Heather Dionne is the SavATree Branch Manager in Bloomfield, CT. Before this, she was the City Forester for the City of Hartford, Connecticut. She believes in educating the public on the importance of trees, climate change and proper arboricultural practices are her focus. She has worked hard to encourage decision makers to see trees as a necessity and not just a luxury, especially regarding budgeting and planning. Seeing first-hand the social injustices in a city relating to tree canopy gives her a vantage from which she can bring stake-holders together to come up with solutions.
Heather studied Urban and Community Forestry at Unity College in Maine, is a licensed arborist in Connecticut and with the International Society of Arboriculture, and recently acquired her certification as a supervising forest products harvester in CT.
Chris Donnelly retired as the Urban Forestry Coordinator with CT DEEP after two decades in 2020. In this position, he had to good fortune to work with a variety of people throughout the State of Connecticut on a wide range of projects. This included tree planting projects, educational programs, outreach efforts, and much, much more. These experiences have helped foster a deep appreciation of both people and trees, as well as how they are connected together. It is because of these experiences that Chris wishes to keep his involvement with urban forestry and urban trees.
Department of Forestry and Horticulture The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station - Assistant Agricultural Scientist PO Box 1106, 123 Huntington Street New Haven, CT 06504-1106 Phone: 203-974-8491 Email: [email protected]
Dr. Susanna Keriö Dr. joined the CUFC in 2021, and has worked at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) since 2020. Through her research at CAES and her role in the CUFC, she aims to support the work of urban and community forestry professionals in maintaining a healthy urban forest canopy in New England.
Tree System Coordinator / Tree Warden City of New Haven Department of Parks and Public Works Desk: 203-946-8092 Email: [email protected]
Annie Shutts Mixsell is the Tree System Coordinator and Tree Warden for the City of New Haven. She is tasked with managing the 28,000+ street trees and 2,200 acres of forested parkland in the Elm City and overseeing all urban forestry operations. As a lifelong tree lover, Annie is proud to advocate for tree equity by ensuring fair access to the many benefits that trees provide, while also balancing the risks that trees can pose; providing timely, safe and efficient arboricultural services; educating the public about trees; and promoting policies that sustain a healthy, diverse, and climate resilient urban forest.
Annie graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S.F. in Forest Management, is a Connecticut Licensed Arborist, and is Chair of the Tree Examining Board. Annie also serves as the Treasurer for the Connecticut Urban Forest Council.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Division of Forestry – Urban Forestry Coordinator 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106-5127 Phone: 860.500.0152 Email: [email protected]
Danica Doroski received her Ph.D. and M.S. from the Yale School of the Environment. She is now the State Urban Forestry Coordinator at Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Prior to moving to Connecticut, Danica worked in New York City for the New York Restoration Project and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and in Philadelphia at the Morris Arboretum.
Ron Pitz is the retired executive director of Knox, Inc. A non profit organization that uses horticulture and agriculture to strengthen and feed urban communities. During his 25 years working with Knox he fully realized the importance of preserving existing and planting new trees in urban areas. Under his leadership thousands of trees were planted in Hartford by Knox and volunteers. He continues his work organizing tree planting events in Bloomfield with the Wintonbury Land Trust and Trees for Bloomfield. He also is a DEEP certified Master Wildlife Conservationist and a UConn certified Master Gardener.
Bruce Villwock joined the CUFC in 2001 as the representative for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Retired from CTDOT Bruce had been employed as a Transportation Landscape Designer III / Arborist for more than 20 years providing the Bureau of Highway Operations technical support for vegetation control operations along 11,400 shoulder miles of State roads and highways. Bruce has currently served as the Tree Warden for the Town of Middlefield for past 19 years. He also served as Deputy Tree Warden for 11 years prior to becoming Tree Warden. Bruce holds an Associate’s Degree in Forestry from Paul Smith’s College, is a Connecticut Licensed Arborist, Advanced Certified Tree Warden and is Certified as a “Right of Way” Supervisory Pesticide Applicator. He has been a member of the State Vegetation Management Task Force, currently a Board Member of the Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut, a member and former Board Member of the CT Tree Protective Association. Also has conducted classes on “Roadside Management of Invasive Plants” for the University of Connecticut Transportation Technology Center. Previously Bruce served on the State Scenic Road Advisory Committee and the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group Steering Committee. Bruce is also the Governors representative on the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission. Bruce is active in the Town of Middlefield serving as a volunteer firefighter for 52 years, a Boy Scout leader for more than 34 years and operates a small Christmas tree farm.
Agricultural Scientist Valley Laboratory Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station 153 Cook Hill Road Windsor, CT 06095 Phone: 860-208-3517 Email: [email protected]
Dr. Rich Cowles joined the CUFC in 2018. He has worked at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station since 1994. His research has included conservation of eastern hemlocks and ash trees by protecting them with systemic insecticides until biological control becomes established. Although trained as an entomologist (with degrees from Cornell and Michigan State Universities), he also has been investigating various plant diseases, including boxwood blight and beech leaf disease, and phytophthora root rot in Christmas tree plantations. Dr. Cowles has been working since 2010 on genetic improvement of fir trees for growing on Christmas tree farms, and with his wife operates a small farm in Broad Brook, CT.
Herbert “Herb” Virgo is the Founder and Executive Director of the Keney Park Sustainability Project (KPSP) in the City of Hartford. Herb is certified as a Tree Warden and as a CT Forest Practitioner who works closely with the Public Works Department of Hartford. Herb has managed the restoration of 15 miles of trails in Keney Park and has been instrumental in creating the Keney Park Wood Materials Management Site and Tree Nursery. Herb has seventeen years of experience as a counselor, teacher, and wilderness educator in Florida and in Connecticut. Herb’s commitment to Keney Park shined a light on an invaluable Urban Forestry resource.
Robert Fahey, Ph.D.
George F. Cloutier Professor in Forestry and Director of the UConn Forest Assistant Professor – Department of Natural Resources and the Environment & Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering Associate Director – Eversource Energy Center University of Connecticut Office: 225 WB Young Building, 1376 Storrs Rd., Storrs, CT 06269 Email: [email protected] Phone: (860) 486-0148 Website: faheylab.weebly.com
Robert Fahey’s primary area of research is Forest Ecology, but his (Bob's) work also includes Urban Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Silviculture. He received his BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University, MS in Forest Science from Oregon State University, and PhD in Forest Ecology and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously worked as a Research Scientist at The Morton Arboretum outside of Chicago and continues as a Research Fellow in the Center for Tree Science there. Current research is focused on understanding canopy structure-function relationships in forests, particularly in relation to disturbance resilience. He works across the spectrum of anthropogenic impacts in forests from urban to rural, and is particularly interested in adapting ecological and silvicultural knowledge to human-dominated landscapes.
Jillian Bell (she, her, hers) is Audubon Connecticut’s Bird Friendly Communities (BFC) Program Associate. She works with community groups and a suite of program partners to restore native habitat, connect people with nature, and inspire stewardship behaviors in the next-generation of environmental leaders.
Jillian’s ongoing work has supported over 45 schools and community groups in Connecticut and New York in their efforts to green their schoolyards and park spaces by creating native plant habitats on school grounds and restoring native habitats. She does this in part by delivering professional development workshops to teaching staff in order to support them in taking their students outside and in integrating their curriculum with the natural world right outside their doors.
The Nature Conservancy in CT - Urban Conservation Program Manager 55 Church St, Floor 3 New Haven, CT 06510-3029 Phone: (203) 568-6273 Fax: (203) 568-6271 Email: [email protected]
Drew Goldsman is the Urban Conservation Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. The Urban Conservation Program provides support to cities across Connecticut, currently with a focus on Bridgeport, embracing natural solutions as an integral way of equitably fostering vibrant and healthy communities. Current initiatives range from supporting a resilient coastline to on-the-ground community engagement. The work includes investments in the urban forest and in green stormwater infrastructure. Drew has a strong background in urban environmental and social justice causes. With past positions focusing on transportation equity and affordable housing policy, Drew believes the built and natural environments are deeply tied and must equitably benefit all residents. Drew holds a Master of Urban Planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College.
Susan Fiedler has been a Landscape Architect for the CT Department of Transportation for almost 20 years. She is a member of the Complete Streets and Scenic Roads Committees, and provides support to engineers throughout the Department, as well as consultants and communities. She develops and implements tree protection and planting specifications for transportation projects to improve environmental quality and walkability.
Dr. Tom Failla serves the Town of Weston, CT as tree warden since 2020 and conservation planner since 2021. Tom certified as a tree warden in 2019, meeting state statutory qualification standards. He also completed the Connecticut Tree Protective Arboriculture 101 course in 2020, NOFA Organic Land Care Specialist Program in 2022, Connecticut Master Forest Manager Program in 2023. Previously, he served as a volunteer for more than 27 years on town land use commissions, including Conservation, Planning and Zoning and the Zoning Board of Appeals. He also serves as a volunteer on open space and civic organizations. In 2005, he was the first recipient of the Millie Best Environmental Award by the Kiwanis Club of Weston. Tom holds a doctorate in management and marketing from Pace University. His dissertation focused on consumer behavior related to environmentally preferred products and services. During his career, he reported on the environmental beat for Connecticut newspapers and The Associated Press 1968-1976. Later (1976-1998), he held executive and consultant positions at American corporations working with research scientists and then taught business courses at Norwalk Community College and Pace University through 2022. He is director emeritus of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts at Norwalk Community College.
Assistant Professor Natural Resources and the Environment University of Connecticut 1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087 Storrs, CT 06269-0132 (860)486-5239 [email protected] www.nre.uconn.edu
Cynnamon Dobbs is an assistant professor in urban and community forestry, with interest on socio-ecological systems, ecosystem services and governance of urban forests. She is originally from Chile and has worked in academia and institutions in USA, Australia and Latin America.
Jim Gonovi retired from the Town of Windsor in 2021 as their former Municipal Forester- Tree Warden and former Town Councilman. During his career he established a Maple Sugar Tree grove which is currently used for Maple Sugaring Program as well as many roadside tree plantings, open space and public properties. (Urban Forest Succession). After attending the Meswaka Tree Program and Coverts Program his focus became the Urban Forest. Being Former President of the Tree Wardens Association of Ct., former member of the State Vegetative Management Task Force, member of the CT Urban Forest Council, Connecticut Tree Protection Association and current Co- President of the Windsor Garden Club he has had the honor of working together with this group with the support of DEEP Urban Forestry and CT Agriculture Experimental Station to manage CT’s Urban Forest and vegetation.
Isabelle Zaffetti is a consulting arborist. She received her BA from Connecticut College in Botany and her MS from the University of Connecticut in Urban Forestry. She is currently managing urban forestry grants across the state. This includes supporting grant recipients through the process of running and closing a grant, providing technical support in the field or through recommendations, and analyzing the grant results. As a proficient GIS technician, Isabelle is displaying many urban forestry outcomes in maps or StoryMaps. She also enjoys working in the field, collecting data and appreciating the beauty that trees add to our environment.