Board of Directors

Opacum Land Trust Staff and Board of Directors
Laney Wilder Executive Director -

Laney is Opacum’s second Executive Director, and brings to the role experience working in the Land Trust community and a scientific background in botany and conservation. She previously worked in Concord, MA as the first Executive Director for the Concord Land Conservation Trust. She is an experienced botanist with a strong background in plant conservation and ecology. Laney believes that our best chance at addressing climate change, loss of wildlife habitat, protecting rare species and culturally sensitive sites is through protecting land in perpetuity. Laney and her husband are residents of Brimfield MA where she owns woodlands and a homestead full of delicious edible native plant gardens.

Amy Connery Chief Operating Officer -

Amy comes to Opacum with a Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change from Clark University and over 10 years’ experience in financial management, human resources, development and organizational planning.

2022 – 2023 Volunteer Board of Directors
Leslie Duthie President - Monson

Leslie is a retired native plant horticulturist who grew native plants and cared for native habitat gardens for over 40 years in her career. She has volunteered for the Town of Monson on the Conservation Commission for 20 years, helping to pass the Community Preservation Act and wrote at least 4 of the Town Open Space and Recreation plans. Leslie’s passion is land protection, and is why she joined the Opacum Land Trust. Her efforts have helped to protect over 1700 acres of land for the Town of Monson and helped Opacum Land Trust protect about 700 acres. This land is usually protected by Conservation Restrictions, giving it an extra layer of protection so that Leslie can be sure that the land will be protected in perpetuity. Opacum Land Trust has been the organization that allowed her to put these Conservation Restrictions in place. Leslie loves the outdoors and to garden with native plants and hopes to pass on her experience to the next generation of land protectors and land stewards.

Howie Fife Vice President - Palmer

Howie is one of the Founding Directors for Opacum Land Trust. He is retired from the Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources (now Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, DCR) after 32 years, of which 25 years were at the Wells State Park in Sturbridge. He has been active in local government in Holland, serving as Selectman from 1997 to 2000. Howie now resides in Palmer, and continues to provide Opacum with his vast institutional knowledge of the area and protecting land. Read more about Howie in his article “Why I am an Opacum” from our 25-25 Challenge.

Jennifer Morrison-Dominguez Treasurer - Southbridge

Jennifer’s community roots are deep: she grew up in Stubridge and co-owns and runs a business there and now resides in Southbridge with her husband, Eric, and cats, Hazel and Marley. As a business professional and Opacum’s treasurer, Jennifer brings a practical eye and business sensibility to the operational side of the land trust. Surpassing 15 years of continuous service she provides oversight and guidance on financial and operational matters. Though Jennifer joined many years ago her reasons for staying active on the board remain the same, “Well, as best I can tell they’re not making any more land, so we’d better protect it before it’s used up and, effectively, gone forever. If we don’t take meaningful action now the earth will, and I’m not convinced that’s a viable option for humanity.” Jennifer is always the pragmatist.

Felicia Hubacz Clerk - Barre

Felicia an avid lover of life and the outdoors and thanks to this passion she found her way into becoming a Forest Health Specialist for the MA DCR Forest Health Program. She has been with the state for 11 years working with forests, insects and some diseases as well as presenting to the public on these topics. Before that, Felicia worked as a landscape designer for a local garden center and as a forester and laborer for The Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary giving her a total of 20 years in the green industry. While designing was interesting her heart wasn’t in it, and Felicia wanted to do something for the greater good, so she veered away from the commercial into the non-profits. It wasn’t just this one thing that inspired her to enter the environmental arena, it was more of a collage of experiences. As a child Felicia’s father and grandfather frequently brought her into the woods hiking, fishing and wildlife watching. She loved those times exploring and discovering. The forest was and still is a place of serenity and rejuvenation, a place to escape the hectic. Sadly, Felicia saw many of her favorite places developed, and it broke her heart to think that all those creatures and plant life were gone forever, that no one will ever walk those paths again. Felicia cares about land conservation and Opacum Land Trust because it is a way to save those special places and all that lives there for future generations to share the thrill of exploring and discovering all that a forest has to offer.

Glenn Colburn Director - Monson

Glenn and his wife Cindy have lived in Monson for 37-years. Glenn is a 30-year member of the Monson Conservation Commission and has recently joined Monson’s Community Preservation Committee. Glenn has served as the Conservation Agent for the towns of Palmer, then Sturbridge, retiring in 2017 and joining the Opacum Land Trust Board, now serving as chair of the Stewardship Committee. “My love of the outdoors started from a young age. Family walks with mom and dad evolved to week long backpacking trips in the White and Green Mountains. I felt the need to protect and preserve the open spaces that I love and serving on my town’s conservation commission was a perfect outlet for the conservationist in me. Upon retirement I had even more time to devote to open space protection, and Opacum Land Trust has been a perfect opportunity to do just that.”

Mark Conners Director - Brimfield

Mark has been on the Opacum Board for 7 years and currently serves as Board president. Prior to retirement he was a Senior Vice President at Baybanks and then at Monarch Capital Corporation. Mark’s volunteer activities included: Brimfield Historical Commission, Holyoke Community College Trustee, Massachusetts Lung Association Board, Western Massachusetts Lung Association Board, and Springfield School Volunteers Board. Mark and his wife Karen have resided in Brimfield for 49+ years.

Al Smith Director - Worcester

Al is one of the Founding Directors for Opacum Land Trust. He is a professional Archaeologist, Geologist and Naturalist, a trustee of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society, Chair of the Site Conservation Legislative Action Committee, and founder and chair of the North Worcester Resource Preservation Society. These capacities keep Al busy with the protection of cultural and natural resources, often through writing Conservation Restrictions and Preservation Restrictions. Al has volunteered for environmental causes for over 30 years, whether it is certifying Vernal Pools or leading walks about history and archaeology on conserved lands.

Scott Gerrish Director - Brimfield

Scott is a Licensed Mass. Consulting forester who has worked as a forester primarily in central Mass. for 37 + years. He is also a Committee Member with the Massachusetts Tree Farm for over 10 years, Former Director and Vice President for the Massachusetts Forest Landowners Association, and a member of the Brimfield Trail Committee. Scott is passionate about caring for our forested landscapes, and has his own working forest that he cares for near his home in Brimfield MA.

Marita Tasse Director - Sturbridge

Marita is a Broker, Realtor, RE, and MAX Professional Associate. She loves the outdoors and believes in the work of Opacum.

Christopher DeBruin, Esq. Director - Brimfield

Chris is an Attorney with extensive experience in risk management, contracts, insurance, litigation, and land and development issues. He is currently the first Vice President and Director with Alliant Insurance. Chris, his wife and three children moved to Brimfield in 2016. They are abutters to and hands-on volunteers for the Clayton and Margaret Thomas Nature Preserve at Dingley Dell.

Jeff Burdick Director - Sturbridge

Jeff is a financial advisor at Edward Jones and brings to the Opacum board marketing and communication skillset. He loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling and pursuing new adventures with his family. Jeff and his wife Patricia have been Sturbridge residents for 19 years.