Meet Some of Our Board Members

The Branford Land Trust Board of Directors is pleased to announce the election of three officers and four directors to the Board at the April, 2018 Annual Meeting. Peter Raymond was elected to a second two-year term as president, and Mike McGuinness was elected to a second two-year term as vice president. Chris Cheney will join the board for his first two-year term as corresponding secretary. New directors elected for a three-year term are Gaile Ramey, John Watson and Marcia Wheeler. Bill Donaruma will serve his second three-year term as director.

We sincerely thank retiring directors Rose Rita Richitelli, Martha Rice and Jody Paviglionite for their service and hope they remain active members for years to come.

Officers (2018-2020)

Peter Raymond, President
Pete is a professor of ecosystem ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  He has a PhD in marine science from William and Mary and performed research for 3 years in Woods Hole.  His research focuses on how watershed variables (e.g., land use) and internal processes (e.g., plant growth) alter the chemistry of streams, rivers and estuaries. Pete enjoys walking and running in the BLT trails and working with other members to provide the town of Branford with open space to enjoy.

Michael McGuinness, Vice President
Mike grew up in Guilford, and graduated from the University of Connecticut, majoring in political science. Before moving to Branford in November 2004, he lived in Killingworth and was active in local government as town treasurer, as selectman, and as a member of the Board of Finance. Mike has been a part of the Branford Community Garden, chairman of the Buildings and Grounds committee at Trinity Church, and the Branford Conservation and Environmental Commission.

Before retirement Mike worked in property and construction management positions for a major Hartford Connecticut bank, and project manager with a Hartford based commercial general contractor. Having once owned a salt meadow which he donated to the Guilford Land Conservation Trust, and having built a home in Killingworth on a lot that was pasture land 75 years earlier, he says he has an appreciation for native trees, the necessity for removing invasive species, and understanding salt marshes.  Mike co-chairs the Land Trust Stewards on the Property Management Committee and is a leader and regular on Land Trust Saturday work parties.

Christopher Cheney, Corresponding Secretary, 2020
Chris is serving his first term as the corresponding secretary for The Branford Land Trust.  A 25-year resident of Branford, Chris spent his professional career working with rare diseases.  His focus has been on raising awareness for orphan and ultra-orphan diseases and helping to bring new diagnostic and treatment options to this underserved area of medicine.  Chris enjoys spending his free time walking the BLT trails and is honored to work with The Branford Land Trust helping to preserve and promote open space in our community.

Directors (2018-2021)

Bill Donaruma
Bill will serve his second term as director. He has been a member of Branford Rotary Club for over 20 years. He has served on the Rotary Board, and as president and assistant district governor.  He also worked on Branford River Project, Branford River clean up and several civic boards and committees. Bill is a Connecticut certified residential real estate appraiser.

Gaile Ramey
Gaile’s lifelong love of sauntering in nature started well before her biology college degree, where she specialized in animal ecology. She grew up surrounded by coastal habitats and conservationists, while spending family weekends in the High Sierra granite wilderness, off road and off the grid. She went on to pursue advanced degrees in public health and information systems, at UC Berkeley and UCLA, with training in technology at Columbia University. She always had the wilderness in the corner of her eye while she went on with her IT career in urban wilds, and always managed time for kayaking, river running, rowing, and exploring. She moved to Branford in 2009 while working at Anthem as a senior project manager of technology and organizational restructuring projects. Over the years, she’s enjoyed supporting the Branford Land Trust mission of conserving open space by volunteering for the children’s camp, accreditation, acquisitions and records management system,

John Watson
John received his PhD in public health from UCLA in 1991. After a stint as a post-doctoral fellow at Caltech, John worked for 23 years in preclinical drug discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford. He is currently employed as a medical writer for a small medical communications company in Middletown. John has volunteered for the past several years on the Public Relations Committee and recently helped out with mapping some of the BLT easement properties for accreditation. He is very interested in using technological approaches to help manage BLT properties and increase public awareness of the Land Trust and its mission.

Marcia Wheeler
Marcia Wheeler worked as a biochemist doing biomedical research at the Department of Agriculture, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Yale School of Medicine.  She has always enjoyed the out-of-doors and retirement has given her the opportunity to spend time in the woods. She has joined two hiking groups.  She and her husband, Larry, have lived in Branford since 1983 and raised two children here.  For the last three years she has been involved in maintaining records of members and donations using the BLT Sage software. She is the steward of two properties.

CLICK HERE for a full list of our Board and Advisors.



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Branford Land Trust
P.O. Box 254
Branford, CT 06405
(203) 483-5263


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