Board of Directors

Tom Bergh moved to Peaks Island in early 1980 to work with the STAR Foundation that had purchased Battery Steele. Years later this property became the seed for founding our Peaks Island Land Preserve. Deciding to try recovering from lawyering, he founded Maine Island Kayak Co, dedicated to small boat courses and trips amongst offshore islands, and continues to design and deliver college science and seamanship courses based on our Gulf of Maine as the classroom. In addition to teaching responsibility on the sea, he continues to work toward restoring our natural Maine woods, adapting to our rapidly changing climate, and helping raise a generation that sees our planet as a key part of their everyday decisions.

Roger Berle Oceanside’s longest-standing Director is Roger Berle, who has represented Cliff Island on the OCT Board since 1982; he is currently serving his second stint as President. He also serves on the Board of Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, the umbrella organization of which OCT is a member.

He owned and operated a construction business, Finestkind Builders EPD, on Cliff Island for thirty-four years but has also used the island as a base for his long-standing commitment to the permanent preservation and stewardship of significant open space.

His related organizational memberships, now or formerly, include The Land for Maine’s Future Board, The Maine Islands Coalition, Portland Trails, the Portland Land Bank Commission and the Maine League of Conservation Voters.

A graduate of Bowdoin College (BA) and Boston University (MBA), he lives in Falmouth and on Cliff Island.  His daughter Liz lives in Cumberland Foreside and son Christian lives in Washington DC.

Bob Bittenbender, a resident of Windham, has been on the board of OCT since 2004. He is the Retired Property Manager of Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth. Bob was in the nursery, garden center and landscaping business for over 30 years prior to going to Maine Audubon. A graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and a photographer, Bob has traveled to or led trips to all fifty states and more than twenty-five foreign countries. His most recent trip (fifth) was to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to view Polar Bears. Bob is currently involved in invasive species education (tree and shrubs) at Casco Bay Invasive Species Network and gives educational talks on the subject.  He also gives talks on native plants species used to replace invasive plants.

Erno Bonebakker lives in downtown Portland and owns a summer cottage on Chebeague Island. He has worked in coastal habitat restoration and stewardship in Maine since 1999. Erno’s special interest is Little Chebeague Island which he discovered on a Maine Island Trail Association cleanup in the late 1980s. He is currently working with MITA to manage invasive plants, restore trails, fields and signage on the island.  He has a law degree and BS in geology. Having grown up in rural Southern California, he moved to Portland from the Los Angeles area in 1988 to be on the Maine Coast.

Jeanne Gulnick A resident of Peaks Island since 2000, Jeanne Gulnick works at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish where she teaches in the Department of Natural Science and serves as the campus Sustainability Coordinator. Jeanne’s lifelong love of nature and especially of the ocean began during childhood in Montauk, NY, where she spent entire summers combing the beach and exploring the woods. She attended the University of Virginia, majoring in chemistry, where she fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains. Now she is excited to live in a state where there is both beautiful coastline and mountains. A graduate program at the Marine Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook led to a PhD in Coastal Oceanography. Jeanne especially enjoys Peaks Island life, their wonderful island community and getting out on Casco Bay with her two kids, her husband and their crazy dog.

Eric Handley Retired media specialist, with environmental interests.  Enjoyed a thirty-year career editing documentary programs for PBS, History Channel, and Discovery Channel. Member of; Portland Trails, Portland Landmarks.  Portland History Docent, Master Gardener, Friends of the Eastern Promenade and Maine Island Trails.

Dave Hirth Cliff Island and Brunswick A longtime summer resident of Clif Island   He has a PHD in Wildlife Biology from the University of Michigan.  He has retired from his tenured position at the University of Vermont and he taught at the University of Florida prior to that.

Michael Johnson grew up on Long island and worked as a fourth generation lobsterman during high school and college. A graduate of the University of California with a BS in Marine Biology, he has done extensive work in marine ecology and wildlife biology. Michael served in the Peace Corps in Zambia after college, where he provided training in rural fish farming techniques. He is employed by Stantec Consulting as an ecologist and project manager. He lives on Long Island with his wife and two young children.

Jane Laughlin  (Secretary) After a 28 year career as a high school English teacher and debate team coach, Jane is enjoying retirement and the opportunity to pursue long-postponed interests.  She joined Oceanside Conservation Trust in 2000, and has served as secretary and co-editor of OCT’s newsletter for several years.  Jane is also president of Great Diamond Island Land Preserve.

John Lortie is a Professional Wetland Scientist, a Certified Wildlife Biologist, an accomplished botanist, and an experienced ecological risk assessor. He has directed numerous projects involving complex environmental regulations, including RCRA sites and marine facilities, and has taught short courses on eco risk assessment protocols, field methods, and restoration design. He has also led large-scale ecological inventories to search for rare animals and plants, directed coastal migratory bird studies, and has accessed complex natural communities throughout the northern Atlantic region. A former National Wildlife Refuge manager, he also offers special expertise in migratory bird studies.

Bill Needelman  Portland Waterfront Coordinator. Born and raised in Portland, joined the city in 1999 as a part-time planner. Two years later, he was promoted to the senior planner position. A Portland native, Bill lives in East Deering with his wife and two school-aged children

Bill Stauffer Little Diamond Island and Scarboough  LDI, served as President of the LDA Association, Bill is a Colby Graduate, majored in Far Eastern studies, has spent a good deal of time in Asia, co-owns an LED lighting company, and also owns and manages residential apartments in Portland. You can see his bio on Link’ d In; here’s also  a link to his short EcoStory bio: http://www.eco-story.com/?team=bill-stauffer .

John Spencer  (Vice President) is a summer resident on Cushings Island. He is a past president of the Cushings Island homeowners association and is the current president of Cushings Island Conservation Corporation. John is Treasurer of the Wellesley (MA) Conservation Council and is active in land use issues, including running a community garden, volunteering with Massachusetts Audubon’s Drumlin Farm and founding a farmers’ market. In addition to supporting a regional food network John has a special interest in controlling invasive species and restoring native plant numbers and diversity.

Chris Stephenson  Treasurer, Attorney at Drummond Woodsom in Portland, CPA. Lives in Cape Elizabeth and has a keen interest in Casco Bay. Board of Directors at Space Gallery.

Hope MacVane Tray Cliff Island and Windham Born and raised on Cliff Island a strong envoronmentalist and Chemistry teacher at South Portland High. Bates College Biology Major , MS in Education University of New England.


Advisory Board


Brenda Buchanan, Vice President – At Largelives in Westbrook and practices law in Portland where she is a partner in the firm of Warren, Currier & Buchanan.  A 1990 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, Brenda focuses her practice on real estate, zoning and land use, small business and domestic partnership planning.  A longtime resident of Peaks Island who moved to the mainland, Brenda served on the board of the Peaks Island Land Preserve from 1999-2005.

Priscilla Doucette joined the Board of OCT in 2004 and represents Little Diamond Island. She is the co-editor of OCT’s newsletter. She and her husband Dale retired from teaching English at Portland High School. They send their summers at their cottage on Little Diamond and part of each winter on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. Priscilla is the Chairperson of the Oakhurst Dairy Charitable Giving Program and a Trustee of the Maine Historical Association. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, walking, birding, reading, sea glassing, and gardening

Mark Greene – Long Island
Islands Coalition Representative

Eliza Cope Nolan – Cushings Island
Attorney, Bernstein Shur’s Real Estate Practice Group, Eliza represents timberland investment companies and wind energy developers on real estate-based projects in Maine

Chris McDuffie is a long time member and former president of Oceanside, Chris is a summer resident of Long Island where she participates in many island activities and is the current chair of the Comprehensive Planning Committee for the town and edits the Long Islander newsletter.

John Whitman – Peaks Island
Attorney, President Peaks Island Land Preserve