Staff & Board

Staff & Board

Maine Conservation Alliance’s staff and board members combine a passion for conservation, climate action, and a healthy democracy with experience, diligence, and openness to continued learning, making them compelling agents for progress and change.

BETH AHEARN

she/her/hers

Director of Government Affairs

Beth joined MCA’s staff in 2012. Her work entails lobbying for climate, environmental, and voting rights legislation as well as working to elect conservationists to office. Beth has a lifelong commitment to protecting Maine’s air, land and water. She received her J.D. from the University of Maine in 1988 and a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Brown University in 1982. Beth was staff attorney for Maine Audubon from 1991–1996. She enjoys nordic skiing, biking, sailing, birdwatching, and gardening. She lives with her family in Freeport. 

Contact Beth at beth@maineconservation.org

MAUREEN DROUIN

she/her/hers

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Maureen works with MCA’s board, staff, and partners to advance the organization’s interconnected goals of environmental protection, climate action, voting rights, and racial equity. Her goal is ensuring Maine’s climate and environmental movement is a powerful force for change. Before coming to MCA, Maureen worked on conservation policy, management, and organizing at the state, regional, and federal levels with several organizations including National Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and Northern Forest Alliance. Maureen graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in geology and environmental studies and completed a one-year fellowship program with Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. She currently serves on the Natural and Working Lands Working Group of the Maine Climate Council, the Hallowell Conservation Commission, and the Advisory Board of Community Organizing Alliance. Maureen loves walking and hiking in all weather, drinking strong Irish tea, growing vegetables (especially garlic), collecting eggs from her chickens, and cheering at her daughter’s sports games.

Contact Maureen at maureen@maineconservation.org

Nick Francis

he/him/his

Operations Director

Nick comes over to the Operations Director position after working in the technology industry for close to 20 years. He previously worked as the head of the Information Technology department for the Penobscot Nation. 

Additionally, he sits on the Penobscot Tribal Rights and Resources Protection Board, tasked with the review and oversight of research conducted by non-tribal members that involves cultural resources. His passion for working to protect these cultural resources has also led him to be appointed as a Penobscot representative to the Abbe Museum, where he sits on the Wabanaki Advisory Council, the Executive and Governance Committee, and also as a Penobscot representative working to create the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. He is very passionate about this cultural work and technology and brings that energy to his position at MCA. In his downtime, he loves hiking with his family, attending UMaine Hockey games, and golfing with his two sons.

Contact Nick at nick@maineconservation.org

STACIE HAINES

she/her/hers

Development Director

Stacie connects with donors whose passion and values are aligned with MCA’s mission to protect and conserve Maine’s environment through the political process. Since earning her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Vermont, Stacie has committed her professional career to protecting the natural world. Over the last twenty years, she has worked in the environmental field in the Peace Corps in West Africa, at the Vermont Alliance of Conservation Voters, at The Food Alliance in Oregon, at Maine Audubon, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Stacie’s personal interests are aligned with her professional interests. When she’s not connecting with MCA supporters, she is exploring the many rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, and beaches around Maine with her husband, Efrain, and their two school-age children. 

Contact Stacie at stacie@maineconservation.org

LUCY HOCHSCHARTNER

she/her/hers

Climate & Clean Energy Director

Lucy works to help the state meet our climate and clean energy goals in a way that improves the lives of all Mainers. Her focus areas include the Mainers for Offshore Wind Coalition, expanding solar energy in Maine, and enhancing energy justice. She is so excited for the opportunity to find solutions to problems she has seen her whole life. Having grown up in rural, upstate New York, the impacts of climate change, including storms, droughts, and the loss of winters, are very familiar to her.

Prior to her role at MCV, she worked in youth climate organizing, electoral campaigns, and utility accountability efforts. When she’s not working, you can find her running around the mountains and cross-country skiing through the Maine woods.

Contact Lucy at lucy@maineconservation.org

CHLOE HOFFMAN

she/her/hers

Development Manager

Hailing from Central New York, Chloe is a passionate advocate for our planet and all who inhabit it! Her career began in her hometown of Syracuse, NY where she worked with the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. Chloe spent a brief year in Orlando, FL at the American Fundraising Foundation before deciding the cold was right for her and moving back to the northeast, most recently working at the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Chloe is a self-proclaimed people person and loves connecting with donors on what is most dear to them. As Development Manager, she looks forward to working with the people who make MCV’s work possible!

Chloe is a 2019 graduate of SUNY Geneseo, where she earned a B.A. in American History. When she’s not chatting with donors, Chloe can be found knitting, biking around her Portland neighborhood, and doting on her 19-year-old (and counting!) cat Levi.

Contact Chloe at chloe@maineconservation.org

Meghan Hurley

she/her/hers

Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Meghan works on developing MCA’s voice on the issues impacting Maine’s people and environment. Meghan grew up in rural New Hampshire, a place full of forests and lakes that inspired her to write stories, true and made-up. She brings a lifelong love of storytelling with her to this role and is especially focused on elevating the voices of historically marginalized communities of Mainers and advocating for policy solutions that address inequities.

In her previous role as Oceans Advocate at Environment America, Meghan worked on conveying the importance of protecting the ocean, a place many of us don’t see or interact with every day, to policymakers and the public in California. She is a 2020 graduate of Colby College, where she earned a B.A. in Environmental Policy. A lover of cold water, Meghan recently moved to Portland and plans to spend lots of time near (and in?) the ocean this winter.

Contact Meghan at meghan@maineconservation.org

Nick janzen

he/him/his

Partnerships Director

Nick oversees MCA’s collaborative advocacy and outreach efforts with fellow climate and democracy groups. He supports the Environmental Priorities Coalition, a partnership of environmental, conservation, and public health organizations, as well as Mainers for Modern Elections, a coalition committed to securing equitable ballot access for all eligible Maine voters.
 
Born and raised in New Orleans, Nick is a former public radio reporter and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alabama and J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. After graduating law school, Nick served as law clerk to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court before entering private practice as an energy attorney. When Nick isn’t fighting to protect our climate and democracy, you can find him zealously watching soccer or college football or out on the water in the Midcoast, where he lives with his spouse and two cats.
 

Contact Nick at njanzen@maineconservation.org

KATHLEEN MEIL

she/her/hers

Senior Director of Policy & Partnerships

Kathleen leads MCA’s state and federal climate action and Clean Energy for All campaigns, manages the organization’s civic engagement and organizing work, and serves on the Steering Committee of the Maine Climate Council. She also facilitates the Environmental Priorities Coalition, a partnership of environmental, conservation, and public health organizations. Kathleen began her career as an elementary school teacher and remains committed to education and collaboration as the foundation for transformative change. She chairs the board of Trekkers, a youth mentoring organization in Midcoast Maine. Kathleen holds an MEd in Elementary Education from Lesley University and a BA in Science Education Policy and English Literature from Kenyon College. She lives with her family in Camden.

Contact Kathleen at kathleen@maineconservation.org

GINA SAWIN

she/her/hers

Administrative Coordinator

Gina brings to MCA her lifelong love of the Maine coast and Maine farmland, as well as experience as a small business owner and event manager, board member and grant writer for Maine Coast Waldorf School, various civic posts and appointments, and as a fine artist whose primary focus has been the tenuous relationship between wild animals and a changing environment. She is currently focused on bird migration as a metaphor for a universal quest for survival. She lives on a farm in New Gloucester with her husband, conservation leader Charles Gauvin. 

Contact Gina at gina@maineconservation.org

RANI SHEAFFER

she/her/hers

Deputy Director

Rani’s career spans over two decades of environmental and conservation work in the political arena. She currently leads MCA’s development and communications programs and has been on staff since 2008. An organizer at heart, she previously worked as Director of the Massachusetts Environmental Collaborative, Field Director for the Center for Environmental Citizenship, Field Organizer for the Sierra Club, and as a volunteer for the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters. While raising her two young children, she worked part-time with Maine Rivers to establish a membership program. She is a 1996 graduate of Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing and a 1995 graduate of Hartwick College with a degree in political science and environmental studies. She lives with her family in Hallowell. 

Contact Rani at rani@maineconservation.org

MAGGIE SOMERS

she/her/hers

Program and Events Coordinator

Maggie’s dedication to advancing a just, clean energy transition and safeguarding our democracy led her to MCV’s program and policy teams. The head organizer for MCV, Maggie leads educational and advocacy programming, coordinates all related events, and represents a queer youth voice in the democracy space.

Certified in Social Justice Leadership, she brings her passion for politics, grassroots organizing, and equity to her work for the program team. Maggie graduated from the University of Maine in 2021, earning a B.S. and B.A. in marketing and mass communications.

A huge fan of disco music, Maggie can often be found throwing impromptu dance parties, trying out new restaurants with friends, and saying, “Did you hear this on NPR this morning?”. A lover of animals, big and small, Maggie lives in Portland with her rabbit.

Contact Maggie at maggie@maineconservation.org

Board

WILLIAM GINN

he/his/him

MCA Board President

Bill is a business strategy consultant. He currently serves on the Board of the Davey Tree Company, a $1 billion-dollar green industry service company.

His distinguished career in conservation includes his role as Executive Director of Maine Audubon, where he oversaw the expansion onto the Gilsland Farm campus. He was campaign manager for two successful referendums establishing Maine’s Returnable Container Legislation and the first citizen chair of the newly established Pesticide Control Board. He was appointed by the governor to the committee responsible for removing Maine’s Billboards.

Bill founded Resources Conservation Services Inc, a business that manages recycling programs for industrial clients. After selling the company, he went on to work in New Zealand for the Nature Conservancy’s Asia and Pacific program. Upon returning to the U.S., he managed large forest conservation transactions for TNC which he chronicled in his book, Investing in Nature. In 2008, he was appointed Chief Conservation Officer of the Nature Conservancy and Executive Vice President in 2014. He founded NatureVest, a partnership with private investors that has brought over $200 million dollars of investment into conservation problems worldwide.

PENNY ASHERMAN

she/her/hers

MCA Board Vice President

Penny is the Executive Director of the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust. Prior to this role, Penny was a member of the CCLT Board of Directors of the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust for many years and served as President of the Board for 13 years. Penny led the organization through a national accreditation process, and CCLT became the 12th all-volunteer land trust to receive the national award. Penny also serves on the Maine Land Trust Network Steering Committee, which sets goals and policies for the land trust community throughout Maine. As a member of the Town of Cumberland Conservation Commission for 10 years, Penny led efforts to inventory vernal pools and New England Cottontail populations in the town. She has received recognition for her environmental work from the Natural Resources Council of Maine, EcoMaine, and the Cumberland/NY Lions Club. Penny has a Law Degree and a Master’s in Environmental Studies from Vermont Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College. Penny currently lives in Cumberland with her husband and three children. Penny enjoys outdoor adventures with her family and sharing her environmental interests with the local community.

ERIC MARSHALL

he/him/his

MCA Board Treasurer

Eric is a business lawyer at Eaton Peabody in Bangor. He received his BA from Yale and JD from Michigan Law School. Eric and his wife, Deb, came to Maine from Chicago and are currently practicing social distancing in Deer Isle.

KATE WILLIAMS

she/her/hers

MCA Board Secretary

Kate Williams has biology and ecology degrees from Tufts University and the University of Florida, and has conducted field work in marine, forest, and wetland ecosystems across North America. Kate’s research has focused on two primary topics: survey techniques and biases, and understanding the impacts of anthropogenic activities on wildlife. She is currently working at the Biodiversity Research Institute as their Wildlife and Renewable Energy Program Director.

Erin Cinelli

she/her/hers

After growing up in southern Maine and graduating from Middlebury College, Erin served as Executive Director of the Spannocchia Foundation for 12 years, supporting an education center and organic farm in Tuscany and splitting her time between Italy and Maine. Since 2013, she has been on the leadership team at the Rural Futures Fund, based in Portland, ME, and currently serves as Associate Director. Erin also works with the Rocking Moon Foundation, based in Washington, DC, and midcoast Maine, and moved into her current role as Executive Director in 2022 after serving as a grantmaking advisor since 2016. Erin earned a Master of Public Policy and Management degree from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine in 2005 and recently completed a term as Chair of the Maine Philanthropy Center board. She and her husband, Ben Slayton, have 2 children, ages 13 and 10.

Ivan Fernandez

he/him/his

Ivan J. Fernandez is Professor in the School of Forest Resources, Climate Change Institute, and School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine. He has received numerous honors and awards and has served on various U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board committees in Washington DC since 2000. He recently chaired and continues to serve on a panel of the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) that is evaluating the Clean Air Act’s secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for oxides of sulfur, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter.

He represents the University of Maine in the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, and has been involved in leading the Maine’s Climate Future assessments in 2009, 2015, and 2020. In 2019 he was appointed to the Maine Climate Council, and also serves as co-Chair of its Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and a member of its Natural Working Lands working group. He has taught courses in soil science, forest soils, carbon and climate, and climate adaptation among others and served as a department Chair for a decade. He is a soil scientist, with a research program that focuses on the biogeochemistry of ecosystems in a changing physical and chemical climate and is actively engaged in promoting climate change solutions in Maine.

Suzanne Lafreniere

she/her/hers

Suzanne Lafreniere is the Public Policy Director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. She earned her BA in Philosophy at Loyola University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law. She lives in Scarborough with her husband Denis and daughters Lucie, Claire, and Rose.

SARA FRESHLEY

she/her/hers

Sara is a recent law school graduate focused on building her career in environmental policy and advocacy. After growing up exploring coastal Maine, she earned a degree in marine science at the University of Maine before taking a sharp turn and moving to Bozeman, Montana. After three years of exploring the mountains, she boomeranged back to Maine to pursue law school. Sara spends her free time training her dog, singing karaoke, and sitting on porches drinking coffee.