ACT ‘s advisors provide expertise to the organization and its director, Rebecca Brown. Two are former board members who continue to lend their expertise and the others are long-time leaders in conservation and in their communities.
Brendan J. Whittaker of Brunswick, Vt. is a recognized leader in the Northern Forest. A professional forester and Episcopal priest, his civic career includes serving as Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and directing the Vermont State Energy Office. He represented Vermont on the Northern Forest Lands Council, and has served as a board member or advisor to a long list of New England’s leading conservation organizations. He is a select board member and moderator in Brunswick, Vt. His essay, “A View From Local Government,” published in the book The Future of the Northern Forest, is an insightful perspective on issues of local control, property rights, and identity in a rapidly changing time. Brendan also serves on the ACT Lands Committee. He enjoys working in his woods and casting the occasional fly.
From the early 1980s through 2007, Steve Blackmer, of Canterbury, N.H., was an organizer and advocate for conservation and sustainable economic and community development in the Northern Forest region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Steve founded and led the Northern Forest Center and the Northern Forest Alliance, and earlier in his career worked for the Society for Protection of N.H. Forests and Appalachian Mountain Club. He has been instrumental in creating the nationally recognized movement to conserve the Northern Forest through building local economies grounded in the enhancement of the region’s ecological, cultural, and human resources. Steve is now working at the intersection of religion and environment, with a particular interest in climate change. He graduated from Yale Divinity School last year and has returned to NH to continue his work. Steve is a dedicated cross-country skier and distance runner.
Former ACT board member Dave Govatski of Jefferson, N.H. had a 30-year career with the U.S. Forest Service as a fire and aviation management officer, forester, and silviculturist. Dave, who also serves on ACT’s Lands Committee, is very active with the Pondicherry National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and chairs the Jefferson Conservation Commission. He is a naturalist with a focus on birds and alpine plants, a hiker, canoeist, Nordic skier, and snowshoer.
Born and raised in Littleton, N.H., former ACT board member Martha Abbott Hill has spent her career working in the nonprofit field, and is an experienced volunteer who has aided several organizations with her development and grant-writing expertise. As former chair of the Littleton Conservation Commission she provided leadership in securing current use tax funds for conservation work within the town and in the creation of a summer education program at the Dells. Martha delights in the North Country’s landscape and explores it by foot, snowshoe, kayak, and bike as often as she can.
Julie Renaud Evans of Milan, N.H. is the director of forestry for Sustainable Forest Futures, a program promoting a competitive and sustainable forest economy in the northern New England. Evans has taught many environmental and forestry courses at White Mountains Community College. As a consultant, she has worked with White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, many landowner clients, and the town of Errol as it established its 5,300-acre community forest. At Sustainable Forest Futures she teaches about the benefits of community forests and assists communities in acquiring and managing land.