We are continually rewarded by the generous gifts of time and skill from members of the CRWC Board of Trustees. All are seasoned experts in fields that run the gamut from the environment and education, to legal, corporate business, and finance. The dedicated folks on our Board offer us the know-how and long-range thinking that helps keep the Council pointed in the right direction. We cannot thank them enough.
Liz Austin (Trustee, Board Chair) of South Hadley, MA is a retired child psychologist who spent her previous career working as a mental health consultant, teacher and administrator. She co-founded Mountain Brook Children’s Center, a nature-based program in South Deerfield, MA and served as Executive Director of StonyBrook Children’s Center on the campus of Mount Holyoke College. In 2002 her attention turned to the plight of our oceans and their fishes and she began affiliation with the Robert Barrett Fishway in Holyoke, MA as a fishway guide. In 2009 she became coordinator of public programs at the Fishway, obtaining a M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and Management. She is particularly interested in conservation of diadromous fishes in the Connecticut River.
Raul de Brigard (Honorary Trustee) has lived in Haddam, CT for the past 30 years, and holds degrees from Harvard and UCLA in architecture and land planning. Since his arrival in Haddam, he has been active in town affairs including many years as chairman on the Planning & Zoning and Conservation Commissions. He worked at Northeast Utilities in its Hydroelectric and Land Management and Siting departments, overseeing the management of open space, including the Wildlife Management areas cooperatively operated with the CT Department of Environmental Protection and Candlewood Lake. As a Co-Chair of the CT Rivers Advisory Commission he spearheaded several river protection bills in CT. In addition to his work for CRWC, he is a member of the CT River Gateway Commission, the CT River Assembly, and The Trust for Public Land´s CT Advisory Board.
Melody Foti (Trustee, Treasurer) grew up in the Rochester NY area. Attended Sarah Lawrence College including their Year in Paris Program & graduated with a BA in Art History from Wellesley College. She then attended Harvard Divinity School earning an M. Div. Melody served 4 Unitarian churches over 10 years with an active “social ministry”. She currently serves her clients through Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC as Senior Vice President – Investments & PIM Portfolio Manager. Melody has a lifelong love of water & the natural world with activities such as swimming, sailing, hiking and kayaking bringing great pleasure. She has served on a number of boards with social justice and environmental conservation as key themes. She enjoys watercolor painting on rice paper in her spare time. She also is owned by a Great Dane & small Puerto Rican terrier. She lives in Northampton.
Astrid Hanzalek (Honorary Trustee) of Suffield, CT, CRWC’s longest serving board member, is known for her long, distinguished career of public service. After earning her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949, she worked with a host of organizations, including the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Traveller’s Aid Society, and the Greater Hartford Community Council. She’s been an officer in many non-profits, from CRWC to the Connecticut Energy Foundation and the Connecticut Humanities Council. Astrid was a member of Connecticut’s General Assembly from 1979-81 where she served both as Assistant Majority and Assistant Minority Leader. She’s currently a consultant and lecturer on public policy and environmental issues, working with regional radio and television stations and an occasional op-ed writer for the New York Times and several Connecticut papers.
David Hewitt (Trustee) is an avid river user and resident of Lyme, NH, for many years. Dave is retired from the Dartmouth Printing Company which he purchased with his business partner in 1978 and ran for many years. Dartmouth Printing Company has been in business, in various incarnations, for over 200 years since its original affiliation with Darmouth College. He lives on the river in Lyme, NH with his family and spends many hours recreating on the river.
Timothy Keeney (Trustee) is a 5th-generation resident of Somers, CT and has a long record of public service in New England and nationally. He served as a Navy SEAL officer for 35 years; as staff to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee; in numerous positions with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, including General Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce; as State Environmental Commissioner in both Connecticut and Rhode Island; and as Environmental Services Director for Northeast Utilities. Currently he serves as Probate Judge for the North Central Connecticut region. He was a Trustee of the Council from 1998 to 2004.
David K. Mears (Trustee), as Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School, he helps students hone their lawyering skills while assisting non-profit organizations and individuals with environmental problems and conservation projects. Professor Mears returned to Vermont Law School in August 2015 after serving four years as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Prior to joining the State of Vermont, he taught at Vermont Law School from 2005 to 2011. Professor Mears has held a number of positions in state and federal government including positions in Texas state government, the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and the Washington Office of the Attorney General. Professor Mears has a degree in environmental engineering technology from Cornell University, and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy degrees from Vermont Law School.
Sue Merrow (Honorary Trustee), served 12 years as First Selectman of East Haddam, CT from 1991-2003 and has spent much of her life working with conservation organizations, much of it with the Sierra Club where she was President of the National Board in 1990-1991. She wrote about that period in her life in One for the Earth: Journal of a Sierra Club President. More recently, Sue helped lead the recent effort to win Wild and Scenic River status for Connecticut’s Eightmile River and is a member of the Middlesex County Community Foundation. She is currently chair of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, the state agency that monitors environmental progress and makes recommendations for correcting deficiencies in state laws and programs. A graduate of Tufts University, she lives in East Haddam with her husband of 39 years and three retired horses.
Robert Moore (Trustee, Vice-Chair CT) recently retired from his role as Chief Administrative Officer for the Metropolitan District in Hartford, CT. With degrees in both Civil and Sanitary Engineering, Bob was Chief Operating Officer of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection and an Independent Environmental Consultant for Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. before moving to the MDC in 2000. He lives in Durham, CT.
Melissa Ocana (Trustee) of Amherst, MA, is a Project Manager in the Dept. of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst working primarily on aquatic connectivity and climate change adaptation. Melissa has a broad conservation background across NGOs, government, and academia. Recently, she coordinated a capacity building program for watershed associations in NJ. Previously, she worked on natural resource policy at the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the House of Representatives as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow. Melissa has a M.S. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University and a B.A. from Vassar College. She appreciates all critters and is enjoying exploring the beautiful Pioneer Valley.
James Okun (Trustee) is a principal at O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun, a full service environmental, safety, health and geotechnical engineering firm. He served in the CERCLA (Superfund) and RCRA division of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a member of the Connecticut Low Level Radioactive Waste Advisory Committee.
Cori Packer (Trustee, Vice-Chair NH/VT) of Westborough, MA and Quechee, VT, was a principal with the Garvey Group, Inc. a real estate investment firm, and was a Vice President at Bank of New England in their real estate asset management division. She holds a B.A. in history from the University of New Hampshire. She has been an active member of her community, working with her church, children’s schools, Boy Scouts of America and community theater. She is an active member of the Massachusetts Republican Party. A current member of the Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a board member of the ZOLL Foundation, Cori loves fly fishing, kayaking, hiking, skiing and travel.
Katherine Putnam (Trustee) is Managing Director at Golden Seeds Boston, and has a background in corporate banking and consulting to small businesses. She serves on the board of Baystate Health and the Food Bank of Western MA, and is a trustee of the Coordinating Council of the Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress. Prior board service includes both non-profit and public companies as well as start ups and an industry association. Kate lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, their chickens and dogs.
Annette Spaulding (Trustee) of Rockingham, VT, is retired from Spaulding and Madden Tax Service. Upon visiting Vermont forty years ago, she fell in love with the Connecticut River Valley and moved here permanently. An avid scuba diver for over 35 years and a kayaker for over 25 years, her commitment to preservation and ecology has made her a tireless advocate for the health of the Connecticut. She was instrumental in the successfully fight against plans to put a landfill on the banks of the river in Rockingham. Her interests in the Connecticut include the history, archaeology, geology and biology. She gives frequent presentations to schools, local historical societies and community groups on her finds in the river, and educating the public on the river and its preservation. She is an active member of the local fire department water rescue team.
John Sinton (Honorary Trustee), a retired professor of environmental studies and land-use planning, has spent his professional life writing about and helping to manage environmental problems in the US and Europe. He currently contributes to a number of land preservation projects and co-authored The Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea with his wife, Wendy Sinton, and Elizabeth Farnsworth. He lives in Florence, MA and is a confirmed river rat and fly fisherman, as well as skier, hiker and biker.
Brewster Sturtevant (Honorary Trustee), a Longmeadow, MA resident has given more than 30 years of unstinting service to CRWC. Before he retired, he worked in the insurance industry and has led a distinguished career volunteering for local and regional non-profits, including the Child & Family Service Assoc., Bay State Hospital, and historical commissions and societies. Brewster graduated from Dartmouth, as did several other trustees, and loves fishing for striped bass in the salt and trout in fresh water.
Hooker Talcott (Honorary Trustee) lives in Brookline, MA, but his vacation home in Waterford, VT brought him in direct contact with the river. Since retiring from his investment management and financial consulting work in Boston, he has been able to spend more time indulging his love of the outdoors and is enjoying his service on CRWC’s Board of Trustees.
Humphrey Tyler (Trustee, Secretary) of Hadlyme, CT, is the retired president of NTP Media Inc., a communications and multi-channel publishing & events company he founded in 1981 and ran with his wife Susan for 25 years. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc., and the Steering Committee of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. He holds a BA from and is a past trustee of St. Lawrence University.
Lora Wondolowski (Trustee, Vice-Chair MA) is Director of Leadership Pioneer Valley. Her nearly 20 years of experience with grassroots organizing and community outreach includes being the founding Executive Director of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters (MLEV), running the New England Programs for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, and working at the National Audubon Society in DC. She was one of the founders of the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turner’s Falls. Lora holds a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a M.S. in Environmental Studies from Bard College. Lora lives in Greenfield with her spouse and two young daughters.