From mobilizing thousands of activists to building relationships with decision makers, our staff care about building a strong, resilient, and equitable environmental movement to protect communities and places across our state.
Most recently Brian served as Sustainable Communities Director and Deputy Director at VNRC. Brian has over twenty years of professional planning experience. He began his career in Florida, where he received an M.S, in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. Since moving to Vermont in 1988, he has served as Executive Director of the Mad River Valley Planning District and Director of Planning and Zoning for the Town of Stowe. For nearly ten years he was a partner with Burnt Rock Inc., Associates in Community Planning. Burnt Rock provided an extensive range of services to local governments, state and regional agencies, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups. Brian came to VNRC from Smart Growth Vermont, where he served as Director of Programs. Throughout his career, Brian’s professional focus has been natural resource protection, growth management, and sustainable development. Brian lives in Waitsfield with his wife, Valerie, where he is involved with several community organizations.
Alex Connizzo is VNRC's part-time Office Assistant. After earning a BA in history from Boston College, Alex worked in publishing, construction, and childcare, among other fields, while nurturing a longtime interest in environmental issues. Originally from northern New Jersey, Alex moved to Vermont in 2016. He is an avid hiker (favorite hike: Mount Hunger) and basketball player. Alex lives in Montpelier.
Karina joined VNRC in April 2020. As Ecological Restoration Coordinator, she is responsible for running VNRC’s dam removal program and contributing her scientific knowledge and expertise to policy issues around the conservation and restoration of Vermont’s waters. Most recently, Dailey was Senior Ecologist at Trudell Consulting Engineers (TCE) in Williston, overseeing natural resource-related projects and providing testimony for Act 250 and Act 248 land use permitting projects. Formerly, Dailey was a Project Manager for the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District and a Restoration Ecologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Intervale Nursery. Before moving to Vermont, she taught environmental science and worked in conservation in the Greater Yellowstone area in Wyoming.
Karina holds a Masters in Environmental Science from Antioch University New England, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sociology from St. Lawrence University. She is a Certified Wetland Scientist and Wildlife Biologist. Karina lives with her family in Jericho and enjoys every opportunity for outdoor exploration.
Nancy enjoys having a diverse background to draw from as Finance and Operations Director at VNRC. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Marian College in Wisconsin and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Previously, Nancy held jobs at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, where she worked for several years on air policy issues and did community outreach on capital construction projects. She was also a Legislative Assistant at the New York City Council. Nancy landed her first job in Vermont at the Vermont Department of Public Service, where she advocated on behalf of ratepayers. Then, she worked as a Senior Production Editor on high-end academic and science journals for many years, and was instrumental in the start-up and success of a technology company. In her spare time, Nancy likes to hike and cross-country ski in Groton State Forest and canoe on Vermont’s rivers, lakes and ponds. She lives in Marshfield with her husband, son and dog.
Jamey has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Wildlife Biology from University of Vermont’s School of Natural Resources, and a J.D. and M.S. in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. In his capacity at VNRC, he leads the legal program, and forest and wildlife programs, including the Forest Roundtable which is a quarterly meeting of diverse stakeholders focused on forest policy and forest management and conservation issues in Vermont. Jamey also works with communities across Vermont promoting planning, zoning, and non-regulatory strategies for forestland and wildlife habitat conservation. Jamey worked previously as Conservation Director of the Aspen Wilderness Workshop, Project Director of Public Counsel of the Rockies, and Biological Inventory Coordinator of Pitkin County, Colorado. He and his wife Rachel live in Waitsfield with their daughter Ayla and son Jude.
Stephanie joined VNRC in 2018 with a background in public relations, helping nonprofit newsrooms and investigative journalists influence the public and lawmakers. As part of her role at VNRC, she serves on the Board of the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC). Previously, she worked in book publishing and as a copywriter. Stephanie holds a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in English and French Studies. She enjoys cooking, crafting, swimming, and exploring small downtowns. Stephanie lives in Montpelier with her husband Constantinos and son Cosmo.
Jon previously held the positions of Water Program Director and General Counsel at VNRC before being asked in 2011 to serve as General Counsel for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources under the Shumlin Administration. Last year, Governor Shumlin appointed him to Chair the Natural Resources Board (NRB), which administers the Act 250 program, Vermont’s statewide land use program. In addition to his past work at VNRC and in the Shumlin Administration, Jon served as Director of the Vermont Water Resources Board, Director of the Law Center for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and Act 250 Land Use Attorney for the State of Vermont.
Ian served for a year as VNRC’s AmeriCorps Member and Community Energy and Climate Action Coordinator, helping to start and strengthen town energy committees across the state. As Community Organizer, he works to educate the public on our environmental campaigns, building the support we need to advance a pro-climate, pro-environment policy agenda, and help elect environmental climate champions to public office. Ian holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Marlboro College. His senior thesis examined climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining historical, literary, and ecological perspectives. He grew up in Dubois WY, where his appreciation for the natural world was strengthened by taking long walks in the woods behind his house. Ian previously worked in Senator Bernie Sanders’ office, with Renewable Energy Vermont, and as a canvasser with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Ian enjoys hiking, writing, and playing the saxophone in his free time.
Colin joined VNRC in 2018, and has a diverse background in environmental education, energy project management, and community organizing. He holds a Masters in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School and a B.A. in Social Science from Ramapo College of New Jersey. As an undergraduate, Colin conducted research into the social and environmental impacts of lead contamination in a local community. While earning his masters, Colin worked for an energy consulting firm, managing a feasibility study to design and build a microgrid for a group of New York City hospitals with the purpose of incorporating renewables, improving energy efficiency, and ensuring resilience in the event of a grid outage. Colin lives in Burlington, and enjoys hiking, gardening, paddle-boarding, and reading about all things science and nature.
Kate’s work at VNRC focuses on building sustainable, compact communities, with the goal of providing residents with transportation, housing, and employment options, while also supporting working lands and wildlife habitat. She does this by helping towns with planning and zoning, collaborating on research projects, and getting involved in policy at the state house.
Prior to VNRC, Kate worked as a regional planner for the Windham Regional Commission in Brattleboro, where she focused on town technical assistance, supported the Brownfields program, and oversaw the Commission’s energy program. She has also worked with GrowSmart Maine. Before beginning her career in planning, Kate worked in the field of international education in Washington state.
Kate holds a Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University, a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Rice University, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Outside of work she serves on her local development review board and the Board of Directors for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and enjoys hiking and cooking. Kate lives in Montpelier with her husband, Tom and sons.
Johanna also serves as the coordinator of the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, the statewide network of town energy committees and the partners who support them. In these roles, Johanna works from the grassroots to the Legislature to help advance clean energy and climate action programs and policies. Johanna was a member of Governor Phil Scott’s Climate Action Commission and also serves on the Clean Energy Development Fund board, the Vermont Energy Education Program board, the Vermont System Planning Committee and the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee. Prior to joining VNRC in 2005, Johanna spent five years working as an organizer and policy expert for a statewide environmental policy and advocacy organization in Michigan – the Michigan Land Use Institute. Johanna is a graduate of the University of Vermont and lives in Montpelier; a home base from which she and her family love to ski, hike, camp, bike, garden and travel.
As a VNRC staff member for over ten years, Stephanie brings a broad, diverse knowledge of VNRC’s history, foundation contacts and donors to the table. Her previous positions include fundraising work for the Jackson Hole Land Trust, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative. Stephanie completed a double major in environmental studies and creative writing from St. Lawrence University. She lives in Burlington with her husband, son Owen and daughter Sadie.
Bekah Kuster is VNRC’s AmeriCorps member serving as the Community Energy Coordinator to support and foster town energy committees across Vermont. Bekah grew up in a cohousing community in southwest Colorado where she formed a deep connection to the natural world and her passion for environmental work began. Bekah graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Community and International Development. She designed her studies at the University of Vermont to focus on understanding the interplay between environmental policy, and community development and organizing.
Bekah previously worked as a Canvasser for Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) where she educated Vermonters on VPIRG’s anti-plastic legislation campaign. Most recently, she interned with Shelburne Farms, helping to facilitate place-based and experiential learning opportunities for elementary-aged students. In her free time, Bekah enjoys exploring the outdoors with friends, eating delicious gluten-free baked goods, and playing the ukulele.
Vermont Conservation Voters
Lauren Hierl joined Vermont Conservation Voters as Political Director in 2014, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2018. Prior to that, Lauren worked for two years as Environmental Health Advocate at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). She spent the previous decade working as an environmental advocate in Washington, DC at National Audubon Society and Alaska Wilderness League. She also conducted climate change research in Kruger National Park in South Africa, and oversaw a land and endangered species conservation assessment in San Diego. Lauren received her Master of Environmental Management and Master of Public Policy degrees at Duke University, and a Bachelors in Environmental Studies and Ecology at Dartmouth College.
Shelden Goodwin joined VCV in 2019. As Outreach Coordinator, she educates voters on environmental issues facing Vermont through campaign messaging, social media, and more. Before coming to VCV, Shelden was a field organizer on the Vermont Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign helping to elect state representatives and state senators in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Shelden graduated from Simmons University with a master’s in public policy and a focus on municipal policy.