November 30, 2021

Lime Hollow center’s executive director to retire

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Lime Hollow Executive Director Glenn Reisweber talked about the expansion of the summer camp program near a pavilion that serves as one of the shelters for campers in this 2017 Cortland Standard file photo.

Glenn Reisweber laughed Friday when asked about his career.

“How does a field artillery officer turn into an executive director of a nature center, with no background?” he asked. “ I have no idea.”

The board of directors of the Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortlandville announced Friday that Reisweber will retire in the fall after 15 years leading the organization.

Reisweber, a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point had a 22-year career in field artillery that included teaching at West Point from 1993 through 1996, when he served as officer in charge of the marathon team. A competitor in eight marathons himself,

Reisweber has also completed several triathlons.

His last assignment was as an instructor of military science at Cornell University in Ithaca from 2002 to 2006. The Cornell job brought him to the Cortland area with his wife, Nadine, and sons Eric and Nick.

Reisweber, 58, a native of Cheektowaga near Buffalo, said he wanted to remain in the Cortland area after retirement from the Army and he came across the Lime Hollow opening.

Despite his lack of experience, the nature center thrived under Reisweber, said Forrest Earl, president of the Lime Hollow board of directors.

“Glenn is very organized,” Earl said. “He is very much a strategic planner and goal setter. He’s a great ambassador for Lime Hollow. He is very engaging, very dynamic. He makes it very interesting.”

John Hoeschele, who was the president of the board when Reisweber was hired, said Reisweber came across as an odd choice by some board members, who wanted to hire someone with expertise in the environment.

“There were skeptics,” Hoeschele said.

“Why would we hire a retired military guy? It turns out it was exactly the right fit. He is an infectious person. He has tremendous charisma. We needed an operational expert. It’s probably from being in the military, but he knows how to attack a target.”

Under Reisweber, the area Lime Hollow owns or manages for the town of Cortlandville, Cortland County and the U.S. government increased to 591 acres from 382 acres of woodlands, wetlands and grasslands. The trail network has grown from 8 miles to 13 miles and includes four miles of cross-country ski trails.

The number of annual visitors has tripled to 36,000 and the summer camp program has grown four-fold to more than 1,400 children per summer.

The Lime Hollow board of directors has formed a search committee to find its next executive director, Earl said.

Reisweber began work at the nature center by overseeing the completion of the visitor center on McLean Road in 2007. The center was previously housed in buildings owned by the federal government off Gracie Road.

Reisweber said Lime Hollow was in good shape when he arrived, and he likened the executive director job to a relay race.

“I look at it as a 4-by-400 relay,” he said. “Every guy or gal who gets the baton has to increase the lead. My 400 meters was 15 years.”

Reisweber coordinated the construction of the $1 million Camp Gustafson Education Center off Gracie Road, completed in 2015, which included construction of a net-zero energy education building.

The education center has been home to the OnondagaCortland-Madison BOCES New Visions Environmental Science Program and the Lime Hollow Forest Pre-School.

During Reisweber’s tenure, the number of full-time staff increased from 3.5 to eight and the number of seasonal staff has grown from eight to 37. Lime Hollow has also become a common destination for youth and civic groups looking to participate in community service projects such as tree planting, invasive species removal, trail maintenance and bridge building.

Reisweber said he will spend more time with his family after his Oct. 1 retirement, but will continue to volunteer at Lime Hollow. And he promised his wife he would learn to cook.

Reisweber said one of the most difficult projects he was involved in was obtaining a permit in 2017 from the state Office of Children and Family Services for Lime Hollow’s forest preschool program.

“At the age of 22, I became certified to deliver nuclear weapons at the end of a 155mm cannon tube,” Reisweber said. “Getting a preschool license was harder.”