Jonah Center, Inc. Board of Directors

John C. Hall John C. Hall, Executive Director, was the primary initiator of the Jonah Center in 2004. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Carleton College and his Master of Divinity degree from Yale. Over the years, he has been actively involved in regional energy and environmental efforts such as regulating the "Sooty Six" power plants, reducing diesel particulate emissions from idling school buses, and promoting local and state-wide energy efficiency programs. He is a member of Middletown's Clean Energy Task Force, co-author of the city's Comprehensive Energy Plan, and an energy consultant for municipalities through his business, Middlesex Energy Management LLC. John is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, and from 1990-2011 was Senior Minister of First Church of Christ, Congregational, UCC, in Middletown.
John Shafer, President, is a Professor at Middlesex Community College, where he teaches courses in Film, Media, Philosophy, and Religion, as well as coordinating the Communication and General Studies programs. He is co-founder of the college's Sustainability Committee and primary author of the sustainability priority of the college's strategic plan. He is a longtime advocate for environmental issues and was actively involved in the Sooty Six campaign to help reduce pollutants from CT power plants. Recently he has been involved in researching and raising awareness about Peak Oil and Intentional Communities. Originally from San Diego, California, John studied English and humanities at the University of Southern California before moving east to study film and media at Syracuse University and philosophy at the University of Connecticut. He also lived for two years in England and France, where he studied and worked in the film industry. John is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and has done several projects with Connecticut Public Television.
Krishna Winston, Vice President, served on the municipal task force that created Middletown's mandatory recycling program, and has chaired the Resource Recycling Advisory Council (now the Middletown Recycling Commission) since its inception. She advocated for the creation of the Swap Shack at the Recycling Center on Johnson Street. With a B.A. from Smith College and a Ph.D. from Yale, she teaches German studies at Wesleyan, where she is serves on the Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship and is affiliated with the College of the Environment. A professional translator, she has published over thirty books. A former long-time trustee of the Independent Day School in Middlefield, she has also served on the North End Action Team's Housing Committee.
Judy Walsh Judy Walsh, Treasurer, was a high school English teacher for 28 years and the English Department Chairperson for 21 of those years. After retiring from Tolland High School, she worked for three years as an editor for a Javits science and social studies curriculum grant for grades K-8. Judy has a B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in English from Trinity College. She is active in the Middletown community, believes in simple and sustainable living, and enjoys biking, kayaking, and walking her black lab.
Susan Hall Susan Hall, Grant Writer and Secretary, worked for 25 years in museums in Minnesota and Missouri as an editor, curator, associate director, and director prior to moving to Middletown in 1998. She retired as the Development Director for Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in 2011. Susan received her bachelor's degree in art history from Carleton College and her master's in art history from the University of Minnesota. She was one of the founding members of the Jonah Center in 2004.
Beth Emery Beth Emery, comes to The Jonah Center board with particular interest in waterfront access and sustainable transportation options. She has been a long-time bicycling advocate, is a League of American Bicyclists Certified Cycling Instructor, member of Bike Walk Connecticut, and one of the founders of Transportation Alternatives Middletown (TAM). Beth works for the Capital Region Council of Governments and Bike Walk Connecticut as Bicycle Education Coordinator and Instructor. Additionally she works as a consultant and outdoor educator, teaching and promoting bicycling skills/fitness, rowing, kayaking, and hiking. Beth has a degree in Physical Education; has taken graduate level course work in Public Health and Urban Studies; is a former Adjunct Professor of Physical Education/Coach of Women's Crew at Wesleyan University, a position she held for 20 years; and holds an American Canoe Association Level 2 sea kayak instructor's certification.
Mark Meyering Jonathan Morris, is a Professor of Biology and the Interim Chair of the Science, Allied Health and Engineering Division at Middlesex Community College. His permanent appointment is at Manchester Community College. While living in East Haddam (1994 to 2010), he was a founding member of the East Haddam Conservation Commission when it was reactivated in 1998. He also served as a member of the Wild and Scenic Study Committee for the 8-Mile River and was a founding member of the East Haddam Lakes Association. He served on the Middlesex County Water and Soil Conservation District Advisory Committee, and participated in the Connecticut Amphibian Monitoring Program. As a 5-year member of the Middletown N.E.A.T. Hiking Club, he leads youth hikes. Since moving to Middletown in 2010, he has become active in forest and wildlife conservation and participated in the 2011 Coverts Project Seminar on forest management offered by the UCONN Extension System.
Mark Meyering Mark Meyering, is an Advanced Technical Specialist with 3M Purifications, continuing a 35 year career in new product development for water, life science process and industrial filtration. He is a UCONN graduate with a BS in Chemistry, with continued study in engineering and molecular biology. He holds multiple patents in liquid filtration, separations and diagnostics. Mark and his wife Kathy had lived in Middlefield since 1980, where he served on the Inland Wetlands Commission. They moved to Middletown in 2004, when they bought a house located on a former farm and 4H club. They have re-established portions of the property for the practice of organic gardening, and recently restored an area in which they now raise free-range chickens. As an avocation, Mark is an accomplished performance musician, singer, songwriter, and studio engineer. He has deep interests in the Adirondack forest, and maintains connections to the Huntington Wildlife Preserve.
Nancy Winship-Poole Betty Riedinger is the Science Laboratory Manager at Middlesex Community College. She is an original member of the college's Sustainability Committee, founder of the demonstration community garden (involving children at the college's child care center planting and watering the flowers), and the college's representative to Middletown's Environmental Collective Impact Network (Ecoin). Betty graduated from Hartford State Technical College with an AS degree in chemistry and has studied also at Central Connecticut State University. Trained in CPR and advanced first aid, she serves on the Emergency Response Team. In addition to her interests in local food production and the farmer's market movement, Betty has worked with children for many years through Mary Our Queen and the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts in Southington. She is the Coordinator of the Saturday Math Academy promoting Math achievement among 90 sixth graders in Middletown and surrounding towns.
Nancy Winship-Poole Elise Springer is an Associate Professor of philosophy at Wesleyan University. Her philosophical work includes reflection on ecological awareness and critical interventions. She has served as a fellow at Wesleyan's College of the Environment and studied the history and legacy of Middletown's industrial dam sites. She has been a full-time Middletown resident since 2003, but has lived and worked intermittently in the Middletown area since studying music at Wesleyan as an undergraduate (class of 1990). She enjoys playing shakuhachi, cycling, kayaking, and occasionally running an inner tube down the Coginchaug rapids with her daughter.


Jonah Center Advisory Council

Charles P. Bates Charles P. Bates, Accountant, retired from Northeast Utilities in 2001. During his 30 years of employment, he held positions as an accountant, programmer/analyst, supervisor, and finally as manager of information technology as related to accounting applications. He maintains a consulting practice, assisting individuals and small businesses with accounting, tax and computer issues.
Barry Chernoff Barry Chernoff is Professor of Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences and Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, where he directs the Environmental Studies Certificate Program. He previously served as Associate Curator and Curator of Fishes, Department of Zoology, at Chicago’s Field Museum with concomitant appointments as Lecturer at the University of Chicago in Evolutionary Biology and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Barry received a BSc. in Biology and BA in Environmental Studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a MS in Biology from Adelphi University, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from The University of Michigan. He has served as member, Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Biological Scientists through appointment by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on conservation of aquatic ecosystems in Latin America and the evolutionary biology and ecology of South American freshwater fishes. He has published more than 70 scholarly papers and books. Barry and his students are investigating aquatic invertebrate ecology and community structure as well as heavy metals of fishes in Connecticut rivers.

Trevor Davis is the President of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate in Middletown. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Valley Railroad (Essex Steam Train & Riverboat); the Middletown Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission; the Board of Directors of the Rockfall Foundation ; and as a Director of INFORM (Industry for Middletown). He was previously elected to the Haddam Planning and Zoning Commission and has served on a wide variety of local and regional environmental and church-related organizations and projects. Trevor attended the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 as Non-Governmental Organization Representative of the United Church of Christ.

Robert Evans is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport and recently retired as a Mechanical Engineer, having worked for a variety of manufacturing firms in Connecticut.  Robb’s work for the Jonah Center has focused on the “Green Corridor” project along the Coginchaug River, walking the area, documenting possible trail locations, and identifying property owners to request public access easements. He has had a life-long interest in the outdoors and nature, especially canoeing and hiking.  Robb is also a volunteer on the schooner, Quinnipiack, a marine educational program based in New Haven dedicated to the conservation of the environment, particularly Long Island Sound and the rivers of Connecticut and appreciation of their history.

Kate Miller Kate Miller is currently working toward a PhD in Biology at Wesleyan University. Most recently she was adjunct biology faculty at Middlesex Community College and the coordinator for the Brownfields Job Training Program at Middlesex. She has a Master's degree from Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and over twenty years of experience in environmental work including advocacy, policy development, program implementation, education and consulting. Kate is also a member of the City of Middletown's Conservation Commission.
ericmosher.jpgEric Mosher recently finished a Master's degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut. His research focused on the relationships between land use history and biological invasions. His particular areas of expertise are geographic information systems and conservation biology. A Middletown resident since 1979, Eric has been a member of the city's Resource Recycling Advisory Council for the last eight years. He is currently conducting an invasive plant survey in the Eight Mile River watershed for the Connecticut chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Kim O'Rourke works as the Recycling Program Coordinator for the City of Middletown. She has served in this position since 1991, managing the City recycling program, overseeing its expansion, planning and directing educational campaigns and coordinating community projects. She has been instrumental in moving the City’s recycling program into new, less traditional areas. The City of Middletown has been placed on the CT DEP’s Municipal Recycling Honor Role, and in 2007, Kim received An Award of Appreciation from the CT Recyclers Coalition and the Environmental Professional Award from CT River Coastal Conservation District. Kim helped envision and launch Middletown’s Project Green Lawn campaign to promote safe lawns and alternative landscapes. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Conservation & Communications from the University of New Hampshire, and is working toward a Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Connecticut.
Amy Vaillancourt is a project manager for Tighe & Bond Environmental Consulting and Engineering in Middletown, where she works in the area of assessing and remediating brownfields and other industrial soil and groundwater contamination. Previously employed by Vanesse Hangen Bustlin (VHB) from 2004 to 2012, she is deeply familiar with the history of many Middletown properties, including several areas of special concern to the Jonah Center such as the Remington Rand building on the North End Peninsula and the Omo superfund site in the South Cove area along the Connecticut River. Amy earned an associate's degree in Environmental Science and Toxicology from Gateway Community College and her BS in Environmental Science from the University of New Haven. She is currently completing her MS thesis in Landscape Ecology of Brownfields for the University of New Haven.