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. 

To contact URI with a general inquiry, call 203-432-6189 or email Individual staff contact information is listed on the staff tab.

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 the Environment (YSE). Colleen partners with faculty to lead a field based module on urban ecology for all incoming YSE 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.

Miche Palmer's picture

Miche Palmer

GreenSkills Program Manager

YSE grad (MEM '17) and former URI intern, Miche Palmer is thrilled to join the URI team as the Program Manager for GreenSkills. Miche returns to Yale after working as a Street Tree Planting Forester in New York City. Some of their favorite moments there included planting in front of iconic locations in Manhattan such as the Stonewall Inn, responding to downed trees after storm Isaías, instructing pruning classes, and collaborating with constituents. Miche also brings their experience growing San Francisco’s urban forest through planting, pruning, and education. Miche is thoroughly looking forward to reconnecting with the New Haven community!

Anna Pickett's picture

Anna Pickett

Development & Outreach Manager
(203) 432-6189

Anna graduated from Yale’s School of the Environment 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.

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.  

2024 Community Foresters

Avery Eddy's picture Avery Eddy

Hey y’all! I’m Avery; lover of gardening, guitar, drag, and all things mycilial. I am from West Virginia originally and recieved my bachelor’s at WVU, spent a year teaching and organizing in Thailand, graduated from YDS with a master’s in religion and ecology, and former cordinators of the YDS DivFarm. I am grateful to be apart of URI’s invaluable work in New Haven, creating more accessible urban green spaces and helping others build a connection with the land. 

Jasmine Gormley's picture Jasmine Gormley

Jasmine (she/her) is from Boscawen, New Hampshire, and recently completed her BS in Environmental Studies. Even though she comes from a small town, she adores urban ecology and hopes to help inspire a love and understanding of nature wherever she goes. She thinks that beautiful connections with the natural world can be found anywhere, and nowhere is that easier to see than in the land of insects. She spent about a year studying ants and would love to tell you a bug fact, even if all but butterflies give you the creepy-crawlies. Jasmine is excited to spend the summer working with friends of all types, from people to plants. In her spare time, you can find her rock climbing in West Rock, looking for frogs in Edgewood Park, and reading in Rainbow Park. 

Camilla Ledezma's picture Camilla Ledezma

Camilla is 2024 Community Greenspace intern hailing from Providence, Rhode Island. She is a recent graduate of Yale College, where she majored in Environmental Studies and Psychology, with a certificate in Education Studies. Camilla is passionate about building community through land stewardship, so she is delighted to be spending the summer doing just this–working with dedicated community members, maintaining greenspaces, and getting to know New Haven’s neighborhoods. In her spare time, you may find Camilla climbing trees, picnicking, or playing card games.

Danielle Ricketts's picture Danielle Ricketts

Danielle is a rising Junior at Yale College who is passionate about learning how changes in social structures can improve public health, as well as environmental health and sustainability. Originally from Jamaica, she has lived in West Haven for a couple years and is looking forward to getting to know New Haven and its residents more intimately this summer through the Community Greenspace initiatives. In her free time she enjoys painting, playing ukulele, riding her bike, and being outdoors.

Tashi Tashi's picture Tashi Tashi

I am Tashi from Bhutan, MF'25 student. I worked in Department of Forests and Park Services in Bhutan for last 21 years-15 years as forest extension agent in rural areas of Bhutan and 6 years in law enforcement section known as the Divisional Forest Office. During such tenure, I learned that effective communications (horizontal and vertical) is key in achieving the goals of sustainable forest management. Forest Management Units, Community Forest, land management and reforestation are some of the common activities I handled while in the government service. Similarly, it is such a great opportunity to work as intern for greenspace program with URI to communicate with greenspace groups about restoration, improvement and stewardship responsibilities shouldered in various scale. The internship with URI will enhance my exposure to work the community in a city unlike Bhutan and also with the technical aspects in identification and management of invasives, designing a park, vacant lot and streetscape and gain skills in planting trees/shrubs/perennials. Overall, I will dedicate myself in enhancing technical capacity in Yale (YSE) and further contribute my efforts in achieving sustainable forest management.

Yvonne Trenh's picture Yvonne Trenh

Yvonne is a 2024 Community Greenspace intern from East Los Angeles, California! At Yale, she is a senior who studies Engineering Sciences (environmental), with a Chinese Certificate. She is passionate about equitable resource distribution, sustainable development, and community resilience. This is her first summer in New Haven, and she is so excited to spend time and learn from the New Haven Community. During her free time, you can catch her playing ultimate frisbee, at a boba shop, thrifting, or enjoying a meal with her loved ones! 

2023 Community Foresters

Jeffrey Blay's picture Jeffrey Blay

Hi, my name is Jeffrey. I recently graduated from YSE. I earned a Master of Environmental Science with a specialization in Urban Sustainability and Resilience. I am interested in the built environment, utilizing geospatial information to foster urban green initiatives. I had my undergraduate degree in BA Geography from the University of Ghana. I then worked as a GIS Officer at Ghana Statistical Service. I am a sports person, I love to play soccer and basketball. 

Liz Bridgwater's picture Liz Bridgwater

Liz is a 2023 Community Forester Intern with URI. She recently finished her first year as a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Environment with a specialization in Ecosystem Conservation and Management. Her work experiences encompass climate change research; science-based communication; and air quality monitoring. Liz is passionate about working with people and loves to learn about plants!

Spencer Greenfield's picture Spencer Greenfield

Spencer is a rising junior at Yale College and a physicist-turned-environmentalist. He is majoring in Earth and Planetary Sciences with a concentration in Environmental and Energy Geoscience, and he's aiming for a certificate in Climate Change Science and Solutions. He is passionate about environmental justice, geography, climate change, and land use change, which are areas where he can use physical science to impact social causes. He's done research in everything from telescope calibration to climate modeling! He is beyond excited to be working in New Haven this summer and to be learning on the ground from his peers and community. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, drinking coffee, spending time outdoors, and making all things tie-dye.

Roan Hollander's picture Roan Hollander

Roan is a rising sophomore in Yale College majoring in Environmental Studies. Immediately after moving to New Haven she fell in love with the city's many parks and is excited to be working with the community members who beautify and steward these spaces! In addition to community-based environmental initiatives, Roan is interested in environmental policy and management, and has experience doing policy research, exploring the ecology of parks where she is from (Pittsburgh!), working as an environmental educator, and doing trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail. She loves to learn and is always looking for a new subject to dive into or a place to explore. In her free time, she enjoys camping, writing, art, and taking long walks around New Haven with no specific destination in mind.

Jess Jones's picture Jess Jones

My name is Jess! I have a passion for learning, especially about the environments around me— from the buildings and birds to people and history. I am a recent graduate from YSE, where I earned my master’s in Environmental Management with a focus on ecosystem conservation. I like to forage, swim, and go birding and play music.

Annli Nakayama's picture Annli Nakayama

Annli is a lover of all things green and New Haven! She recently graduated with her Masters of Environmental Science from the Yale School of the Environment. She also attended Yale College as a double-major in English literature and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Her research interests include community plant ecology, native ecosystem restoration, invasion ecology, and grasses! She first became interested in restoration ecology while working on prairie and oak savanna restoration in her home state of Wisconsin — her favorite plants are bur oaks and big bluestem grass. Annli has previously worked in xxfield ecology research as well as planting street trees with the URI Greenskills program.

2022 Community Foresters

Joshua De-Anda's picture Joshua De-Anda

Joshua is a 2023 Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Environment. He has worked on city-scale decarbonization and environmental policy.  His interests include basic needs access, food insecurity, mental health, environmental justice, and he’s recently acquired a passion for forest systems, urban ecology, and all things trees. He is excited for a summer of hands-on, community-oriented greenspace work with URI.

Joshua is a proud first-generation college graduate, having completed his BA in Political Science at UCLA in 2020. In his spare time, you can catch him playing video games, taking long walks around New Haven, reading, painting, thrifting, or playing volleyball.  

Molly Johnson's picture Molly Johnson
Molly Johnson (she/her) is a Yale School of Environment ‘23 Masters’ of Environmental Management Candidate working as a 2022 Community Forester for URI where she facilitates community-led greenspace management in the amazing city of New Haven. As a graduate student, Molly works as an Agroforestry Berms Manager for the Yale Farm and a research assistant on equitable climate change resilience planning in Connecticut at Yale Center for Environmental Justice. She is also a Student Associate for the Yale Center for Climate Change and Health. 
Molly is passionate about solutions that address climate change, environmental and climate justice issues and encourage healthy communities. Prior to graduate school, she helped to plan the National Adaptation Forum, which supports the field of climate change adaptation in North America. She also served as a Tribal Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College where she helped advance food sovereignty efforts. Molly grew up in North Branford, CT and is happy to be in the New Haven area to pursue her degree. She also enjoys gardening, hiking and writing. 
Justine Phillips-Gallucci's picture Justine Phillips-Gallucci

Justine Phillips-Gallucci is a rising second-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. She studied Environmental Studies, with a focus in Wildlife Conservation, at the University of Connecticut, and is happy to be continuing her studies in New Haven. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and habitat restoration in urban areas and hopes to apply some of this knowledge as a Greenspace Intern this summer. When not working, she enjoys birdwatching, cooking, and hiking with her dog.

Jenn Richburg's picture Jenn Richburg
Jennifer (Jenn) is a Greenspace intern for the summer of 2022. She is majoring in History of Politics and Law in Yale College, but throughout high school and college she has participated in a variety of environmental activist activities, including causes for community education and water conservation. She discovered her love of trees through URI, and hopes to use the Greenspace program to deepen her knowledge and passion for botany.
Claire St. Peter's picture Claire St. Peter

Claire is a rising junior at Yale College planning on majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Justice. She hails from the Kansas City area and is passionate about equitable access to green spaces and environmental education within diverse communities. She is also interested in climate justice and resilience in urban spaces. She cannot wait to spend this summer as a Greenspace intern working alongside and learning from the New Haven community and URI team.

Hanwen Zhang's picture Hanwen Zhang

Hanwen is a rising junior at Yale’s Franklin college interested in forestry, environmental justice, and conservation.  He likes long walks and maple trees and all things plants.  He can’t wait for the chance to help local communities with their projects and learn from them this summer.

2021 Community Foresters

Mitch Baron's picture Mitch Baron

Mitch studies the intersection of religion and ecology at Yale Divinity School, an interest sparked by reading lots of Wendell Berry as an undergrad. He grew up among the verdant cornfields of (first) Missouri and (later) Illinois, but came to New Haven by way of New York City, where he attended NYU. (He promises he loves all these places equally!)

This is Mitch’s second year interning for URI; he worked part-time for Greenspace in the fall, for GreenSkills in the spring, and, in between, did some report-writing and inventory work.

Chris DeFiore's picture Chris DeFiore

Chris is most at home when wandering the forests and sharing the wonders of these places with others. Chris graduated from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Environmental Education. After graduating, he served as a founding member of an expeditionary learning public charter school and taught high school courses in Environmental Science & Adventure Leadership in Asheville, NC . He also instructed wilderness expeditions for 7 years with the North Carolina Outward Bound School.

Chris is currently a Master's of Forestry student at the Yale School of the Environment. He is interested in the wild untapped possibilities in our urban, suburban, & rural landscapes to combine urban forestry, agroforestry, and natural forest regeneration techniques to create food forests and deepen the relationships of people with the land.

Paul Freudenburg's picture Paul Freudenburg

A joint-degree student between the schools of architecture and the environment- Paul grew up in Hamden, CT and loves the opportunity to leverage a design education to support community-led projects.

Musa Joko's picture Musa Joko

Musa is a Master of Forestry candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. Her passion for social forestry grew when she worked as a forester in Zimbabwe prior to coming to Yale. She is excited to be joining URI as an intern this summer, in community building, environmental restoration and in stewardship of Green Spaces.

Carlos Velazquez's picture Carlos Velazquez

Carlos is a rising second year at the Yale School of the Environment studying Environmental Management with a focus on ecosystems conservation. He is interested in integrated landscape management and its applications to community resilience. Carlos graduated with a degree in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech and came to Yale to explore other areas within the environmental field while deepening his engineering knowledge and Mandarin language proficiency through the Tsinghua joint degree program. He is excited to be working as a Greenspace intern with URI this summer and to get to know different communities in the city of New Haven.

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 geospatial technologies as applied to agriculture and forestry. Before coming to Yale he worked on organic farms 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.

Miche Palmer's picture Miche Palmer

YSE grad (MEM '17) and former URI intern, Miche Palmer is thrilled to join the URI team as the Program Manager for GreenSkills. Miche returns to Yale after working as a Street Tree Planting Forester in New York City. Some of their favorite moments there included planting in front of iconic locations in Manhattan such as the Stonewall Inn, responding to downed trees after storm Isaías, instructing pruning classes, and collaborating with constituents. Miche also brings their experience growing San Francisco’s urban forest through planting, pruning, and education. Miche is thoroughly looking forward to reconnecting with the New Haven community!

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!

Nan Bartow
Nan Bartow was delighted to join the Board of the Urban Resources 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 committee of the Board of URI.
Tim Bertaccini
Tim Bertaccini

After 40 years, Tim semi-retired from Yale in December 2022. He graduated from Yale in 1977. Tim grew up in Litchfield CT, and has had a life-long interest in the outdoors and environment. He is an avid hiker and enjoys biking and swimming. He has lived in New Haven for his entire career at Yale, walking to work. Tim’s involvement with URI began in 2008 with tree plantings for the Yale Day of Service throughout New Haven and on the campus. Tim has participated in and promoted the Yale Milestone Award plantings. As the Treasurer of the Yale Club of New Haven he has been instrumental in helping fund the URI Summer Intern Program for the last 15 years.

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 the Environment. He has served on the Board since 1991, and was the Board Lecturer from 2000–2003.

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Joan Hilliard

Joan Hilliard is a long-time resident of Beaver Hills, New Haven. She started her career as an educator in Brooklyn, NY. Joan worked for 27 years for the Connecticut State Police in the Connecticut Online Law Enforcement Teleprocessing system (COLLECT). When Joan retired she completed the Master Gardeners Program and became a volunteer with the Friends of Beaver Ponds Park Greenspace program in 2018. 

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.

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.

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.

Leslie Radcliffe

Leslie Radcliffe is a near 7 decade resident of New Haven, and has lived in almost every neighborhood. After purchasing a home in the Hill, she co-founded the Truman Street Community Garden and Greenspace, turning a vacant lot into a place where the residents, mainly children, would have a safe, healthy and peaceful place to play, grow and just be. She is very active in her community and city, committed to working on issues addressing food and health disparities, neighborhood and civic engagement, social justice, and municipal development. She serves as President of the Board of Directors of Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, and is Chair of the City Planning Commission. She is a proud mother of one son and grandmother of two teenagers!

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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 retired from Yale in 2021, after serving on the staff of Yale’s School of the Environment since 2009.  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.

Mark Wilson

Mark has lived in the New Haven area for the past 15 years. He is the Founder of Paradise Restored Restoration, LLC of Atlanta, GA, and former Co-owner of Wilson’s Carpentry Service in Stamford, CT. Currently Mark works as a Project Manager for the City of New Haven’s Livable City Initiative, Housing Development Department. He has over 38 years of experience in construction. Over the past 15 years his focus and passion has been helping to provide hands-on construction training to the hard-to-employ and unemployed residents of the New Haven area.

Andrew Zielinski

Andrew Zielinski is an elementary science teacher and science coordinator at The Foote School in New Haven. Andrew began his career as an environmental educator, teaching in school-year and summer programs across the country in Colorado, Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, and here in Connecticut at Common Ground’s summer camp. He has now been working as an educator in the New Haven area for 10 years. Andrew is excited to join the Board of URI, where he hopes to combine his passions for education and environmental responsibility.