The Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support Vermont’s conservation commissions and to encourage the establishment of more conservation commissions in the state. AVCC is a membership organization, with conservation commissions as well as individuals as members. Founded in 1990, AVCC is overseen by a volunteer board of directors.
Amber Collett is a Senior Associate at Seiche Works where she combines her experience in research, community organizing, and media to strengthen the work of her clients and connect communities. Formerly the Communications Director at Vermont Natural Resources Council, Amber is a strategist and issue-oriented communicator who focuses on building and sustaining networks to influence movements. Prior to moving to Vermont, she attended Yale School of Forestry, St. Catherine University, and St. Olaf College, and was elected to the Hennepin County Conservation District Board to represent Minneapolis, MN. She currently lives in Montpelier where she also serves on the Montpelier Transportation Infrastructure Committee and the Complete Streets Committee. In her spare time, Amber enjoys bicycling, hiking, running, and gardening.
Karen Douville (Treasurer) served on the Hartford conservation commission (HCC) for 17 years (and attended every AVCC annual meeting). During that time the HCC implemented educational outreach thru annual newsletters, brochures, seminars, and annually donated conservation books for Hartford’s village and school libraries. The HCC was also instrumental in Hartford’s adoption of shoreline protection regulations, wildlife corridor overlay zoning district, and the creation of forestry and conservation zoning. She is a founding member of Linking Lands Alliance, a grass-roots group working on wildlife habitat and connectivity in 10 towns in the Upper Valley. She also works closely with Vermont Coverts and the Ottauquechee Natural Resource Conservation District.
Nancy Everhart (Chair) is the Agricultural Director at the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB). She works with conservation partners of all types – federal, statewide, regional, local, public and private non-profit organizations – to protect Vermont’s working landscape, and outdoor recreation and natural resource assets. Prior to joining the staff at VHCB in 2001, Nancy owned and operated a small-scale, organic, diversified dairy in Marshfield. She and her husband continue to raise grass fed organic beef on the farm. Nancy has served on Marshfield’s Planning Commission in the past, and completed a three year term as co-chair of one of Vermont’s Farm to Plate Network Work Groups (Farmland Access & Stewardship) in 2016. In her spare time, she spends as much time outdoors as possible, gardening, hiking, biking, swimming, paddling and skiing.
Laura Farrell serves on Monkton’s Conservation Commission and is chair of the town’s Agricultural and Natural Areas Committee, which helps facilitate land conservation. She is a consulting wildlife biologist working on issues that arise when wide-ranging carnivores interact with human-influenced landscapes. Her recent research focused on modeling landscape connectivity for bobcat and lynx and detection of Vermont’s mesomammals. Currently, Laura is working on a collaborative project for the Vermont Transportation Agency that aims to identify ways to make transportation infrastructure more accessible to wildlife and enhance landscape connectivity around roads, and she is consulting on the impacts of telecommunications sites on connective wildlife habitat. She received her PhD in biology from the University of Vermont in 2012.
Jens Hilke works for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department as a Conservation Planning Biologist. He helps towns, regional planning commissions and non-governmental organizations with their conservation planning efforts. This includes help with GIS natural resource mapping, advice on prioritizing significant natural features and help with implementing town conservation goals. Jens did his undergraduate work at Connecticut College in Environmental Sociology and then got a Masters in Botany from the University of Vermont as a Field Naturalist. Jens has taught high school science in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New Jersey and for a study-away program in Thailand, Southeast Asia.
Bob Hyams currently serves on the Hinesburg Conservation Commission. Previously to that, he spent 10 years on the Charlotte Conservation Commission, and served as chair for four. During his tenure on the commission, the panel has created an on-line, interactive habitat map, gone through two cycles of town plan revisions, continuing stewardship of key town resources, ambitious community outreach programs, and a current effort to reclassify a Lake Champlain wetland as Class I. Bob is an active member with the Vermont River Conservancy, a founding partner of FSC Markets and Yourfarmstand.com, and regularly provides consulting and management services for invasive species control.
Nancy Jones (Secretary) is Chair of the Conservation Commission in Bradford. She is also a Co-Chair on Bradford’s Conservation Fund Committee, which works to preserve precious natural resources and helps private landowners cover the up-front costs of conserving their land in Bradford. She is a retired teacher who taught Biology at Oxbow High School for 20 years, and taught in elementary schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 13 years.