The success of URI depends on so many people.  It is a team effort that helps us fulfill our mission.  Our team consists of board members, staff, interns, Greenspace volunteers, tree requesters (residents who agree to water their newly planted URI trees), partners like Emerge, the Common Ground School, the Sound School, the City of New Haven and donors.  Find here our staff, board, interns, and featured alumni interns. 

Colleen Murphy-Dunning's picture

Colleen Murphy-Dunning

(203) 432-6570

Colleen Murphy-Dunning is the Director of both the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the Urban Resources Initiative at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). Colleen partners with faculty to lead a field based module on urban ecology for all incoming Yale F&ES graduate students. Prior to coming to New Haven in 1995, she taught agroforestry at the Kenya Forestry College and reviewed natural resource operations in Papua New Guinea for the Rainforest Action Network. Colleen received her B.S. in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University, and M.S. in Forestry from Humboldt State University. 

Chris Ozyck's picture

Chris Ozyck

Associate Director
+1 (203) 432-6189

Chris Ozyck is the Associate Director for the Urban Resources Initiative. He graduated from the University of Connecticut 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Design. Chris has owned and operated a landscape design and construction business for over ten years in New Haven.

Chris has been involved in and led numerous Greenway initiatives including being lead organizer for the Vision trail, the Harbor Trail and the historic Quinnipiac River Loop trail. He was the founding President of the Board for the Elm City Parks Conservancy and the newly formed water pollution mitigation endowed fund. Chris lives in Fairhaven Heights with his wife Rosemary and two daughters.

Anna Pickett's picture

Anna Pickett

Development & Outreach Manager
(203) 432-6189

Anna graduated from Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2010 and went directly to work for URI’s Greenspace program. Before coming to Yale, she worked for 3 years at the Ford Foundation on its environmental justice grantmaking team. Previously, she worked for environmental non-profits, as a social worker in a battered women’s shelter, as a political campaign field staffer, and she lived for a while on a sailboat in the Pacific.

Anna earned a Master’s of Environmental Science from Yale and a BA in environmental studies from Oberlin College. She lives in New Haven with her husband and two sons.

Caroline Scanlan's picture

Caroline Scanlan

GreenSkills Manager

Caroline (Caro) is an urban forester and ISA certified arborist originally from the San Francisco, CA. She graduated from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2018 and fell in love with New Haven while working for URI as a graduate student. Previous to receiving her Master of Forestry, Caro taught elementary school in the San Francisco Bay Area, ran a school garden program, worked on urban farms, and built large wooden structures with children at the San Francisco Tinkering School.

Before joining URI's team full-time, Caro was an apprentice forester with the Yale School Forests and later the Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator at Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. She is delighted to be back in the Elm City, working with so many wonderful partners to care for New Haven's urban forest.

William Tisdale's picture

William Tisdale

Field Crew Representative

Will Tisdale is a New Haven native who started working with URI in the fall of 2015.  He joined the URI staff in spring 2018.  Will has expertly planted hundreds of New Haven’s trees through the GreenSkills program and we are fortunate to have him leading our GreenSkills EMERGE tree planting crews.  

Matthew Viens's picture

Matthew Viens

GreenSkills Program Manager
(203) 432-0314

Matt received his Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2016, where he focused his studies on urban and community forestry.  Prior to studying at Yale, Matt worked at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., where he worked with the Chief Innovation Officer to spearhead initiatives related to crowdsourcing and citizen science.  He has been with URI since 2015, transitioning from a summer Greenspace intern to GreenSkills Program Manager. In this current role Matt helps oversee all aspects of the GreenSkills program, including management of a seasonal crew of 6 Yale supervisors and 18 high school students who contribute to weekly tree planting activities. Matt has also held positions as an apprentice forester in the Yale Forests system, a community outreach intern with the the New Haven Land Trust, and a summer camp counselor. 

2020 Community Foresters

Jon Johnson's picture Jon Johnson

Jon is a rising second-year MF candidate at the Yale School of the Environment interested in urban and community forestry. His experience working in county parks has led him to question what it is about parks and other green spaces draw people in, what these spaces mean to different people, how to make them more accessible and inviting to more people, and how to accentuate the various positive social and ecological aspects of them. He aims to explore these questions further as a Community Greenspace intern and apply what he learns for the benefit of the residents of New Haven and their local communities.

Gabe LePage's picture Gabe LePage

Gabe LePage is a joint degree student in Yale Divinity School and the Yale School of the Environment. He graduated from Calvin College in 2016 with degrees in Geography and International Development Studies. Afterwards, he spent a year learning about Asset Based Community Development from Great Lakes Urban in his neighborhood in Grand Rapids, MI. Interested in land and the connections between a healthy relationship with the environment and people’s wealth, he moved to Florida to study agriculture as an intern with ECHO Inc, a small scale farming resource and training organization. 

Gabe is happy to be in New Haven and working with URI, an organization that marries international community development approaches to urban landscape restoration and poverty alleviation. He worked with GreenSkills to plant trees and is now looking forward to supporting community groups to improve bits of their neighborhoods. 

Thomas Martin's picture Thomas Martin

Tommy is a rising senior in Yale college studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Having grown up moslty in beautiful Tacoma, Washington, he values both urban and natural forests. He has loved the opportunity to live in New Haven and work with communities in the area as a member of the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentorship Program at Wexler-Grant School and Yale Undergraduate Prison Project’s GED tutoring program at Manson Youth Institute. In addition, he works as the co-coordinator of Yale’s First-year Outdoor Orientation Trip program, supporting students’ transition to college and fostering a sense of connection to the outdoor environment of the Northeast. Tommy is interested in the relationship between the natural and built environment and community health, and he looks forward to learning more from the neighborhood partners of Greenspace. 

Leah Snavely's picture Leah Snavely

Originally from Lancaster County, PA, Leah is no stranger to the hard work of stewarding green spaces. At Yale, Leah just completed her first year at the Divinity School, where she is studying towards a Master of Arts in Religion, concentrated in Religion and Ecology. She also spent this past academic year as a URI Greenskills intern, helping to facilitate street tree planting across all of New Haven. With an academic background in Spanish and Linguistics and a professional background in programming working against gender-based violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, Leah is excited to continue exploring how language and gender contribute to the construction of places.

2019 Community Foresters

Schuyler Borden's picture Schuyler Borden

Schuyler studied biology and music at Skidmore College. Schuyler loves the outdoors and loves learning about plants, foraging, and gardening and believes engagement with nature can lead to better well-being, greater self-reliance and can have a big impact on solving larger environmental problems. Schuyler became interested in community forestry while working at the New York Botanical Garden. Through URI, he hopes to facilitate community engagement with the environment and to learn how communities can overcome historic and institutional barriers to accessing the environment. His favorite tree is black walnut.

Austin Bryniarski's picture Austin Bryniarski

Austin likes to think about food and justice. Part of thinking about those things involves also thinking about space, place, history, politics, power, plants, and people. *Those* things brought Austin to the Greenspace program. Also, Austin loves New Haven.

Jamie Chan's picture Jamie Chan

Jamie is a rising sophomore at Yale College. She is undecided about her major, but is interested in Anthropology, Urban Studies, and Environmental Studies. She grew up in the beautiful city of Hong Kong, which fostered her appreciation for the urban environment and the distinct community interactions it enables. She is so excited to work with the Greenspace program and to learn more about New Haven.

Logan Howard's picture Logan Howard

Logan is a rising junior in Yale College majoring in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Urban Environments. She grew up with forests and rivers as playgrounds which sparked her love for the outdoors. Although she was born and raised in rural Virginia, Logan considers New Haven to be her urban home and enjoys searching for more ways to incorporate the natural world into her life in a city. One way she does this is through working with the Yale Sustainable Food Program and spending time at the Yale Farm. She is fascinated with the challenges that urban areas are facing due to climate change and with the complexities of sustainable living. She looks forward to all of the knowledge and growth that she will experience while working with the New Haven community, her fellow interns, and the URI staff this summer.

Lexi Smith's picture Lexi Smith

Lexi is an alumna of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where she earned her masters degree in Environmental Science from 2017 to 2019. She is a passionate environmentalist and applied ecologist with a wide range of interests. However, her main focus has been ecological conservation/restoration in conjunction with natural resource management and climate change mitigation/adaptation. She grew up and earned her bachelors degree (in Environmental Science) in Chico, California, which nurtured her love for nature in an increasingly urban environment with a community clinging to its rural roots and beloved Bidwell Park. During her time in New Haven, Connecticut as a graduate student and Greenspace Community Forester at Urban Resources Initiative (URI), she has developed a deeper appreciation for bigger cities and more urbanized spaces. Working with URI has demonstrated to her the enormous importance of community involvement in environmental stewardship and restoration at all scales, from streetscape gardens to large city parks. She feels incredibly fortunate to have been part of this ongoing process, and hopes that her efforts help New Haven be a better place for her having been here.

Amy Xu's picture Amy Xu

Amy graduated from Yale College in December. She loves New Haven and is excited to be at URI this summer!

2018 Community Foresters

Corey Creedon's picture Corey Creedon

Corey is a Greenspace Community Forester with the Urban Resources Initiative (URI) in New Haven, Connecticut. In this role, he helps to coordinate and support local groups in their work aimed at building community, environmental education, and active greening and stewardship of public spaces. This work features tree planting and stewardship in along city streets, vacant lots, and in urban oasis sites along waterbodies. Corey recently received his master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where he focused on environmental justice and the human dimensions of climate change and sustainable development. While at Yale, he worked as a Teaching Fellow for a Conservation Biology class and as a Climate Change and Ecosystems Intern with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Peru. Prior to coming to Yale, Corey served three years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay (2012-2015). As an Environmental Conservation Specialist in the Peace Corps, he worked primarily in youth education and leadership for the first two years of his time there before extending his service for a third year working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF)/Paraguay as a member of their Climate Change team helping with the coordination, execution, monitoring and evaluation of their “Paraguay Land Use” REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project. Corey also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from Bates College (’12).

David McCarthy's picture David McCarthy

David McCarthy is a recent graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is an interdisciplinary thinker that focused his studies on forestry, policy, philosophy, resilience, systems thinking, climate change, and communications. David is a lifelong Connecticut resident that's resided in New Haven since 2008. Dedicated to serving vulnerable populations, prior to his arrival at Yale he spent a decade working in the human services field. More specifically, he worked to alleviate poverty within Connecticut’s homeless population. He remains active and engaged with several environmental nonprofits in New Haven, including the New Haven Land Trust, New Haven Farms, Friends of East Rock Park, and Save The Sound.

David firmly believes in Urban Resources Initiative’s mission, as well as the science behind taking a community approach to environmental restoration and stewardship. He is excited to engage more with New Haven's communities, and help some of them to take back their neighborhoods through environmental stewardship. David is excited to utilize the Urban Forester’s toolbox to build social capital and increase community capacity in New Haven.

Monica Nunez Salas's picture Monica Nunez Salas

Monica graduated F&ES with Masters of Environmental Management in 2018. Before coming to FES as a Fulbright Scholar, she worked for the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, supervising and training officials from local and regional governments, improving the implementation of their environmental control functions in matters of forestry and agricultural issues, among others.

A lawyer by training, Monica hopes to work across disciplines and help bridge communication gaps between private and public sector, project developers and communities, and among policy makers and science professionals.

Her focus at URI will be to support community leaders and help the residents of New Haven tailor adaptive solutions to achieve their common goals, while learning from the expertise of group leaders and encouraging participation of youth and women especially.

Jonathan Rigby's picture Jonathan Rigby

Jonathan is an incoming joint degree student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science and the Yale Divinity School. He graduated from The College of William and Mary in 2016, after which he participated in a year of service in North Carolina through the Episcopal Service Corps. In that role he worked in farm advocacy with the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA. His interests lie in the impacts of climate change on communities and the societal implications of environmental science.

This summer Jonathan will be working as a URI intern with communities in New Haven, assisting them in achieving their goals surrounding green space in their neighborhood, as well as providing technical assistance. He is excited to engage in this community work before starting at the Divinity School in August 2018.

Ethan Ross's picture Ethan Ross

Ethan is a rising sophomore in Yale College who is working toward a double major in environmental studies and economics. He graduated from Abington Heights High School in 2017, where he served as captain of the state Envirothon team for two years. Ethan is an avid runner who loves spending time outdoors in any capacity. For the past five years, Ethan has also worked as a local landscaper in Clarks Summit, PA. In the future, Ethan plans to concentrate his academic studies on localized conservation approaches and eventually start a career in the environmental mitigation field.

Ethan is excited to join URI's Greenspace team for the summer and directly affect environmental change in New Haven communities. Although he does not have professional experience in an environmental field, Ethan looks forward to learning more about urban forestry from URI staff, his fellow interns, and community members. He hopes that his summer with URI will allow him to learn more about the practical application of forestry tools, and the importance of environmental restoration and community building in an urban context.

2017 Community Foresters

Dylan Cicero's picture Dylan Cicero

Dylan is an incoming student to Yale F&ES. He is interested in traditional ecological knowledge, ethnobotany, and depth ecology. Before coming to Yale he worked on organic farms and "permaculture" sites in the US and abroad. He is excited to be in New Haven this summer, and looking forward to starting coursework in August!

Cara Donovan's picture Cara Donovan

Cara Donovan is a joint degree masters student at FES and the School of Public Health at Yale. She grew up in Bristol, Rhode Island and graduated from Connecticut College in 2008 with a major in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies. Her focus is on improving health and the environment through sustainable food systems. Prior to starting her program at Yale, she worked at CitySeed as a Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator and later as Mobile Market Manager. She looks forward to continuing to work in the New Haven community and learning from the many knowledgeable greenspace volunteers!

Rachel Gulbraa's picture Rachel Gulbraa

Rachel is a recent graduate of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Jeremy Hunt's picture Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy is a current student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES), focusing on environmental policy analysis and climate adaptation at the local and regional level. Before attending Yale FES, he worked in the U.S. Senate and at Bloomberg BNA, researching and analyzing environmental health and safety regulations at the state and federal level. Jeremy is excited to work within the Greater New Haven Community to transform and beautify community greenspaces this summer.

Michele Palmer's picture Michele Palmer

Michele is a recent graduate with a focus on urban environmental studies. Michele was working in urban forestry and environmental education in California before coming to New Haven. Michele loves planting, pruning, and climbing trees and is excited to be helping with GreenSpaces this summer!

Caroline Scanlan's picture Caroline Scanlan

Caroline (Caro) is an urban forester and ISA certified arborist originally from the San Francisco, CA. She graduated from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2018 and fell in love with New Haven while working for URI as a graduate student. Previous to receiving her Master of Forestry, Caro taught elementary school in the San Francisco Bay Area, ran a school garden program, worked on urban farms, and built large wooden structures with children at the San Francisco Tinkering School.

Before joining URI's team full-time, Caro was an apprentice forester with the Yale School Forests and later the Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator at Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. She is delighted to be back in the Elm City, working with so many wonderful partners to care for New Haven's urban forest.

2016 Community Foresters

Elias Estabrook's picture Elias Estabrook

Elias graduated from Yale College in May 2016, with a B.A. in Political Science and an interdisciplinary concentration on Environmental Politics and Development. For his senior research, Elias traveled to the Cameroonian rainforest to learn about payment for environmental services (PES) and the challenges of rural development. Before beginning as a Greenspace intern, he was a planting crew co-leader for high school students in URI's Greenskills program, 2015-2016. He will be continuing his focus on community-based projects when he starts his next job at Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven.

Lauren Griffith's picture Lauren Griffith

Lauren is a joint degree student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Divinity School. Before coming to Yale she worked with a non-profit organization, Capital Roots, that worked to increase access to fresh, affordable, and nutritious food in the New York capital region. After working with urban agriculture and food access, Lauren is enjoying working on cities' approaches to greenspace and forestry projects this summer with URI.

Alexander Sernyak's picture Alexander Sernyak

Alex is an undergraduate rising senior at Yale college. Hailing from Branford, he is Nutmegger through and through.

Maxwell Webster's picture Maxwell Webster

Ohio native Max Webster is a Master of Environmental Management Candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where he focuses on community-based approaches to conservation and sustainable land management practices. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati in 2012, with a degree in English Literature, Max managed community garden programs in Ohio before leading conservation crews on the west coast and spending a summer farming in Vermont. During this past school year, Max was part of the URI Greenskills team and also served as a contributing editor for Sage Magazine.

Peter Wyrsch's picture Peter Wyrsch

I'm a graduate student at Yale Divinity School studying the History of Christianity with a focus on environmental history. Prior to my graduate studies, I guided outdoor and environmental education trips for Farm & Wilderness Camps in Vermont and taught high school history at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

As an educator, I am passionate about finding dynamic, interdisciplinary solutions to social and environmental problems. I look forward to learning from my colleagues at the Urban Resources Initiative and from the community members with whom we'll be working!

Laurence Nadel


Laurence Nadel practices law in New Haven where he focuses on the commercial, real estate, and property issues of individuals, non-profits and small businesses. He has been engaged with Yale Law School’s Jerome Frank Legal Clinic for more than seven years where he has been a Visiting Professor of Clinical Law and co-taught the Community and Economic Development Clinic. In his current role he supervises students in business and real estate transactions in the Small Business Clinic. Laurence recently worked in New Haven on the renovation and reopening of the Hannah Gray Home and the St. Luke’s Senior Center. He has served on the Board of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, and the Short Beach Civic Association, and previously lectured on Art and Copyright Law through conferences sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Nan Bartow
Nan Bartow was delighted to join the Board of the Urban Resource Initiative in May of 2005. In her earlier years she developed a deep appreciation for water, land, and nature in the marshes of Cohasset, Massachusetts, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the highlands of Yosemite National Park, the Alps of Switzerland, and the Sahel of Chad, Africa, where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer. A high school English educator, Nan spent most of her teaching years at the High School in the Community, one of New Haven’s public magnet schools. She is actively involved in Friends of Beaver Pond Park, a group that is working to preserve the wildlife and to improve the natural beauty of the ponds and the park through the URI Greenspace program. Now in retirement, she wishes to combine her love for teaching and for land conservation by serving on the Greenspace and the Education committees of the Board of URI.
Caldwell (Zeb) Esselstyn III

Zeb Esselstyn is co-founder of City Bench, which extends the life of locally felled trees by turning them into uniquely hand-crafted furniture that tells their stories. Zeb has been a builder, coordinated rock concerts, managed book tours, worked in the advertising business and on film sets, and he led trips for Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. He is a storyteller committed to the idea of turning waste streams to value streams through collaboration. Zeb is a graduate of The Journalism School at Columbia University and lives with his family in New Haven, CT.

Gordon Geballe

Gordon has lived in the New Haven area for over 30 years, bringing to URI a wealth of knowledge regarding the community. He is the Associate Dean and Lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has served on the Board since 1991, and was the Board Lecturer from 2000–2003.

Smiling group shot
Joan Hilliard
Christine Kim

Christine Kim is the Program and Research Director at the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. She is also the Program Manager and co-author of the Environmental Performance Index and Associate Director for Yale’s Environmental Governance projects. Her research focuses on environmental performance measurement, as well as issues of equity, leadership, and political will in international environmental governance and United Nations reform. Christine is a dual citizen of the Republic of Korea and the United States. She attended Yale University.

John Martin

John Martin is founder/owner of the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-Op, which is a bicycle cooperative in East Rock neighborhood of New Haven. It is open as a community space and a place to come do work.

Josh Nelkin

Josh is an Account Executive with the local citizen engagement company SeeClickFix. He has an extensive background in sales and marketing. He was born and raised in New Haven and recently returned after 13 years away in Brooklyn and Seattle. Josh is passionate about his hometown, and building community. In his free time, Josh enjoys spending time with family, hiking, traveling, and is a lifelong soccer player. He joined the board in 2019. 

Sara Ohly

Sara Ohly has lived in New Haven since 1968, and joined the URI Board in 2002.  After graduating from Vassar, she taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey, at the Cedarhurst School in the Yale Psychiatric Institute, and in New Haven Adult Education.  She completed her M.A. in International Relations (1986) and a Ph.D. in Anthropology (1994) at Yale University, then taught social cultural anthropology at Connecticut College and at Wesleyan.  Sara has been an active community member involved in neighborhood associations, helping with different networks and community support.  She has participated in Greenspace at Farnam Court Public Housing, in Wooster Square, and, from 2000 to the present, in Lenzi Park.  She shares many of the same passions of URI, including community building, environmental activism, and education, as well as urban anthropology.

Erik B. Pearson

Erik B. Pearson joined the URI Board in 2012. Erik is a Research Coordinator for Soundview Capital Management.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School with a J.D. and served as an attorney until 2008.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Erik was a psychiatric specialist for the U. S. Army for eight years.  Erik founded the Portland (Oregon) Chapter of the National Adult Baseball Association in 1993.  Erik has two children and lives with his family in North Haven.

Ed Rodriguez

Ed Rodriguez has been volunteering with URI through the Community Greenspace program for many years.  He is responsible for involving dozens  of volunteers in the planting of many trees in Fair Haven.  He joined the board in 2017.

Semi Semi-Dikoko

Semi Semi-Dikoko came to New Haven in 1991, to consult for Southern New England Telephone Company as Systems Architect. He is a Principal at SSD International, (a Technology Architecture & Strategy practice).  Education and career afforded him opportunities to live in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, working in technology positions with Amdahl (Fujitsu), AT&T Bell Laboratories, Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company, Computer Associates, ERNO-VFW Fokker, IBM and Société de Traction et d’Électricité (Groupe Suez).  He attended Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Université Lovanium, Athénée Royal and Koninklijk Atheneum te Kalina. He is IBM Certified Large Systems Architect & Managing Consultant and holds a FAA Pilot License. He serves on the Boards of URI, New Haven Sister Cities, and advocates for environmental and human development causes in appreciation for a great community. 

Group of people smiling
Melinda Tuhus

Melinda Tuhus has been a staff reporter or independent journalist for the past 35 years, and has won numerous regional and international awards for her work.  She has focused on the environment, women’s issues and criminal justice (i.e., “punishment”) reforms.  She lives in Hamden and in the past few years has gradually transitioned to “mostly retired” and now works full-time on the climate crisis, through the Hamden Alliance for Trees, the New Haven Climate Movement, 350 CT and Beyond Extreme Energy. Her greatest joy is smashing the silos where different movements operate and helping to bring workers, immigrants, youth and others into one big movement that addresses climate as a justice issue.

Sue smiling
Susan Wells

Sue Wells has been on the staff of Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies since 2009, currently serving as the Associate Dean of Finance & Administration.  She was born in Baltimore and is an alumna of St. John’s College in Annapolis MD (“the Great Books School”); her first career was as a copyeditor and proofreader before she went back to school to study accounting, graduating from Charter Oak College in CT in 1992.  Sue worked for the multinational accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand in the early 1990’s and earned her CPA certificate in 1996.  She served as the Controller at Connecticut College in New London for six years before coming to F&ES. Sue lived in New Haven for over 30 years and raised her son and daughter there before moving to Hamden in 2011; she and her wife Wendy now live in Spring Glen.  Sue dotes on her three small granddaughters and feels that even a short bio would be incomplete without mentioning them.

Don Williams
Board member since 2016
Don Williams

Don Williams has been at EMERGE since 2010.  Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, he currently lives in New Haven. His hobbies include fishing, cooking, and watching movies.  He is grateful for his mother Tracy Lynn Anderson for not giving up on him, Dan Jusino for giving him a second chance, and Jewell Mystique Mullins for loving him. Don is an experienced GreenSkills crew member.

2010 Andrew Breck (2011 MF )

Andrew came to F&ES and URI with a background in environmental education, and he is now a recent graduate of the master of forestry program at Yale F&ES.  He is currently working in the forest crew in the Yale School Forests and plans to find forestry work in or around the Boston area beginning in the fall. 

2009 Abigail Adams (2010 MEM )

Abigail was an intern in 2009-2010, helping URI to further measure the impact of the program on youth interns. She now works for the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), a land trust in Palo Alto, CA, where she is a Conservation Project Manager managing both the conservation easement and land volunteer programs.

2007 Yi-Wen Lin (2008 MEM )

Yi-Wen worked as an intern at URI from summer 2007 to November 2008, and started her interests in Urban Forestry and Community Development.  In December 2008, she became a Forester for NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and manages street tree planting contracts as part of the MillionTreesNYC initiative.  In the beginning of 2011, a new position opened up in her office for a special community-involved project in Western Queens, and she was hired as the Western Queens Greening Coordinator in April 2011.  She is very excited about this 3-year sustainable project that encompasses community-led planning, extensive tree planting, and tree stewardship training.and volunteer program.

2005 Mohamad A. Chakaki (2006 MEM )

Mohamad grew up playing and learning in the sand and surf on both sides of the Arabian Peninsula, and then on the edges of eastern forests and city streets in and around Washington, D.C. His interests lie where the lines blur between East/West, city/nature, art/science, theory/practice, and so on…

As a PhD student at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT, Mohamad’s research explores the connections and disconnections across campus planning and curriculum design in the new campuses being developed as partnerships between American universities and host countries in the Arab Middle East. Mohamad holds a Masters of Environmental Management with a focus on Urban Ecology and Environmental Design from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and undergraduate degrees in Religion and Biological Sciences from The George Washington University.

Mohamad’s passion for nature and for people led him to several years of professional training (and personal development) in parks and gardens across the US, with the Peace Corps in Central Africa, and with the United Nations in Syria. Before starting at MIT, Mohamad spent three years consulting on environment and community development projects in both the US and the Arab Middle East. Mohamad was a co-founder of DC Green Muslims and is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

2005 Wendy Francesconi (2006 MESc )

Wendy is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida, U.S.A., and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Science from Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Her doctoral research was focused on evaluating different agricultural practices for their potential to increase functional connectivity, and her professional interests include the application of sustainable agriculture and the design of rural landscapes for biodiversity conservation purposes.

2003 Erica Schroeder (2004 MEM )

Erica is an attorney at Keyes & Fox, LLP in Oakland, CA (view her profile). Her legal practice is focused on the intersection between energy and environmental law with a particular focus on policy implementation, compliance and permitting. She represents the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) in proceedings before state public utilities commissions seeking to develop sustainable markets for renewable energy. In addition, she is involved in IREC’s broader efforts to facilitate community renewables programs and projects around the United States. For example, she has advocated for community solar policies in Colorado and Delaware.

Erica graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Law in 2010. She also holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she focused on environmental economics and policy, as well as a B.A. from Yale in Ethics, Politics & Economics. While at the Forestry School, Erica was the Newsletter Editor for URI. 

In her free time, Erica enjoys yoga and running. She most recently ran a half marathon in Santa Cruz, CA. She also enjoys cooking and baking, and is the co-author of a baking blog. 

2002 Dr. Soni Pradhanang (2003 MESc )

Dr. Pradhanang is a Watershed Hydrologist and Modeler. She joined CUNY-Institute for Sustainable Cities/Dept. of Geography, Hunter College in 2009 as a Research Associate. She earned her Ph.D. in watershed hydrology and modeling from SUNY-ESF and a Master of Environmental Science with a focus in forest ecology and management from Yale University. She worked as an Urban Community Forest Intern at Urban Resources Initiative, soon after she graduated from Yale F&ES (2003 M.E.Sc.).

Her current research project is to evaluate climate change impacts on New York City Water Supply. Her research goals are to understand how hydrologic processes influence water quantity and movement of sediments and nutrients through watersheds through combined effort of monitoring and modeling, aiding in the development of policies and management practices to protect water and soil.  Dr. Pradhanang works primarily with the Prof. Allan Frei at CUNY, Hunter College, and with scientists in New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) and Dept. of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University. She is applying and developing models to evaluate the effects of watershed management practices and climate change on the New York City water supply. The generation, transformation and transport of sediments and nutrients within the watershed are the major focus of her research. As part of this effort, she is currently using different water quality models, one of which is a recent development from Cornell University called Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT-WB) (water balance) which captures the complexity intrinsic to saturation excess runoff. Her research also focuses on trend and uncertainty analysis of measured data and modeled results. Future research in this area will build and expand on identifying and quantifying processes controlling biogeochemical processes in the landscape, especially those most relevant to anticipated environmental changes associated with climate change. Besides her research in the northeastern U.S., she also is involved in geo-statistical analysis of meteorological variables and hydro-climatological studies for her home country, Nepal, in collaboration with Cornell University.

2001 Greg McLaughlin (2002 MEM )

Greg lives in Ellensburg Washington, where he is the Eastern Washington Project Manager for Washington Water Trust.  He enjoys the short commute to some out of the way playgrounds in the Cascades, the wealth of good local breweries, his three boys, and the small town atmosphere.  His job is to work primarily in North Central Washington with tribes, irrigation districts, agencies, local governments, and landowners to develop market-based incentives for flow restoration in salmon-dependent tributaries.  The approach is to work collaboratively with local communities, establish rapport with landowners, and develop incentive-based projects that restore salmon flows while improving the economic standing of local agricultural producers.  The focus on local partners driving project development is very related to the approaches used at URI, and the focus on such “win-win” outcomes is quickly becoming the most popular in long-term conservation efforts.

2000 Georgia Silvera Seamans (2001 MEM )

Georgia graduated from F&ES in 2001.  After graduation, Georgia worked as a community forester with Urban Resources Initiative in the Newhallville neighborhood followed by a three-year tenure as the Boston Park Department’s urban forester.  Georgia moved to Berkeley in 2004 to pursue a doctoral degree in environmental planning; she received her PhD from UC Berkeley in 2010.  While living in Berkeley, Georgia was a board member of the Berkeley Partners for Parks and volunteered with the California Habitats Indigenous Activists to plant native vegetation along a section of the rails-to-trails Ohlone Greenway.  Georgia moved again in 2009, this time to New York City where she is a stay at home mother to a curious and delightful toddler and edits when her son naps.

1997 Jennifer Kefer (1998 MEM )

Jennifer is an environmental consultant with a decade experience providing legal and political expertise, strategic analysis, and advice to non-profits, corporations and cities on a range of projects related to climate, energy and other environmental issues.  Jennifer is Project Manager at David Gardiner & Associates, where she manages a diverse coalition of labor, contractor associations, businesses and environmental groups to advance manufacturing competitiveness through the use of combined heat and power and recycled energy.  To that end, she coordinates education, advocacy and field events; cultivates stakeholder relationships; staffs Hill visits and weekly strategy calls; and drafts materials for legislative, regulatory and media outreach.  Jennifer also works with a wide array of environmental and efficiency groups to identify opportunities for energy efficiency to serve as a compliance mechanism under the Clean Air Act.  Other recent clients include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where Jennifer served as a Senior Climate Advisor.  In that capacity, she worked with a network of organizations on coalition building, education, outreach, and policy analysis to reduce the effects of climate legislation on low-income households. 

Jennifer previously served as the Climate and Energy Program Coordinator for the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, where she helped educate and mobilize the Jewish community around climate change, building diverse coalitions both within the Jewish community and across faiths.  Prior to her work for the Jewish community, Jennifer worked as an environmental attorney, representing national environmental organizations in lawsuits to defend the broad scope of federal environmental laws.  She also clerked for Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in the Northern District of California.

Jennifer earned a B.A. in environmental studies at Brandeis University, a Masters of Environmental Studies at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a J.D. at the Yale Law School.