Board of Directors
Tracy Ames is the founder of Maine Island Ecologists. She received her BS degree in Parks and Recreation with concentrations in horticulture and management from the University of Maine and has gained most of her experience over the past 20 years as an ecological researcher primarily in the studies of botany, ecology and seabird biology. She has worked for organizations such as the U.S. Navy, USFWS (Moosehorn NWR, Maine Coastal Islands NWR), National Park Service (Channel Islands Nat’l Park, Acadia Nat’l Park, Cape Cod Nat’l Seashore), Santa Barbara Botanical Society, NOAA, National Audubon Society as well as other state and private agencies. Research projects conducted by Tracy include native and invasive plant monitoring studies, rare plant mapping and weed eradication projects, seabird monitoring studies, small mammal research, pinneped research and other ornithological studies as well as overseeing 20+ volunteers at a time. She also has owned and operated a landscape design and management business for 10+ years that included projects such as developing a landscape master plan for a newly established recreation area in the town of Limington, Maine. She and her husband operated a CSA/CSF (Community Supported Agriculture and Fishery), Maine’s first combination community supported business from their organic farm in Sabattus, Maine. They currently reside on Chebeague Island with their two daughters.
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 is Oceanside’s longest-standing Director, 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.
Dave Hirth is a longtime summer resident of Cliff 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.
Liz Johnson is a Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide. She runs women’s courses and other programs with Maine Island Kayak Co on Peaks Island, and is the Webmaster for the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors. In winter, Liz volunteers as an adaptive skiing instructor. She has made Maine her home since 1994, raising her two children in Freeport before moving to Peaks Island in 2015. Liz received her BA from Kenyon College and the University of Exeter, England. She is committed to helping others enjoy the outdoors.
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 Lauglin is retired 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.
Hope MacVane grew up on Cliff Island where she learned early on the deep interconnectedness of our natural environment and the importance of environmental stewardship. Hope currently teaches Chemistry at South Portland High School, where she began her teaching career after graduating from Bates College with a degree in biology and teaching certification in 1997. She later earned her MS in Education from the University of New England. Hope lives in Windham during the school year, and Cliff Island during the summer, with her husband and two children.
Bill Needelman is the City of Portland’s first Waterfront Coordinator, starting this position in 2014 after working for 14 years with the City’s Planning and Urban Development Department. Ongoing projects within Bill’s portfolio include Portland Fish Pier Authority administration, harbor dredging, climate change planning, infrastructure planning, waterfront policy development, land-use regulation, transportation planning, and open space development for marine and land-based projects at all scales. A life-long Portlander, Bill and his family have deep roots in the City of Portland, the islands of Casco Bay, and coastal Washington County. Bill has a B.S. in Geology from Boston College and a M.S. in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine.
John Spencer 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 and the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative. 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.
Bill Stauffer summers on Little Diamond Island and lives in Scarborough with his wife and two daughters. He has served as President of the LDI Association. Bill is a Colby Graduate, majored in East Asian studies and has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. He has spent a good deal of time in Asia, co-owns an LED lighting company, and also owns and manages commercial property in Portland.
Chris Stevenson is an 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.
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. 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