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Geo has worked for many years on river issues, and enjoys learning how rivers work and how we can manage them for both human and environmental needs. He was a founding board member of the White River Partnership and worked with that organization for decades. Professionally he is a house rehabilitator, having retired from farming after 26 years.
He probably spent every summer day for years swimming and paddling the White River with his two daughters. A favorite pasttime for his wife and him is to hike a mountain, and then seek out a swimming hole to cool off. Strange as it seems, he actually enjoys pulling garbage out of the river.
Matisse Bustos is a strategic communications professional with more than two decades of experience serving the arts, non-profit, and social justice communities. She’s the founder of Otro Lado Communications which partners with change makers to develop creative and effective communications strategies. A native of Southern California, Matisse made her way to Vermont via New York City and lives in Montpelier. She enjoys as much time at reservoirs, lakes, and swimming holes as the short, but beautiful, Vermont summers allow. She joined the VRC board in 2018.
Dave lives Cheshire, CT, with his wife, Joanna. He first discovered the wonders of Vermont swimming holes while on vacation in 1998 when he stopped for a swim in the New Haven River. He spent the next several years exploring, documenting and photographing his swimming hole adventures during his many trips to Vermont. His passion for swimming holes and the desire to protect them for future generations to enjoy is what drew him to join the Vermont River Conservancy and catalyzed the publication of two swimming hole guidebooks: Take the Plunge, An Explorers Guide to Swimming Holes of Vermont and Swimming Holes of the White Mountains.
Lou grew up in Franklin, VT where he took full advantage of the Missisquoi River and nearby waterways. He has a degree in Wildlife Biology from University of Vermont and a Master’s of Science in Resource Management and Administration from Antioch University New England. Lou began his career with Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife Department, and has been with Vermont’s Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation for two decades, where he manages state public lands in the Northeast Kingdom. He currently lives in Barnet with his wife Melissa and three college aged students. Regardless of the season, he enjoys the waterways of the region by biking along winding backroads, fishing, canoeing, or hunting waterfowl.
After 25 years living in cities, Priscilla moved to Vermont in 2002 and has fully embraced the Vermont lifestyle. She and her husband André, and twin teenagers, love to explore Vermont’s wonderful outdoors. Whether running past a sun dappled babbling brook, swimming in one of Vermont’s many swimming holes, rivers and lakes, or embracing the vistas from the top of a mountain while on a hiking or skiing adventure, Priscilla embraces the natural world that is at the core of a Vermont-life.
In her professional life Priscilla is President of CenterPoint Financial where she serves as a financial adviser. She has been in the financial services industry for over two decades and brings her experience in financial management to the VRC board. Priscilla is a proud graduate of Boston College.
She is happy to serve on the VRC board and help to achieve VRC’s goals for preserving Vermont’s natural water resources and shore land.
Some of Mike’s earliest memories are of rambles in the small brooks of western Pennsylvania, flipping rocks to grab crayfish and hand-lining for Brook Trout. His love of streams and rivers has lasted a lifetime.
After finishing degree programs in biology and river ecology, he came to Vermont in 1988 to work for the Department of Environmental Conservation as a watershed planner. His early work involved travelling the state to help local communities organize and develop their watershed associations, many of which are still thriving today. He learned about the love affairs so many Vermonters have with their river, and out of concern for losing these places, joined with Stephen Syz and Tom Willard to start the Vermont River Conservancy in 1995. Mike went on to serve as the State River Ecologist and Fluvial Geomorphologist and ended his career in 2019 after a ten year stint as the State Rivers Program Manager. Over the years, Mike developed nationally recognized stream geomorphic and habitat assessment protocols, river corridor mapping methods, river and floodplain management principles and practices, and a river corridor easement program.
In his retirement, Mike looks forward to volunteering with watershed organizations again and is especially delighted to be back on the VRC Board.
Lisa is an ecologist and an attorney with 25 years of experience in environmental policy and analysis in the public and private sector. She is the owner and president of The Clark Group, which was founded on the idea that environmental protection and economic development are compatible goals. Prior to moving to the private sector, she worked in the federal government including at the White House Council on Environmental Quality where she focused on ways to improve implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.
Lisa moved to Vermont in 1996 to study environmental law and policy at Vermont Law School in South Royalton. While there pursuing her Masters and Juris Doctor degrees, she enjoyed spending time on the White River swimming, boating, and tubing, and discovered her love of Vermont’s waterways. She lives in Montpelier where she explores the local communities and Vermont landscapes with her two children, husband Peter, and dog Loki.
Kate grew up between the Lakes and White Mountain Regions of New Hampshire. There, Kate and her brothers frequented the Swift River’s natural water slides in late summer and first fell in love with moving water.
After studying English and Economics at Wellesley College, Kate attended law school at George Washington University and spent her first decade as a Vermonter practicing law. Kate now owns and operates Vermont Evaporator Company, manufacturing and selling DIY maple syrup making tools and equipment to backyard sugar makers across the US and Canada.
Kate and her husband, children, and dogs have the great fortune of living on a tributary of the North Branch of the Winooski in Montpelier, Vermont. Kate joined the VRC Board in 2016. She also sits on the board of For the Land Publishing, creator of the Vermont Almanac, an annual celebration of rural, Vermont life.
Ron and his family have owned Hancock Mountain Farm in central VT for more than 50 years. The farm is enrolled in Vermont’s Current Use Program and in the Vermont Woodlands Association sponsored Vermont Tree Farm Program. White River Partnership and Vermont River Conservancy hold riparian and floodplain easements along the White River that bisects the farm. The farm’s meadows include a productive berry patch and supply alfalfa and clover to a grass-fed beef farm in Rochester, VT. The farm’s forestlands are actively managed for sustainability, species and wildlife diversity, and erosion mitigation. Ron has a longstanding commitment to Vermont’s vital rivers and river corridors. He is an avid fly-fisherman. Ron brings a wealth of previous nonprofit service to the Vermont River Conservancy.
Craig is a lifelong “water guy,” whether fishing on the St. Lawrence River as a kid on his ancestral farm on the Thousand Islands, or ocean adventures at the Cape, or caretaking the brooks and pond on his Roxbury property. He’s a terrible fisherman, a worse kayaker, but compensates for this as a strong swimmer. After a career practicing medicine in Northfield for 40 years, he joined Vermont River Conservancy’s board in 2022 to give back to the rivers he loves.
Dr. Patrick Whelley is a research geologist and field scientist. He grew up in central New Hampshire and lives in Middlesex, Vermont, with his wife and two young kids. Patrick and his family get outside and on the water as often as they can, whether to camp, fish, paddle, swim or walk on the shore. Patrick believes that wild and natural spaces are good for us and should be welcoming and available to everyone. He joined the Vermont River Conservancy board of directors in 2020 to help the organization conserve some of Vermont’s wild spaces, advocate for equitable public access to waterways and wilderness, and help Vermont prepare for a changing climate.
Raised in a family that fought the filling of Connecticut tidal estuaries for the construction of I-95, Stephan went on to wear hats as a naturalist at the Connecticut Arboretum, a volunteer to establish the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, an environmental planner for the City of Philadelphia and a watershed planner for the State of Vermont. He was the founding Chair of the Montpelier Conservation Commission and the Vermont River Conservancy, a member of the Montpelier City-State Commission, the Chair of the Montpelier-Berlin Bike Path Committee and a member of other non-profit and civic organizations. He has worked to successfully protect many acres of land in Vermont. Stephan lives in Montpelier with his wife, Linn. They have two grown sons and three grandchildren.