Liz Austin (Trustee) 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.
Tom Ciardelli (Trustee) Tom is a retired Professor of Pharmacology at Dartmouth Medical School and the former owner of Hanover Outdoors. A native of New Hampshire, he and his wife Andrea have been Upper Connecticut River Valley residents since the early 1980s. Tom is a Board member of The Vermont Institute of Natural Science and the Center for Northern Woodlands Education. An outdoorsman at heart, his interests include conservation and animal cognition. He spends the majority of his free time in pursuit of North American game fish.
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 CRC, he is a member of the CT River Gateway Commission, the CT River Assembly, and The Trust for Public Land´s CT Advisory Board.
David Deen (Honorary Trustee) spent 19 years as a CRC River Steward and more than 25 years as a Vermont legislator, focusing on public policy and advocating for river protections. For most of his legislative career, he’s been on the Natural Resources/Water Resources committees. David holds a M.S. from Antioch New England Graduate School and has been a NH licensed flyfishing guide for 20+ years, teaching people to fish while simultaneously teaching them the basics of healthy rivers. Whenever possible, David goes fishing.
Neftali Duran (Trustee) of Holyoke, MA. A fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, he was already a successful leader in his community at an early age. His stories, writings and projects have been featured on a number of platforms, including at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He has also been a featured speaker on Harvard, Smith College and others for his advocacy mission; access to food is a human right. Today, he is a chef, a community leader, an educator and a justice advocate working towards food access and policy changes across the country. Based in Holyoke, MA, he currently works at Nuestras Raices as a project manager. He is also the co-founder of the I-Collective, and the owner of El Jardin Bakery. Most recently, he’s joined the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in his mission to aid underprivileged families and individuals get access to food.
Melody Foti (Trustee, Board Chair) 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 as Managing Director – 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.
Ed Gray (Honorary Trustee) of Lyme, NH went to Dartmouth (’67 Economics) and Amos Tuck (MBA ’71) with a couple of years as a naval officer in between. Ed spent a year as a small business auditor at Price Waterhouse and several more as corporate controller to a couple of small businesses before starting “Gray’s Sporting Journal” in 1975 with wife Rebecca and a group of limited partners. In 1989, they moved the magazine and their three children to Lyme, NH and sold the magazine to Morris Communications. They stayed, and have been writing full time ever since, books and magazine articles.
Astrid Hanzalek (Honorary Trustee) of Suffield, CT, CRC’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 CRC 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, Vice-Chair) 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 Dartmouth College. He lives on the river in Lyme, NH with his family and spends many hours recreating on the river.
Tony Judge (Trustee) grew up on the Connecticut River in South Hadley Falls. For many years, he’s worked as a broadcasting executive and radio, television and film producer. He served as board vice-chair for the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Now returned from the Midwest to the Valley and its great river, Tony’s eager to help the Connecticut River Conservancy in its vital, exciting work.
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), is the Executive Director of Audubon Vermont. Prior to joining Audubon Vermont, he served as Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School, where he helped students hone their lawyering skills while assisting non-profit organizations and individuals with environmental problems and conservation projects. Mears served four years as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. He taught at Vermont Law School from 2005 to 2011. 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. 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) 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 (Honorary 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.
Ronald Poltak (Trustee) of Auburn, NH, served as Executive Director of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission since 1983, now retired. Ron also served as director of New Hampshire’s Division of Parks and Recreation and as Director of NH’s Office of Comprehensive Planning. As a member of the Association of Clean Water Administrators, he has actively supported its mission to amplify the priorities and concerns of state, interstate, and territorial officials responsible for implementing surface water protection programs. In 2006, Ron received the EPA’s Lifetime Achievement Merit Award.
Katherine Putnam (Trustee, Treasurer) 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.
Payton Shubrick (Trustee) Born and raised in Springfield, MA Payton is a proud graduate of Central High School, College of the Holy Cross, and most recently Bay Path University. The oldest of four children, Payton is a natural leader and innovative thinker who enjoys new challenges facing traditional industries. Skilled in design thinking and ideations to solve tough problems, she currently works at MassMutual as an R&D Lab Manager. She continues to call Springfield home, living in Sixteen Acres and is currently considering MBA programs as she is a firm believer of continuous learning.
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.
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 River. She was instrumental in the successful fight against plans to put a landfill on the banks of the river in Rockingham. Her interests in the Connecticut River 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.
Bob Sproull (Trustee) is a computer scientist, retired from running a research lab for Sun Microsystems and Oracle. For over twenty years, he lived in Boston and rowed on the Charles River. He served on the board of directors of the Charles River Watershed Association for 15 years and helped them launch a capital campaign. He lives in Leeds, MA, is the coordinator of the Friends of Mineral Hills Conservation Area, and is a member of the Yankee Rowing Club. He tries to row on the Connecticut as often as possible and enters an occasional race.
Brewster Sturtevant (Honorary Trustee), a Longmeadow, MA resident has given more than 30 years of unstinting service to CRC. 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 CRC’s Board of Trustees.
Amy Tran (Trustee) currently lives in Enfield, CT. She is a Project Manager within the MassMutual PMO organization, leading multiple projects including researching the Boston FinTech industry. She also works closely with the Multicultural Marketing team, supporting the Asian American segment with cultural insights and guidance. As a Sociology major from the State University of New York at Geneseo, Amy is passionate for building a better community by supporting social causes. She is currently serving on the Asian BRG leadership team contributing to MassMutual’s vision for diversity and inclusion.
Lora Wondolowski (Trustee, Secretary) 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.