Staff & Board Archive

Welcome to our new Board Member, Matisse!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

This spring, the Board at Vermont River Conservancy were pleased to welcome a new member to our team, Matisse Bustos Hawkes!

Matisse shared her interest in serving on our Board and her love for Vermont and its waters with us:

I grew up in Southern California and my family’s frequent visits to our public beaches were a formative part of my childhood. In my college years and well into adulthood I lived in New York City, surrounded by water that was intrinsic to the city’s identity, vital to its economy, and polluted to the point of being a punchline to frequent jokes. When I moved to Vermont about 6 years ago with my husband and young son- it was the first time I had ever lived more than a 30 minute drive from an ocean. I gravitated to the Wrightsville Reservoir, Lake Elmore, Lake Caspian and swimming holes in Central Vermont that provided me with the connection and accessibility to water that feels fundamental to my existence.


In my time in Vermont, I’ve also learned a bit about the human impact on our water bodies, like the blue algae blooms that prevent swimming each summer in Lake Champlain, and the threats to habitat in various locations due to development. I have a lot to learn about best practices for conservation and public access to natural resources, but I believe my life-long appreciation for the recreational and life-sustaining properties of public waters would be a great entree to building a relationship with VRC.


I hold a B.A. in History and Latin American Studies from NYU and I have worked in nonprofits for almost my entire professional career. For the last 14 years, I have worked at the New York City-based international human rights organization WITNESS whose mission is to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. Currently, I serve as the Associate Director of Communications and Engagement. Again, I would be very interested to learn how I can put my skills and experience to work for my adopted home state and the natural resources I hope that my children and theirs will safeguard and be able to enjoy for many years to come.

Welcome aboard Betsy!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Welcome Betsy!  The Vermont River Conservancy is happy to welcome Elizabeth (Betsy) Catlin to our Board of Directors.

Betsy brings with her a valuable professional experience solving environmental problems in ways that also encourage positive economic development, as an attorney with Dunkiel and Saunders.

She enjoys the farmlands around her home in East Montpelier, has a love of horses, and is committed to the preservation of our open river lands.

We are so glad she has joined our Vermont River Conservancy team!

VRC welcomes new Board member: Tom Slayton

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Vermont River Conservancy Board is delighted to welcome journalist, author, and river enthusiast Tom Slayton to its ranks.  Tom joined us on a paddling trip on the Connecticut River in early June, and has assisted VRC with developing completed project announcements.  As a board member, Tom will continue to serve the rivers and state he loves. We are honored to have him on board.  Welcome Tom!

Meet our new Assistant Director

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The need for informed river management and conservation in Vermont is increasing, especially in the wake of the 2011 floods.  To help increase VRC’s capacity to respond to these needs, the VRC Board has modified the organization’s structure, and welcomes Lydia Menendez as the new Assistant Director.

Lydia Menendez

Lydia comes to VRC with eight years experience as an environmental educator, four years experience implementing waste reduction and organics reclamation programs in central Vermont, and two years experience directing the Land Stewardship Program at the University of Vermont, where she earned her Master’s in Natural Resources.  She co-chairs the Middlesex Town Forest Stewardship Committee, and is committed to conserving and stewarding land and water resources in Vermont.  Welcome aboard Lydia!

Stephan Syz nominated for CVPS-Zetterstrom Environmental Award

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Congratulations Stephan!  VRC’s co-founder, trustee and volunteer extraordinaire, Stephan Syz, has been nominated for the CVPS-Zetterstrom Environmental Award in recognition of his ceaseless commitment to preserving access to Vermont’s most treasured river resources.Stephan Syz

“The depth and breadth of the work of this year’s nominees indicates a deep commitment to Vermont’s natural resources, including habitat, wildlife and enjoyment of Vermont’s natural resources,” said CVPS spokesman Steve Costello.

This certainly describes Stephan’s contributions to VRC over the last 17+ years.  The award will be decided in April.  Best of luck Stephan, and thank you for all your hard work and good humor!

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