Steering Committee Members

PAUL CATANZARO is an extension associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Paul teaches courses in the forest ecology and conservation major and is co-director of the Family Forest Research Center, a partnership of the US Forest Service and UMass Amherst. Paul’s research is focused on gaining a better understanding of the decisions private landowners make about the future ownership and use of their land. His research-based extension work provides land conservation options to landowners. Paul is the primary author of the Your Land, Your Legacy publication and supporting resources.

DAVID FOSTER is an ecologist and author of Thoreau’s Country – Journey through a Transformed Landscape; Forests in Time – The Environmental Consequences of 1000 years of Change in New England; and Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge. He has been a faculty member in biology at Harvard since 1983 and director of the Harvard Forest, the University’s 4000-acre ecological laboratory and classroom since 1990. David is the principal investigator for the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which engages more than 100 scientists investigating the dynamics of New England landscape as a consequence of climate change, human activity, and natural processes. David serves on the boards of The Trustees of Reservations, Choate School, and Highstead Foundation. In 2010 he and colleagues advanced Wildlands and Woodlands—A Vision for the New England Landscape, which lays out an ambitious plan for the protection and conservation of forest and farmland across the region. David’s latest book—A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard—was released by Yale University Press in January 2017.

BILL LABICH is senior conservationist at Highstead Foundation and coordinator of the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network. With a background in forestry and land use planning, Bill organizes, writes about, and assists in advancing collaborative approaches to large landscape conservation in New England and eastern New York. Bill has helped RCPs collaborate to acquire over $5.6 million for landowner outreach, planning, coordination, and land protection activities since 2009. He has co-authored papers on cross-boundary cooperation among private landowners, on the Wildlands and Woodlands Vision, and on RCPs in New England. Bill has a master’s in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a bachelor’s in forestry from the University of Maine at Orono.

MARC LAPIN is associate laboratory professor of environmental studies at Middlebury College where his teaching focus is on ecological and socioecological systems, land management, and conservation practice. Marc also serves as College Lands Conservation and Management Specialist and directs stewardship of Middlebury’s 6,000 acres of forest, wetland, and agricultural land, of which 2,100 acres are conserved with the Vermont Land Trust. Marc has been a consulting ecologist for nearly 30 years; his expertise in ecosystem mapping, landscape ecology, conservation assessment and planning, and field botany have helped protect tens of thousands of acres in the northeastern U.S. He has worked extensively with Natural Heritage Programs, state and federal conservation agencies, The Nature Conservancy, New England Wild Flower Society, Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Family Forests, and numerous local land trusts, town governments, and private landowners. With interest in multiple ways of knowing, science and spirituality, and traditional ecological knowledge, Marc is a leader in Middlebury’s contemplative pedagogy and place-based education efforts. His collaboration with The Land Institute’s Ecosphere Studies and New Perennials Project has helped establish a northeastern hub of the project at Middlebury College.

PHILIP NYHUS is director of the environmental studies program at Colby College. His interdisciplinary research bridges the natural and social sciences to address human interactions with the environment. He is particularly interested in large mammal conservation, human-wildlife conflict, and large landscape conservation. Nyhus has studied tiger conservation and restoration in Indonesia and China, co-edited Tigers of the World, and is the founding series editor of Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes (Elsevier/Academic Press). He is active in state, national, and international conservation initiatives, including serving as the North American convenor for the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, member of the science advisory committee for the Eastern Whooping Crane Partnership, and chief consultant for environmental and wildcat conservation for the Wildcat Conservation Legal Aid Society. He is a member of the ALPINE steering committee and has participated in a range of meetings related to colleges and universities as catalysts for large landscape conservation, including organizing a conference at Colby in 2013 on Students as Catalysts for Large Landscape Conservation and co-organizing a conference in 2016 on Community, Culture, and Conservation: Sustaining Landscapes and Livelihoods.

RICK PARADIS is the director of the University of Vermont’s Natural Areas Center and is a member of the faculty of the University’s environmental program. Rick oversees administration and management of the University’s Natural Areas System and has provided outreach services and professional development for those interested in the protection and management of natural areas and other conservation lands. His research focuses on the landscape histories and land conservation legacies of distinct mountain and arid ecosystems where he attempts to elucidate the relationship between ecology and culture and how this relationship has influenced both historical and contemporary conservation, stewardship, and restoration beliefs and practices. For the past several summers, he has traveled around the Northeast, visiting assorted academic institutions to document their efforts in conserving institutional lands and developing partnerships with land conservation organizations. Both of Rick’s faculty and administrative roles are intimately tied to land conservation.     


MARIANNE JORGENSEN currently serves as the coordinator for Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE), a network of New England academic institutions interested in promoting and expanding the role that they play in conserving the natural heritage of the region. Prior to her work with ALPINE, Marianne worked for 16 years in the field of international education sending undergraduate students from US colleges and universities on study abroad programs with SIT Study Abroad and working with the University of the Arctic, a consortium of 120 international colleges and universities across 8 countries to promote study in the Arctic. Marianne has an MBA from Boston University and a BA in botany from Connecticut College.

JAMES “Jim” N. LEVITT is the manager of land conservation programs in the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts and director of the program on conservation innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, in Petersham, Massachusetts. In addition, he holds ongoing fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School and at Highstead, a nonprofit organization advancing land conservation in New England. Levitt focuses on landmark innovations in the field of land and biodiversity conservation (both present-day and historic) that are characterized by five traits: novelty and creativity in conception; strategic significance; measurable effectiveness; international transferability; and the ability to endure. Levitt has written and edited dozens of articles and four books on land and biodiversity conservation. He has lectured widely on the topic in venues ranging from Santiago, Chile, to Beijing, China, and Stockholm, Sweden. He has played an instrumental role in the effort to organize the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), whose mission is to connect organizations around the world that are accelerating voluntary private and civic sector action to protect and steward land and water resources. Levitt is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Management (Yale SOM). He was recently named a Donaldson Fellow by Yale SOM for career achievements that “exemplify the mission of the School.”