Donald S. Strait, Executive Director, Ext. 103
Don has been Executive Director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment since 1992, and was Legal Director from 1990 to 1992. In 2004, Don guided the organization's merger with Save the Sound.
Prior to joining CFE, Don was a staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. Don was one of the co-founders of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. He serves on the board of directors of Restore America's Estuaries and the State Environmental Leadership Program. He is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A. 1981) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1985).
Karen Baar, Director of Grants, Ext. 106
Karen Baar joined Connecticut Fund for the Environment as Director of Grants in January 2008. A former health care activist, educator and administrator, she has a B.A. from New York University and a Masters in Public Health degree from the Yale University School of Medicine.
Before landing at CFE, Karen was a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has written hundreds of articles about women's issues, health, science and medicine, and social policy for magazines, newspapers and Web sites; she has also written or co-authored several books. The mother of two grown daughters, Karen loves gardening, hiking and travelling.
John Champion, Director of Green Projects, Ext. 101
John Champion joined the CFE team in September of 2008. John's extensive nonprofit experience includes five years as the Executive Director of the New Haven Ecology Project and three years at a Bridgeport charter school, where he established and maintained the school's business office. John has an M.S. in Political Science from Southern Connecticut State University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A.
Chris Cryder, Outreach Associate, Ext. 127
Chris Cryder joined Save the Sound in May 2007 and is responsible for coordinating various outreach activities for CFE and habitat restoration projects for Save the Sound. Chris is currently the coordinator of the Pequonnock River Initiative, a partnership of Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe to produce a watershed plan for the Pequonnock River.
Prior to joining Save the Sound, Chris was a member of a citizen activist group, the Alliance for Sound area Planning (ASaP), which partnered with CFE in the fight to protect "The Preserve," a 1000-acre forest and wetland area in Old Saybrook. He has an undergraduate degree in biology with a concentration in genetics, and a master's in health services administration.
Lois Greene, Development Associate, Ext. 102
Lois is relatively new to Connecticut, having moved here from Brooklyn in 2008. While in New York, she was on staff at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in IT Training and Documentation. Prior to that, she was in Corporate Communications at Colgate-Palmolive. She graduated from The University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and earned a M.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton in Social Science. Lois looks forward to exploring the many environmental activities that Connecticut offers with her daughter!
Curt Johnson, Senior Attorney and Program Director, Ext. 111
Curt Johnson received his J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law and was awarded a Masters in the Study of Law, Summa Cum Laude, focusing on environmental law from Vermont Law School.
He was an attorney with the firm of Murtha, Cullina, Richter and Pinney for three and one-half years before joining the Connecticut Fund for the Environment as an attorney in 1993. As Program Director, Curt has lead the CFE and Save the Sound team to achieve environmental results in protecting our rivers, Long Island Sound, and our air and water by bringing together people, groups and our elected leaders.
He serves as the Connecticut Co-Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee to Long Island Sound's National Estuary Program, co-founded the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and recently served as President to the Hamden Land Conservation Trust.
Mark LeBel, Energy Fellow, Ext. 108
Mark joined Connecticut Fund for the Environment in September 2012. He received his J.D., Cum Laude, from New York University School of Law in 2012. He was an Articles Editor on the NYU Environmental Law Journal and published his Note on judicial deference to agencies and market-based environmental regulations. Mark earned his bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics with a focus in Economics from Harvard University in 2007. Between college and law school, he worked as an economic consultant, analyzing the market impacts of energy and climate change policies for state regulatory filings, comments on proposed regulations, and business strategy.
Michelle LeMere, Assistant Director, Member Relations and Annual Fund, Ext. 104
Michelle came to CFE in November 1999. She attended Franklin Pierce College and Southern Connecticut State University. She is a past president of the Milford Jaycees and serves on the board of Bridges, the state-designated comprehensive agency providing mental health and addiction services to children and adults. Her interests include singing, kickboxing, crossword puzzles, gardening and spending time with her daughters, Kaylie and Sarah.
Gwen Macdonald, Director of Habitat Restoration, Ext. 123
Gwen holds a B.S. in Ecological Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with post-graduate studies at Rutgers and the University of Massachusetts. Before joining CFE in June 2010, she was an environmental engineering consultant on such projects as ecological impact assessments, wetland and stream mitigation and restoration designs, and gained broad environmental engineering project management experience. At CFE, Gwen oversees all habitat restoration design, implementation, and monitoring activities. These often include marsh restoration, dam removal, and fish passage projects. Gwen is one of eleven representatives to the national organization Restore America's Estuaries, of which CFE is a member.
Laura McMillan, Outreach Associate, Ext. 137
Laura has been in outreach and communications at CFE since 2007 and is currently working on the organization's website, social media, activist communications, and coalition-building. She holds a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University and previously worked at the Valley Conservation Council, a land trust, river protection, and smart development organization in Virginia, and at Cheney & Company, a design and marketing firm in New Haven. She is a photographer and a managing editor of Armchair/Shotgun literary magazine.
Anne Matist, Finance Assistant, Ext. 120
Anne joined Connecticut Fund for the Environment in August 2011. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting at Southern Connecticut State University. Before joining CFE, Anne worked in the finance departments of small brands in the nutritional supplement industry and her own consulting business that offers outsourced accounting functions for small businesses. Anne is an active volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Connecticut and in her children's schools.
Cameron Okie, Summer Outreach Coordinator, 914-574-7407
Cameron holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College with post graduate studies in marine ecology at the University of Washington. Before joining Save the Sound, he worked in environmental education, ecological research, and wildlife/natural resource management. At Save the Sound, he is spearheading new family and youth summer engagements in Western Long Island Sound. Cameron is an active sailor and outdoorsman.
Roger Reynolds, Senior Staff Attorney, Ext. 105
Roger Reynolds is a Senior Attorney for Connecticut Fund for the Environment where he directs the Legal, Energy, Transportation and Transit-Oriented Development programs. He is also an adjunct lecturer at University of Connecticut School of Law where he teaches the Environmental Law Clinic and Negotiation. Before joining CFE, Roger was an Assistant Attorney General and litigated numerous environmental, consumer protection and antitrust cases on behalf of the State of Connecticut.
Lauren Savidge, Legal Fellow, ext. 122
Lauren joined Connecticut Fund for the Environment in September 2012 as the Peter B. Cooper Legal Fellow. She received her J.D., Cum Laude, with a Certificate in Energy Law and a Masters in Environmental Law & Policy, Cum Laude, from Vermont Law School in 2012. While at Vermont Law School, she was a Head Notes Editor on the Vermont Law Review, which published her Note on Smart Grid technologies and privacy law issues, competed in the Emory Civil Rights & Liberties Moot Court Competition, and served as a Dean's Fellow teaching legal writing to first-year law students. A Connecticut native, Lauren graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross in 2009.
Leah Schmalz, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs, Save the Sound, Ext. 121
Leah joined Save the Sound as its staff attorney in 2001. She is responsible for Save the Sound's Advocacy Program, which includes legislative and legal work to address eminent threats to the health of Long Island Sound and to develop Sound-wise policies at the local, state and federal level.
She earned her J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace University School of Law in 2000, and her undergraduate study in sustainable architecture and design culminated in a bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from the University of Louisiana in 1996.
Evan Welsh, Assistant Project Manager, Quinnipiac River Watershed Project, Ext. 116
Evan is currently working as the Assistant Project Manager for the Q River Project. Evan has a degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of New Hampshire and recently returned from spending 5 years in southern California, where he worked in outdoor education and managed land for a nonprofit land conservancy. He enjoys climbing mountains and exploring new landscapes and has found and recorded the largest oak tree in the United States.
Valerie Wormely-Radford, Administrative Associate, (203) 787-0646, Ext. 100
Val joined CFE as its Administrative Associate in January 2008. She graduated from Albertus Magnus College with her Associate of Science in Business degree. She is a member of the Wintergreen Magnet School PTO. She works within the community where she lives. For fun and relaxation, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and grandchildren.