BRYAN COUNTY BARK PARK, GEORGIA, USA: FOUNDED IN 2012
An IRS approved 501(c) 3 corporation
Our Mission Statement:
- To provide a dog park for the Richmond Hill, GA area which is safe for families and where well-behaved dogs can be let off their leashes to run free
- To ensure that the Bryan County Bark Park provides a well maintained and clean environment for all responsible dog owners in our community
- Bryan County Bark Park Board Members: Kim Stefan, Wendy Bolton, Lesley Francis, Amy Nolan, Kyle Christiansen, and Beverly Head.
Wendy Nelson Bolton is a life-long resident of coastal Georgia and has been living in Richmond Hill since 1982. She is a founding member of the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation and the Bryan County Bark Park, serving both organizations as President. In 2005 she, along with Carole Brogdon, worked to launch the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation’s first official fundraiser – The Root Ball, a biennial event raising between $15,000 – $20,000 every time and attended by more than 200 people. Wendy has also been a long time Girl Scout volunteer, serving as a leader and special events coordinator at the troop level and seven years on the board of directors fulfilling the duties of secretary and fund development chair.
After working for 20 years as an Executive Assistant, Wendy relishes her current job as a full-time mother. She and her best friend, Mark Bolton are parents to fifteen year old, Nicholas. Mark, a Vice-President at Coastal Electric Cooperative where he has worked for over 34 years, has been married to Wendy since 1994. Loving the adventures of parenthood, most weekends find the Bolton family attending a sailing regatta and cheering on their son as he sails his Laser onto victory or yelling support from the stands at his baseball games.
After stumbling upon a dog park in Highlands, NC, Wendy started developing ideas for bringing a similar facility to Richmond Hill. Joining with other local dog lovers, the group is now working diligently to make this dream become a reality. Wendy is dedicated to volunteering in our community to make Bryan County an even more wonderful place to live.
During her 33 years of living in Richmond Hill, Wendy has shared her home with two incredible black Labrador Retrievers (Crystal and Lucy) followed by a rescued Golden Retriever, Brittney. Their current Golden Retriever, Bailey, can usually be seen riding with them on their morning drive to school.
Amy Nolan and husband Patrick moved to Richmond Hill in August 2015. Although a technical trainer/writer by trade, Amy was also a former NYC licensed auctioneer. She made her local auctioneer debut at the 2016 Bryan’s Bash Fundraiser and helped raise the money which contributed to settling the bark park building debt.
While living in California, Patrick and Amy learned of a 2 year old lab (named Marley) who was abandoned by his owners to roam the Mojave Desert – alone. Picked up by the military police, Marley awaited his fate. Amy and Patrick met Marley, signed the papers and brought him home. Since then, Amy has been dedicated to dog adoption and rescue.
Marley and Amy are inseparable – it’s not uncommon to see Marley and Amy running through the park. Amy’s commitment to helping the Bark Park is by incorporating two things she loves: being a part of making a community great and dogs!
Cindy Taylor has joined the board and is excited to be a part of this organization. Taylor was born and raised in Buffalo, New York before moving to Richmond Hill with her family in August of 2002 from California. She is World Paddle Association certified stand up paddleboard (SUP) instructor with locally based SUP It & Sea Paddleboard Company. SUP it & Sea has supported the Bark Park over the years by donating items for fundraising raffles. Along with her love of SUP, Taylor enjoys staying fit at the local YMCA, biking, visiting parks, boating and traveling with her family. You can also find her in her garden or practicing her skills in the kitchen as a culinary genius. Taylor previously served in the United States Airforce as an aircraft mechanic. She has been happily married to her husband Dave for 26 years and has two children, Rayanne and Dominic as well as a beautiful canine companion – Elizabeth Taylor.
Founding Director & Publicist
British born Lesley Francis founded an award-winning agency in London before moving to the US in 2009 with her American husband, Carl and their three English dogs. She opened `Lesley Francis PR’ where her clients include local businesses as well as non-profit organizations and community events. A naturalized American citizen, she is an active member of a number of community organizations and charities, presently serving as President of the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill and co-chair of South University’s Public Relations Program Advisory Committee. She is also a columnist for the Bryan County News and a feature writer for The Skinnie and Richmond Hill Reflections Magazine.
Lesley is a life-long dog lover who now shares her home with a five year old West Highland Terrier – Dexter and three year old Flat Coat Retriever – Georgie Girl. She agrees with Roger Caras that “dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole.”
Kyle has lived in Richmond Hill for 37 years and works as a veterinarian. He is a lifelong animal lover with a special place in his heart for Labradors who has worked over the years with multiple animal rescue organizations and spay/neuter programs. He joins our board because he believes that the Bark Park is a much needed and very welcome addition to the community. He would like to acknowledge the hard work of many people within our community who have worked hard to bring this project to completion and the unwavering commitment of the board to the completion, success and ongoing development of the Bark Park.
Outgoing, adventurous, wild and free; Meg’s outlook on life is to enjoy every moment while having the most fun doing so! Born and raised in Burke, VA; Meg has always been involved with all things water, and literally threw herself into the deep end at age 3. First was the swim team, then lifeguarding, onto surfing, cliff diving, becoming a certified scuba diver, a bit of wakeboarding and now SUPing; she has never been away from the water for long. She has had the amazing opportunity of calling Maui, Hawaii her home for 5 years from 2002-2006. Meg arrived in Richmond Hill in January 2007. She also enjoys staying fit with some kickboxing and yoga; along with running, participating in numerous 5K and 10K events, Half Marathons, Mud Runs, Color Runs, and Triathlons.
Renee Laurie, Senior Corporate Sales Manger at Savannah, Lodging, provides full cycle sales efforts within Corporate, Association, and Government & Leisure market(s). Her role in the robust hospitality industry and working closely with top-tier for profit and non profit organizations, businesses and corporations has provided Renee unique insights into channeling the efforts of volunteers into mission driven community outreach projects that translate into measurable results. Renee lives in Bryan County with her husband Scott and Brittany Spaniel Gunnison. Her dream is for every pup to have a play date with their friends! Bryan County Bark Park can make that dream come true.You can find Renee on our county roads training for a ½ Marathon or fishing our Coastal waters, or any given Saturday in the fall donning her beloved Tennessee orange and singing Rocky Top.
Greg Elmgren is a Savannah native and has been a resident of Richmond Hill since 2001. He is also the owner of Elmgren’s Garden Center, which he opened as Elmgren’s Services in 1986. To this day, it remains an independently-owned and operated, local retail business in beautiful Richmond Hill, GA. He proudly serves customers throughout the low country, Savannah and surrounding areas.
It is through love, understanding and ownership of dogs that Greg serves the Bryan Co. Bark Park with pride, and believes it is a very important part of our local community that must be protected and fostered. The Bryan Co. Bark Park adequately provides a safe, loving and respectful place for dogs and their companions.
Greg and his wife Joy Dunigan, are life-long dog owners and are currently under the watchful ownership of Elmgren’s Salty ‘Montauk’ and the love of his life, Elmgren’s Little Miss High in ‘Cotton’. It’s not uncommon for Montauk and Cotton to hang out regularly at the Garden Center. So on your next visit, please be sure to stop and say hello.