2022 Conference Presenters

We couldn’t present the Maine Land Conservation Conference without the help of our wonderful presenters! We are so grateful to be working with them to offer these great webinars.

David Allen

Development for Conservation assists conservation organizations raising money from individual donors by improving renewal, cultivation, and major gift systems. David Allen, Principal Consultant, brings 30 years’ experience to the practice, including thirteen with TNC. He has devoted his professional career to helping conservation organizations and land trusts pursue excellence in all aspects of their conservation endeavors. David is a skilled seminar presenter, particularly in major gift fundraising. Specialties include Development Audits, Board training, and campaigns.

Penny Asherman

Penny has been a Board Member of the Chebeague & Cumberland Trust since 2003 and President of the Board for 13 years. Penny serves on the Steering Committee for the Maine Land Trust Network. In addition, Penny is President of the Board for the Maine Conservation Alliance and a Board Member of the Maine Conservation Voters. Penny has a Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College and a Law Degree and a Masters in Environmental Studies from Vermont Law School. Penny was also an active member of the Cumberland Town Lands and Conservation Commission for 10 years. Prior to law school, she worked in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and for a lobbying firm on Capitol Hill. She lives in Cumberland Center with her husband and three children and enjoys getting outdoors on the trails everyday with her two labs.

Sara Barker

Sara Barker is the program director for the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative. She helps provide strategic planning, resources, technical assistance, planning tools, and funding opportunities to advance the pace and impact of land trust protection and stewardship efforts. She also assists land managers and practitioners in managing habitat for priority bird species and strives to build capacity for the land trust and private lands community around birds.

Jess Burton

Jess Burton is the founding Executive Director of Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, where she works to build capacity for conservation through support, connection, and partnership. Jess grew up in New York City but was born with an innate connection to nature and in general to the outdoors.

Susan Caldwell

Susan Caldwell serves as Conservation Manager at The Nature Conservancy in Maine, and has worked with TNC since 1991, having spent the first five years in the Oregon office. In Maine since 1996, she supports the conservation team in various ways including land protection, grant/contract administration and support of the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program.

Enock Glidden

Born with Spina Bifida, Enock Glidden is a disabled athlete, adventurer, motivational speaker, and an advocate for others with disabilities. Enock’s movie, aptly named Enock, documents his first ascent of El Capitan in the fall of 2016. The documentary highlights what can happen when a community comes together with a common goal. Despite not having the use of his legs, Enock has lived to overcome life’s challenges, breaking physical barriers and defying odds. Enock lives by his motto: “If you try, things happen.” Enock is from Maine, is an Accessibility Ambassador for Maine Trail Finder, and consults on trail accessibility projects.

Michael-Corey F. Hinton

An attorney at Drummond Woodsum, Corey Hinton leads the firm’s Tribal Nations Practice Group, advises Tribal Nations, Tribe-owned entities, and entities that interface, with Tribes on federal Indian law and policy, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, employment matters, economic development, environmental and natural resource issues, and the fee-to-trust process. A citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe (Sipayik), Corey draws from a uniquely deep well of experience to deliver significant value to his clients. Prior to joining Drummond Woodsum, Corey spent time at the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He is the former president of the Native American Bar Association of Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Hutchins

Jennifer Hutchins is Executive Director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits. Prior to joining MANP, she was Executive Director of Creative Portland and Director of Communications and External Affairs at the USM Muskie School of Public Service. She serves on the boards of the Maine Academy of Modern Music, the Maine Philanthropy Center and the USM Muskie School. Jennifer holds a master’s in public policy and management and lives in Portland with her husband and two daughters.

Leia Lowery

Leia Lowery is the Director of Programs and Outreach at The Climate Initiative, and is based out of Kennebunkport.  Leia graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, along with a M.S. in Vocational and Technical Education. With classroom and non-traditional teaching experience, Leia specializes in creating dynamic education programs to produce critical thinkers, life-long learners, and productive citizens of the future.  At TCI she is formulating a model for community and education-based action to create resilient landscapes in the face of our changing climate.

Maeve McGowan

Maeve has been studying and passionately helping to advance the protection of grassland birds for four years. In 2018, she served as a research technician on the Bobolink Odyssey project, monitoring breeding behavior of Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows in Shelburne, Vermont. Her independent research explored the impact of climate change on grassland birds, dairy farmers, and the complex dynamic between them. In 2021 her paper “Agriculture is adapting to phenological shifts caused by climate change, but grassland songbirds are not” was published by the Journal of Ecology and Evolution.

Before her current position in nonprofit fundraising, Maeve worked with the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) for 7 years, building an intimate understanding of Maine’s conservation landscape. Now as a private contractor for KELT and program staff for Ag Allies, Maeve works with land trusts, municipalities, and other private landowners to manage their land in a sustainable and bird-friendly way.

Kristin Peet

Kristin joined Forest Society of Maine in 2018 as the Forestland Conservation Specialist to assist in developing new conservation projects. She graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and a master’s degree in Forestry. Her love of the outdoors started when her family moved from Philadelphia to a small town in Maine and she became hooked on the Maine woods.

Darren Ranco

Darren Ranco is a faculty member with the University of Maine’s Department of Anthropology, as well as the Chair of Native American Programs and Coordinator of Native American Research. His research focuses on the ways in which indigenous communities in the United States resist environmental destruction by using indigenous diplomacies and critiques of liberalism to protect cultural resources, and how state knowledge systems continue to expose indigenous peoples to an inordinate amount of environmental risk. Ranco is a member of the Penobscot Nation, and is particularly interested in how better research relationships can be made between universities, Native and non-Native researchers, and indigenous communities.

Kay Sohl

Kay Sohl has worked with hundreds of land trusts across the country to improve make financial reports more meaningful to non-accountants and clarify the most important roles for Finance Committees and Boards.

Zach Stegeman

Zach is a classic boomerang story. Having grown up in Maine, exploring the woods and brackish waters around the New Meadows River, Zach left – twice – in search of bigger hills. And he returned to Maine – twice. First to recover from a spinal cord injury sustained in the Cascades, and again a decade later to raise his family at home. Zach’s career in the non-profit sector has spanned national and local organizations and included work with adaptive sport. Zach says, “Following my spinal cord injury, adaptive recreation played a critical role in my acute recovery and long-term physical and emotional health. In returning to that world with the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center, I’ve found my place as we work to make adventure accessible to everyone.”

Laura Suomi-Lecker

Laura is a long-time volunteer at Avian Haven wild bird rehabilitation center in Freedom. For the past 6 years, she has served as their education and outreach coordinator. In 2011, she witnessed the devastating effects of an early mowing on the bobolink nestlings on the property she and her husband now own. This inspired her to start the Ag Allies grassland bird program in 2016. Since then, she has managed the program and spent time field training at Cornell and with Dr. Noah Perlut on his grassland bird study in Vermont.

Laura is Technical Director at Somerset County Soil & Water Conservation District and previously worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. She received a B.S. in Soil Science from the University of New Hampshire and an M.S. in Ecology from Penn State University.

Steve Tatko

Joining Appalachian Mountain Club in 2012, Steve serves as the Director of Maine Conservation and Land Management in the Greenville Office.  Born and raised in Willimantic Maine, where he still lives along the Wilson River, he attended Colby College and earned a BA in History with a concentration on the socio-economic history of Maine’s forests.  A registered Maine Forester, Steve started out working in the woods with a cable skidder and chainsaw while in high school before making the switch to forestry and land management. 

Ciona Ulbrich

Following some years working in international relations, Ciona joined Maine Coast Heritage Trust in 1998 to work in land protection. She primarily works with landowners, land trusts and different levels of government on land protection and restoration projects within a region in the midcoast. Ciona is also the Co-Chair of MCHT’s Working Group on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice, and in 2017 she worked with Peter Forbes of Vermont to begin an effort called First Light, an effort to build a bridge between conservation organizations and Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Micmac Communities who seek to expand Wabanaki stewardship of land.  Ciona currently serves a Member of the First Light Conservation Community Delegation and a non-native, non-voting Member of the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship Nil yut ktahkomiq nik (the whole earth is our home).

Rod Vogel

Rod Vogel, founder of Natural Partners LLC, is committed to providing strategic fundraising solutions that work to the nonprofit sector. Rod has worked for over 18 years as a development leader for statewide, national, and global nonprofits. His recent positions include interim Director of Development for Maine Farmland Trust, VP & Chief Development Officer with Trout Unlimited, and in various leadership positions with The Nature Conservancy. Rod currently works with clients in the conservation sector, including Atlantic Salmon Federation, Mahoosuc Land Trust, Inland Woods + Trails, Western Foothills Land Trust, and Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Rod held a 17-year career with Fleet Bank leading its Charitable Asset Management division in Maine and New Hampshire. Rod currently serves as President of the Board at Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust, and as Director of Maine Planned Giving Council. His previous board service includes the Maine Philanthropy Center, Maine Association of Nonprofits, Maine Island Trail Association, Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, and Children’s Theatre of Maine.

Bryan Wentzell

Bryan is Executive Director at the Maine Mountain Collaborative, having held that position since 2016. He previously worked with the Appalachian Mountain Club in Maine for 16 years, including as Maine Policy and Program Director. He benefited from a Maine outdoor family growing up and enjoys paddling, hiking, camping, biking, flying, hunting and fishing across the state.

Molly Payne Wynne

Molly Payne Wynne leads the Maine Freshwater Program at The Nature Conservancy in Maine. The Program focuses on statewide restoration of connectivity between the Gulf of Maine and priority rivers, lakes, ponds, and headwater streams for the benefit of native sea-run and resident fish, freshwater and marine food webs, and local human communities. Prior to joining TNC in 2016, Molly worked for the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.