Meet Our People

UVTA Staff

Russell Hirschler
Executive Director
Russell is the Executive Director of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance where he is responsible for the day to day operations as well as the future vision of the organization. He was formerly the Director of Education at Save The Bay in Providence, RI. He also served as the Development Director at the Upper Valley Land Trust in Hanover, NH and the Development Director and Program Manager at Wolftree, Inc, a science education organization in Portland, Oregon. Russell received his undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Planning from Binghamton University and his Masters Degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University, New England. Russell grew up in and around New York City and has been traveling and hiking worldwide for the last 20 years. He currently lives in Lyme, NH with his wife and two children.
Sean Ogle
Trail Programs Director
Sean grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and took advantage of the incredible natural resources of the region by hiking, backpacking, and kayaking from a young age. These experiences coupled with an extremely outdoorsy family fostered a connection with the natural world and particularly the southern Appalachian mountains. After attending the University of Tennessee for Journalism, Sean was able to work in conservation in many places across the country. First he served on a trail crew with the SCA with the Florida Trail Association followed by a position as a leader for the Manchester Conservation Leadership Corps with the SCA New Hampshire Conservation Corps and finally as the project leader for Phoenix Field School in Arizona. He then returned to work with the Florida Trail Association as Field Coordinator in Tallahassee. In 2014, Sean created the Smoky Mountain Corps, a residential conservation and sustainability corps program based in North Carolina which runs conservation and leadership training crews for young adults. Sean also served as the Trail Resources Manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, overseeing trail programs within Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Randy Richardson
Development Director
Randy has strong ties in the Upper Valley, beginning with his time living in South Woodstock as a child to his more recent northern experience serving as Headmaster at the Oliverian School in Pike, NH. He received his BA from Hamilton College and MALS degree from Wesleyan University, and has spent most of his professional life in education, first as a teacher and coach and then as an administrator. Before his time at Oliverian, Randy led the Derryfield School in Manchester, NH and was a consultant at the Breakthrough Collaborative, a national program focused on educational equity. He is fully committed to the UVTA mission and fusing his love of the outdoors and the Upper Valley with his experience as an educational administrator and fund raiser. Randy currently lives and hikes with his family and dogs primarily in the Woodstock area.
Kaitie Eddington
Program Manager
Kaitie Eddington grew up near Salt Lake City, UT and as a child loved exploring the mountain ranges and national parks of her home state. In 2013, she began work at the Mill Hollow Outdoor Education center as a residential cabin counselor where she worked to help the children of Salt Lake City foster a love of the outdoors. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Family Life and Human Development from Southern Utah University where her education was punctuated with weekend trips to explore the Canyonlands of the southwest. Kaitie is excited to join the UVTA team and get people exploring! Kaitie currently lives in Wilder with her husband and adorable dog.

UVTA Board of Directors

Lucy Gibson
DuBois & King
Lucy has lived in the Upper Valley for nearly 30 years, and enjoys trails of all kinds and in all seasons, including hiking, skiing, mountain biking and canoeing. Growing up in northeastern Ohio and spending summers in Algonquin Park, hiking, biking and canoeing have always very gratifying pastimes. Professionally, she is committed to helping communities become more walkable and bikable in her work as a transportation planner and engineer. She is currently working on active transportation plans for over a dozen communities in Vermont and beyond, and has also worked nationally on projects advocating redirection of transportation projects in favor of promoting clean, active and sustainable mobility. She has a BS in Civil Engineering from UVM, and a MS in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College. She lives in Sharon with her husband, Greg DeFrancis.
Stephen Gorman
Owner, The Art of the Wild
Photographer and writer Stephen Gorman's work focuses on understanding the connections between nature and humanity: how we depend on the ecosystems around us to sustain our material and spiritual lives, how we modify the landscapes in which we live and work, and how our ideas of nature shape our relationships with the world around us. Stephen holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University, where he focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management; and a Bachelor's Degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University, where he focused on American environmental history and the history of the North American Frontier. he lives with his wife in Norwich, VT.
Byron Haynes
Haynes and Garthwaite Architects
Byron is a partner in the firm of Haynes & Garthwaite Architects located in Norwich. He is a graduate of Colgate University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. For the last 28 years he and his wife Debbie have lived in Norwich, where they raised their sons Grant and Evan and three white dogs. Byron is passionate about road biking, mountain biking, hiking in all seasons, cross country skiing, telemark skiing and gardening. At the age of 7, he started backpacking in the Adirondacks and shares his enthusiasm for those mountains, the White Mountains and the back country in general, with his entire family, who are all ADK 46ers. A long time member of the Norwich Trails Committee Byron is a dedicated trail builder.
Vic Henningsen
Resident, Thetford Center, VT
Vic is a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and teaches history at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth. He fell in love with the outdoors during early summers in the White Mountains and quickly developed lifelong enthusiasms for hiking, x-c skiing, cycling, and kayaking. After working in the Whites and for five seasons on Mt. Mansfield as a Green Mountain Club caretaker and ranger-naturalist for the Vermont Dept. of Forests and Parks, he spent more than thirty years teaching history at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Vic earned his B.A. in history at Yale, a master’s in history at Stanford, and a doctorate in history of education at Harvard. Parents of two adult children, Vic and his wife, Susan McCaslin, live in Thetford Center.
Caitlin Hopeman
Dartmouth Graduate Student
Cait grew up in the Pacific Northwest where her love for the outdoors developed over years of school trips to the Olympics and Cascades. After college, she worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School for five years leading and educating the next generations of outdoor and trail stewards. Though she led many different course types, her favorite activity is mountaineering. Through this work, she was fortunate to lead expeditions in Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, and Patagonia, Chile. During that time, she also worked for Remote Medical International teaching wilderness first aid courses around the USA. Her and her husband’s love for nature and outdoor activities brought them to the Upper Valley for graduate school where she is completing her MD MBA. Over the last five years in the area, Cait has continued to be an avid user of the trails in all seasons for both herself, her husband, her dog, and her two young children.
Warren Johnston
Freelance Writer, Sharon, VT
Warren Johnston has lived in the Upper Valley since 2002. He is a writer and editor and recently retired from the Valley News after more than 13 years. He was in the newspaper business for 37 years — at small papers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Mississippi and with the Tampa Tribune and the Las Vegas Sun. He grew up in Atlanta, and at an early age began hiking the Appalachian Trail in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. He hikes, snowshoes and skis regularly near their home in the South Royalton and Sharon areas with his wife, Sandy, and their two rescued Tibetan terriers, Imelda and Izzie.
Beth Krusi
Beth Krusi has lived in the Upper Valley since 1977 and has been exploring trails in the area (and around the world) for most of her life. Recently retired, Beth spends even more time outdoors with her husband and dog. She brings her work experience as director of marketing for the Montshire Museum of Science and publisher for Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) books, maps and journal to UVTA. She served on the board for Vermont Tourism’s VAA, the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Outdoor Industry Women’s Council. Access to the outdoors and trails is one of the primary assets of the Upper Valley. Beth has a BA in Environmental Studies, and a MS in Management.
Brenda Petrella
Owner, Worthy Labs, LLC and Brenda Petrella Photography
Brenda Petrella has been a resident of the Upper Valley since 1999, when she moved to the area to earn her PhD in molecular biology at Dartmouth College. Quickly falling in love with the quality of life of the Upper Valley, she decided to pursue her scientific career locally. After running a molecular kidney cancer research lab at the Department of Veterans Affairs Research Service in White River Junction, she served as the Biosafety Officer and Lab Sustainability Manager for Dartmouth College. Her passions for the outdoors and for science inspired her to start Worthy Labs, a consulting group striving to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint research laboratories while supporting a safe and productive research environment. When she's not consulting, she spends time pursuing her passion in landscape photography as a way to inspire people to spend more time outdoors and away from their electronic environments. She enjoys exploring trails with her wife and pups, biking, rowing, and gardening.
Carolyn Radisch
Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Carolyn grew up hiking with her family in Yosemite and every western national park from Mt. Rainier to the Grand Canyon. In 2001, she moved with her husband and two young children to the Upper Valley, where she became enchanted with the outdoor life waiting outside her door in every season. Carolyn is a transportation planner and urban designer and has dedicated a career to improving communities from California to New Hampshire for walking, bicycling and riding transit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering and City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Hanover where she can often be found walking with family, friends and her trusty four-legged companion, Stella, on the numerous trails in the Upper Valley and beyond.
Conrad Reining
Dartmouth College
Board Chair
Conrad Reining is the Associate Director of the Arts and Sciences Development Office at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. In this position he helps ensure that more than 40 academic departments and programs have the resources necessary to carry out a wide range of research, teaching, and service activities. Between 2001 and 2013 he was the Eastern Program Director for the Wildlands Network, where he was responsible for coordinating conservation planning, outreach and fundraising for a large portion of eastern North America. A major focus of his work was the development of a trans-border network – a Wildlands Network Design – of linked conservation areas in the Northern Appalachians of the northeastern US and southeastern Canada. As a board member of Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest), he has supported the development of a comprehensive conservation strategy for the Northern Appalachians. He also collaborated with more than 20 other organizations to establish the Staying Connected Initiative, which is dedicated to conserving critical habitat linkages in the Northern Appalachians. He is co-developer of a framework for measuring and monitoring landscape connectivity at large scale, and was part of a team that identified best management practices to reduce the impact of transportation infrastructure on wildlife in Vermont. Conrad holds a Masters degree from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences and a BA degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mike Silverman
Dartmouth Outdoor Programs
Mike grew up in the Boston area and moved to the Upper Valley, Hanover, in 1993. Although his fondness of trails was limited prior to moving here, except to ride horses, hiking and Mt Biking became a good way to enjoy the local natural resources. Working at Dartmouth in their Outdoor Programs allows another connection to our surroundings as well. For the past 18 years, Mike has directed the Vermont 50 Mt Bike or Ultra Run, another connection to trails, that passes through 66 private lands. Since College 1975, Clarkson University, Mike has had vast retail experience in promotion, and real-estate negotiation in a family business that was a chain of stores from Maine to Virginia. As in everywhere Mike has lived, community is very important.
Natalie Starr
DSM Environmental Services
Natalie came to the Upper Valley 25 years ago, joining her husband who grew up in South Woodstock. After bushwacking for years on cross country skis in the hills of North Pomfret, South Woodstock and Hartland, she took up backcountry skiing and has enjoyed the trails and woods on Mount Ascutney most snowy winters since. When she isn’t skiing, biking, or hiking, she consults on sustainable waste management policies and programs as a principal at DSM Environmental Services. Through her work, she has helped communities and state governments make sustainable waste management decisions as they move to reduce waste and increase recycling of materials and organics. Her work has also taken her across the globe to help strengthen local government and improve basic sanitation systems in developing countries. Natalie was asked in 2006 to become a Donnella Meadows Sustainability Leadership Fellow working with fellows across the country and world to both preserve Meadows’s legacy and practice systems thinking to address the most pressing environmental challenge, climate change.
Dennis Stern
Resident, Lyme, NH
Dennis’s fondness for the outdoors dates to the 1950’s and the many summers he spent hiking, camping and canoeing in the north woods of Wisconsin, his home state. He and his wife Barbara live in the foothills of Lyme where their family has built a network of trails. Before retiring to the Upper Valley in 2009, he worked for 28 years at the New York Times. From 2010 to 2014 he was VP of operations at Vermont Law School. He is a graduate of Haverford College and New York University School of Law.
Rich Synnott
Upper Valley Aquatic Center
Rich moved to the Upper Valley two years ago and is the Executive Director for the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction. He has been in the fitness and wellness industry for 35 years and has served as the Director for many of the largest and most prestigious health and wellness clubs’ in New England. He’s been a featured speaker at industry conferences, has provided consulting services for clubs throughout New England, and has written numerous articles for trade publications. His recreational interests include hiking, biking, snowshoeing, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountaineering. Rich has served on many boards to improve the health, fitness and recreational opportunities in the communities in which he has lived and worked including Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, and the Economic Redevelopment Committee for Green Airport in Rhode Island. He is a past President of the New England Health and Racquet Sport Association, past President of the New England Fitness and Wellness Network and has served on the NH Dance for Heart committee. More recently, Rich worked to develop the South Shore Initiative into a self-sustaining resource to fight the growing childhood obesity epidemic by bringing exercise and fitness programs back into local schools. He and his wife Heidi reside in Quechee.