to the county.
In late 2020, People Pathways “merged” with the Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau, gaining a staff and headquarters. Within months, the committee incorporated as the non-profit “Putnam Parks & Pathways,” expanding its focus to all forms of outdoor recreation and supporting the Putnam County Parks Board the Putnam County Council created in July, 2021. Friends of the Park of Putnam County, the county’s parks foundation for more than 25 years, also joined the partnership in 2021 and moved its headquarters to the Putnam County Visitors Center.
Today, the four organizations – Putnam Parks & Pathways, Friends of the Park of Putnam County, the Putnam County Parks Board, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau – share one headquarters, a staff and are collaborating with residents to draft a five-year master plan for county outdoor recreation.
For 25-plus years, People Pathways was built one “link” at a time. Communities and neighborhoods have been “linked” across Putnam County, while the past has been “linked” to the future by repurposing former railroad corridors for new uses.