Board of Directors

Doug McLane - President 

Doug McLane and his wife Sue have been active in chestnut restoration since the formation of the VT/NH Chapter. Doug’s favorite activity is tending the Chapter nursery and the ever-growing germplasm conservation orchard here in Plymouth, NH. It is a pleasure to have a chance to lead our Chapter into the challenging future of chestnuts.

Curtis Laffin - Vice President

Curt Laffin, and his wife Carol, have actively participated in nearly all types of VT/NH Chapter activities, especially outreach and communication. Curt is a wildlife biologist retired from the US Fish & wildlife Service. He and Carol live in Hudson, NH.

Bill Coder - Secretary

Bill joined TACF after happening upon an educational orchard around 2000 and then became active in the VT/NH Chapter upon moving to Bedford, NH in 2014.  A retired engineer, Bill volunteers at several environment focused organizations.  The idea for an educational chestnut planting at NH Audubon in Concord resulted from his volunteer connections in both organizations, forming a full circle with how he first became aware of the American chestnut story.

Daane Crook - Treasurer

Daane Crook

Will Abbott

Will and his wife Alicia live in Holderness, NH, in a home that they purchased in 1993 with the help of a local realtor named Doug McLane.  Will recently retired from the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, where he ran the public policy shop and oversaw the stewardship of the Society’s 57,000 acres of forest land.  He has had a life-long fascination with trees, particularly the American Chestnut and the American Elm, and the potential to restore each to their original range.

 

Yurij Bihun

Yurij Bihun is a Vermont-based forester with experience in sustainable forest management, tree improvement, international development, and protected area management. In addition to teaching, research, and writing, he has had a wide spectrum of on-the-ground experience with the management of forest ecosystem services. His work in the conservation of forest ecosystems led to his interest in the restoration of natural landscapes and the challenge of returning American chestnut as a functional component our native woodlands. He was on the National Board of Directors of TACF from 2013-2019 and President of the VT/NH Chapter from 2014-2020.

Tom Estill

My caring for, and interest in, the outdoors has been a lifelong passion of mine. It carried over into my career as a science educator with a BA in biology and MEd in Env. Sci. Ed.  One of my greatest joys in life is sharing what I have learned in the outdoors with others. I currently serve as a volunteer Sci. Ed. Specialist at a school in Rutland, VT and as a Naturalist at Pine Hill Park, also in Rutland, where, among other things, I look over the care of 50 American Chestnuts.  I am also in charge of the Rutland GCO, and am in the middle of planting American chestnut seedlings in each of the schools in Rutland as an Ed. and Outreach activity.  It is so rewarding to know I am a part of the movement to help bring back the American Chestnut.

Evan Fox

Evan Fox is retired and lives in Barnard, VT with his wife Sue of 41 years, where she loves to garden and he loves to grow, manage and harvest about ten acres of softwood and hardwood trees, including the challenging Chestnut. He is an avid outdoorsman, carpenter and amateur cabinetmaker, heats mostly with firewood and is a semi-serious maple syrup producer during the season. Evan graduated Penn State’s Agricultural Engineering College in 1979, made his career in PA and serves as President of the Penn State Alumni Association’s Vermont Chapter.

Dr. Gillian Galford

Dr. Gillian Galford is an expert in ecosystems ecology and global change. In addition to research and teaching at the University of Vermont in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Gund Institute for Environment, Dr. Galford leads the Vermont Climate Assessment. Her research spans from the forests of Vermont to the Amazon.

Gary Hawley

Gary Hawley is an Environmental Sciences and Forestry faculty member in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.  He is also a member of the Williston, VT Conservation Commission for over 25 years.  Hawley’s research interests include assessments of forest genetics and physiological responses to environmental stresses such as climate change and anthropogenic pollution.  He has been involved in several American chestnut research projects including cold tolerance assessments, evaluation of the growth of multiple seed sources and performance of blight resistant hybrids relative to other forest tree species. This work is being conducted with the TACF and US Forest Service.  Hawley also has been heavily involved and has directed many of the activities surrounding the green renovation of the Aiken Center and other Rubenstein School buildings at the University of Vermont.  This nearly 20-year process includes teaching a yearly course titled “The Greening of Rubenstein Interns” that has guided students through many aspects of energy efficiency upgrades and is currently pushing ahead to Net Zero Energy for these buildings.

Dr. Ann Hazelrigg 

Ann has been a plant pathologist with UVM Extension for 35 years. She is the Director of the Plant Diagnostic Clinic and works with farmers and gardeners to diagnose insect, disease and weed problems. She is involved in many research projects that typically focus on diseases and organic agriculture. In her spare time she is a struggling fiddler and  is excited to add chestnuts to her home arboretum!

Dr. James Talbot

Jim Talbot is currently retired after spending more than 35 years of professional and consulting experience in the environmental field with private for-profit organizations; with public-, state-, and national-level agencies; and with development agencies such as USAID, the World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank. His technical specialties include environmental impact assessment of development projects; clean production practices; solid/hazardous waste management; environmental compliance and pollution prevention; natural resource surveys and baseline studies; pesticide use, storage, and disposal management; environmental training programs; and project administration and management.

 

Presently, he volunteers at the Zadock Thompson Natural History Museum at the University of Vermont, working to update and improve the 500,000 specimen insect collection.  He is also on the Board of the Vermont-New Hampshire Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation.

 

Jim and his wife live in South Burlington, Vermont, and enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing and boating.  He has three daughters, all of whom live nearby with their families, and five grandchildren.

Science Contact - Kendra Collins (non-voting)

Kendra Collins

Marshall Case, Emeritus (non-voting)

Marshall Case

Jess Wikle - UVM Rubenstein School Non-Profit Board Fellow (non-voting)

Jess Wikle is a PhD candidate at the UVM Rubenstein School of Natural Resources and and Environment studying forest management strategies for climate change adaptation. Prior to attending graduate school she worked as a consulting forester in southern New England. She is excited about the prospect of healthy chestnuts returning to New England forests some time in the future.