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 US Forest Service, and UMass Amherst partnership. Paul’s research is focused on understanding 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 the 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 
was released by Yale University Press in January 2017.

WILLIAM (Bill) KEETON is a professor of forest ecology and forestry at the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. At UVM he directs the Carbon Dynamics Laboratory and is a fellow in the Gund Institute for Environment. He also serves as Chair of the IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) Working Group on Old-growth Forests and Reserves. His research focuses on forest disturbance dynamics, riparian ecology, forest carbon, old-growth forests, ecological silviculture, and sustainable forest management in the U.S. Northeast and Pacific Northwest, but also takes him frequently to Central and Eastern Europe where he serves on the board for Science for the Carpathians and is currently a Fulbright Scholar. He has ongoing research also in Chilean Patagonia and Bhutan related to wildfires and forest-stream interactions. In the U.S. he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Vermont Land Trust and the science advisory committee for the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative. He holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University (’90), a
Masters in Conservation Biology and Policy from Yale University (’94), and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University
of Washington (2000). 

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 has 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.

KATHARINE SIMS is an associate professor in the Economics and Environmental Studies Departments at Amherst College. Dr. Sims is an environmental and natural resource economist who draws on microeconomic theory and tools to investigate the impacts of policies to correct market failures. The majority of her work evaluates land conservation policies, including both direct regulatory instruments such as protected areas and local zoning and incentive-based mechanisms such as payments for ecosystem services. Her research seeks to understand how land conservation affects both environmental and economic outcomes and how changes in management or spatial targeting can minimize potential tradeoffs between environmental conservation and economic development. She has contributed to long-term evaluations of land conservation policies including protected areas, payments for environmental services, and community forestry in countries including Mexico, Thailand, Nepal, and the U.S.


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 their role 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 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.”