Board & Staff
Board of Directors
|Vice President||Nancy Allen||Petersham|
|Treasurer||Allen Tupper Brown||Gill|
|Executive Director||Leigh Youngblood|
|Conservation Director||David Graham Wolf|
|Conservation Project Manager||Paul Daniello|
|North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership Coordinator||Jay Rasku|
|Stewardship Biologist||Tom Wansleben|
|Land Conservation Associate||Sarah Wells|
|Land Conservation Associate||Jamie Pottern|
|Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow Program Manager||Dee Robbins|
|Development Director||Pam Kimball|
|Director of Donor Relations||Nathan Rudolph|
|Membership Coordinator||David Kotker|
|Director of Finance and Operations||Sean Pollock|
|Executive Manager||Lisa Cormier|
Howard Mathison, President, is the proprietor of Main Street Millwork in Greenfield, Massachusetts, which produces custom wooden millwork including moldings for frames and flooring. Howard lives in Warwick, Massachusetts.
Nancy Allen and her partner, Charles Crowley, moved to Petersham from Boston in 2001. Nancy is a graphic designer and Charles is an architect. Nancy has participated in a variety of local and regional projects mainly focused on environmental, historical, and cultural interests. She has served on a variety of local boards, including as chairman of the Petersham Selectboard and Historic District Commission and as a member of the School Committee and Capital Planning Committee, among other public positions. Nancy serves on the boards of the Historical Society and the Craft Center, where she is co-president, and is a former board member of the Petersham Memorial Library.
Allen Tupper Brown, Treasurer, his wife Sandy and their three children left Washington, DC in 1984 where he had been working in a law firm for 16 years. They bought an old farm in Gill, and for a number of years kept a small herd of Dexter cows, and continue to manage the hayfields and pasture. Since moving to Gill, Tupper works as a consultant to engineering, manufacturing and construction companies in connection with large litigation matters. Tupper serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Finance Committee in Gill and participated in Gill’s open space planning project and in the rewriting of Gill’s zoning by-laws. Over the years, Tupper has served on the Greater Northfield Watershed Association Board of Directors and recently assisted with Mount Grace’s Bascom Hollow land conservation project in Gill. Tupper and Sandy have worked on further conservation projects in their immediate neighborhood along the Connecticut River, and this year completed the conservation of their own land and 80 acres of their adjoining neighbor’s land.
Celt Grant, Clerk, is a resident of the Butterworth Farm community in Royalston where he moved five years ago from Boston. It was a welcome return to the rural living he knew as a youth on the family farm in Andover. Unfortunately, the mansions are the only crop growing there now, a telling commentary on the relentless loss of open space in our state and region. Celt’s enduring passion is preserving the New England landscape including farms, forests and historic structures. He serves on the town historic district commission, enjoys outdoor activities, and continues his work of preserving and adapting old buildings.
Warren Facey has owned Bree-Z-Knoll Farm since 1972. The farm, a dairy, also produces maple syrup from a 3,000-tap system. He has been Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers for over twenty years and serves on the boards of the Franklin County Farm Bureau, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, the Our Family Farms milk marketing cooperative, and the Leyden Agriculture Commission and Leyden Planning Board.
Peter Haley works at Morin Real Estate in Winchendon. Over the past ten years Peter has worked with Mount Grace on conservation land sales protecting land in the North Quabbin area. Peter has been an active participant in local historical societies, local Lions and Rotary clubs. He lives with his wife Jo Ann in Templeton where he serves on the Planning Board and is Town Moderator.
Bonnie House lives in Phillipston where she has served on the zoning board of appeals and the conservation commission. She was responsible for updating the 2001 Open Space Plan for the town. She became a full time glass artist after retiring from teaching graphic design at Fitchburg State College.
Leonard Johnson and his wife Marjorie have lived in Carlisle for the past 30 years. They both have a strong lifelong interest in New England outdoor activities and land conservation, and have nearly completed hiking the New England 100 Highest Peaks. In recent years they have greatly enjoyed the landscape of the North Quabbin region. Lenny, a researcher in electronics and optics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has long been active in local Carlisle activities. He is treasurer of the local non-profit newspaper, the Carlisle Mosquito, and he previously chaired the town Finance Committee and Capital Requirements Committee.
Kees (Cornelis) Overgaag was born in the Netherlands and lived for ten years in France where he learned sustainable farming practices. His farming experience eventually led to a job providing vocational farm training for at-risk Dutch youth. Kees came to the United States in 2009 to join his brothers Paul and Jaap. He runs Charlie’s Red House Farm in Winchendon, a certified organic farm protected by Mount Grace in 1998, which supplies The Red House and Charlie’s Kitchen in Cambridge, owned by the Overgaags. Kees chose organic farming as a way of working with nature and hopes to inspire more people to find joy and sustenance in nature.
Mike Roche is the social studies department coordinator at Mahar Regional High School where he has taught since 1974 except for four years when he worked as the regional director for Ducks Unlimited in Massachusetts. Mike serves on the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Board as board secretary. Over the past 25 years, Mike has served as advisor to the Mahar Fish and Game Club, believed to be the oldest high school fish and game club in the state; as a Massachusetts volunteer hunter education instructor; as a member of Massachusetts’ Project WILD advisory committee; as director and assistant director of the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp; as chair of the New England Outdoor Writers Association Scholarship committee for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and as a writer for the Athol Daily News. Mike lives in Orange.
Mount Grace Staff
Leigh Youngblood, Executive Director, During Leigh’s 18-year tenure, Mount Grace has grown from two to twelve staff. With its partners, Mount Grace has protected 25,000 acres since 1986, and actively manages 1,500 acres of forest land. Leigh’s application of a cooperative approach, both internally and externally, has led to many successful partnerships and innovative landscape-scale conservation projects with land trusts of all sizes, state agencies, and multi-level collaboratives. Leigh has served as an officer of the Mass Land Trust Coalition and on Land Trust Alliance national committees. She played a key role in establishing and maintaining the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, which brings together diverse groups to protect strategic open space. Leigh has consulted on conservation projects in Oregon, New Hampshire, and Georgia. Leigh was recognized as one of MassAudubon's People Making a Difference in December, 2012.
David Graham Wolf, Conservation Director, provides leadership for Mount Grace’s conservation, stewardship and service learning programs, is responsible for designing and executing Mount Grace’s strategic conservation plans, and oversees all project negotiation and administration. David is a conservation biologist, naturalist, and educator with over 10-years of experience working on strategic conservation projects in New England. Since joining Mount Grace in 2007 he has overseen the successful completion of over 80 conservation projects protecting nearly 7000 acres by employing a collaborative approach to executing multi-landowner/multi-partner landscape scale projects. With a bachelor’s degree in management and two master’s degrees, one in education and the other in conservation biology, David has run his own conservation consulting business and taught in the Division of Natural Sciences at Franklin Pierce University. David grew up in Worcester, MA and now lives in Rindge, NH with his wife Christina and his two children Indigo and August.
Paul Daniello, Conservation Project Manager, manages Mount Grace’s Community Conservation Program which works with local conservation commissions, open space committees, and other community groups to conserve natural resources that they identify as local priorities. Having joined Mount Grace in 2006, Paul is the senior project manager on the land protection team and has successfully negotiated over 25 community-based conservation deals protecting nearly 1500 acres of forest and farmland in his tenure. Paul came to Mount Grace with 25 years of environmental science and management experience having worked with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality as a water quality specialist and as a commercial laboratory manager and chemist overseeing organic pollutant analyses such as dioxins, furans, PCBs, and volatile organics. Paul is a life-member of Trout Unlimited and assists the Buffalo Field Campaign in its efforts to expand habitat for wild Yellowstone bison. He also conducts water quality monitoring with the Ashuelot River Local Advisory Committee. Paul has B.S. degree in biology from Hofstra University and studied resource management and administration at Antioch University-New England.
Tom Wansleben, Stewardship Biologist, oversees the stewardship program which includes monitoring conservation restriction properties, working with private landowners and managing our fee owned conservation areas for wildlife habitat, sustainable timber, and recreation. Before joining Mount Grace in 2006, Tom worked on wildlife management and ecological restoration programs throughout the United States for a variety of organizations, including the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and The Nature Conservancy. He has a M.S. in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England and a B.S. in Natural Sciences from Lyndon State College. His graduate research focused on modeling habitat use of Barred Owls in New Hampshire. Tom likes to spend his free time fly fishing, waterfowl hunting and snowboarding.
Sarah Wells, Land Conservation Associate, manages Mount Grace’s Landscape Conservation Program which focuses on biodiversity conservation by designing multi-landowner landscape-scale land protection projects. She is also responsible for managing all initial landowner communication including conservation project intake and assessment using our Geographic Information System (GIS). Before joining Mount Grace in 2012, Sarah was the MassLIFT-AmeriCorps Regional Conservationist for 2 years with the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership where she was responsible for organizing the multi-partner/multi-landowner Quabbin to Wachusett (Q2W) Forest Legacy Project. Sarah is a wildlife biologist and conservationist with five years of experience working on ecological restoration and land protection projects, and holds a B.S. degree in Natural Resources Studies with a monor in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from UMass-Amherst. Sarah is a native of Orange, MA and now resides in Wendell.
Jamie Pottern, Land Conservation Associate, manages Mount Grace’s Farm Conservation Program which focuses on protecting the working farms of our region using both traditional methods such as APR, and new innovative models that protect the land, support the local farm economy, and secure the future affordability of farms for new farmers. She is also responsible for managing farm project intake and assessments using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She is professionally oriented toward fostering sustainable, resilient food systems in the region—she has worked on organic farms, including at the Farm School in Orange, and has conducted landscape design and food systems planning projects across Massachusetts. Jamie has a M.A.L.D. from the Conway School’s masters program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design and a B.A. from Brandeis. She has family roots in the town of Athol and currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Jay Rasku, Partnership Director, provides leadership for the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership and the MassLIFT AmeriCorps programs of Mount Grace and spearheads new community partnerships as opportunities arise. Since joining Mount Grace in 2006, Jay has engaged municipal conservation boards, smaller local and regional land trusts, and state agencies in collaborative conservation partnerships that have boosted conservation capacity across the region and resulted in the protection of nearly 9000 acres. Before joining Mount Grace in 2006, Jay worked as an environmental organizer for 12 years first working with MassPIRG as director of their environmental, consumer, and democracy programs and later with the Toxics Action Center organizing community groups to clean up and prevent toxic pollution from landfills, incinerators, hazardous waste sites, polluting facilities and pesticide applications. Jay has B.S. degree in biology and studio art from Bates College and lives in Greenfield, MA with his wife Iris and daughter Ivy.
Dee Robbins, Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow Program Manager joined Mount Grace in 2010 to run the expanded Common Ground program. A former conservation associate of the Monadnock Conservancy, Dee began her environmental career as an intern studying chimpanzees with Dr. Jane Goodall. She has also worked at Earthwatch Institute, developing and managing programs that engaged student volunteers in scientific research around the country. She has a Master’s degree from Antioch University-New England in Resource Management and Administration.
Pam Kimball, Development Director, raises funds for Mount Grace land protection projects and the operating budget by securing funds from public and private funding sources. Since joining Mount Grace in 2002, Pam has helped to manage organizational growth and development, including the expansion of the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership. With a vision of a sustainable world developed through social ecology studies during travel worldwide, Pam has worked since 1990 with organizations such as EarthAction Network in Amherst, Earthlands in Petersham, and The Farm School in Athol. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Babson College and has completed post-graduate studies in social ecology and elementary education.
Nathan Rudolph, Director of Donor Relations, is responsible for managing Mount Grace’s communications and individual giving programs. Nathan joined Mount Grace in 2006 after working for more than 12 years in nonprofit development with the Oregon Humane Society, Bentley College, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Greenpeace USA, and other organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota.
David Kotker, Membership Coordinator, joined Mount Grace in 2007. He is responsible for thanking members for their support, coordinating the planning and promoting of membership events and activities, and managing and expanding the volunteer program. He has worked in fundraising for nonprofit environmental and conservation groups for over ten years, including four years with Greenpeace and four with the Citizens Awareness Network. He has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College.
Sean Pollock, Director of Finance and Operations, manages day-to-day operations at Mount Grace, including finances, human resources, technology systems, and building facilities. He joined the organization in 2006. Sean worked for five years as the operations and technology coordinator for the Environmental Leadership Program, taught outdoor education in the Redwoods of California, and spent two years in AmeriCorps doing environmental education, land restoration, and trail-building. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Skidmore College.
Lisa Cormier, Executive Manager, joined Mount Grace in 2007 after working seven years for the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. Prior to that, she worked for many years at Simplex Time Recorder Co., starting as a payroll clerk and promoted to administrative assistant in several departments due to her software skills. Lisa specializes in database management and office efficiency. She appreciates nature and exploring the back roads of New England. She is also an artist who favors drawing in pen and ink.
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