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.
Brian has nearly 35 years of experience in community planning, natural resource conservation, growth management and sustainable development. Most of that experience has been in Vermont working at the municipal level directing planning programs in the Mad River Valley and for the Town of Stowe, and in the private sector as a partner in Burnt Rock Inc., Associates in Community Planning. Brian joined VNRC in 2008, and has served as Executive Director since 2011. Since that time he has lead VNRC’s research, public education, member engagement and advocacy for climate action, clean water, forest integrity, sustainable communities and the health of Vermonters. He has an M.S, in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. Brian lives in Waitsfield with his wife, Valerie, where he keeps active hiking, paddling and homesteading, and where he is involved with several community organizations and presently serves on the Town Selectboard.
Alex Connizzo joined VNRC in August 2020. As Office Coordinator, he is responsible for a wide range of administrative duties. 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 enjoys playing basketball at the local rec center. Alex lives in Montpelier.
Karina joined VNRC in April 2020. As Restoration Ecologist, 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.
Kati Gallagher joined VNRC in fall 2021 as the Sustainable Communities Program Director. Prior to VNRC, Kati worked with the Mad River Valley Planning District, implementing a program of bioregional planning focused on affordable housing, sustainable transportation, and placemaking. Kati also gained experience as a grassroots advocate, organizer, and researcher while working with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). Kati holds an M.S. in Community Development & Applied Economics with a concentration in Community Resilience & Planning from the University of Vermont. Her master’s research focused on Vermont’s “new economy,” including social entrepreneurship and alternative wellbeing measurement. Kati lives in Waterbury Center with her family and overgrown garden.
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.
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.
Johanna Miller is the Energy & Climate Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC). Johanna also serves as the coordinator of the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN), the statewide network of 120+ 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. In 2020, Johanna was appointed to the 23-member Vermont Climate Council, which is charged with crafting a plan to meet the climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Before that, in 2017, Johanna was appointed as a member of Governor Phil Scott’s Climate Action Commission, and she also serves on the board of the Clean Energy Development Fund, the Vermont Energy Education Program board, and the Vermont System Planning 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. Johanna is a graduate of the University of Vermont and lives with her family in Montpelier.
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.