Colin Holme, executive director, graduated from the University of Maine after studying environmental science and oceanography. In 2018, Colin was promoted to executive director after years of working with the previous director on local and statewide lake issues. Before taking on this new role, Colin ran LEA’s water testing, mapping, and mitigation programs. He has been a lead coordinator for numerous watershed surveys and regularly works with municipal planning boards and staff to review large and small projects. He has coordinated GPS photo inventories of many of the nearby lakes and created the official shoreland zoning maps for six surrounding towns. Colin has served on the previous two statewide Shoreland Zoning study groups and plays an active role in his hometown’s local government.
Mary Jewett, teacher/naturalist, graduated from Unity College with a bachelor’s degree in science ecology in 2006. Mary’s early career at LEA began in high school when she volunteered to help with the water testing program during one summer. Since then, her volunteer work has led her to focus on diverse environmental topics. Mary worked for a summer at Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine where she helped in the rehabilitation of wild birds. She also completed a prior term of AmeriCorps service in Cherokee, North Carolina where she used field research to determine the fire risk on the Cherokee reservation. Mary has a passion for education and believes that her own feelings about the natural world inspire others to care about it too.
Alanna Yannelli, educator, received her Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science in 2005 from the University of Maine in Orono after attending Alaska Pacific University and College of the Atlantic. Years later when she realized she was taking books out of the library simply to take notes on them, she decided to return to school at USM for a Masters in Education and finished in 2011, just shy of her daughter’s second birthday. She cannot remember this time of her life due to sleep deprivation. She also spent time in there working for Outward Bound, Ocean Classroom, Winter Journeys, and loves being outside. She graduated from the Lake Region School District and is excited to inspire students in learning about our local ecology. She brings her enthusiasm for the outdoors in general, and wetland plants in particular, to the table and loves being a part of the education crew at LEA.
Jenny O’Connor, membership coordinator, lives in Bridgton with her husband and family. She has a deep appreciation for the region’s beautiful lakes and rolling hills and greatly enjoys the sense of community that comes from living in a rural area. She has studied Liberal Arts and graduated from Southern Maine Community College and has been involved in Bridgton’s Parent-Teachers Association.
Maggie Welch, staff researcher, earned a BS in environmental science and a MS in biology from the University of Southern Maine. Maggie began her professional career as a field biologist collecting samples from wildlife, in the lab conducting PCR/QPCR, in the insectary conducting pesticide resistance studied, and to species identification of ticks and mosquitoes. Maggie’s work at LEA includes managing the summer water quality program and assisting with advanced water testing initiatives.
Dr. Ben Peierls, Maine Lake Science Center research director, grew up on Long Island, New York and spent many summers visiting family at Sand Pond in Denmark. Ben and his brother maintain a camp on the lake to this day. Since getting a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University thirty years ago, he has been actively involved as a technician, graduate student, and postdoctoral researcher in aquatic ecosystem research, including studies of lakes, large rivers, and estuaries. His focus has been on phytoplankton, microbial ecology, and general water quality issues, such as eutrophication. Ben received an M.S. and a Ph.D. in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was involved in the field work and data management for several long-term estuarine monitoring programs. When not studying aquatic systems, he enjoys sailing on and swimming in them, as well as playing ultimate and performing music.
Alyson Smith, center and project manager of the Maine Lake Science Center, graduated from the University of Maine, Orono with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1984 and a master’s degree in educational administration from University of Southern Maine in 1991. She moved from Long Island, NY to Maine with her family while in high school and has lived in Harrison and Denmark for the past 30+ years. Prior to joining LEA, Alyson had been in education for 30 years, most recently as a sixth grade STEM teacher at Harrison Elementary School. She participated with some of LEA’s programs with her classes. Environmental stewardship and use of the outdoors as a classroom has always be a priority. Alyson’s love of the environment, passion for teaching and learning, her sense of community, and belief that everyone can make a difference made for a natural affiliation with the Lakes Environmental Association. One of her favorite activities is to swim in a lake with her dogs. She also loves to alpine and backcountry ski, hike, paddle (kayak and SUP), mountain bike, and generally be outdoors.
Lauren Pickford, planning and land use manager, graduated from the University of Maine, Orono in 2017 with a degree in Secondary Education, Life Sciences and has studied Environmental Science at Unity College. Lauren is passionate about protecting Maine’s natural resources for recreation and wildlife. Prior to joining LEA in 2021, she spent recent years working on land and water conservation in central Maine. Lauren spends her free time enjoying the outdoors swimming, fishing, and skiing.
Shannon Nelligan, teacher and field technician, graduated from Unity College in 2021, studying Wildlife and Fisheries Management with a minor in Geoscience. Shannon started working at LEA as a water testing intern the summer of 2019 and has not left since. Shannon is very passionate about wildlife, including hunting, fishing, and hiking, along with the many other benefits nature has to offer. In previous years she has taught hunter safety, ATV safety, and conservation at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond to local students in the Bethel area. Shannon believes that teaching people about wildlife and conservation is one step closer to a healthier planet.
President: Lydia Landesberg, Waterford, Maine. Lydia spent most of her life in the New York metro area and moved to Maine in 2015. She graduated from SUNY, Empire State College with a BA in creative writing. A life-long environmentalist and community activist, Lydia served as president of the Katonah Village Improvement Society and led the organization’s successful legal battle which prevented the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Corp. from obtaining a broad trademark on the name of her hometown. Her son Stuart is the founder and CEO of Grove Collaborative, a certified B Corp. and the world’s first plastic-neutral retailer. Her four children have a strong attachment to the Lakes Region and enjoy visiting her home on Bear Pond. When she is not outside enjoying the lake, Lydia runs a hobby business selling antique glass and china on eBay.
Vice President: Karen Harding, Bridgton, Maine. After visiting the Bridgton area in 1990, Karen and her husband bought a vacation home near Shawnee Peak for their three sons to enjoy skiing and hiking. In 1999, while their sons were finishing college, they bought their dream home in Bridgton with a Shawnee Peak view. Karen is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a BS in Nursing and Salem State College (now University) with an MS in Nursing Education and Administration. She has worked in various areas of nursing, both in Massachusetts and Maine, and is currently working at Bridgton Hospital, with a specialty in Wound and Ostomy Care. She has been active in her WOCN Association, having been past president of the New England chapter. She is also quite active in church activities. She and her husband continue to welcome guests into their bed and breakfast, The Pleasant View, Too (when their children and grandchildren are not visiting, since she has always said that family comes first!). She loves learning about the Maine woodlands and its effect on the lakes.
Secretary: Mark Priola, Bridgton, North Bridgton, Maine. Mark has been working in the landscape and nursery industry for over 20 years. After working as nursery manager under Dana Littlefield, owner of Shaker Hill Nursery in Poland Spring, and later for Jeff O’Donal, owner of O’Donal’s Nursery in Gorham, Mark started working toward a business degree at USM and the idea of Green Artisan. Founded in 2012, Green Artisan is based in the lakes region of Maine, with a concentration on native plants and natural hardscapes. Mark is the father of two, a musician, and an artist, living with his family in North Bridgton.
Treasurer: Charlie Tarbell, Waterford, Maine. Charlie grew up, summers, on Keoka Lake in Waterford. He received a BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also earned a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. After a 30-year career in economic consulting, strategic planning, and corporate finance in Boston, Portland, Maine and San Francisco, he again lives on Keoka Lake. Charlie spent 25 years volunteering for the Maine Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, serving twice as Board Chair. He has been President of the Keoka Lake Association for 15 years, serves on the Waterford Planning Board, and volunteers for the Waterford Library and the Alan Day Community Garden in Norway.
Andrew Black , Portland and Sweden, Maine. Growing up in a military family, Andrew lived throughout the U.S. and in Italy and Germany and, whenever possible, spent time at the family homestead in Sweden, Maine. Since 2001 he has been an Assistant Attorney General with the State of Maine and since 2004 the Chief of the AG’s Professional and Financial Regulation Division. Before joining the AG’s Office, Andrew worked at a law firm in Portland and as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company. He is a graduate of Boston University and the University of Maine School of Law and was an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. Although he has retired from playing and coaching soccer, he still enjoys hiking, running, and kayaking. Andrew and his wife, Monica, spend as much time as possible at their camp on Keyes Pond and, when lucky, are joined by their two children.
Dell Foss, Sweden, Maine. Ardelle (Dell) retired after 19 years as Director of Sponsored Research Projects, Smithsonian Institution, and moved from Washington, DC to rural Southwest Maine (Sweden) to finally “breathe” after her 38 year career with the Smithsonian, U.S. Agency for International Development (Cairo, Egypt) and Brown University. She was active in several research administration organizations, was a board member of the Research Administrators’ Certification Council, and served as officer, panelist, moderator and presenter at many conferences held by national and international professional councils. Her passion and advocacy (for increasing and managing scientific research, funded predominantly at the federal level, and organizational development in general) morphed into volunteering at several community non-profit organizations, with LEA the most closely aligned with her career. Others are Lovell’s Hobbs Memorial Library, Lakes Region Substance Awareness Coalition, Bridgton Hospital Patient Advisory Council, Deertrees Theatre, and Sweden’s town committees.
Steve Gilman, Belmont, Massachusetts. Steve is a pharmaceutical executive who retired after 35 years in research, development, and business leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry. He continues to serve as a board member for several public pharmaceutical companies and the Atrium School, a private progressive elementary and middle school. Steve has a long association with southern Maine. His parents grew up in Portland, and his aunt and uncle founded The Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth. He and his family vacationed every year at various rental cottages in the Lakes Region until buying their summer residence in Naples. Steve received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in microbiology from Pennsylvania State University, his post‑doctoral training in immunology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, and a B.A. in microbiology from Miami University of Ohio.
Henry Hudson III, Harrison, Maine. Henry grew up in Harrison and graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in 1990. He spent one year in Vermont for civil engineering before going to work full-time for Henry’s Concrete, the family business. Back in the early ’90s, concrete work during winter months wasn’t as common as it is these days, so he worked full-time at Shawnee Peak. The company now has five to six year-round employees. In addition, Henry continues to work night and weekend shifts at the Peak. He is a captain of the Harrison Fire Department. Henry is also a certified diver in open water and under ice. With this skill, he serves as a member of the Oxford/Cumberland County Dive Rescue Team. He and his wife, Jamie, live on Long Lake with their daughter. Henry has served on LEA’s board since 2014.
Wells Jacobson, Manchester, Connecticut. Wells was introduced to the Lakes Region as a boy, spending five happy summers at Camp Winona on the shores of Moose Pond in Bridgton. Finding that it was easier to take the boy out of camp than to take camp out of the boy, about thirty years ago, after vacationing in the area for several years, he and his wife, Peg, purchased a rustic camp on Long Lake in Harrison. Their three children have since become enchanted with Pleasant Mountain and the shores of Long Lake. Wells graduated from Middlebury College and Hahnemann Medical College. He trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Connecticut and followed with a trauma fellowship in West Germany and then at the Harborview Hospital in Seattle. Until retirement, Wells practiced in Manchester, CT.
Jessica Orgo, Bridgton, Maine. Jessica was born and raised in Millinocket, ME and spent her summers at her family’s camp on Smith Pond, overlooking Mt. Katahdin. A graduate of the University of Southern Maine, she studied and pursued a career in Human Resources which took her to Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC, where she enjoyed the experience of working as HR Manager for a major airline. While in Charlotte, Jessica completed the city’s Cultural Leadership Training through the Arts & Science Council, specifically directed at preparing individuals for nonprofit board service and went on to serve as an active board member with Sustain Charlotte, United Way Young Leaders, and Charlotte Area Society for Human Resource Management (CASHRM). Additionally, she was named 2015 HR Professional of the Year by CASHRM and in that same year, a recipient of the Forty Under 40 Awards through the Charlotte Business Journal. Grateful to be back in Maine and for the opportunity to live and work in the same community while continuing her HR career with a 4th generation family-owned business, she and her husband, Nicholas, settled in Bridgton in 2017 with their two Yorkies, Charlotte Elaine and Jacob George, and have since added to their family with sweet girl Stella Jean. Jessica and her family have a deep passion for the Lakes Region and look forward to contributing toward its growth and development for many years to come.
David Rosen, North Bridgton, Maine. David grew up in Michigan where his lifelong passion for lakes and water activities first blossomed. His summers during college were spent exploring all corners of Maine and deepening his appreciation for the uniqueness of our state and region. After completing his studies at Western Michigan University in Education, he has since been teaching science in a plethora of settings for 15 years. David currently teaches science at Bridgton Academy and lives near Long Lake with his family.
Bob Schwaller, Naples, Maine. Bob and his wife Joyce live year-round on Naples’ Lambs Mill Farm, where they tend gardens, hike, and work on restoration of the farm’s 1880s barn and farmhouse. Bob grew up in Houston in the ’60s. He received a BA in Journalism from Trinity University, San Antonio, an MA in Journalism from the University of Missouri, and worked as a magazine reporter and editor in Houston and Dallas before pursuing a career consulting in public relations and marketing communications. After managing web content and public relations for a nonprofit in Boston, he retired and moved with Joyce to Naples in 2012 to the farm, where they enjoy forest and field, rescue dogs and cat, and a small pond back in the woods that is maintained by a stubbornly resilient colony of beavers. He is passionate about preserving the tranquility and beauty of nature and supporting ways to manage the impact of commercialization on lakes, fields, and woods.
Justin Ward, Bridgton, Maine. Justin grew up near Middlebury, Vermont and then attended Bates College, where he received a BA in psychology. After teaching for a few years in Massachusetts, he and his wife Pam opened Bridgton Books in 1993 and have been busy operating the store to this day. Justin raised a family of three kids in this area and did his share of coaching while they were young. He also served on The Landmark Human Resources Board of directors for many years in Bridgton. He enjoys playing hockey, playing the fiddle, hiking, swimming, mountain biking, skiing, and of course, reading.
Martina Witts, Naples, Maine. Martina grew up in the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a BA in History and received an MBA from Rivier University. She and her husband Bruce lived in Charlotte, NC and Poughkeepsie, NY before returning to Massachusetts, where they lived and raised their son and daughter in Tyngsborough, MA for 25 years. For 15 years Martina worked in the Career Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, most recently as the Director. In addition to her career, Martina has volunteered as a Girl Scout Leader, Cub Scout Leader, elected School Committee member and board member of two educational non-profits. Currently, she is the President of the Trickey Pond Environmental Protection Association and volunteers on local municipal committees. Martina’s connection to the Sebago Lake Region began as a young child with annual camping trips to the area and continued as she and Bruce raised their children to love and appreciate the natural beauty of the lake region, their “go to” vacation spot. Buying a house on Trickey Pond in 2004 and making Naples, ME their permanent home in 2018 is a dream come true.