About Us


East Haddam Land Trust preserves and protects land in perpetuity for the public benefit.  Since 1979, your donations have helped East Haddam Land Trust, a volunteer, non-profit land conservation corporation, preserve unique woodlands, fields, lakes, rivers and open spaces for the public benefit. East Haddam Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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Directors and Founders


The 2019 Officers and Board of Directors


All of our officers and directors are volunteers, elected annually for three-year terms according to our bylaws.  The Officers and Directors for 2017 are listed below. Click on the officer's name to send him/her a direct email or contact us and we'll make sure the email gets to the right person. 


Marilyn Gleeson, President

Marilyn moved to East Haddam in 2007.  She earned an associate's degree in Advertising Design from Lasell College and a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Southern Connecticut State University.  She spent 40 years working in the insurance industry, much of it ensuring legislative compliance and managing large projects.  Her love of hiking eventually led to her join the East Haddam Conservation Commission and taking on the responsibility of GPS-ing Town and Land Trust hiking trails and creating the popular trail maps.  When not out enjoying nature, Marilyn can be found baking, reading, or traveling.


Pete Govert, Vice-president

Pete moved to East Haddam in 1999 after 14 years of working as the Training Manager for Peace Corps in Kenya and Uganda.  He served as a Selectman in East Haddam for eight years. He has a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Illinois and a MSc in Organizational Behavior from the University of London. Pete is a Residential Dean at Franklin Academy, in East Haddam.  When he is not riding his bicycle or paddling a kayak, he is either playing his guitar, participating in a civic meeting or hiking our many and varied trails. Pete and his wife June Plecan raised three daughters in town.


Doreen Jezek, Treasurer, Chair of Finance Committee

Doreen grew up in East Haddam Connecticut.  She earned a bachelor’s of science in Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut and a masters of science at Auburn University. After working 28 years in hospital laboratories supporting organ transplantation she has returned to East Haddam from Kentucky to retire. Doreen has served on professional boards in the role of board member, treasurer, and currently as vice president of operations. In retirement, Doreen enjoys gardening, birding, kayaking and hiking local trails.


Barbara Pokorny, Secretary

Barbara moved from Niantic to East Haddam 10 years ago. Drawn here by the quiet, the beautiful wooded terrain and many inland waterways, Barbara is interested in maintaining and preserving open space, and sharing its charms with others, particularly children. An avid birder, Barbara is also interested in gardening and is a former docent at the Connecticut College Arboretum. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing, practices as a family nurse practitioner.  Barbara is in her second term on the East Haddam Land Trust Board of Directors.


Allison Ballek , Director

Allie has been a resident of East Haddam her whole life. Growing up in this rural town she developed an appreciation for open spaces and the natural world. Her favorite activities include hiking, fishing, mushrooming and backyard farming. These interests led her to pursue her bachelors of science in ecology and evolutionary biology with a minor in wildlife management at the University of Connecticut. She currently works at her family’s business, Ballek’s Garden Center, where she is able to share her passion and knowledge of the outdoors. She hopes she can inspire more interest from the youth of East Haddam in preserving our beautiful town for generations to come.


Mary Colpoys, Director

Mary grew up in Boston but fell in love with country life during her years at the University of New Hampshire completing a Bachelor of Arts in Microbiology and a subsequent Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. After attending Dartmouth Medical School, she came to Connecticut to complete her residency in Internal Medicine. Mary is currently winding down her “traditional” medical career as a hospitalist to embark on a career as an acupuncturist.  Mary moved to East Haddam in 1994 in large part because of its rural character and beauty, knowing it would be a great place to raise her sons.  She enjoys hiking and is thrilled to have so many wonderful trails to explore and enjoy in East Haddam.


Andrew Compagno, Director

Andrew came to East Haddam when he was young because his parents built a weekend house near Gillette Castle to simply get away from city life. He knew East Haddam called to him when he was willing to endure the long, painful trip from New York City. Andrew sees how this area remains connected to its original natural beauty and believes places like this are disappearing in our country. To live here is to be part of something special. East Haddam Land Trust plays a vital role in preserving this land for future generations to enjoy. Andrew and his family now reside full-time in the house his parents built when he was young.


Cynthia Deming, Director

Cynthia has lived in East Haddam for almost 25 years and also currently volunteers with the East Haddam Community Lions and the Music on the River committee. She is recently retired from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch as a Court Services Officer, is a past member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, and previously served on the East Haddam Parks & Recreation Commission. Cynthia and her husband,  Anthony Valentino, are proud animal parents to two dogs and two cats.


Donald Donner, Director

Donald is a second generation lifelong resident of East Haddam and plans to continue the tradition with children of his own. As a graduate of the University of Connecticut, Donald has worked in the commercial real estate industry for the last 12 years, with a focus on retail and industrial type properties. His passions include embracing all four seasons of outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, boating, stewardship, snowboarding, and any other excuse to be outside. You can often find him traversing Devils Hopyard with his loyal companion Brooklyn, his chocolate lab.

Matt Montano, Director

Matt came to East Haddam in the late 90's when he moved from Haddam Neck to a small farm with his mother and older brother.  Being raised on a farm with a variety of animals contributed to Matt's decision to attend the University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources where he earned a degree in Resource Economics.  Following college, Matt moved to Old Saybrook where he met his wife, Kelly, and the two embrace their love for fishing and boating along the Connecticut coast.  For as long as he can remember, Matt has loved all things outdoors, including hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and target shooting to name a few.  Matt is excited to be moving back to East Haddam this year, where he and Kelly can usually be found in the woods with their two springers, Bruce and Mabel.


Roger Nemergut, Director

Roger graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and is a licensed Connecticut professional engineer. He currently owns Nemergut Consulting, a civil engineering consulting business with an office, in Killingworth, serving Middlesex and New Haven counties. He is a member of the State Health Department Code Advisory Committee which advises the State Health Department on regulations relating to on-site subsurface sewage (septic) disposal systems and serves on the 34th District State Representative’s Building Advisory Council. Roger is also a board of director of the Killingworth Library Association. He has been a landowner in East Haddam for over 25 years and a resident since 1997.


Many thanks to Founding Members, past Presidents, and past Directors.


Founding Members

Anita Ballek

Alan Birmingham

Martha Tonucci

Stephen Gephard

Richard H. Goodwin

Art Merrow

Judith L. Nicholas

Peggy Wilson

Frank Wolcott


Past Presidents 1979 - 2018

Frank Wolcott

Richard H. Goodwin

Stephen Gephard

Arthur Merrow

Lesley Olsen

Pat Anderson

Greg McHone

Jonathan Modica

Maureen VanDerStad

Joel Ide

Barb Bloomberg

Rob Smith

Shannon Hawkins

Jane Zirlis

Pete Govert


Past Directors 1979 - 2018

Dean Anderson

Jane Anderson

Pat Anderson

Noelle Avakian

Anita Ballek

Alan Birmingham

Gordon Bishop

Matt Budzik

Peggy Carlson

Noel Cherubino

Logan Clarke

Hugh Crowley

Vickie DeNicola

Susan Dowling

Mary Beth Durland

Matt Elgart

Heidi Fellner

Judy Fiala

Roberta Fusari

Stephen Gephard

Kathy Golec

Don Goss

Sarah Gworek

Shannon Hawkins

Wickes Helmboldt

Joene Hendry

Nel Herbst

Joan Holbrook

Joel Ide

Tim Johnson

Gary Kania

John Kashanski

Anne Kilpatrick

Gary Laskowski

Hans Lohse

John Matthew

Lee May

Greg McHone

Jean Meredith

Art Merrow

Dot Millen

Jonathan Modica

Hank Montrose

Jonathan Morris

Jamie Murphy

Leslie Olsen

Roy Parker

Joe Parkos, Jr.

Deb Piez

Kathy Reynolds

John Rozum

Pietrina Saxton

Gail Sharkey

Sarah Thurmond

Martha Tonucci

Maureen VanDerStad

Lynn Wilkinson

Charles Wolf

Jane Zirlis