Aimee Petras, Executive Director – Ms. Petras has a B.S. in Geology from SUNY – Stonybrook. Aimee has a broad base of strengths that make her well suited to running FRWA as an Executive Director including program coordination, project management, fundraising and education. Aimee has coordinated many different restoration projects including invasive plant removal work days, rain garden installations and native plant habitat restorations in riparian zones. She recently helped complete an EPA Watershed Based Plan for the Pequabuck River which is now implemented across the Pequabuck River Watershed. She has also been responsible for popular education programs including Chemical-Free Lawn Care and River Friendly Landscaping. Aimee is always eager to add value to FRWA’s programming for offering tips and sometimes free tools for attendees so they can bring what they learned home including rain barrels and downspout diverter kits to reduce stormwater pollution. Aimee spent time in Morocco where she was working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Environment/Agriculture Program. While overseas she helped 11 communities plant 7,500 olive trees, taught environmental education lessons at local youth centers, and helped a women’s cooperative with bottling and marketing of their traditionally extracted Argan oil. Please contact Aimee if you have any questions or if you would like to hear some stories of her time overseas in Morocco. Contact Aimee by email or 860-658-4442 x205
Laura Hart, Conservation Director – Laura earned an M.S. degree in Sustainability Science from Lund University, Sweden, and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Cornell University. She has previous work experience with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society. She enjoys working on projects that connect people with the environment, whether it is through education, project development, or communicating in the written word. Laura runs the water quality program, from the headwaters in Massachusetts to the confluence with the CT River in Windsor. Our ambient monitoring informs our efforts to identify, protect and preserve high quality waters, and focuses our work to reduce stormwater and improve water quality in the more degraded waters, thus Laura collaborates with various agencies and community groups on green infrastructure projects such as rain gardens, and on our educational program, River Smart. Laura works with the Farmington River Coordinating Committee, a group who protect the upper Wild & Scenic designated section of the Farmington River, and she has fun hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival every fall. Contact Laura by email or 860-658-4442 x202
Heather Geist, Education and Outreach Manager – Heather earned a B.S. in biology, with a concentration in ecology, biodiversity and evolutionary biology from Central Connecticut State University. When she is not busy with water quality monitoring, she conducts educational programs for the next generation of environmental scientists with focus on protection and preservation of the watershed. Heather also conducts outreach to other organizations, municipalities, and the general public. You may see her at an event, or out in the watershed, make sure to say hello! Please contact Heather if you have any questions on education and outreach initiatives. Contact Heather by email or 860-658-4442 x203.
Paige Vichiola, Watershed Manager – Paige earned a B.S. in biology, with a concentration in environmental science and a minor in chemistry from Central Connecticut State University. Paige works diligently to assess the health of our watershed throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut through water quality monitoring of bacteria, temperature, macroinvertebrates, and culvert surveys. She manages data, performs data analysis, and writes reports on our findings. Paige enjoys hiking throughout the watershed, “playing in the water”, working with volunteers who share the same passion for the Farmington River Watershed and its natural resources, and photography- specifically of our beautiful river. Contact Paige by email or 860-658-4442 x206