Board and Staff
The Friends of the Winooski River is led by a volunteer Board of Directors.
Allen Banbury (Treasurer) is a retired mathematics teacher with a passionate interest in rivers in general and the Winooski river and watershed specifically. Their health, and their utilization to enhance life in the communities they pass through are his main interests. A native of California, who came to Marshfield via Hawaii, Colorado and Pennsylvania, he lives on the banks of the Winooski and fishes and canoes its waters. He is also on the Marshfield Conservation Commission and spends part of his time involved with the mathematics program at Twinfield Union school.
Bill Haines is a retired educator who lives in Worcester, Vermont and is currently Chairperson of the Selectboard. During his “working” years, he taught social studies at Montpelier High School and continues to teach canoeing for physical education classes at the Wrightsville Reservoir and on the Winooski River. With his home of thirty-four years overlooking the North Branch of the Winooski, Bill recognizes the value of the river through different lenses. One of his more recent endeavors was to work with a neighboring farmer to plan and rebuild his failing manure pit. He helped coordinate local volunteers for a geomorphic assessment of the North Branch in Worcester, too. During the past fifteen years, he has been a continuing force in promoting and coordinating river clean-ups in the Central Vermont area. In joining the Friends of the Winooski, Bill brings along numerous contacts in the education field as well as practical experience in local government.
Beverly Lavin has watched the Winooski River evolve from a much narrower waterway with deep drop-offs to the wide silt-laden and shallow river of today. Now the owner of her family's farm, she has had riverbank restoration done to help stop erosion. Retired from Green Mountain Institute for Environmental Democracy, she enjoys spending time on the farm and in the river.
Colin McCaffrey (President) is a professional songwriter, performer, and record producer. He is an avid trout fisherman and amateur biologist with a passionate lifelong interest in habitat preservation and improvement in Vermont’s waters. He was born and raised by the Connecticut River and now lives on the Kingsbury branch of the Winooski River in East Montpelier, VT. In 2006 – along with fourth grade students at Union Elementary School in Montpelier -- Colin combined his love of songwriting and the river to produce a full length recording and publication entitled THE RIVER GIVES TO ME: Vermont History Through Song and Story. The recording is a celebration of our rivers from the past into the future and their central role in our lives as Vermonters. Colin hopes to continue using his public profile to educate and inform area residents of the work being done by Friends of the Winooski River.
Milly Archer lives in Montpelier and works as a water resource coordinator for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. She also serves as treasurer for the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions. Milly has been a Certified Floodplain Manager with the Association of State Floodplain Managers since 2009. She works with Vermont cities and towns to protect riparian and shoreland areas through local zoning bylaws and ordinances. She and her husband own a tree farm in Worcester that borders the cold, clear Hancock Brook, a headwater tributary to the North Branch of the Winooski. A native Kentuckian, she enjoys canoeing, fishing and swimming.
Barbara Borowske has been involved with projects associated with the waters of Vermont for years. As a Girl Scout leader for 12 years, her troop enjoyed the annual river clean up. Other Girl Scout projects have led to removal of invasive plants at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier and programs to engage the public in awareness of the dangers of lead sinkers to loons. Barbara along with her two children has helped replant trees in riparian zones along tributaries to the Winooski as well as other rivers in Vermont. They have also helped with invasive removals in various waters. Her children used this love and knowledge of the natural world to compete in the Envirothon at a high school level. Preparation for these events led to greater understanding of issues concerning rivers by studying non-point source pollution, global warming, wetlands and other relevant topics. These and other projects led to interactions with folks from Friends of the Winooski. Barbara enjoys work with grassroots organizations as they are an excellent resource for accomplishing much with local interested people. She is also on the board of the Local Agricultural Community Exchange in Barre. The joy of seeing loons increase to a viable population, the hope of having eagles return to Vermont and the pleasure of birding, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and hiking are all enhanced by taking care of our rivers.
Emily Levin moved to Vermont in 2007 to work on residential energy efficiency at the Efficiency Vermont, but her background is in river restoration and watershed management. She previously served as the Restoration Program Manager with the Ipswich River Watershed Association in Massachusetts. The Ipswich was so overpumped that it sometimes dried up, so water conservation and public education were the focus. In Ipswich, Emily served on the town planning board and energy committee. She studied water issues in graduate school, and did an internship in India focused on traditional methods of rainwater harvesting. In her free time, Emily enjoys hiking, yoga, and of course kayaking.
Suzanne Levine is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of Aquatic Ecology and Watershed Science Concentration at the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Her research at UVM includes studies of nitrogen fixation, analysis of riverine P spiriling, food web and nutrient limitation studies in Lake Champlain, examination of stable isotope patterns in lakes, and remote sensing of cyanobacterial blooms. One area of current research is on the response of Lake Champlain to 400 years of changing land use, aquatic resource management and population growth. Suzanne is also a member of the Town of Essex Conservation Commission.
Ryan McCall lives in Montpelier and works as a Stormwater Analyst at the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation in the Water Quality Division. Prior to this assignment he was the Upper Winooski Basin Planner for the Vermont Basin Planning Program. He also serves as the secretary for the Vermont Paddlers Club and is serving his first term on the board of directors for the Vermont River Conservancy. Through his educational and professional training Ryan has had a focus on water resources and how best to conserve, preserve and utilize them in a sustainable way. A native of Pennsylvania, he grew up fishing, swimming and boating year round in Lake Erie and the miles of tributaries that feed it (yes that includes through the ice), later in life moving to central PA where he enjoyed more of the same in a much different hydrologic setting. A self proclaimed 'water dog', he spends in excess of 70 days a year on the rivers of Vermont in his kayaks, as well as fishing; the majority of those days are in the Winooski Basin, in particular the North Branch Winooski, Dog and Mad River sub basins. As an avid outdoor recreationalist and member of the paddle-sport community, Ryan hopes to bring his connections and experience to the FWR board to utilize as another tool in the box for improving the quality of the Winooski River. When Ryan isn't in one of his boats he is enjoying the surroundings of the Winooski Watershed with his wife and two daughters.
Jeff Schumann moved to Vermont in 2008 from the Washington, D.C. area where he volunteered for a number of environmentally active organizations. He is continuing that involvement here in Vermont, especially as regards water quality and the overall protection of native ecosystems. He also serves on the board of the North Branch Nature Center and is active in their various activities. He participates in pulling invasive plants for The Nature Conservancy although it isn't an activity that he necessarily enjoys. He became a Master Gardener after moving to Vermont, with the aim of promoting native plants in landscape designs. Retiring and moving to Vermont has given him the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors more and to explore Vermont by kayak, bike, and hike.
Staff and Advisors
Dave Braun (Science Advisor) is a consulting environmental scientist for Stone Environmental, Inc. specializing in water resources research and stormwater management. He holds an M.S. degree in Water Resources from the University of Vermont and a B.S. degree in Biology. He lives with his family in Montpelier. Dave was a founding officer of the Friends of the Winooski River and led or participated in numerous water quality projects with the Friends between 1996 and 2000. Dave’s primary activities with the group during this period were river trash clean-up, streambank stabilization, tree planting, illicit discharge surveys, and stormdrain stenciling in Montpelier and neighboring communities. Dave left the board of the Friends in 2001, although he remains a committed volunteer. In 2006, Dave assisted the Friends as an independent contractor on a comprehensive illicit discharge detection and elimination project conducted with the City of Barre. The project included tracking down the sources of contaminated discharges to the Stevens Branch and its tributaries in Barre that were discovered during the project.
Lauri Brewster (Project Manager) is currently the Project Manager for the Friends of the Winooski River and is responsible for managing water quality, riparian restoration and stormwater projects. She has a strong background in natural resource protection, restoration and project management through her work at the Nature Conservancy and the Rainforest Alliance. Lauri has a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Antioch University and an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Maine at Farmington. She grew up in East Montpelier and currently owns a small farm in Milton. Lauri is also a member of the Conservation Commission in Milton.
Ann Smith (Executive Director) is currently the Executive Director for the Friends of the Winooski River. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of the primarily volunteer organization including project development and implementation, fundraising, education and community outreach. Prior to moving to Vermont, Ann was the Director of Watershed Programs for the Southeast Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) from 1998 to 2004. In that role, she was responsible for a variety of PEC programs and projects dealing with watershed planning, protection and education. It included the facilitation of several watershed partnerships that include a range of stakeholders such as state environmental agencies, municipal officials and local grassroots organizations to focus on common goals with respect to resource protection and restoration. Ann earned a Master of Science in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan in 1997. She has an undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1981. Prior to graduate school, Ann worked in the private sector as an Account Executive for a health care related software and consulting firm.