STATE FUNDING PANEL Denise Savageau, Environmental Planner Contact: email@example.com Denise Savageau has worked as an environmental planner in Connecticut for over 36 years. She started her career with the local soil and water conservation district, serving the 29 towns in Hartford County and working alongside USDA NRCS and CT DEEP. She then worked in the land use department for the Town of Greenwich as the Conservation Director retiring in 2018. Denise remains active at the local, state, and national level as a volunteer and currently serves as the Chair of the CT Council on Soil and Water Conservation - a state agency, President of the Connecticut Association of Conservation Districts, and the Northeast Region Chair for the National Association of Conservation Districts. She serves on the State Water Plan Implementation Workgroup and is a member of the Water Planning Council Advisory Group. She also serves on the USDA NRCS State Technical Advisory Committee and on the EPA Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee and is a board member of Rivers Alliance of CT and the Greenwich Tree Conservancy. She recently served on the Governor’s Council on Climate Change Working and Natural Lands Wetlands and Agriculture/Soils sub work groups. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics with a concentration in Environmental Economics and Natural Resource Management.
Eric Hammerling, CT Forest and Park Association Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-346-8733(TREE) Eric Hammerling has been Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) since 2008.Eric served as Chair of the State Vegetation Management Task Force in 2012 to balance the goals of safe roads, reliable electricity, and healthy roadside forests. Eric has served as Co-Chair of the Environment Committee assembled to provide policy recommendations to the incoming Lamont/Bysiewicz Administration, and as Chair of the Forests Sub-Group making recommendations to the Governor's Council on Climate Change in 2020. In 2021, Eric served as the Chair of the Working Group developing recommendations for a Policy on Resilient Forests for Connecticut’s Future (PRFCT Future). Eric currently serves on the Boards of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Connecticut Outdoor Recreation Alliance, Friends of CT State Parks, and of Connwood Foresters, Inc. He is also on the Steering Committees for the Friends of Auerfarm Scenic Reserve and the Working Lands Alliance. Eric holds an M.S. in Environmental Science/Range Management from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Amy Paterson, Connecticut Land Conservation Council Contact: email@example.com, 860-852-5512 Amy joined the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) in 2010 as its first Executive Director. Prior to CLCC, Amy served as a Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land and worked for over twenty years as an attorney, concentrating her practice in land conservation and environmental protection. Amy serves as the co-chair of the State of Connecticut Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board. She was a member of the Environment Committee for the Lamont/Bysiewicz Administration transition team, the Forests Sub-Group of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the Policy on Resilient Forests for Connecticut’s Future (PRFCT Future) Working Group. Amy is also a long-time member of the Working Lands Alliance Steering Committee. She received a BA from Franklin & Marshall College and her law degree from the University of Denver.
Robert LaFrance, Audubon Connecticut Contact: Robert.LaFrance@Audubon.org Robert LaFrance holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics / Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac School of law. He is a professor of environmental law and policy at Quinnipiac School of Law and is admitted to the practice of law in Connecticut. He is a member of the Habitat Committee of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission where he also serves as a proxy for the Governor’s Appointee. For more than 25 years he served the state of Connecticut at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) as both Director of Governmental Affairs and as Director of Law and Policy for the Branch of Environmental Conservation. He retired from DEEP in 2019 and now represents the National Audubon Society’s State Office – Audubon Connecticut as Director of Policy. He was a member of the Financing Adaptation and Resilience Subcommittee of the Governor's Council on Climate Change.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE State Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr., Waterbury Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-240-8585 Representative Reyes represents the 75th Assembly District of Waterbury in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Rep. Reyes currently serves as Deputy Speaker and is the 2021-22 Chair to the Black Puerto Rican Caucus in the Capitol. In his community, Reyes has been District leader for the Democratic Town Committee's 75th District over the past 8 years. Rep. Reyes has a long record of involvement in his town and has dedicated his career to the prosperity of the people of Waterbury. The representative has strong community ties along with great relations across nonprofits and community organizations. Reyes has participated in several grassroots projects including: developing and planning “The Gathering” – the largest multi-cultural festival in New England, celebrating a wide array of cultures, art, music with over 100 countries. In recent years Reyes has served on: Greater Waterbury NAACP Executive Board, the Neighborhood Housing Services Executive Board, the Loyola Development Executive Board, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury Executive Board, and the SALSA, Inc. Board of Directors. The Waterbury Representative graduated from Crosby High School and Central Connecticut State University with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Technology Management. He also holds an associate degree in Industrial Technology from Waterbury State Technical College. Representative Reyes resides in Waterbury with his wife, Hilda and is especially proud of his daughters; Cassandra Reyes and Cristina Reyes Kingsbury along with her little family (Mat, Julian & Veda).
State Representative Bobby Gibson, Bloomfield, Windsor Contact: email@example.com, (860) 240-8585 Representative Gibson is the Chief Majority Whip of the Connecticut General Assembly. He serves as the Vice-Chairman of the General Law Committee, is on the Education Committee and Conservation and Development Sub Committee Co-Chair for the Appropriations Committee. Gibson is also the Vice Chairman of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. Representative Gibson’s legislative priorities include education, the environment, seniors, and the fair living conditions of all Connecticut Citizens. Representative Gibson is most proud of sponsoring and the passing of Public Act 19-12, the Inclusion of African American Black, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies in Connecticut Schools. He previously served as a teacher in Bloomfield, Hartford, and the Capital Region Educational Council where he positively influenced the lives of students for well over two decades. He has received Educator Awards for his dedication to improve the outcomes for his students, community, and has twice received awards from the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut, The Links Incorporated Farmington Connecticut Chapter, Prince Hall Foundation of Connecticut, Composite Lodge #22 of Bloomfield Connecticut, 100 Black Men, The Institute for Cross-Cultural Awareness and Transformative Education Award, The Greater Hartford Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance 2020 Drum Major Award for politics, The Hopewell Baptist Church Teen Honoree, and has been named Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Citizen of the Year twice and Omega Man of the Year. He attended Southern Connecticut State University and conferred his bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak State College. He received his Master of Arts from the Graduate Institute and is currently pursuing further education. CLIMATE & ENERGY PANEL Leah Lopez Schmalz, Vice President of Programs for Save the Sound Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-787-0646 x121 Leah Lopez Schmalz oversees Save the Sound’s Endangered Lands, Climate Change and Resiliency, Long Island Sound, Ecological Restoration, and Communications departments. She manages a team of advocacy, engineering, science, and communication specialists and develops campaigns to protect the habitats and water quality of Long Island Sound and Connecticut’s land, air, and water. A long-time environmental advocate, Leah’s focus on the intersection of climate change, resiliency, and health grew after Hurricane Katrina devastated her home state. She joined Save the Sound as its staff attorney in 2001 and became Save the Sound’s Chief Program Officer in 2018. Leah earned her J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace University School of Law, and her undergraduate study in sustainable architecture and design culminated in a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the University of Louisiana.
Samantha Dynowski, Sierra Club Connecticut Contact: email@example.com Samantha Dynowski joined Sierra Club Connecticut as the State Director in August 2018. Samantha works alongside Sierra Club Connecticut's dedicated volunteers organizing activists to fight climate change, reduce pollution, protect wildlife, and eliminate threats to air, water and land. Prior to joining the Sierra Club, Samantha was Director of Advocacy and Outreach at the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. She grew up in Wethersfield and West Hartford, and graduated from UCONN. She now lives with her family in West Hartford.
Mark Scully, People’s Action for Clean Energy Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Scully is President of the nonprofit People’s Action for Clean Energy and is actively engaged in promoting Connecticut’s transition to clean, renewable energy. He retired in 2017 from a thirty-five-year career as an actuary and from 2018 to 2020 oversaw the restoration of a local historic mansion, the Ensign House in Simsbury, CT, into a mixed-use commercial property using modern, energy efficient technology and practices. Over his career, Mark served as chief actuary of several international insurance companies and is the founder of Willis Towers Watson’s property-casualty consulting practice in Germany. Mark received his B.A. in Mathematics and German from Washington and Lee University and his M.A. in International Economics and Foreign Policy at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Certified Passive House Consultant. Mark lives in West Simsbury, CT.
Amy McLean, Acadia Center Contact: AMcLean@acadiacenter.org Amy McLean is the Senior Policy Advocate and Connecticut Director at Acadia Center's Connecticut office. In this capacity she is a registered lobbyist and tracks clean energy legislation and regulatory issues most important to Acadia Center's mission and goals. She convenes coalition work with stakeholders and partners to further enhance the success of the policy change efforts Acadia Center takes on. She is the communicator for all publicity generated on the important clean energy issues and serves as a member of Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board which oversees the effectiveness of the programs and activities in place to distribute the energy efficiency funds to Connecticut ratepayers. Amy presently serves and Chair of the Residential Committee of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board. Amy has been active in local campaigns and community issues in the greater Hartford area. She holds M.S.W. and B.A. degrees from the University of Connecticut and is a certified Green Professional Building by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Nathan M. Frohling, The Nature Conservancy in CT Contact: email@example.com, 203-980-5149 Nathan Frohling is The Nature Conservancy’s Director of External Affairs. He leads federal and state government relations for the Chapter and oversees its climate and energy policy work. Nathan’s leadership on the Long Island Sound Blue Plan helped achieve legislative adoption of this precedent-setting measure in 2021. Believing that engaging the business community in advocacy for passage of important climate and clean energy legislation, Nathan recently launched with key partners the CT Energy Future Initiative. As an active member of the State’s Commission on Environmental Standards Nathan is helping assure the viability of offshore renewable wind energy by also assuring marine life is protected in the process. Before coming to The Conservancy, Nathan was Executive Director of Soundwaters, a Long Island Sound-based environmental education organization and prior to that he served as Executive Director of the Farmington River Watershed Association where he was instrumental in accomplishing the precedent-setting Farmington Wild & Scenic River designation.. Nathan served on the Guilford Land Trust and River’s Alliance Board of Directors and Co-Chaired the Rivers Advisory Committee. Nathan holds a Masters Degree from Yale University School of the Environment and a Bachelors Degree in Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan.
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE PRIORITIES State Senator Christine Cohen, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, North Branford Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org, Senator Cohen is the Senate Chair of the Environment Committee, Vice-Chair of the Commerce Committee, and she sits as a voting member on both the Planning & Development and Children’s committees. In her first term in office, Senator Cohen focused her public policy energies on protecting Connecticut’s environment, preventing gun violence, making Connecticut healthier, and strengthening the state’s economy. Senator Cohen helped pass new state laws to ban single-use plastic bags beginning in 2021, to ban the production of untraceable ‘ghost guns,’ to raise the smoking and vaping age to 21, to reduce business taxes, expand workforce development training, institute a paid family and medical leave system beginning in 2022, and allow for the planting of hemp on Connecticut cropland - a brand new industry for our state. Senator Cohen created and co-chairs the Coastal Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who focus on the issues affecting coastal towns, cities and waterways. She also uses the private-sector business experience she gained working for years at Fortune 100 companies like Stanley Black & Decker and Georgia Pacific to co-chair the legislature’s Bioscience Caucus, which seeks to strengthen and promote Connecticut’s robust life sciences and biotech industries. In addition to serving in Connecticut’s General Assembly, Senator Cohen and her husband Rob also run a small business, “Cohen’s Bagel Company,” which has been growing and thriving for 17 years on the Boston Post Road in Madison.
State Representative Joe Gresko, Stratford Contact: email@example.com After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from Central Connecticut State University, Representative Gresko worked as a weather forecaster at Western Connecticut State University and Techni-Weather before catching the news bug and beginning a career in radio news. He had a successful career as a radio news reporter/anchor at WICC/WEBE, winning many Associated Press awards and twice the Ellen Abrams award for best radio reporter in the state. After working in the City of Bridgeport administration managing all media relations and public affairs functions including the police and fire departments, Joe served as the deputy chief of staff for State of Connecticut House Speaker Jim Amann. He returned to the city of Bridgeport and currently works on green initiatives ranging from energy efficiency and renewable energy to urban forestation and sustainable growth. Joe volunteers monthly at the CT Food Bank and annually at the Housatonic River clean-up and is a member of Protect Your Environment (PYE), the Stratford Rotary and the Lordship Fathers Club. He is also an auxiliary member of the local VFW Post 9460 and was also a lector at Holy Name of Jesus Church. Joe is fighting for Stratford interests at the State Capitol, including securing the funding for the new Stratford High School, the grant for the improvements at the South End Community Center and playscape, the funding for the Sterling House upgrades, the Connecticut Air and Space Museum at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, conveyance of the Grasso property to the town of Stratford and paving of Main Street.
Commissioner Katie Dykes, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Katie Scharf Dykes is the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). She was nominated by Governor Ned Lamont to serve as the Commissioner of DEEP, and was confirmed on February 20, 2019. Katie previously served as Chair of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) from 2015-2018, and as Deputy Commissioner for Energy at Connecticut DEEP from 2012-2015. Katie also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI) from 2014 to 2017. RGGI is a multi-state effort focused on reducing carbon emissions from electric generating facilities. Katie joined CT DEEP in March 2012 after prior service as Deputy General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as a Legal Advisor to the General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy. She is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale Law School.
WASTE MANAGEMENT Scott Cassel, Product Stewardship Institute Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-236-4822 Scott Cassel has over 35 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors solving waste management problems. As CEO of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), he has led the producer responsibility movement in the U.S. over the past two decades. Scott also developed the facilitation process that PSI uses for stakeholder engagement and consensus-building, which laid the foundation for the passage of most of the nation’s extended producer responsibility laws, including the first industry-run, government-mandated paint stewardship program. Prior to founding PSI in 2000, Scott served as the director of waste policy and planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, where he developed and implemented solid and hazardous waste management policies and programs. Scott holds a master’s degree in environmental policy and dispute resolution from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania. PESTICIDES Tara Cook-Littman, Esq., Visionary Campaign Group LLC Contact: email@example.com, 917-602-0855 Tara Cook-Littman is a mom of three children, a passionate environmental and food policy advocate and an attorney. Tara is currently working on legislation to strengthen restrictions on pesticide use in CT. In 2013, Tara spearheaded the effort to pass the first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law in Connecticut through the GMO Free CT campaign. Building upon that success, she was a founding member and chair of “Citizens for GMO Labeling,” a non-profit group providing organizational and advocacy support to citizen activists working to pass similar bills around the country. Prior to starting her family, Tara worked as a prosecutor in a trial division at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Tara graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in American Studies and minors in Journalism and Women’s Studies and received her JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she graduated Cum Laude and was a member of Moot Court.
TRANSPORTATION PANEL Shannon Laun, Conservation Law Foundation Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 475-261-9538 Shannon Laun is a Staff Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation, where she engages in environmental advocacy to strengthen climate, clean energy, and environmental policies in Connecticut and other New England states. Shannon represents CLF in federal litigation, state public utility commission dockets and regulatory proceedings, before the state legislature, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She regularly collaborates with other advocates to advance strong and equitable climate and energy policies. Shannon holds a JD from Harvard Law School and is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut, and several federal courts.
Barry Kresch, EV Club of Connecticut Contact: email@example.com Barry Kresch is a media research and marketing consultant by day, and has long been involved in environmental activism. He has been a club member and EV owner since 2012, president since 2019. His participation in the club includes doing the analytics, such as the Interactive EV Dashboard tracking EV adoption in CT, and other projects, including a financial analysis of the Westport Police acquiring a Tesla Model 3 for use as a patrol car. He also writes and manages the website, is a frequent speaker, has published multiple Op-Ed pieces supporting EV-friendly policy, and is frequently used as a resource for information about the state of EVs in CT by the press and others.
Thomas Regan-Lefebvre, Transport Hartford Academy Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. 860.206.5606 x113 Thomas Regan-Lefebvre, Coordinator at the Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress. He is an advocate for environmentally sustainable, equitable, and reliable modes of transportation at the city, state, and regional level. Located in Park Street, the Transport Hartford Academy works with residents and other local and regional organizations to build the future of our transportation system. His advocacy particularly focuses on the needs of Hartford residents who do not have access to a car and rely on public transportation as well as pedestrian and bike infrastructures to go to work, to school, and to do groceries. Before his time at the Center for Latino Progress, he taught at Trinity College in Hartford and was employed by the U.S. State Department. He has a PhD in political science from Queen’s University Belfast.
YOUTH ON CLIMATE Sena Wazer, Kimmy Reindl, Matthew Plourd, Max Coretto - Sunrise CT email@example.com Sunrise CT is a hub of the national Sunrise Movement, a youth led organization focused on stopping climate change and creating millions of good jobs in the process. Here in CT, we are mobilizing youth from across our state to demand immediate and drastic climate action at the scale of the crisis we face, and a just transition towards a renewable energy future. We push for state wide policies and legislation that address climate change and intersectional social justice issues; organize events such as climate strikes that bring attention to the climate crisis and build political power; and endorse/campaign for elected officials running for political office.
Roger J. Kuhns, SustainAudit, LLC and Citizens Climate Lobby firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-910-8525 Dr. Roger Kuhns has over 40 years of professional experience in terrestrial and marine geology and ecology, natural resources and exploration, lunar geology, sustainable practices, environmental and climate science and policy, LEED design, and sustainable urban agriculture. Dr. Kuhns has managed large international teams and budgets, gaining global leadership experience (over 100 countries) living overseas for ten years. He was elected to the Door County Board of Supervisors in Wisconsin (2002-2004), where he helped strengthen environmental protection of ground water and sound fiscal practices. Kuhns also developed natural resources-ecology-sustainability and urban agriculture courses at City College New York (Adjunct Professor), similar courses for The Clearing Center in Ellison Bay, WI, and geology/hydrology/eco field courses and on-line nature film making at University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) Field Station (Associate Scientist). Kuhns has worked as a news writer/director/editor for a local Wisconsin newspaper and radio stations . He founded the publishing/ recording company musicTOears and has published over 45 professional and public interest articles, and four books. Kuhns has produced instructional environmental-sustainability topical videos, and the feature length award-winning documentary “Escarpment”, and the award-winning performance film “An Evening With Jens Jensen at Toft Point”.
LAND CONSERVATION PANEL Eric Hammerling, CT Forest and Park Association Contact: email@example.com or 860-346-8733(TREE) Eric Hammerling has been Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) since 2008.Eric served as Chair of the State Vegetation Management Task Force in 2012 to balance the goals of safe roads, reliable electricity, and healthy roadside forests. Eric has served as Co-Chair of the Environment Committee assembled to provide policy recommendations to the incoming Lamont/Bysiewicz Administration, and as Chair of the Forests Sub-Group making recommendations to the Governor's Council on Climate Change in 2020. In 2021, Eric served as the Chair of the Working Group developing recommendations for a Policy on Resilient Forests for Connecticut’s Future (PRFCT Future). Eric currently serves on the Boards of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Connecticut Outdoor Recreation Alliance, Friends of CT State Parks, and of Connwood Foresters, Inc. He is also on the Steering Committees for the Friends of Auerfarm Scenic Reserve and the Working Lands Alliance. Eric holds an M.S. in Environmental Science/Range Management from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Chelsea Gazillo, American Farmland Trust/Working Lands Alliance Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org,860-969-4386 Chelsea Gazillo is the American Farmland Trust New England Policy Manager and directs the Working Lands Alliance in Connecticut. As part of this work, she directs research and education, policy development and analysis, grassroots and direct advocacy, outreach, and communications. Prior to joining AFT, Chelsea served as a Food Policy AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Bridgeport Food Policy Council and the Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative. Before that, she worked as lead researcher for SIT Graduate Institute’s Real Food Challenge Campaign and Intern with the Food Chain Workers Alliance. Chelsea holds a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA and a Master’s in sustainable development with an emphasis in policy advocacy and analysis from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. She is also a member of the Holyoke, MA Conservation Commission and a member of the Holyoke Food and Equity Collective.
Peter Hearn, Connecticut’s Council on Environmental Quality Contact:Peter.Hearn@ct.gov, 860-424-4000 Peter Hearn began his environmental career working in the office of the Commissioner of New York’s Environmental Protection Administration where he was responsible for assuring appropriate responses from the agency to citizens’ concerns regarding air quality, water supply, noise, solid waste disposal, sewage and storm water. He left to become the first full-time Executive Director at the Housatonic Valley Association in Connecticut, where he did the sampling that proved the presence of PCB’s in the Housatonic River. He is most proud of his role in the preservation of seven miles of land along the Housatonic River in Kent, which the Appalachian Trail now traverses. He worked for the Environmental Defense Fund in New York City, while he earned a Master’s Degree from Columbia University. He became Executive Director of a non-profit in northern Manhattan and created an environmental education program that used the 196 acres of Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park as a classroom to teach concepts from the public schools’ science curriculum for middle school and high school students. His love of scuba diving led him to serve on the Board of Directors of Friends of Fishes Inc., where he initiated a volunteer diver program for the New York Aquarium. In 2007 he was hired by Connecticut’s Council on Environmental Quality as an environmental analyst. He has been its Executive Director since July of 2018.
Kieren Rudge, People’s Action for Clean Energy Contact: Kieren.Rudge@yale.edu, 914-319-3947 Kieren Rudge is a Master’s of Environmental Science Candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. Their work focuses on climate justice, participatory adaptation planning, and community-based solar power. As an operations manager for People’s Action for Clean Energy Kieren has researched the potential for siting solar canopies in Connecticut and advocated for policies to support this untapped energy resource.