The Hitchcock Center’s Board of Directors is a diverse body of individuals carefully chosen for their varying backgrounds and skills to the work of the Board. They provide sound oversight and governance of the Hitchcock Center through strategic planning, policy development, oversight and management, budgeting and fundraising. We are grateful for their dedicated and committed service as volunteers to our organization and community.
Jaana Cutson, President
Merle Bruno, Vice-President
Marie Hess, Treasurer
Donna Wiley, Clerk
Harvey Allen, Conservation Commission Liaison
Julie Johnson, Executive Director
Danielle Barshak came to Amherst in 1978 to attend Amherst College, and with the exception of several years spent in bicycle travel and attendance at law school, she has resided in the valley ever since. Danielle practiced law for 24 years, including at the Northwestern District Attorney's office, and most recently at the law firm of Stobierski & Stobierski. Danielle has taken a sabbatical from law to indulge her long-held desire to become a small-scale chicken farmer and spend more time exploring the great outdoors.
Merle Bruno, Vice-President
Merle Bruno is Professor Emerita of Biology at Hampshire College where she was a founding faculty member and for several years served as a dean. She holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her research was on the biochemistry and neurophysiology of sensory systems. In the 60’s she was a curriculum developer at the Elementary Science Study, designing hands-on activities for K-12 classrooms, and she was on the board of The Yurt Foundation for many years. At Hampshire she taught physiology and developed a human biology course in which students worked in small cooperative groups to solve challenging medical problems. She collaborated with Beverly Woolf’s computer design team at UMass to create medical problems to be solved by teams of students using Rashi, an “intelligent tutor.” Merle has a particular interest in increasing the participation of under-represented groups in science and with others ran Day in the Lab for Middle School students for 20 years, worked on summer programs with the Five College Public School Partnership, and co-led Hampshire summer programs for students from Holyoke and Springfield.
Now retired from Hampshire, Merle is a realtor with Sawicki Real Estate in Amherst where she works as a team with her husband and long time realtor, Peter Vincent.
Carey Clouse is an Assistant Professor in Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UMass Amherst. She holds a post-professional degree (SMArchS) in Architecture and Urbanism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BArch from the University of Oregon. She teaches courses that address the overlap between social justice, environmental stewardship, and resilient urbanism. In addition to teaching, she is partner of Crookedworks, an architecture-design-build firm focused on projects addressing resilience and post-disaster cities.
Jaana Cutson, President
Jaana first became acquainted with the Hitchcock Center twenty years ago while doing an internship for her MS degree in Environmental Administration from Antioch University New England. As a Hitchcock intern she become involved and remained the coordinator of the Amherst Spotted Salamander Tunnel Research project until 1999. She also wrote the Guide to the Norwottuck Rail Trail as part of her intern duties. Since 1993, Jaana has worked in the not-for-profit world and for eleven of those years specifically in the environmental arena. Some of the organizations she has worked for include Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) and the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. Jaana has a BA from Hampshire College with a concentration in Anthropology and Botany. Being a part of the Hitchcock Center again and especially being board president for three years has been the highlight of her environmental endeavors.
Jaime Dávila is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Hampshire College, where he has worked since 1999. He obtained his Ph.D. from the City University of New York in that same year. His main research interest is in the area of genetic optimization of neural networks for human-like tasks, mainly for cooperative, team-based games. He is currently studying ways in which the coding of evolved parameters affect the performance of artificial multi-agent systems under environments with changing conditions. He is also interested in issues of technology and society, such as access to STEM education for underrepresented students, privacy and data collection on the Internet, and the effect of new media and new technology on the economy. His papers have been presented at conferences such as the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, the Congress on Evolutionary Computation, and the International Conference on Neural Information Processing.
Nancy retired as Vice-President for Administration and Finance at Holyoke Community College. Past President of Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers; Director of the National Association of College and University Business Officers; Vice-President for Finance of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges; Former Selectman of Amherst, President of Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Chair of the Governor's Local Government Advisory Committee; Past member of the Amherst Planning Board and numerous other Town Committees; Former member of Board of Directors, First Massachusetts Bank; published in areas of systems analysis of non-profit systems, college finance and business. She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a M.P.A. from the University of Massachusetts.
Elizabeth is former Board alum of the Hitchcock Center. She is a Senior Research Ecologist with the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS), and a biologist, educator, and scientific illustrator. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the botanical journal, Rhodora. She is currently principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded project to develop an on-line guide to the regional flora for teaching botany. She previously coordinated NEWFS planning for the conservation and management of over 100 species of rare plants. She has illustrated the forthcoming Flora of New England for NEWFS and the Natural Communities of New Hampshire with the NH Natural Heritage Bureau, and is currently illustrating and co-writing The Ants of New England (Yale University Press). She is co-author of the Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea and the Peterson Field Guide to the Ferns. She is a member of the graduate faculties of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Rhode Island, a Master Teacher at the Conway School of Landscape Design, and has taught at Smith College and Hampshire College. She formerly served as Ecologist with the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She has conducted scientific research on many ecosystems throughout the world, focusing on restoration, conservation, and climate change. She was awarded a Bullard Research Fellowship by Harvard University in 2005 and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1999. She has been a scientific consultant to the National Park Service, The Trustees of Reservations, U. S. Forest Service, Massachusetts and Connecticut Natural Heritage Programs, United Nations, and the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. She obtained her Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, M. Sc. from the University of Vermont, and a B.A. with honors in Environmental Studies from Brown University.
Marie Hess, Treasurer
Marie holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She spent her junior year at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and pursued graduate work in sociology at McGill University in Montreal. Marie received her MBA and Masters in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in 1998. Marie joined the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1978, first serving as an administrator in the L.I.F.T. program, then as an accountant in the Controller’s office and later as Deputy Director and Director of Finance for the Fine Arts Center. In 2003, she became the Treasurer and Business Manager of Five Colleges, Incorporated, a position she held until her retirement. Marie serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the UMass Five College Federal Credit Union.
Kristine is a certified financial planner and VP of Financial Services for Easthampton Savings Bank. Kristine started with Easthampton Savings Bank in 1995 holding various positions in the Retail Banking area, lastly as an Assistant Branch Manager, before moving to the Wealth Management Division in 2001. In her capacity at ESB, Kristine helps her clients develop and implement a path to financial success utilizing a variety of products to achieve individual goals such as mutual funds, etf's, REIT's, fixed and variable annuities as well as life, disability and long term care insurance. Kristine is active in the community and is the President of the Easthampton Rotary Club and volunteers for Chamber of Commerce events throughout the area. She has been volunteer member of the Hitchcock Center’s Finance Committee this past year. In her free time she enjoys playing with her dog Bailey, gardening and cooking for family and friends.
You can usually find John on a trail somewhere either working or playing. As a kid, his summers were spent traveling out west, sitting around the camp fire, and talking to rangers. That got him excited about working in nature. He became a park ranger, and later a superintendent in the San Francisco Bay Area. After moving to Amherst he went back to school at UMass to finish a degree in Park Management and Natural Resource Planning. John has a part time business doing trail design, construction, and training projects, and is a full time Dad to his two boys.
Annie Leonard specializes in facilitative leadership for all aspects of public and independent K-12 schools, specializing in integrated academic-experiential learning models, curricular and pedagogical improvement work, and collaborative adult learning for professional growth. She has served as the Assistant Principal at the American School in London (2010-2014) and the Amherst Regional High School (2005-2010) over the last nine years. Annie and her husband, former Hitchcock Board member Dano Weisbord, and their two children have returned to Amherst after living in London for the last four years. Annie is now a doctoral student in educational leadership at UMass and Dano has recently taken the Director of Campus Sustainability position at Smith College. They have been active contributors and supporters of the Hitchcock Center for many years and are largely responsible for the start-up of the Center’s Nature Play afterschool program.
Susan Loring-Wells has been involved in the Hitchcock Center for over 20 years, as a mother of 3 daughters who all attended Colleen Kelley's nature preschool; as a volunteer; as staff at vacation camps, and as a leader of ponding trips. She has a passion for the outdoors, plants and textile arts. Susan maintains a studio at the Leverett Crafts and Arts Center where she teaches fiber art to all ages and was the Executive Director of the Fiber Art Center in Amherst, MA from 2002-2007. Susan holds a BFA in Fiber Arts from the Program in Artisanry at Boston University and completed the requirements for her Master Weaver Certificate from the Hill Institute.
Doug Marshall is a staff architect and campus planner at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to moving to Amherst in 2011, Doug practiced with Sasaki Associates in the Boston area, working mostly on college and university buildings. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds an M.Arch. from Yale.
Tony is the director of Community Relations at UMass Amherst. From 2008-2014, he was the Executive Director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, a membership organization with over 500 members, and since its launch in 2010, he was also the co-director of the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council. Maroulis started his career in arts administration in the mid-90s, working in various positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before moving to Amherst, MA with his family in 2002. Prior to his work with the Chamber, he had stints with the Emily Dickinson Museum, as project coordinator for the Museums10 partnership, and as co-founder and director of wünderarts, a commercial art gallery for contemporary and conceptual art in Amherst. Maroulis is a 2009 BusinessWest Forty Under 40 winner and an alumnus of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s 2011-12 inaugural class. He serves on the boards of The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Amherst Media, the Friends of the UMass Fine Arts Center, MassCreative and as chair of both the Pelham Cultural Council and the Advisory Board of the University Museum of Contemporary Art in addition to numerous town and regional boards and committees. He has been named a 2014 Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Award winner as the Chamber MVP.
Michael’s lifelong interest in environmental issues stems from his childhood; his father was a research chemical engineer at the USDA Forest Products Lab, trying to find and promote non-chemical ways of producing paper pulp. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin he joined the International staff of the US National Student Association, where his major tasks were writing and editing a series of Political Background publications on major international issues of the day (South Africa, Angola and Mozambique, the Latin American left). He taught English and History in Uganda with the Peace Corps, after which he served in the 8th Army/UN Headquarters in Seoul, Korea in the Public Information section, which included covering the negotiations over the Pueblo crew in Panmunjom. He holds an EdD from the University of Massachusetts and retired from there as the head of the Undergraduate Advising Office in the School of Education.
Donna Wiley, Clerk
Donna Wiley is Senior Executive Vice President of Grenzebach Glier & Associates, Inc. (GG+A), a philanthropic management consulting firm headquartered in Chicago. She has provided counsel to universities, colleges, independent schools, cultural institutions, and medical centers across the country since she joined the firm in 1999. She previously served as Deputy Director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, as a senior development officer for the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and worked in development for Bryn Mawr College for 20 years. She is the Executive Editor of the Grenzebach Glier Quarterly Review, a member of the Editorial Review Board for Giving USA, and a Director of the Clowes Fund, a charitable foundation in Indianapolis, and a member of the Whately Historical Commission. Donna earned her B.A. at Bucknell University, M.A. at City College of New York, and Ph.D. in history of art at Bryn Mawr College. She lives in Whately.
Dan is a lifelong resident of Amherst with a love for plants and a passion for birding. As the Nursery Manager at the Hadley Garden Center for 25 years he enjoys teaching people about plants. His interest in birding was nurtured through Hitchcock Center classes with Steve Stanne and he currently hosts a daily radio segment dedicated to teaching the public about the birds in our backyards. Now with two children of his own he appreciates all the programs and classes offered for families. Serving as a member of the Hitchcock Center Board of Directors he feels he is doing his part to support an organization that helped to foster his love for the environment and which will help future generations appreciate the special world we live in.
Winter Quabbin Nature Walk
with John Green
Saturday, January 31
Spring Birding Course
with Scott Surner
February 4- June 14
FrogWatch USA Citizen Science Training
with Brittany Gutermuth, Environmental Educator and
Patti Steinman, MassAudubon
Friday, February 6
Family Musical Event with Sarah Pirtle
Saturday, February 7
(snow date Sunday, Feb. 8)
(no school for Amherst schools)
Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3
Preschool Track Detectives
Friday, February 2
Winter Vacation Camp
Ages 6-7 & 8-10
Spring Nature Discovery Preschool
Fridays, beginning March 20
AM Session: 9:30-11:30am
PM Session: 1-3pm
Nature Play Afterschool
Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3
September 10-December 17
3:30pm - 5:30pm
Girls into the Wild Afterschool Program
Ages 8-10, Grades 3-5
Thursdays once per month
Hitchcock Homeschool Program
Homeschool I & II Classes
Homeschool Discovery Days
to our business partners!