American Friends of Canadian Conservation is governed by a talented board of directors representing both Canada and the United States.
John W. Peirce
John is a retired geophysicist who grew up in eastern Massachusetts, where his father started two land trust organizations that together have protected some 40,000 acres over the last fifty years. John is a graduate of Dartmouth College and earned a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the M.I.T.-W.H.O.I. Joint Program in Oceanography. He taught geology and geophysics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. for two years, and then worked as a geophysicist in Calgary for 30 years.
When John and his wife Nancy lived in Calgary he was heavily involved in the creation of Nose Hill Park, the largest municipal park in Canada. They now live on Gabriola Island B.C., close to the ocean. In retirement, John operated a market garden farm, designed rainwater-harvesting systems, and both he and Nancy are heavily in local volunteer projects.
John is a Past President of the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT), and he played a major part in negotiating the Robinson Woods covenant for the American Friends/GaLTT partnership. This was American Friends’ first conservation easement in BC. His many other community roles have included being Treasurer of the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s representative to the community-led Village Vision planning effort, and President of the Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative. In addition to serving on American Friends’ board, John facilitates a Parkinson’s Support Group on Gabriola.
Sandy and his family have been part of the Georgian Bay ON community of American landowners for many decades. His experience working to protect his family‘s property there led to his general interest in cross border conservation. Sandy is a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the Berkeley CA area, assisting them with strategic planning, fundraising and communications. Most recently Sandy led a complete update of the California Native Plant Society’s strategic plan. In addition to his professional support for nonprofits, Sandy has served on several Bay Area boards, including the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and as the chair of the board of the California Institute for Biodiversity.
Gail Kruk, CPA, CGA is a Principal and the Cross Border Practice Director of Larson Gross CPAs and Consultants in Bellingham, Washington. Prior to joining Larson Gross in 2000, she worked 9 years for a public accounting firm in Surrey, British Columbia.
Gail specializes in serving Canadian businesses and individuals with a U.S. presence as well as U.S. businesses and individuals with a Canadian presence. As a resident of Canada working in the U.S., she provides a unique perspective to this complex area. She is an accomplished, sought-after speaker and author on such topics as Cross Border tax issues, tax planning for businesses and individuals, and doing business in Canada.
She is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia and is the former treasurer of the Canada-America Society of Washington, a business and social networking organization that works to encourage business relationships between Canadians and Americans.
Gail and her husband, Ed, have two grown children and two grandchildren. She likes to spend her free time with family, and she and Ed enjoy travelling.
Robert founded Orland Conservation in 2003 as a social enterprise and environmental consulting group that offers a range of services in land conservation, sustainability planning and environmental communications to conservation authorities, land trusts and municipalities. A skilled strategist, public speaker and accomplished entrepreneur, Robert has delivered presentations and workshops as an expert on land securement across Canada. Working in partnership with municipalities and government agencies for many years, Robert has facilitated and advised on the protection and creative stewardship of over 10,000 acres of environmentally significant natural heritage lands and parks in Ontario’s urban and rural communities.
David is a real estate appraiser and consultant with de Stecher Appraisals in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Since the beginning of his appraisal career in 1980, David has had the opportunity to participate in a variety of interesting assignments throughout the Maritime Provinces. He has a broad range of experience with many different real estate-related issues including expropriation and assessment/payment-in-lieu of property tax review. In addition, David has provided consultations to both public and private clients for various reasons such as the negotiated settlement of First Nations land claims and rental disputes. He has also conducted studies on the impact of various external factors on real estate value and reviewed appraisal reports for an assortment of purposes. However, true to his Maritime roots, David still enjoyed assignments related to waterfront and island properties and relished the opportunity to do an inspection in his kayak.
David has been an active member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada for over forty years and has served on various Institute committees and the Board of Directors during that time. He was named as a Fellow of the Appraisal Institute of Canada in 2008.
Since 2014, David has been the Chair of Environment Canada’s Ecological Gift Program Appraisal Review Panel. As such, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the panel. This includes supervising the review of appraisals submitted by donors of ecological gifts in support of their estimate of fair market value and making recommendations to the Minister of Environment in this regard.
David M. Farner is executive vice president and chief strategic and transformation officer at UPMC. Mr. Farner works on UPMC strategic opportunities and initiatives and plays an active role in the executive direction of UPMC. He works closely as the Chief of Staff to the CEO and assumes a leadership role regarding merger and acquisitions, payor contracting, marketing, communications and overall strategy.
Prior to Mr. Farner’s current position, he served as the Interim Chief Financial Officer for the System, and has served in numerous financial leadership roles over his 35 plus years at UPMC.
Mr. Farner is a graduate of Westminster College. He serves on the boards of Westminster College, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Evolent Health.
Along with his wife Laura, they enjoy the outdoors with their two boys Max and Samuel. They spend time each summer at their family cottage in the North Channel of Lake Huron.
David Genter is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, student of nature and has been fortunate to have engaged in a career in Science and Conservation that fed this passion and curiosity. Following degrees in Biology (Univ of Colorado) and Zoology (Univ of Montana) he spent several years as a Research Associate at UM. A move to Helena for a position with The Nature Conservancy where he initiated and established the award winning Montana Natural Heritage Program and the Natural Resource Information System (NRIS). After fourteen years as Director and Zoologist, Genter signed on with the Trust for Public Land as Director for the Northern Rockies Program. In this role he initiated and completed some of the largest land and forest conservation projects in the country, working with private landowners, timber and mining companies, local communities, other non-profits and a vast array of agency and elected officials to engage and complete land transactions across a three state region. Following nine productive years at TPL Genter started his private land conservation business, Big Sky Land Group, working with local communities, land trusts and private landowners to craft significant conservation acquisitions and easements, focusing on areas with critical wildlife habitat, communities with high rates of development and growth and needs for public access and recreation.
In retirement David has been involved in support of and volunteer service to several regional land trusts, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as a Hunter Education Instructor, the American Fisheries Society, and serves as Board Trustee with the Helena Symphony Orchestra.
David and his wife Heidi reside on their farm in southwestern Montana, along the Gallatin River near Bozeman. When not travelling to wild places across the globe or fly fishing near and far, they can be found at home with their 3 dogs, horses, honey bees and ever expansive gardens and orchard.
Michael J. Hart
Mike is currently Senior Appraiser at LandVest, Inc., a broad-based real estate company headquartered in Boston, where he engages in a broad range of valuation advisory, consulting, and brokerage assignments, including valuation for federal income, estate, and gift tax purposes, as well as land use, feasibility, and highest and best use studies. He joined LandVest in 1990, is a principal stockholder, and has sat on the company’s Board of Directors.
Mike’s practice is broadly focused on significant land-based assets, including investment-grade timberland, development land, resorts, remote natural amenity land, and prime residential property. He has specialized experienced in the valuation of conservation easements and historic preservation easements, including “landscape-scale” working forest easements. His clients include conservation non-profits, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners. He has worked throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean. and Latin America.
Carol Horne has more than 20 years as a marketing and communications executive in the Canadian tourism and culture sectors at both provincial and federal levels, As marketing manager at Tourism Prince Edward Island, Carol managed the advertising campaign, led the publication of 15 years of Visitor’s Guides, and directed website content. Carol obtained her Master of Arts in Island Studies from UPEI in 2006; her thesis is titled “Measuring Landscape Preferences” focussing on means to evaluate cultural and aesthetic landscapes. She also served as a board member on the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust, the Island Nature Trust and the Land Use Policy Task Force.
She was President of The Charlottetown Film Society from 2017-2020, which purchased City Cinema and is now operating the Cinema on a non-profit basis.
At the Canadian Tourism Commission based in Vancouver, BC, Carol led the creation of Canada’s online media centre and managed content procurement. She also spearheaded innovative multi-media partnerships with NBC, Conde Nast and American Express Publishers. While at the CTC, Carol also managed an E-newsletter program for the US market.
From 2012- 2018, Carol held the role of Chief Marketing Officer with Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PEI, where she led a marketing, communications and development team that promoted the complex’s art gallery, 1,100-seat theatre, restaurant and gift shop. She currently offers content creation, public relations and marketing and strategy services through her company Wordscape Communications.
Keith is a Senior Advisor with LandVest, a broad-based real estate company, working on conservation advisory services to private landowners, non-profit conservation organizations, public agencies, and charitable foundations specializing in conservation transactions, successfully completed the largest purchased forest land conservation easement in North America, the Pingree Forest Partnership on 762,192 acres in Maine, is a founder of the North East Wilderness Trust and the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. He has a BS in Forestry from UMass (1977) and a Masters in Environmental law from Vermont Law School (1985), holds MA professional foresters license # 211, and is a licensed Mass, NY and CT real estate Broker, and a member of the Mass State Forester Licensing Board, past Board Chair for the Trustees of the Conway School of Landscape Design, past Board member of the Northern Forest Center and lives in Warwick, Mass serving on the Board of Assessors, Open Space Committee and the Town Forest Committee.
Sandra Tassel is the President of Look at the Land Inc, a conservation consulting firm that works with non-profit and governmental entities involved in saving land. Tassel is the author of The Conservation Program Handbook published by Island Press. The purpose of the handbook is to assist local governments and conservation advocates involved in starting new land acquisition programs. Tassel consults with communities around the country to help them establish or improve their conservation programs.
In addition, she is a frequent contributor to national publications related to land conservation, including writing the chapters on both local governments and partnerships for The Conservation Easement Handbook, published by the Land Trust Alliance and the Trust for Public Land (TPL). Tassel regularly leads trainings related to land protection for organizations such as American Planning Association and the Land Trust Alliance. Prior to becoming a consultant, Tassel was the founder and director of the TPL’s office in Colorado where she did all conservation transactions in the state and helped lead some of the region’s first successful conservation finance measures.
During the years that she lived in Colorado she helped found the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and served on the board and on the executive committee for many years.
Allyn Abbott joined the Board of Directors of American Friends of Canadian Conservation at the beginning of 2017. Allyn lives in Gravenhurst, Muskoka, Ontario where she has served on the board of the Muskoka Conservancy, one of American Friends’ partner land trusts, including 6 years as the president. Allyn’s background as a biologist with Environment Canada followed by a career as a lawyer is a good match for American Friends’ work to protect Canada’s ecologically significant landscapes. “I joined the American Friends to get involved with their important work of helping Americans to permanently protect wild spaces in Canada. Because some of the properties have been owned for generations, the families have a deep love of their land and are eager to ensure that their properties are preserved forever.”
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