GCT Trustee Bios

GCT Trustees are all volunteer members with a diversity of skills.

Brian Bettencourt

Trustee Brian Bettencourt with Vice President Susan Hughes

Brian Bettencourt is part of a three-generation Groton family.  He grew up along the Squanacook; insects, reptiles, and amphibians have been life-long subjects of fascination.  Brian received a bachelor’s in Biology from UMass Amherst and a PhD in Biology from the University of Chicago.  As chair of the Invasive Species Committee in Groton, Brian is proud that his kids recognize and root out Asian bittersweet, garlic mustard, and Japanese knotweed on their own, and consider it quite a sport.   Using iNaturalist to keep track of backyard finds and creatures of puzzlement on hikes with his wife and kids is a serious hobby and one that dovetails perfectly with his love of computers.

Holly Estes Secretary

Secretary Holly Estes

Holly has worked as a science educator for almost 25 years and is passionate about teaching others about the natural world. Her time in education has provided her with numerous opportunities to expose children and adults to the outdoors. In addition, she has experience in conducting field inventories in wetlands and uplands with a focus on invasive shrubs and trees.

Holly earned her MS in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England, her MEd in Science Education from UMass Amherst, and her BA in Biological Sciences from Smith College. She works as the Science and Engineering Curriculum Specialist for the Sudbury Public Schools. In the past, she has worked for the Townsend Conservation Commission, and held positions on both the Groton Conservation Commission and the Groton Board of Health.

Mark Gerath President

President Mark Gerath

Mark has been a Trustee since July 2012, and was elected President in May 2021. His appreciation of Groton and open land combined with his project management skills and experience as an environmental engineer make him a valuable asset to our organization.

He is skilled in assembling management reports and preparing budgets. Being a Trustee has enabled Mark to foster a better connection to the community. He currently serves on the Stewardship Committee.

Mark is a Water Resources Consultant with a Master of Biochemistry and Master of Environmental Engineering. He is Groton Public Library Trustee and consistent trails committee volunteer. His interests include trail running, hiking, gardening and reading.

Wendy Good

Trustee Wendy Good

Wendy has served as a Trustee since 1983. She brings scientific understanding of biology and its management to the GCT. She has helped protect land with wildlife corridors, monitored properties, interacted with other conservation organizations and committees and for 20 years acted as GCT Treasurer. She is passionate about land protection, conservation and trails.

Wendy has a BS from Ohio State University and Masters in Biological Sciences from Iowa State University. She is a member of Groton Trails Committee, the local horse owners association, Groton Garden Club, New England Horse and Trail and Old North Bridge Hounds. Her interests include horseback riding, skiing, hiking, biking, gardening, mock fox hunting, bird watching and tracking.

Susan Hughes Vice President

Vice President Susan Hughes

Susan has been a Trustee since 2011. She is skilled in communications, outreach, writing, energy and marketing. She has put her skills to excellent use moving membership to online e-news, expanding community visibility and improving membership engagement. She is also working to keep the website interesting and up-to-date.  She enjoys being out on GCT properties (Fitch-Woods is her favorite). She currently serves on the Communication/ Membership Committee and was elected Vice President in May 2021.

Susan holds a BS in Journalism and works in communications at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, writing and managing external media. Her interests include hiking, reading and playing Scrabble (especially when she can beat Ed).

Ed McNierney

Trustee Ed McNierney

Ed has been a Trustee for many years and is a recent past President of the GCT. He has contributed significantly to the LTA accreditation efforts, and has helped move the Trust’s overall organization and record-keeping forward. He has experience with the Trust and with a number of the projects and technologies the GCT needs to implement and maintain going forward, especially document management and stewardship GPS/GIS skills.  He has also served on other non-profit boards, both environmental and other.

He is an experienced Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering, and has worked with a wide variety of organizations from start-ups and nonprofits to large companies. He holds an AB degree in Organic Chemistry from Dartmouth College.

Richard Muehlke

Trustee Rick Muehlke

Rick is a long-term Trustee. He is a property steward, performs regular litter cleanup and other minor stewardship of many of GCT’s properties.  He has managed Eagle Scout projects and negotiated land sales. He is a certified, insured herbicide treatment contractor. Rick serves on the General Field, Land and Accreditation Committees. Rick works as a field marketing and events representative for Next Step Living, Inc, and holds a BA in Political Science from Yale University and an MBA from University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.. He is also property manager for New England Forestry Foundation, and operates a Christmas tree farm.

John Llodra Treasurer

Treasurer John Llodra

John was elected a Trustee and Treasurer of the Trust in May 2016, after having served as a member of the Trust’s finance committee and advisory council. John and his wife Grace moved to Groton in 1998 to start a family, in no small part due to Groton’s extensive conserved lands and vast network of recreational trails. He can often be found exploring these treasured resources while mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing, or simply enjoying the peace and solitude of nature.

John is a founding principal of New Harbor Financial Group, which provides investment advisory and financial planning services to individuals, families, and organizations. John also spent several years as a management consultant to corporate clients in the energy industry.

John earned his BS, with distinction, in Operations Research & Engineering from Cornell University, and is a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional.

Bob Pine

Trustee Bob Pine

Bob is a long-time Trustee who recently has worked with two Eagle Scout candidates to complete projects on GCT land. He has also lent his expertise to analyzing potential land transfers and land uses. He is the Chair of Stewardship Committee and helped develop the GCT self-evaluation form. He also sits on the Nomination, Lost Lake Boat Launch and Term Limits Policy Committees.

Bob has a background in landscape architecture and engineering and is Director of Environmental Planning and Engineering at Pine & Swallow, an environmental engineering firm he helped found in 1972. He holds his 
MLA from Harvard Graduate School of Design, his MSc in Geotechnical Engineering from Cornell University 
and his BS in Civil Engineering also from Cornell.

David Pitkin

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Trustee David Pitkin pictured with trustees Heather Frothingham (left) and Susan Hughes (center)

David is currently a member of the Groton Greenway Committee and previously was on the Groton Conservation Commission and Groton Trails Committee. His family is very active with Mass Audubon where his wife Kristin works. One of the first things the Pitkins did when they moved to Groton 10 years ago was to become a steward of the GCT Throne Hill parcel. They enjoyed a wonderful walk with (former trustee) Dann Chamberlin who impressed upon them to always to go walking with pruning shears. The GCT properties he visits most these days are Lawrence Woods, now that Fitch’s Bridge is passable and Hayes Woods for running.

Heather Rielly Frothingham

Trustee Heather Rielly Frothingham

Heather became a Trustee in December of 2018 and chairs the Membership/Communications Committee.  She and her family moved to Groton in June of 2016 and were largely drawn here due to the abundance of beautiful conserved lands and open spaces. Her favorite and front yard, being the General Field. Heather’s background is in Finance. She is a Business Banking Relationship Manager with a focus on working with non-profits. She is also involved locally with helping to lead the Town of Groton Non-Profit Council and sits on the board of the Development Committee for The Price Center in Newton. This is a human services provider that empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to thrive in their living, social and work communities. Heather’s ability to engage others and to form and implement ideas are an asset to GCT.

Heather earned her BS in Business Studies with a concentration in Economics and Finance from The State University of New York, College at Buffalo. Her interests include running all over beautiful Groton, gardening, and taking care of her chickens (who have quite the personality).

Michelle Ruby

Trustee Michelle Ruby

Michelle has been a Trustee since 2012. She has helped with a detailed ecological survey and monitoring work. She is also cataloging and organizing the monitoring reports from the last two years. She maintains a running list of Eagle Scout project suggestions and is working to further develop more GCT’s fee property and monitoring reports.  She currently serves on the Stewardship Committee.

Michelle teaches AP Environmental Science at Lawrence Academy and coaches the outdoors and the girls’ ice hockey programs. She attended Williams College. A lover of the outdoors, Michelle backpacks and bikes.

Charles E. Vander Linden

Trustee Chuck Vander Linden (left) pictured with trustee Rick Muehlke (center) and former trustee Ted Lapres (right)

Chuck has been a Trustee since 1985. He is committed to protection of the environment and public access to conservation land and has legal skills to assist in the work of the Trust. He has participated in land acquisition projects, worked with other Trustees with clean-up and management of properties and assisted in protecting the long-term strength and viability of the organization. He has served as President and Vice President and currently is on General Field, Land, Accreditation and Investment Committee.

Chuck is a Partner at the law firm of Starr Vander Linden, LLP. He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and served on the Groton Zoning Board of Appeals for 15 years. His interests in hiking, golf, kayaking and travel.

Kristen von Campe

Trustee Kristen von Campe

Kristen became a trustee in May 2022 after serving as a member of the GCT Advisory Council. She and her husband moved to Groton in 1997 and raised their two children here. Groton’s extensive conservation land and trails offered endless family outings. Kristen is a retired librarian and has served as a trustee for the Groton Public Library for the past 20 years. She also serves on Groton’s Complete Streets Committee and spent several years as a water monitor for the Nashua River Watershed Association. Her other volunteer work centers on assisting families that live in transitional housing.

Kristen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Bryant University, a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and completed extensive MBA coursework at the University of Southern Maine. Happiest when outdoors, Kristen enjoys cycling, snowshoeing, kayaking, gardening, tennis and hiking. Her favorite GCT events are the Groton Traverse and the General Field Sunset Party.

Dan Von Kohorn

Trustee Dan Von Kohorn

Dan Von Kohorn became a Trustee in December of 2021 and serves on the Finance Committee.  He and his family moved to Groton in June of 2016, attracted by the beautiful conserved lands and open natural spaces. Dan also conserves land in Orange, MA where he maintains 340 acres of natural woods, fields, wetlands, and trails, some of which is in Chapter 61A for agricultural use. 

Dan’s professional background is in Finance and technology, and he currently serves as CIO for Broom Ventures. Dan studied economics and applied math at Princeton University. His interests include hiking, horticulture, reading, tinkering, and spending time with his wife and three kids.