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.
Mark Nelson (Interim Board Chair) Mark is a retired financial services executive who retired early to commit his time and energy to conservation, environmental, and social work. Since retiring, Mark has dedicated the majority of his time to the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club. He joined the Executive Committee in 2013 and became the Chapter Chair in 2014. After 4 years, he has stepped down as Chair so that others can take a leadership role. Mark also leads National Outings for the Sierra Club and is a Training Officer for national outings leaders. Mark’s passion for conservation and environmental protection is based on his desire to “be the voice for those that have no say in human decisions that have an impact on them”. Mark also served on the Board for Habitat for Humanity of Addison County as Chair for the Credit Committee. Mark is also Chair for the Ripton Conservation Commission, a member of the Ripton Energy Committee, the Ripton Energy Assistance Program (REAP), and an EMT, Wilderness EMT and firefighter with Ripton Fire & Rescue, and Middlebury Regional EMS.
Bill Dell’Isola is currently the Conservation Analyst for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Recently he was the Conservation Biologist for the Teton Regional Land Trust in Driggs, Idaho, where he engaged in conservation planning, conservation easement stewardship, grant writing, and Sandhill Crane and Trumpeter Swan restoration projects. Before TRLT, he worked for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Trumpeter Swan Society, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Bill has a degree in Wildlife Science from SUNY-ESF and lives in Montpelier with his wife, Annie.
Stephanie Gomory is Communications Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC), where she informs members and the public about the organization’s advocacy for Vermont’s environment and communities. Stephanie holds a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in English and French Studies. She enjoys cooking, swimming, crafting, and exploring small towns in New England and beyond. She is also a board member of Slow Food Vermont. Stephanie lives in Montpelier with her husband Constantinos and their son Cosmo.
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.
Matt Lacey is a student at Vermont Law School. He previously served as an ECO AmeriCorps member at The Nature Conservancy, focusing on the reclassification of the Otter Creek Wetland Complex, and as the Mollie Beattie intern at the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC), where he assisted with forest, wetlands, and wildlife policy research. After graduating in 2018 from Virginia Tech with a degree in Wildlife Conservation, Matt spent his summer working as a technician on a mule deer and elk ecology research project in Wyoming before moving to the Green Mountain State to pursue a career in wildlife policy.
Suma Lashof is the Donor Relations Manager at the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global conservation organization united by a mission to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. Suma earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Vermont, where she completed her senior thesis on bat conservation studies in partnership with Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Growing up surrounded by Vermont’s beauty fostered a deep connection with nature, and she is proud to dedicate her career to protect the natural communities that shaped her character.
Rebecca Roman (she/her) is interested in the intersection of conservation, ecology, environmental justice, and housing rights in Vermont. As a state, we have such a unique approach to projects that fall into some, or all, of these categories and it is exciting to watch it continue to evolve. Rebecca currently serves as an active member on the Burlington Conservation Board and the Open Space Subcommittee. She works at Vermont Land Trust (VLT) as a Regional Stewardship Manager for parts of Northern Vermont. Before that, Rebecca served for two years as a Vermont Housing and Conservation Board AmeriCorps member at VLT. Since 2017 Rebecca has been an assistant teacher at the Governor’s Institute of Vermont for the Environmental Science and Technology Program. She earned her BA in Environmental Sciences at the University of Vermont.