Board of Directors


Elizabeth Humstone (Chair), Charlotte

Peter Sterling (Vice Chair), Montpelier

Kelly Coleman (Treasurer), Brattleboro

Judy Geer (Secretary), Morrisville

Betsy Chodorkoff, Marshfield

Elizabeth Courtney, Montpelier

Richard Czaplinski, Warren

John Echeverria, Strafford

Virginia Farley, Moretown

Chad Farrell, South Burlington

Don Hooper, Brookfield

Ira Marvin, Hyde Park

Bill Roper, Weybridge

Amy Seidl, Huntington

Gerry Tarrant, Montpelier

 

 

 

Elizabeth Humstone, Charlotte

Elizabeth Humstone webEver since as a child she read The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Beth has been concerned with the effects of sprawl on America’s suburbs, small towns and rural landscapes.  After receiving her masters degree in City Planning from Harvard University in 1973, she came to Vermont to work with the state’s land use laws and programs.  Over the next 38 years, she became an expert on ways to achieve smart growth and limit sprawl development. She is currently an urban planning consultant, an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she chairs the Board of Advisors Public Policy Task Force, and a columnist for Planning Commissioners’ Journal.  Formerly, she was the Executive Director of the Vermont Forum on Sprawl (later Smart Growth Vermont), Director of U.S. Programs for the Institute for Sustainable Communities, Chair of the Board of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund and President of the national Growth Management Leadership Alliance. She was recently a Visiting Professor at the University of Southern Maine and is now associated with Boston Architectural College. Ms Humstone authored with Julie Campoli and Alex MacLean, Above and Beyond, Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas (Planners Press, 2002).  Although her primary residence is in Charlotte, Vermont, she also divides her time between Portland, Maine where she is a member of the Board of Directors for the Portland Downtown District and chairs their Advocacy Committee, and Concord, Massachusetts where her partner, Stanly Black, lives. She has one grown son, Christopher C. Gignoux.

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Peter SterlingPeter Sterling
, Montpelier
Peter is the director of the Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security, a non-profit he founded in 2006 dedicated to creating a universal access public health care system. Prior to working on health care reform, Peter worked on environmental issues at the New York League of Conservation Voters, VPIRG, the Northern Forest Alliance and as the organizer for the Vermont Wilderness Alliance which successfully advocated for the creation of over 45,000 acres of wilderness in the Green Mountain National Forest. Peter also served as the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’ 2002 campaign. Peter did his graduate work at the UVM School of Natural Resources under Carl Reidel studying forestry and forest policy.

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Kelly ColemanKelly Coleman, Brattleboro
Kelly is the Program Director at Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) a nonprofit based in western MA, where she oversees the organizations grants and manages programs in the areas of building markets, farm to consumer, infrastructure, and public issues and education. She received a master’s degree from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and spent several years promoting sustainable agriculture and supporting environmental causes in California before moving back to her native Northeast. Kelly lives in Brattleboro with her husband and daughter.

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Judy Geer, Morrisville

Judy Geer webJudy Geer graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Ecology and a new favorite sport: Rowing. She went on to compete on three US Olympic Rowing Teams in ’76, ’80 and ’84.  In 1983, she earned a Masters in Engineering from Dartmouth and then joined Concept2, which had been started in 1976 by Dick Dreissigacker (now her husband) and his brother Peter.  She is currently a member of the Marketing and Communications Team. In 2009, Judy and Dick purchased the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and turned it into a non-profit with a mission that combines lifelong sports, sustainability and stewardship. The Center is using both solar and biomass now, and the goal is to further reduce its use of fossil fuels in the next few years.  At home, a solar tracker provides most of their electricity, and domestic hot water is heated by a homemade gasifying wood chip boiler burning homemade chips.  Judy has been a member of the Morristown School Board for over 15 years, has also been active in Early Education, and is a board member of the New England Nordic Ski Association. Judy & Dick live in Morrisville in the winter and in a cabin in Albany, VT in the summer.  They have three grown children: Hannah, Emily & Ethan.

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Betsy Chodorkoff, Marshfield
betsychodorkoffBetsy is the Executive Director of the Harris and Frances Block Foundation and has served in that position since 2002.  She received her BA from Goddard College and her MSSW from Columbia University School of Social work. Betsy served as the Director of Green Mountain Rehabilitation Services of Washington County Mental Health, a Lecturer/Researcher at the University Affiliated Programs of Vermont at UVM and other Social Work positions.  She lives in Marshfield with her husband Dan and has two grown children and one adorable grandson. Betsy is a lifelong environmental activist.”

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Elizabeth Courtney, Montpelier
Elizabeth is an environmental consultant, a landscape architect and co-Elizabeth Courtneyauthor of Greening Vermont, The Search for a Sustainable State. She serves at the pleasure of the Governor on his Council of Environmental and Energy Advisors. For the better part of a decade, from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s she served on and then chaired Act 250’s Environmental Board. In 1994 Elizabeth was denied reappointment to Chair the Environmental Board by a highly partisan and polarized Vermont Senate, seeking to rid the Environmental Board of its “environmentalists”. Coincidentally, at the same time, she was awarded a coveted Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Her landscape architectural practice took her to Prague, Bellagio, Davis California and the H. Ross Perot’s extensive land holdings in Texas. She was VNRC’s Executive Director from 1997 to 2011 and from 2011 to 2012 directed the VNRC Legacy Project. Now, she helps several non-profits to fulfill their missions, writes a monthly column on the environment, reflects on — in an emerging memoir — her 45 years of work to protect the beauty and functionality of Vermont’s environment. When the spirit moves her, she paints watercolors of skies and pears, of ponds and apples and some of her favorite places in Vermont.

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Richard Czaplinski, Warren
Richard CzaplinskiBefore coming to Vermont in 1972 to work for the Agency of Natural Resources, Richard obtained degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Engineering (1964) and Urban and Regional Planning (1972). He worked for 15 years in the Water Resources Department in charge of preparing river basin plans and managing the Vermont Flood Plain Management Program. Since 1987 he has worked as an environmental protection consultant for various environmental organizations. Richard has lived for over 35 years in a simple, off-the-grid passive solar house in Adamant well out of the floodplain. He now lives with his wife in Warren in the floodplain.

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John Echeverria, Strafford
Professor John Echeverria joined the Vermont Law School faculty in John Echeverria2009. He previously served for 12 years as executive director of the Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to that, he was general counsel of the National Audubon Society, general counsel and conservation director of American Rivers, Inc., and an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed. Immediately after graduating with joint degrees from Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, John served for one year as law clerk to the Honorable Gerhard Gesell of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. John has written extensively on the takings issue and other aspects of environmental and natural resource law. He has frequently represented governments, environmental organizations, planning groups, and others in regulatory takings cases and other environmental litigation at all levels of the federal and state court systems. In 2007, John received the Jefferson Fordham Advocacy Award to recognize outstanding excellence within the area of state and local government law over a lifetime of achievement.

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Virginia Farley, MoretownVirginia Farley
Virginia Farley grew up in New York City before the clean air act, and in Rockland County, NY – an area of rapid growth during the baby boom. Cornfields and apple orchards were bulldozed and developed overnight. She spent two summers on her family’s subsistence farm in Ireland. Those experiences, plus witnessing the first Earth Day, instilled in her an early conservation ethic.  Virginia received her B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of Rhode Island. In R.I. she was active in the efforts to prevent the construction of a twin nuclear reactor. She attended the Vermont Law School where she received her Masters in Environmental Law and Policy. Virginia has worked in the conservation field for three decades including as Regional Director for the Vermont Land Trust where for 22 years she helped protect important open space properties for their agricultural, forestry, wildlife habitat, historic, scenic, and recreational values. Currently, she runs leadership development programs for a Federal land management agency and develops programs to foster innovation in conservation. In addition, she is a part-time consultant to land trusts in the area of organizational development.  Other experience includes leadership on climate change, regional and state land use planning, environmental education, and college-level teaching. She has served on several non-profit and governmental boards including the Moretown Planning Commission and the Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation Board. Her daughter, Hilary Byrne, is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont.

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Chad Farrell, South Burlington
chadfarrellChad is the Founder and President of Encore Renewable Energy, a leading integrated clean energy company focusing on community-scale solar PV systems and 21st century solutions for underutilized property. Chad is a developer, project manager and environmental engineer with over 20 years of professional experience and maintains expertise in the development of renewable energy facilities and the redevelopment of contaminated properties. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and earned a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Vermont. Chad lives with his wife, Jessica Sankey, and their two young children, Maeve and Walter, in South Burlington.

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Don Hooper, Brookfield

DonHooperAfter teaching three years in Botswana as a Peace Corps volunteer, Don hired instructors for the Community College of Vermont.  He became VNRC’s Membership Director in 1979 and was Acting Executive Director in ’83 and ’84, just prior to representing Randolph, Brookfield, and Braintree in the Vermont Legislature for 8 years. Don served as Secretary of State for Vermont before working as New England Regional Representative for the National Wildlife Federation.  In his NWF conservation job he served as an ex officio member of the VNRC board. The Hoopers live on a hill farm in Brookfield where their three sons Miles, Sam and Jay learned to hay, chainsaw, and play horseshoes. Recently “retired,” Don subscribes to Chief Seattle’s admonition that “we haven’t inherited this land from our parents so much as borrowed it from our children.”

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Ira Marvin, Hyde ParkIra Marvin

Ira is the farm and facility manager at Butternut Mountain Farm, a family business focused on maple syrup production, processing and distribution. Working on the land and in the woods, Ira has grown the company’s home farm operation to 16,500 taps.  He is a graduate of the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Science. Ira lives in Hyde Park with his wife Katie and daughters Grace and Lucy.

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Bill Roper, Weybridge
Bill was the program director and then CEO with the Orton Family Bill Roper Foundation from 1998 until 2013. In this capacity Bill lead the creation of the Foundation’s $10M Heart and Soul Community Planning and CommunityMatters Initiatives, which were implemented in the Northeast and Rocky Mountain regions. After leaving Orton, Bill created Slow Communities and advises foundations and non-profits on strategic planning, program development and implementation, and governance matters. From 1983-1998, Bill practiced law in a private firm in Middlebury, Vermont and became a prominent land use attorney focusing on creative and thoughtful local community planning, as well as on sound economic and environmental development in the private market. Bill served on VNRC’s Board in the 1990’s including two years as its Chair before stepping off to represent VNRC in its first successful battle against the St. Albans Wal-Mart proposal.  In 1997-1998, Bill lived with his wife and two daughters on the west coast of Ireland where he spearheaded changes to Ireland’s land use practices and regulations, helped form Ireland’s first land trust and worked on several local projects. He has written articles for the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review and the Vermont Law Review and has authored a chapter on the Foundation’s groundbreaking planning software for the edited volume, Conservation in the Internet Age (Island Press, 2002). Bill lives with his family in Weybridge, Vermont and also serves on the Weybridge Planning Commission and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

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Amy Seidl, HuntingtonAmy Seidl
Dr. Amy Seidl is the Interim Associate Director in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. Her courses include Introduction to Environmental Studies; Sustainability Science; Teaching About the Environment; Environmental Literature of the Anthropocene; and Adaptation to Climate Change. She is a member of the General Education Committee on Writing and Information Literacy as well as the Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee as UVM. In addition, Amy is a UVM fellow in Service-Learning and Sustainability and oversees the capstone internship program in Environmental Studies.

Amy is the author of two books on climate change, Early Spring: Waking to a Warming World (2009) and Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in the Age of Warming (2011), both from Beacon Press. In 2010 Amy received a “Best of the Best” award for Early Spring from the Association of Academic and University Presses. She received a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Vermont and a Masters degree in Entomology from Colorado State University. She holds a B.A. Science and Poetry from Hampshire College.

She lives in Huntington, Vermont with her husband and two daughters in an off-grid, solar-powered home.

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Gerry Tarrant, MontpelierGerry Tarrant
Gerry is a partner in the Montpelier law firm Tarrant, Gillies & Richardson.  A former Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service (1985-88), he has been practicing law in Montpelier ever since.  One of Gerry’s greatest honors was being named co-citizen of the year by VNRC in 1990.  Gerry’s practice emphasizes environmental, land use and zoning law before municipal and Act 250 district commissions and the Environmental Division, as well as utility practice before the Public Service Board.  His utility practice involves energy efficiency and alternative energy projects.  He focuses on trial and appellate practice as well as transactional matters.  He is the Chair of the Environmental Section of the VBA and has a special love for historic preservation and the Vermont countryside.  Gerry lives in Montpelier with his daughter Grace and her dog Brownie.  His son Michael and wife Yoko and their two daughters Lia and Nami reside in Montpelier. After teaching English as a second language in Kyoto, Japan for seven years, Mike attended Vermont Law School in South Royalton.  After graduating in 2012, he clerked at various trial courts and the Supreme Court before joining Gerry’s firm in Montpelier.  Yoko teaches at the Montessori School in Montpelier.

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