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Board of Trustees

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SALLY WILKINS

President

Sally has lived in Amherst since she and her husband, Tom, built their house on a piece of family land in 1981. (Tom is a descendent of several of the founding families of Amherst.) They maintain a small homestead on Green Road and run the family business, a sawmill started by Edward Hartshorn in 1808.

Tom's grandfather, Harold Hartshorn Wilkins, Jr., was one of the charter members of the Amherst Land Trust, a man with a life-long commitment to land preservation. Tom and Sally have tried to carry on that legacy both in the way they run their business and in their community activities.  Sally and Tom donated a piece of Harold's land to the Amherst Land Trust when he died in 2003. They recently placed more than 500 acres of land in Amherst and Mont Vernon under permanent easement with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
 

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JAY DINKEL

Treasurer 

Jay and his family have lived in Amherst since 1988, and he has been a Trustee of the Amherst Land Trust since 1997. He has served as an Amherst Selectman and on the Amherst Ways and Means. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a member of the Milford Rotary Club. He is on the Boards of Opportunity Networks, Greater Nashua United Way and Education For All Children. He also serves as a Trustee on the Bean Foundation. A New Hampshire native, Jay and his wife, Toni, have two grown daughters who were raised in Amherst. He is Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending for Enterprise
Bank.

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BILL BIRCHARD

Trustee

Bill is a freelance journalist, author, and book consultant who writes about management, health care, and the environment. Among Bill's books are Merchants of Virtue (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), the story of the making of a sustainable company, and Nature's Keepers (Jossey-Bass, 2005), the story of the world's largest environmental group, the Nature Conservancy. Bill's writing has appeared in Chief Executive, CFO, Fast Company, Strategy + Business, and other magazines.
 

Bill and his wife, Suzanne, have lived in Amherst since 1989. Bill served as a youth soccer coach and scout leader for many years. Bill spends his free time in the outdoors, hiking, skiing, and canoeing, and has traveled widely in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America to remote and mountainous regions.

He blogs about book writing at www.billbirchard.com

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Anne Berlack

Trustee

Anne grew up in Amherst and has always called the village home, even while living in Wisconsin and Connecticut. After a 35-year career in sales and marketing research, she returned to Amherst in 2021. Inspired by wildlife travel, work with a Long Island Sound Aquarium, and the power of including nature in everyday places, Anne found the Land Trust a natural fit for her talents. Anne is frequently seen walking with one of the dogs she fosters from local rescue centers.

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GORDON LEEDY

Trustee

Gordon is a land planner and landscape architect who has practiced in New Hampshire for most of his 40 year career. He is a graduate in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois, and is a licensed Landscape Architect in New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts. He specializes in complex land use entitlements, land planning, community planning, environmental restoration and sustainable design. His public service includes 18 years on the Amherst Planning Board, membership on the PlanNH Board of Directors, Chairman of the New Hampshire Board of Landscape Architects and the Souhegan River Local Advisory Committee. Gordon has lived in Amherst for over 20 years.

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RON HOULE

Trustee

Ron is a founding partner of Brayman, Houle, Keating & Albright, PLLC where he specializes in the area of individual, partnership and corporate taxation. He has considerable experience with easements and other land-related tax issues. Ron is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. He received his Master of Science in Taxation from Bentley College and B.S. in Accounting from Plymouth State College. Ron is an avid skier and general outdoor enthusiast. He and his wife, Ann Foster, live in Amherst Village.

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Christopher Buchanan

Trustee

Christopher was raised in Amherst and has spent most of his life in the area, having also lived in Germany and Arizona. He works for the New Hampshire Department of Safety and is a Captain at Amherst Fire Rescue, where he has served since 2007. Christopher volunteers as Chairman of the Amherst Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Commissioner of the Amherst Village Historic District, and Chairman of the Friends of the Souhegan Valley Rail Trail.


He received his master’s degree in Intelligence Studies from American Military University and his bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire. His primary interests are infrastructure design and travelling, where he has been fortunate enough to visit about 45 countries around the world, usually admiring local infrastructure.

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Jim LaBelle

Trustee

Jim LaBelle joined the ALT board in 2021 after a 40-year career in printing and magazine print production, including 6 years as Production Director for Fast Company Magazine. In 2003, Jim created Process Publishing Services, a magazine consulting business. In the years since, he has helped clients such as Atlantic Media, Harvard Business Review and MIT Technology Review with issue production, workflow challenges and print contract negotiation. His primary interests these days are in creating documentary films, and hiking or mountain bike riding on Amherst’s extensive trail system. He lives in Amherst with his spouse Martha Whitney. Jim and Martha have long held interests in conservation, land preservation and renewable energy.

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GEORGE BOWER

Trustee

George has lived in Amherst for more than 30 years. He has served on the Amherst Land Trust Board of Trustees since 1997. Having earned his Ph.D at Michigan State University, George works as a principal in ESRA Consulting, providing scientific, technical, and regulatory services to industrial facilities. George twice served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on Science and Technology at conferences with the former Soviet Union and has provided committee testimony to the US Congress on technology issues. George has frequently served as a human factors expert in industrial, product safety and traffic accident cases. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Pennichuck Corporation and is the co-inventor of a patented, high-performance oil/water separation and recovery system.

George is the Moderator for the Souhegan Cooperative School District and has served on the Town of Amherst Planning Board, the Road Commission and was twice elected to terms on the Souhegan Cooperative School Board.

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CLO KNIBBE

Trustee

Clo and her family have lived in town since 1996. Over the years, she has volunteered with, and served on the boards of, many organizations in Amherst (schools, PTA, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Destination Imagination, Lego League, etc). She is a retired software developer, and continues to enjoy dabbling in that area.  In her free time, she likes to hike (with her faithful canine companion) and mountain bike on the many wonderful trails in the greater Amherst area.

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MEGAN MURRAY

Trustee

Serving on the Amherst Land Trust since 2017, Megan and her family reside in the heart of Amherst. First in her family to graduate college, she earned her B.A. from Lehigh University. She is a mother to three young children, she seeks to find ways to continue maintaining open spaces in nature that families can enjoy for years to come. She and her family are active in Scouts BSA and makes use of many outdoor spaces mentoring environmental stewardship within the organization. She also serves in the New Hampshire Legislature as a State Representative and was first elected in 2018.

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MIKE SCHER

Trustee

An attorney and IT security specialist, Mike has worked in risk management on both the legal and technical fronts since 1993. He is a graduate of Duke University with degrees in English, Cultural Anthropology, and Law, and was for many years a regular speaker and author of articles on security, policy, ethics, and technology law. At the University of Chicago, he studied the intersection of law and unauthorized access to computers and communication systems, before settling into a career in information technology risk management. While he wasn’t literally raised in the forest by wolves (or at least they’re not admitting anything), Mike has been a deep woodlands hiker since his 20-mile hikes as a Boy Scout. He (unsurprisingly) still enjoys hiking year-round, and is now particularly fond of snowshoeing off the beaten path. Mike and his wife, Debra, have lived in Amherst since 2007.

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