The Deep River Land Trust currently has about 150 members and is governed by a Board of Directors elected at an Annual Meeting each Spring. Board members serve for 3-year terms on a rotating basis. The Board of Directors meets monthly, currently on the 3rd Thursday of each month.
Members of the Deep River Land Trust are encouraged to volunteer for property maintenance, helping with various activities, and serve on Board committees.
DRLT Board of Directors
Laurie Giannotti: President
Laurie is recently retired from managing the Trails & Greenways Program for CT State Parks. She holds an undergraduate degree from UConn in Geology and Geophysics and a masters degree from the University of New Haven in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems. Laurie, and her husband Rob have lived in the Winthrop section of Deep River for 14 years.
Ann Courcy: Vice President
A member of the Deep River Land Trust Board of Directors for more than 10 years and currently serves as Vice-President. She is a teacher in the Explorers classroom at Schoolmates preschool. The school is located on the Incarnation Center’s campus, where she and her students explorer the 700 acres of trails and open space right outside the school’s doorway. In addition to teaching the Explorers, Ann writes the blog Barking Frog Farm where she shares her ideas about nature and the benefits of growing a relationship with the natural world. Ann and her family have lived in the tri-town area for the last 14 years and love it!
Paul Mikulak: Secretary
A Member of the Board since 2012. Paul is a Civil Engineer and has worked for the Connecticut Department of Transportation for many years. He is skilled with a chainsaw and other tools and therefore handy when it comes to tree maintenance, sign installation, bridge building, and invasive species remediation—all capabilities needed for maintaining Deep River Land Trust properties. Paul is also a geologic enthusiast and his artistic tendencies lead him to build unique structures of local stones, and he creates imaginative decorations from found pieces of wood and other natural objects. Paul was in the U.S. Coast Guard for some years and since moving to Deep River, he has returned to the waterways as a member of the Pettipaug Yacht Club, volunteering for many activities there. Paul has lived on Long Hill Road in Deep River for 10 years.
Tania Crosby: Treasurer
Tania holds a bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut but also has a passion for numbers. Having worked as a public accountant for over 30 years, she has helped small businesses and nonprofits stay focused and thrive. As treasurer of the Deep River Ambulance Association since 1997, she has extensive experience with the growth and governance of a 501(c)(3) organization. A life-long Deep River resident with two children, she and her husband continue to be active volunteers in the community as well as the local school system and sports programs.
John Cunningham: Board Member
A resident of Deep River for the past decade, John’s family connections to Deep River go back more than a hundred years. After completing 35 years in education, he just recently retired from teaching science in grades four through nine. At The Foote School in New Haven CT, he developed environmentally based courses that focused on solar energy and tree ecology in the elementary grades and a long term water quality study of a local river in the upper grades. Before he began his teaching career in New Haven, he worked on environmental impact research for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a
terrestrial ecologist. A lifelong naturalist and expert birder, he led international ecotours from 1978 – 2000. Previously, he also served as a board member and President of the New Haven Land Trust.
Sarah Field: Board Member
A member of the Board of Directors since 2017, Sarah handles the land trust website and membership records, and she serves as an educator for land trust family events. She is a STEM educator at the Niantic Children’s Museum, a para educator for Region 4, GSA mentor, and designs sensory-friendly children’s museum programming for children with autism. Sarah holds undergraduate degrees from UConn in French and history, and has a master’s degree from the University of New Haven in secondary education, social studies.
Sarah grew up in Essex as the fourth generation in her family’s home, and seven years ago she moved back to the area. She is passionate about preserving open spaces for current and future generations and likes to spend her free time hiking in the woods and kayaking on the Connecticut River.
Patrick Liddle: Board Member
Patrick is a recently retired educator and counselor, a Deep River resident, and a prodigious and talented gardener. Patrick has spent years clearing invasive vegetation and trash off the Pratt Cove-facing slopes of Fountain Hill Cemetery and adopted a section of waterfront near the Town Landing, where he also clears out riverine trash. This dedication to the environment, his care for others, and his green thumb are all important assets to the DRLT. Patrick believes protecting land and helping to ensure it remains available to be enjoyed by all creatures is the definition of synergy.
Georgia Male: Board Member
Joined the Deep River Land Trust Board in 2020 with the goal of boosting its social media presence, leading educational walk and talks, and aiding the betterment of its website content and design. Georgia has been the Farm Manager, Head Teacher, and Summer Camp Program Director of Bushy Hill Nature Center since 2017, after graduating from Unity College. Georgia earned her B.S. degree in Captive Wildlife Care and Education while in Maine. She uses her animal savvy skills to work with a variety of wild and domestic animals, including the 4 dogs she raised as service animals for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. She spent her childhood summers on the Great Gull Island Research Station, in Long Island Sound, conserving common and roseate terns, and loves being out appreciating the natural world. She resides in Chester CT with her three rescue pets; a cat and two dogs.
Malcolm Meldahl: Board Member
A member of the Board of Directors
since 2017, Malcolm currently serves as the Trust’s master builder of signs, bridges, and walkways. He is also an avid outdoorsman and expert canoer—leading expeditions in Coves along the lower Connecticut River valley. He is active with the Friends of Whalebone Creek organization. Malcolm spent much of his early childhood in Japan and graduated from high school there. Later in his life, he was a builder of homes in Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts for many years. Before retiring to Deep River, he was instrumental in arranging the procurement of his historic family farm in Truro by the Castle Hill Center for the Arts and the Truro Conservation Trust. Malcolm, whose brother is a geologist, has an avid interest in geology and he lives right on the Honey Hill fault near Devitt’s Field in Deep River.
Janet Radway Stone: Board Member
A member of the Board of Directors for more than 30 years, Janet is a Research Geologist Emerita with the U.S. Geological Survey, where she specializes in compiling geologic maps of glacial sediments in southern New England, especially in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She is the first author of the Quaternary Geologic Map of Connecticut and Long Island Sound Basin, among many other geologic publications. In the process of producing numerous geologic maps, Janet has become proficient in GIS mapping techniques and now uses these tools to produce accurately located property boundary maps and trail maps for the Land Trust. Janet was also a member of the Deep River Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission for many years. She has a deep commitment to the protection of the Earth’s natural environment and preserving the special landscapes of the lower Connecticut River valley. She has lived on Huckleberry Drive in Deep River for 32 years.
John Woitovich: Board Member
John has been a Board member since 2021- currently a Special Education Teacher at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River, he has worked at the Middle School for the past 11 years. During this time, he helped to develop an organic garden and orchard program on school grounds. Prior to entering a career in education, he worked for the United States Geological Survey, Water Science Center on Long Island New York and was with USGS for 10 years. While there, he worked on various water quality/water resource projects as well as data collection and analysis. He received a BS in Environmental Science and Biology, and a MA in Education. He cares deeply for the preservation of open space, both for the protection of wild spaces as well as public enjoyment (e.g., hiking).
Micheal Zarfos: Board Member
Mike has been a member of the Deep River Land Trust board of directors since 2014. Born and raised in Deep River, Mike knows the Millstone Hill and Pratt Cove areas like the back of his hand. Have questions about what’s going on in your backyard ecosystem? Ask Mike! Growing up in Deep River’s woods and waters and working at the Bushy Hill Nature Center (where he was known as
“Thumper”) inspired Mike to study ecology in college and then in graduate school. Mike is currently a PhD candidate in conservation biology at SUNY ESF and a MA candidate in international relations at Syracuse University. He has published one of his dissertation chapters on the effects of acid rain on forest plant communities in the Adirondacks and coauthored a publication on how beech bark disease may have changed forest structure in the Adirondacks. Mike is involved in many of DRLT’s activities including educational programming, outreach, land acquisitions, fundraising, and habitat management. He is also on the board of directors of the Incarnation Center.
Rob Butterworth: Chief Trail Steward
Rob is responsible for the planning, construction, and maintenance of hiking trails on the DRLT properties. Also responsible for training volunteers in the proper and safe methods of trail construction and maintenance, coordinating with the property stewards and filing monthly reports with the board on the status of DRLT trails and trail plans. Rob is also past and current Trails Committee Chairman for Connecticut Forest and Park Association. CFPA is also where he received his Sawyer certification and Wilderness First Aid training. HE is the Trail Manager for CFPA’s Cockaponset Blue Blazed Hiking Trail. He volunteers with the Haddam Land Trust on their trail design and construction. He is a life-long outdoorsmen with a primary focus on hiking. Rob, his wife Laurie, and their dog Bene have lived in the Winthrop section of Deep River for 10 years.
The Deep River Land Trust is a member of The Lower Connecticut River and Coastal Region Land Trust Exchange. Check out their mission at http://www.lcrclandtrustexchange.org/ .