The City of Erie, PA is so fortunate to have so many beautiful parks, green spaces, tree-lined streets and boulevards, and of course our world-class Lake Erie bayfront. It is vitally important to protect our environment and promote the efforts and opportunities that help us maintain and enjoy what nature provides for us in the City of Erie.  

The role of the Environmental Advisory Council is to research identifiable environmental issues in Erie and make recommendations on how best to address those issues. 

The City of Erie is the second municipality to develop an active EAC in Northwest Pennsylvania and the 161st in Pennsylvania. EACs are extensions of municipal government that focus on environmental conservation and improvement. They provide increased capacity for municipalities to protect their natural resources, communicate with the public, and meet their environmental goals. EACs do not make regulatory decisions nor are they independent environmental advisory organizations.  


EACs work cooperatively with elected officials, staff, and other authorities and boards. EACs are comprised of seven voting members who must be municipal residents and serve three-year terms with staggered initial appointments. Four members of the EAC were appointed by City Council and three were appointed by Mayor Joe Schember. These city residents all have backgrounds, education, and expertise in environmental issues, natural resources, and conservation strategies, or some combination of those qualifications.  

Members include: 

Dr. Sherri Mason, otherwise known as Sam, is currently the Director of Sustainability at Penn State Behrend. Sam has her doctorate in chemistry, is most well-known for her work in freshwater plastic pollution, and is obsessed with trash and water, preferably not mixed together. 

Matthew Puz is a planner by trade. He is currently employed as the Millcreek Township Zoning and Development Officer. He also served as the Erie City Zoning Officer for six and a half years prior to his current position. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Mathematics with a Master of Science in Geography with a concentration in Environmental Planning.  Mr. Puz was involved with Erie Refocused, the City of Erie Comprehensive Plan, and Embrace Millcreek, the Millcreek Township Comprehensive Plan.  He was involved with amending the City of Erie’s zoning ordinance to permit Urban Agriculture. He was also the project manager for the Millcreek Township’s Official Map and Zoning Ordinance rewrite. Mr. Puz spends his spare time with his family, is an avid chess player, and enjoys reading. He also volunteers with Highmark Caring Place. 

Freda Tepfer has lived in Erie for 12 years where she has a Watershed Friendly Certified Property and Pollinator Friendly Garden. She studied Soil Science and Adult Education and worked in Land Use, Forestry, Pollution Prevention Environmental Education and Orientation and Mobility.  She advocates for universal accessibility, pedestrian access, biodiversity, environmental justice, and improved transit.  She hopes the EAC can help people develop an enlighten self-interest so that they are motivated to implement environmental best implement practices. 

Robert Howden – Bob Howden is a retired public relations and marketing professional, and has been a resident of the city for more than 35 years. An avid environmentalist, he currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Asbury Woods Partnership, and also works at Asbury Woods as a volunteer. Bob has been a member of the Sierra Club for nearly 50 years and is a past chairman of the Sierra Club’s Lake Erie Group. 

John Michael Campbell – Dr. Mike Campbell came to Erie to begin a career as a Biology teacher at Mercyhurst College in 1984 and will be retiring from that work in May 2024, finishing his last two months teaching Marine Ecology at Dungarvan, Ireland (Erie’s sister city). Mike loves Erie and its treasure of lakes, streams, wetlands, and forests, and he enjoyed raising his four children here with his wife Anne. Mike has a passion for the history of Erie and its relationship to water and forest resources, and has done research in aquatic and pollution ecology throughout his career. He is an avid birdwatcher and gardener. He is a member of PLEWA (Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed Association) and Co-leader with Sr. Pat Lupo of HECA (Hold Erie Coke Accountable). 

Aaron Kerr is executive director of Groundwork Erie, a new non-profit which employs youth in conservation work in the Presque Isle watershed.  Aaron has written two books in the areas of philosophy of education and environmental ethics and was formerly associate professor of philosophy and chair of the philosophy department at Gannon University. 

Pat Lupo is a Benedictine Sister. She is the Environmental Program Director at the Inner City Neighborhood Art House and also has classes at the John E. Horan Garden Apartments. She is Cochair of HECA, Hold Erie Coke Accountable and has extensive experience working on environmental issues in Erie and the surrounding area. She has a degrees in Education, General Science and Environmental Education. She is passionate about the Erie Community and committed to ensuring that we maintain a healthy, viable and sustainable way of life today and into the future. 

City Hall EAC Liaison 

The City of Erie Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) staff liaison is Jackie Spry, Director of Neighborhood Planning and Resources. 
Phone: (814) 870-1287  Email:  

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