Board Bios

Joel Russ-croppedJoel Russ, President

Joel grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1966 with a BA in American History. He served in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence from 1966 to 1971, was commissioned a second lieutenant following graduation from Officers Candidate School, attended one year of Thai language training in Washington, D.C., and was stationed in Bangkok, Thailand.  He was honorably discharged as a Captain. He then attended and graduated from the University of Maine School of Law and was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1974.

Joel has held a variety of senior level positions in community-based non-profits organizations during his forty year career, including Executive Director of Greater Portland Landmarks, Vice President & General Counsel of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, CEO of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO of the Maine Science & Technology Foundation and President of the Four Square Foundation. He has also founded and managed two private companies, The Russ Company (historic preservation consulting) and Legacy Philanthropy Management, LLC (philanthropic consulting to businesses, individuals and private foundations).

Joel has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations including the National Trust for Historic Preservation (Advisory Trustee), the United Way of Greater Portland, the Maine School of Science & Mathematics, Maine Commission for Community Service, Institute for Civic Leadership (founding board member), Maine Audubon and the World Affairs Council of Maine. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Lincoln Theatre, Coastal Kids Pre-School and Good Will-Hinckley. He serves on the Success-By-Six Early Childhood Education Council of the United Way of MidCoast Maine. Joel also coaches the Great Salt Bay Community School cross country team.

Joel is married to Carolyn Russ, a retired Maine public school teacher. They have two sons, Andrew, a pediatrician at Miles Pediatrics and Matthew, a professional landscape artist and preparator at the Colby College Museum of Art. Carolyn’s and Joel’s three grandchildren attend the Great Salt Bay School. Joel enjoys running, fly-fishing, wilderness canoeing, hiking, travel, gardening and Maine coastal boating.

Mike KaneMike Kane, Vice President

Mike is the former Director of the Fairfax County Park Authority in Fairfax, Virginia where he had a 30-year career in public park administration. While leading that organization, Mike focused on preservation and protection of public parkland by developing an ongoing strategic planning initiative that led to national recognition for resource management and land preservation. He has also served on several boards and foundations at the state and national level. Following his retirement in 2007, Mike worked for the National Recreation and Park Association focusing on education and training. He returned to school to earn his certification as a professional photographer and opened a fine art photography business. Michael Austin Kane focuses on landscape and nature photography and photography education and training. He lives on Paradise “Muddy” Pond in Damariscotta with his wife Debby.

BarkalowRobert Barkalow, Treasurer

After spending more than 3 decades enjoying the natural beauty of the Damariscotta River in the summer months, Bob and his wife Drusilla embraced their lifelong dream of moving full-time to the area in October 2012. Currently residing in Damariscotta Mills, they still enjoy vacationing in the summer cottage at Jones Point, South Bristol that has been in the family since 1920.

A New Jersey native, Bob has been a Scoutmaster and Venturing Crew Guide, which helped him to share his passion for the outdoors with his son and daughter, as well as a host of other young men and women. An avid hiker, backpacker and canoeist, he has recently begun to build his skills as a sea kayaker, and enjoys exploring the Maine coast by both land and sea.

Bob had a thorough introduction to the DRA in the 2013 Midcoast Stewards program, and has been an enthusiastic volunteer ever since. He enjoys working with the Trail Tamers to maintain the pathways through the many preserves, and is steward of the Tracy Shore preserve. Other volunteer work with Coastal Rivers has included counting horseshoe crabs, sampling water quality in the estuary, and manning the grill at various Coastal Rivers functions. He is also active with Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration and the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association.

Professionally, his career as a Data Base Architect allows him to work from his home office as a consultant for a variety of clients throughout the country. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Rutgers, and an MBA in Management from Fairleigh Dickinson.

Carolyn McKeonCarolyn McKeon, Secretary

Board member Carolyn McKeon hails from New Jersey. Thanks to her father who spent childhood summers on one of the Cranberry Islands near Acadia, she grew to appreciate Maine from an early age. Carolyn majored in classical archaeology at Wellesley College, and earned masters and doctoral degrees in the same field from the University of Michigan. She taught at the University of Pittsburgh, worked in the curatorial department at the Toledo Museum of Art, directed education programs at the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, TX and served as community relations coordinator at a Dallas book store. After raising a son and daughter in Dallas, she and husband John moved to Maine permanently in 2004, before joining the DRA even closing on their South Bristol home.

At Coastal Rivers, Carolyn has served on the education committee, as a front office volunteer and is currently an easement monitor. Locally, she also holds board positions with the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, the South Bristol Historical Society, Bristol Area Lions Club and Miles Memorial Hospital League. The energy of the greater Damariscotta community serves as her continual inspiration.

Mary BergerMary Berger

Mary Berger has been active with Coastal Rivers(formerly PWA) for many years and has served as Board President and Secretary. Her parents, Dot and Dick Bryant, were instrumental in beginning the Biscay Pond Association in 1966 which became the Pemaquid Watershed Association in 1973. Mary led the establishment of the “PWA Ponders” gatherings as a means of bringing residents within a pond’s watershed together to get to know each other and to share information about best management practices for protecting pondwater quality. She has served as a Courtesy Boat Inspector to educate boaters about preventing the spread of invasive aquatic plants, has helped with surveys of the watersheds of Pemaquid and Biscay Ponds to identify sources of non-point source pollution, and has helped with invasive aquatic plant patrols. She is an active volunteer in Coastal Rivers’ LakeSmart Program which provides free technical advice to help pondside residents manage their properties in ways that protect water quality. In 2010 she received PWA’s David McLeod Memorial Lakesaver Award which recognizes an individual for dedication to water quality protection. She was the PWA Volunteer of the Year in 2013.

Mary has a BS in Health and Physical Education, is a retired Real Estate Broker who was Rhode Island’s 2002 Realtor of the Year, past Kent-Washington County Realtor Board President, Graduate Realtors Institute Instructor, Certified Residential Specialist, and received the National Award for Preserving the Trust. Mary was Founding Parent and Past President of the Providence RI Ronald McDonald House and Past President of the East Greenwich RI Chamber of Commerce. Mary and her late husband, Karl, retired to their dream home on Biscay Pond in 2002 after living in PA and RI. In addition to her Coastal Rivers work, Mary is a member of P.E.O. Chapter F-ME, Honorary Rotarian, active Karl’s Kids committee member, has served on trustee, deacon, and stewardship committees at Second Congregational Church in Newcastle, on the Board of Directors of the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, and a Volunteer with Maine ENCorps Leadership.

Jack BoakJack Boak

Jack Boak was born in Bath, Maine and grew up on Quahog Bay in Harpswell and on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland. Jack visited Pemaquid with his family on vacations and then rented camps on Pemaquid Pond with his wife Karen until they bought their home on Webber Pond in 2002.

Jack earned a BS in Nautical Science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Jack is a retired Master Mariner whose 36 years at sea took him around the world on various US Flag merchant ships.

In addition to sailing, Jack researched, analyzed, and wrote about maritime issues with dozens of OP-Ed pieces published over the decades. In the mid-1990s, Jack was instrumental in starting “Save Our Ships,” a grass roots movement to educate Congressional Staffers about the importance of an active US-flag Merchant Marine, generating bipartisan support in passing the Maritime Security Act.

Over the years, Jack has volunteered with Coastal Rivers doing Courtesy Boat Inspections and Lake Smart screenings to help others keep our local ecosystems healthy. He is also a member of Bremen’s Volunteer Fire Department and on Bremen’s Planning Board. Jack enjoys hiking, boating, swimming, gardening, cooking, reading, traveling, and taking “the road less traveled.”

Margaret CoitMargaret Coit

Raised in Alexandria Virginia, Margaret Coit has deep ties to the Damariscotta River area dating back to her great grandmother’s arrival in Newcastle in the 1890’s. Her professional career was spent as a bond salesman at The Bank of Boston, managing the bank’s investment portfolio at Maine National Bank in Portland, and as co-founder of Provenance Antiques. Margaret’s volunteer activities have been focused on advocacy for women and their families. She has most recently spent her volunteer time teaching and learning from children.

During summers Margaret and her husband David raised their two sons, Charlie and John, along the banks of the Damariscotta. She looks forward to sharing her love for the river.

Sandi DaySandi Day

After 43 years as a Department Head and educator at Lincoln Academy, Title I administrator, and educator in several local middle schools, Sandi retired to dedicate more time to her family, the family business Maine Art Prints by Maurice Jake Day, and the environmental causes she passionately supports. As a wife, mom to three, environmentally conscious, industrious sons, and ‘Gran Day’ to seven inquisitive grandchildren; she’s joyfully engaged in their lives.

While teaching, Sandi began an environmental club for students which was recognized numerous times for its environmental impact. Accomplishments included sponsoring recycling, reducing, and reusing projects, exposing students to a variety of outdoor experiences, eliminating the use of plastic silverware during breakfast and lunch periods, promoting composting cafeteria waste, building and maintaining a functioning greenhouse, and engaging students in a variety of land and water stewardship projects.

A self-proclaimed enviro-jock, Sandi particularly enjoys walking, hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, kayaking, swimming, camping, and randomly exploring. As a member of the DLWA (now Midcoast Conservancy), and PWA and DRA (now Coastal Rivers), she has been trained and volunteered as a Courtesy Boat Inspector, lakeside erosion surveyor, and watershed assessment surveyor. She has been trained to identify invasive plants, educated as a Pemaquid Watershed Steward by the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, and graduated as a DRA-sponsored Mid-Coast Steward. She was one of the developers of the Mid- Coast Trail Guide which was developed in concert with local land trusts. She’s also content to curl up and read an intriguing fiction novel or a wide variety of non-fiction genres.

As a former PWA Board member and the president at the time of unification with DRA, Sandi hopes her conservation efforts will contribute to even greater environmental awareness and action. Engaging young people in those causes remains her personal priority.

Tom Kronenberger, Jr.Tom Kronenberger, Jr.

Tom Kronenberger is past president and co-owner of Kronenberger & Sons Restoration, Inc. of Middletown, Connecticut, a firm dedicated to the restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse of historic structures. He has extensive knowledge of the early building trades, their materials and methods and the hand on experience to perform the work. For the past 25 years most of his time was spent working in the field over-seeing a staff of more than 50 experienced restoration carpenters, stone and brick masons, wood carvers, painters, and specialty subcontractors.

Tom has worked on numerous projects throughout New England and New York State and as far south as West Virginia. He has worked with a variety of clients from the National Park System to federal, state, and local municipalities, private organizations, homeowners, historical societies. His work includes libraries, town halls, churches, schools, museums, homes, barns, lighthouses, covered bridges, and numerous out buildings. Many of his projects are National Landmarks or are on State or Local registries of Historic Places.

Tom grew up in restoration. He was taught by his father Thomas Sr. a “master building and restoration carpenter”. Tom attended Paier College of Art and served honorably in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War as an illustrator. Upon his discharge from the service he started an advertising design agency that he operated for 15 years, servicing a number of Connecticut’s Fortune 500 companies until he returned to his first love, historic restoration.

Thomas recently retired and has relocated to Bremen, ME. He is still active in the restoration, preservation and the care and management of historic properties.

Kathy LeemanKathy Leeman

Kathy’s roots are in Marblehead MA, where she grew up with a love of the ocean and a passion for racing sailboats. She went on to get her BA degree from Brown University, teach middle school science for 12 years, and then study landscape design at Radcliffe College. In 1990 she moved to Round Pond and married her fisherman husband, Wallace Leeman. Together they ran a charter business with their 36’ lobster boat focused on ecological tours, hauling lobster pots, hiking islands, and viewing sea birds.

More recently, Kathy has donned the cap of a real estate agent associated with Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. As she witnesses the rapid growth in the area brought on by an insurgence of buyers from away, she is more committed than ever to the preservation of valuable local lands. First working with the Pemaquid Watershed Association, she has served on the lands committee for Coastal Rivers for the past few years. On her time off she can most often be found out in the fields and woods training and hiking with her two golden retrievers!

Martha LynchMartha Lynch

Martha likes to say she is one of a handful to travel south to get to Maine. Canadian by birth, she grew up in New Brunswick, swimming in the Bay of Fundy and summering on the Saint John River, where she learned to sail, skate and play hockey with her older brothers. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax and a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick. This led to a career teaching middle school in Saint John and Vancouver for several years. Her Canadian perspective has been a wonderful frame of reference over the years, but she is a proud American now.

She and her husband Jack moved to Maine in 1972, just after his stint in the USMC, to open a law office. She divided her time between working at the law office, where she honed her math and people skills, and being involved with her children’s activities. As a school volunteer, she began a summer reading program and later served two terms on the Great Salt Bay School Board. During her tenure as chairman, she earned her ‘hard hat’ by successfully completing the sewer extension needed for the expansion of Great Salt Bay School. Her term with Coastal Kids Preschool was highlighted by a capital campaign to construct a state-of-the art facility. Martha continues to serve on the CKP board. Her two grown daughters have chosen to live in Maine much to her delight, and she is thrilled to be so close to her three grandchildren. Children and education have been common themes throughout her life. She is excited and humbled to be part of such a vital organization which is dedicated to the preservation of what makes this area unique.

Dennis McKennaDennis McKenna

On retiring from the US Navy after a twenty-year career, Dennis and his family departed Coronado, California for his native Massachusetts where he enrolled at UMass, Amherst. After completing a BS in Political Science and an MPH in Health Care Administration, he began a twenty-five-year career as a Nursing Home Administrator.

Civilian retirement found Dennis and his wife, Kathleen, looking for a house by the sea, drawn to Damariscotta. The positive feeling for the area was acquired through yearly trips to Monhegan Island and the midcoast, thus convincing them that this was to be home. Almost from the beginning of Dennis’s tenure here, he volunteered at DRA, now Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust, manning the front desk.

While living in Amherst, Dennis’ life-long love of bird watching led to a position as President of the Hampshire Bird Club and as a member of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment Board. He currently serves as Field Trip Chair for the Mid-Coast Audubon and is the Compiler of the Pemaquid area Christmas Bird Count.

Peter McKinleyPeter McKinley

Peter McKinley is a research ecologist and conservation planner with The Wilderness Society (TWS) based in their northeastern office in Hallowell, Maine. His work includes development of conservation priorities for TWS projects and campaigns nationally with a particular focus on the northern and southern Appalachians. Previous employment includes several land trusts as permanent staff or as a consultant, forest bird research and conservation with Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Maine and shorebird and estuarine conservation with New Hampshire Audubon. Work has also included Forest Certification programs in Maine to direct more attention to biodiversity considerations.

Peter grew up on Cape Cod but fell in love with Maine while at Colby College and returned as soon as he could after graduating in 1987 with a BA in Biology. His education also brought him to Indiana University for a Master’s in Ecology, and University of New Brunswick for his Doctorate in Ecology. Peter is Vice President of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, which is active in conserving large tracts of land along the extent of the Appalachian Trail in Maine. Peter lives in Damariscotta and spends many happy hours paddling local waters and walking local trails as often as possible.

Gordon MorrellGordon Morrell

Gordon joined our Board in 2021, exactly 30 years after he and Sheila purchased their home on Seal Cove in South Bristol. But their roots in Maine go deeper. As a child, Sheila visited her grandparents’ property on North Haven Island so she always has had a sense of the area’s beauty. After Gordon graduated with a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California in 1976, they moved first to Kennebunk and later to Cape Elizabeth where he taught at Nasson College and then the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Gordon retired in 2021 after 31 years as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of a software company, which during that time grew from 25 to 7,500 employees. He continues to advise Executive Officers of nonprofit organizations, is a Regent at California Lutheran University, and chairs the board of KCLU, a public radio station. Sheila and Gordon divide their time between Maine and California, where they can be 2700 miles closer to their two daughters and their partners, and four grandchildren.

Matt Newman photoMatthew Newman

Matt is an attorney and principal of Lynch & Newman, LLC in Damariscotta, with a practice concentrated on real estate, estate planning and probate and trust administration. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Matt fell in love with the natural beauty of New England while attending high school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. Matt received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and also holds a Master’s Degree from Oxford University. Prior to obtaining his law degree from the University of Virginia, Matt was a government services consultant with Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, LLC in Washington, D.C. Matt was a corporate attorney at Pierce Atwood, LLP in Portland, Maine before joining John Lynch in 2006 to establish Lynch & Newman.

Matt has been on the board of the Topsham Public Library since 2009, serving as President since 2012.  Matt also volunteers on the investment committee of Skidompha Library in Damariscotta and is a former member of the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary Club and board member of Central Lincoln County YMCA.

When he is not practicing law, Matt enjoys walking in the woods of Dodge Point with his yellow lab and officemate, Harvey. An avid hockey fan, player and coach, Matt loves skating on the Coastal Rivers ice rink in the winter with his family whenever possible. Matt currently lives in Topsham with his wife Suzanna and their children Alexander and Lilian.

Joy VaughanJosephine Vaughan

Joy joined DRA at its beginning and has been steward of Stratton Island for several years. And while caring for the island is a highlight and remains dear to her heart, Trail Tamers service work is a close second. Most days, Joy can be found watching birds, tides, currents, seals, ice floes (in season) and the sky, and when spending time with friends, she admits to steering the outings to include islands, docks, coves and beaches.

Joy works as an art professional and has lived by the River in South Bristol since 1972.

Ellen WellsEllen Wells

Ellen first came to South Bristol in 1957 on her honeymoon and has been there every year since, at first for summer visits, then as a year-round resident. The old family home in Christmas Cove, the same house in which Stan’s father grew up, was home base for those visits and remains in the family today.

Ellen graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1956 and met Stan while both were attending graduate school in Cambridge, Mass. Their four children were born in Tennessee. After a few years in Rochester, NY, they moved to Connecticut where Ellen earned her law degree and practiced law for over twenty years.

The late 1990’s brought retirement and the easy decision to relocate to Christmas Cove on a permanent basis.  Their love for Maine had been heightened by cruising the coast many summers in their beloved Hinckley Bermuda 40. Hiking nearby trails and fly fishing in lovely streams when visiting the family home confirmed the decision.

Ellen’s first community involvement in Maine was with the South Bristol Historical Society, a marvelous way to get to know not only South Bristol but the neighboring towns and villages as well, all part of this special area. When she retired from active leadership of the Historical Society, Ellen had the time to get to know more about the Damariscotta River Association and its present incarnation, Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust, following its activities online and in the news and becoming a front-desk volunteer. Ellen looks forward to learning more and hopes to contribute more as a Board member.