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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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 of service 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.

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.

DAVE BELAK

Trustee

Is a 23 year Amherst resident, married with two grown daughters. Contributor (foot soldier) to various environmental quality initiates such as river water quality monitoring, beach cleanups, forest stand growth modeling, lake invasive plant control, wetlands and resource inventory and delineation, and avian habitat protection along with trail maintenance and other conservation use improvements such as signage and benches.  He holds a Masters of Conservation Biology from Antioch New England University.

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JIM HENDRIX

Trustee

Jim Hendrix is that rare creature, an Amherst native.

Over the years he has served as a youth soccer coach, been on the Board of the Animal Rescue League and on their Advisory Committee, served as a Trustee of the Derryfield School and on their Alumni Council. Jim's passion for Amherst started when he played in these fields, streams and woods as a kid. Now he hikes, skis and bike rides them. He joined the Amherst Land Trust board because he wants to be part of helping future generations enjoy the same benefits of Amherst's open space.

Jim and his wife Cyndi Carr live on Christian Hill Road with three adopted dogs.

He is the managing partner at Visual Persuasion, LLC, a marketing and PR agency.
 

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GEORGE BOWER

Trustee

George and his wife Jackie have lived in Amherst for more than 30 years. He has served on the Amherst Land Trust Board of Trustees since 1997.

George earned his Ph.D at Michigan State University and as a principal in ESRA Consulting, provides 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. Dr. Bower 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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RYAN DESMARAIS

Trustee

Ryan has served as trustee since 2018. He grew up in Amherst, where a significant portion of his family still lives. He is currently Vice President and Credit Manager for Eastern Bank. Additionally, Ryan serves as a Land Steward for Society for the Protection of NH Forests and graduated from Wagner College with a degree in Business Administration. 

In his spare time Ryan loves trying to make the leaderboard in Pats Peak’s ski race league and is slowly hiking his way through NH’s 4000 foot peaks. He also doesn’t mind a short walk in the woods close to home with his wife, family, and friends.
 

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MATT FENTROSS

Trustee

Matt has served as trustee since 2019. He spent his formative years in Amherst. He is currently the Residential Director at Nashua Children’s Home, having worked there since 2008. Matt graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Criminology. Matt likes to spend time outdoors, having hiked all 48 of the NH 4000 footers in 2013, and is currently working towards completing other hiking lists. Matt also enjoys traveling with his wife and friends, and many ski adventures during the winter months.

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.