Staff and Board

Susannah Burley, Founder & Executive Director

Susannah Burley has a Master’s of Landscape Architecture degree from Louisiana State University. From 2012-2016, she served as Program Director at Parkway Partners, a New Orleans-based non-profit, where she oversaw the ReLeaf tree planting program, the urban farms/community gardens program, schoolyard garden program, incubated their green infrastructure program, and hosted eighty four hours of community environmental education. In 2016 she founded SOUL in order to strategically reforest New Orleans at a meaningful scale and as a system.

Susannah loves gardening, the outdoors, cooking, traveling, music and art. She is married with a 10-year-old son, and a German Shepherd named Bernie.

Melody Arcia, Communications Coordinator

Melody has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Global Social Work and Social Justice. After graduating from the Tulane School of Social Work, she headed to Houston where she worked with immigrants, refugees and asylees who had recently resettled in the U.S. There she worked to address the mental health and basic needs of these individuals. Upon returning to New Orleans, she worked for the Office of Public Health HIV/STD program to ensure access to HIV medication for those who needed it and provided support to various HIV community organizations across the state

Melody strongly believes the pursuit of social justice and equality is a lifelong endeavor and that cultural awareness and sensitivity are the cornerstones of social justice work. She enjoys staying up too late reading, writing stories and travel. She is married with 2 fur babies.

Rachel Conway, Data and Volunteer Coordinator

Rachel received her Master’s in Environmental Science & Management (MESM) from the Bren School at UCSB in June 2021 and graduated from Tulane University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Psychology. During her time at the Bren School, Rachel developed a modeling tool to create environmental equity scores for neighborhoods based on tree inventory, air quality and local health data to show that the inequitable distribution of urban trees has marked social and health impacts on local communities.

Rachel has never met a tree she didn’t love and feels that reforesting urban spaces is the solution to most of the world’s environmental problems resulting from climate change. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA and loves to travel, especially to visit her four-year-old nephew in Washington, D.C. Her favorite trees to hug are Live Oaks.

Emily Stieber, Program Coordinator

Emily Stieber has a Bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a minor in Non-Profit Management from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Her two terms serving in the AmeriCorps program fostered a long held desire to help those in need and build strong communities. She spent nine years working in long-term disaster recovery post Hurricane Katrina, first with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans from 2010 -2012, then with until 2018. Emily worked as the Associate Director of Volunteers at Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans from 2018 – 2021. 

Emily is married and enjoys traveling, hiking, painting, dancing, running, reading and being outside. She names every tree she plants and loves stopping on walks to admire especially majestic trees.  

Board of Directors

Andreas Merkl – Chair

Hayley A Tilton – Treasurer

Eugene Green – Secretary

Jerome Jackson

Scott Howard

Betsy Davidson

Susannah Burley – Executive Director