Meet the Board of Trustees
The role of the Board of Trustees is to help The Nature Conservancy advance its mission of protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends. We counsel, connect and capacitate the organization so it can have successful conservation outcomes in Vermont and across the region. As ambassadors for the organization, we hope to co-create a Vermont future where both nature and people thrive.
James (Jed) Murdoch—Board Chair
Trustee since November 2016
Dr. Murdoch is a professor in the Wildlife & Fisheries Biology Program in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. His position involves teaching, research and service. He teaches courses in wildlife biology, ecology and conservation biology and is engaged in research that aims to solve wildlife problems by using a combination of fieldwork, experimentation and modeling. Jed is also involved in the IUCN and serves as a member of the Vermont Scientific Advisory Group for Mammals. Jed graduated from Colorado College with a degree in biology; he earned a Master of Science in biological sciences from the University of Denver and a Doctor of Philosophy in zoology from the University of Oxford (UK). He previously chaired the Conservation Committee and the Governance & Nominations Committee and since June 2023 has taken on the role of board chair.
Trustee since September 2023
Gina is passionate about native plants and rebuilding habitat for pollinators and wildlife. She has just completed her tenure as the New England chair for Conservation & Legislation at the Garden Club of America, where she focused on north-south pollinator corridors across five states and advocated for conservation legislation at both the state and federal levels. Gina graduated cum laude from Harvard University and lives in Woodstock Vermont, where she is restoring a wetland with the help of some wonderful beavers and preparing her 600-acre property to become a native plant seed farm. If you’re in Woodstock, Gina can often be found pulling invasive plants beside the road or planting habitat; helpers are always welcome!
Trustee since July 2008
George is the co-founder and former president of Associates in Rural Development (ARD), a major global provider of environmental, economic, governance and engineering consulting services. During his time leading ARD, he worked on a variety of conservation issues in the U.S., Latin America, Asia and Africa, where he also lived for several years. Prior to founding ARD, George was involved in higher education as an administrator and professor. He has a strong New Zealand connection, where he now lives six months of the year and is the honorary consul from New Zealand to Vermont. George received his B.A. in political science from Drew University, his M.A. in government from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in policy studies from Union Graduate School. He is committed to building strong and sustainable connections between Vermont and New Zealand, and he has been instrumental in establishing The Nature Conservancy in New Zealand. George is also the chair of TNC Vermont's Advisory Council.
Trustee since May 2021
Dr. Chen recently spent four months teaching emergency medicine in Uganda. Prior to that he was the interim commissioner of the Vermont Department for Children and Families. He has served as a senior advisor for the CDC Foundation, executive director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing at the University of Vermont, Vermont commissioner of health, State Representative Rutland-Windsor 1, emergency physician for 30 years (26 at Rutland Regional Medical Center) and faculty at the UVM College of Medicine. He received his BA from the University of Michigan, his MD from Oregon Health Sciences University and post-graduate medical training at Boston City Hospital and Oregon Health Sciences University.
Trustee since May 2019
Annie worked for the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Works for Women in roles related to fundraising, finance, HR and management. She now leads a team in the operations division at National Life in Montpelier. She earned her BA at Wellesley College as a geology major. Annie loves time outside—especially with her Scottish terrier, walking or gardening and observing. Annie is also the chair of the Conservation Committee.
Trustee since May 2023
Dr. Grigg is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Norwich University, where she teaches classes in intro to geology, oceanography, GIS, freshwater ecosystems, and energy and the environment and where she also conducts research with students and collaborators. Her research focuses on the reconstruction of past climate and ecosystems in Vermont since deglaciation. More recently, she has examined past linkages between changes in lake productivity, erosion and climate. She received her BA in geology from Colorado College, her MA in geography from the University of Oregon, and her PhD in geography from the University of Oregon. She enjoys spending time with her family and being active outside.
Trustee since May 2021
Stephen is a novelist and author of several books, which have been translated into many languages and developed for television and film. Previously he was a newspaper journalist and won many awards for that work. He also spent 15 years as a national advocate for improving care of the terminally ill, toward the increased use of hospice, palliative care and advance directives. Stephen is a graduate of Middlebury College who subsequently earned an MA degree at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA degree from the Iowa Writers Workshop. Stephen has an ongoing goal of being active in Vermont's beautiful outdoors more than 300 days a year.
Trustee since May 2020
Linda's love of this beautiful planet is in her DNA. She has lived and worked on sustainable development issues across Africa, Latin America, Europe, South Asia and nearly every corner of the US. No matter where she lands, watching the sunset is her happy place. After 20 years working as lead economist and policy analyst for the World Bank, she moved to Vermont to be closer to family. Since 2010, her professional focus has been on state-level climate change strategies, renewable energy, and efficiency policies and investments, with a particular emphasis on equity. She has provided her expertise across two administrations, serving as director of Governor Shumlin’s Energy Generation Siting Policy Commission, as co-chair of the Clean Energy Development Fund, as advisor to ANR on climate change strategy and on Governor Scott’s first Climate Action Commission. She is currently a senior fellow and trustee at Vermont Energy Action Network, whose mission is to bring public, private and non-profit leaders together to achieve Vermont’s climate and energy commitments in ways that create a more just, thriving and sustainable future for Vermonters. Linda also served as past board chair of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. She holds degrees from Stanford (BA), Princeton (MPA), l’Institut des Etudes Politiques (MEcon) and Harvard Business School (Exec Ed). Linda chairs the TNC Policy Committee.
Trustee since November 2016
John spent 30 years with Sears Roebuck in operations (logistics, distribution, finance), five years as logistics director at an IT company, and five years with the largest retail supply chain standards organization working with the IT community (Microsoft, Intel, HP, etc.) to establish XML-based standards; he also successfully negotiated with the United Nations to take over a supply chain standard used by multinationals. He has worked in Chicago for the Lake Michigan Federation (quality of Lake Michigan’s water), taught quality management at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, worked with public school principals in the Chicago school system and is a founding member of the North Shore Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. In Vermont he has been on the boards of the Pawlet Historical Society, Dorset Historical Society, Corn Exchange of Dorset (president), Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning (president), Hildene and the Manchester Music Festival. He is a member of the finance committee of the Dorset Field Club. John graduated from Randolph Macon College in Virginia and attended St. John’s Law School and Hofstra Business School.
Trustee since May 2021
Candace worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. After stints at the Providence, RI, Journal and United Press International, she was a mainstay at the Burlington Free Press in her hometown. Among her jobs there: statehouse bureau chief, columnist, editorial page editor and managing editor. As editorial page editor she made the newspaper a consistent influential voice for conservation and land-use planning. For nearly a decade in the early 2000s, she was the newspaper’s environmental reporter. She provided sustained coverage of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, the state’s threatened and endangered species, mountaintop wind energy development and the impact of catastrophic flooding during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. In semi-retirement, she is a consulting editor at Seven Days, the Burlington-based weekly. She has served on the board of the High Meadows Fund and Hildene, the Lincoln family home in Manchester, VT. Candace is a graduate of Brown University (1969).
Trustee since June 2022
Dan is a senior scholar at Stanford’s Woods Institute and partner at the Climate Adaptive Infrastructure Fund. He was Google’s director of climate and energy initiatives, founding director of Stanford’s Center for Energy Policy and Finance, president of New Energy Capital, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy and Department of Energy Chief of Staff, a member of the Clinton and Obama transition teams and the Obama Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Earlier in his career Reicher was an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and a staff member of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island. An avid kayaker, Reicher was a member of the first expedition on record to navigate the entire 1888-mile Rio Grande (with support from the National Geographic Society) and to kayak the Great Gorges of the Yangtze River in China. He attended Dartmouth College and Stanford University Law School and did coursework at Harvard’s Kennedy School and MIT.
Winthrop (Win) Smith
Trustee since August 2017
Win is the previous owner and president of Sugarbush Resort. He started his career at Merrill Lynch, where he spent 28 years. For the last 10 he was an executive vice president of Merrill Lynch & Co., a member of the executive committee and chairman of Merrill Lynch International. Win served as chair of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the Vermont Roundtable. He was on the board of the Vermont Ski Areas Association and was also chair of the National Ski Association. Win previously served on the boards of Deerfield Academy, Outward Bound, the Japan Society, the New York City Ballet and the Cancer Research Institute. His education includes Buckley School in NYC, Deerfield Academy, Amherst College and Wharton Graduate (MBA). Win served as board chair from June 2020 to June 2023.
Trustee since May 2021
Dr. Stanfield-McCown is the director of the National Park Service’s Stewardship Institute located at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock, VT; she has just started a yearlong detail with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, serving as the deputy director for Environmental Justice Public Engagement. Her work focuses on supporting park service staff and partners so they can better serve the American public. Rebecca manages programs that focus on enhancing cultural competency and diversity skills, leadership development, and evaluation and promotion of practices that contribute to successful public land management. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resources recreation and tourism from Colorado State University and a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Vermont.
Trustee since May 2021
Fran is a media consultant who has been involved in education, public relations, media production, facilitation and strategy development for more than 30 years. She is passionate about stories that motivate change. A national award-winning media producer, Fran has served as producer/host of television and radio programs on Vermont Public and local ABC and CBS affiliates, as well as several webinar series. She was an adjunct associate professor of media communications and production at Champlain College. Fran is a trained facilitator who has served as moderator/host for community events, panels and debates, and as a facilitator for board retreats and community summits. She has an Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner Certification from Champlain College; an MA in archetypal psychology from Goddard College, Plainfield, VT; and a BS in communications from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Fran is currently the chair of the Governance & Nominations Committee.
Trustee since May 2020
Dr. Wemple is a professor in the Department of Geography & Geosciences at the University of Vermont and a faculty fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment. Her research examines how environmental change influences water resources. She has a particular interest in mountain landscapes and rural communities. In the US, she has worked in the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest and the Appalachian Mountains of the Northeast. Since 2013, she has been engaged in scientific research and capacity building in the Andes, including as a Fulbright Science and Technology Fellow in Ecuador in 2017. Her recent projects have examined rural community responses to extreme events and adaptive and nature-based approaches to improve flood resiliency and address water quality concerns. Beverley is a graduate of the University of Richmond, Virginia (BA in economics and German) and Oregon State University (MS in geography, PhD in forestry and bioresource engineering).
Since 2018, TNC Vermont has partnered with the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources to offer a board fellowship program that enables exceptional graduate students to gain real-world experience and provide service while learning about the community impacts of conservation decisions.
Alissa (Al) Freeman—Board Fellow
Board Fellow since May 2021
Al is a PhD student in the Silviculture and Applied Forest Ecology Lab at the University of Vermont. Her research is focused on understanding physiological mechanisms underpinning adaptability of species to changing climate regimes. Additionally, she is working to understand how adaptation silviculture may influence understory communities. Prior to her PhD, she worked as an extension program specialist at New Mexico State University conducting outreach and research on native pollinator habitat. Al also holds an MSc in botany and a BS in biology.
Lara Monteiro—Board Fellow
Board Fellow since June 2023
Lara is a Brazilian ecologist currently undertaking her PhD studies in natural resources at the University of Vermont. Her research is focused on understanding what the existing incentives to promote the restoration of grassland and savanna ecosystems are and what drives farmers to restore their lands. Before starting her PhD, Lara worked for five years as the coordinator of sustainable development at the non-profit organization International Institute for Sustainability (Brazil), where she partnered with rural communities and the public sector to promote the sustainable use of natural resources in Brazil. Lara has experience in forest landscape restoration, sustainable agriculture development, conservation systematic planning and participatory methodologies. She also has international research experience, having previously worked at the University of East Anglia, the University of York and the Zoological Society of London (UK). She holds an MS in ecology and evolution from the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil; a Teaching Degree in biological sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and a BS in biological sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Stephen Peters-Collaer—Board Fellow
Board Fellow since May 2021
Stephen is a PhD candidate in the Carbon Dynamics Lab at the University of Vermont. He is interested in understanding how riparian forests respond to human land use and climate change using field research and simulation modeling. More specifically his research focuses on how future conditions will alter critical functions like carbon storage, resilience and productivity in forest and stream ecosystems. Before joining UVM, Stephen helped to manage ongoing research projects in an agricultural entomology lab at UC Berkeley and conducted several seasons of ecological field research in Utah and Michigan. He received his BA in biology and French from Vassar College, where he first became interested in studying temperate forests.