Team Members

Board of Directors

Jim Pross

President

Jim is a shareholder at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott in Auburn, Maine, where his law practice focuses on landlord/tenant relations, municipal law, workers’ compensation, and general litigation. Jim graduated college in 1999 with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Charleston.  After graduation, Jim worked in the West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue and then as a special aid to the Governor, the late Cecil H. Underwood.  After his work in state government, Jim moved to Concord, New Hampshire to attend law school.  He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2004.  Jim served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Androscoggin Land Trust from 2009 – 2018, including two years as Vice President and two years as President. His commitment to conservation is rooted in his upbringing in rural Sussex County, New Jersey. There, he developed an early appreciation for the many ways that open spaces, farmland, and public parks serve as the fabric of a community. Jim recently served two year terms as an Auburn City Councilor and as a member of the Auburn School Committee. His wife, Mia, hails from Lewiston, and the two reside in Auburn with their daughter.  Jim has played in two films, enjoys hiking, playing the guitar, and skiing with his family.

Marian (Kitsie) Claxton

Vice President

A Massachusetts native, Kitsie earned a B.A. in history from Princeton University in 1973 and worked in community planning, healthcare writing, and bookselling prior to making a mid-life career transition into end-of-life care.  She earned a Master’s of Divinity from Bangor Theological Seminary in 2006 and worked as a hospice chaplain with Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice for more than a decade. An avid quilter, Kitsie frequently collaborates with other quilters to support local non-profit agencies. She also volunteers time on behalf of the Trinity Jubilee Center and Green Dot L/A, a local violence prevention program. Kitsie is a long-time active member of the First Universalist Church (Unitarian Universalist) in Auburn. She enjoys lake and ocean kayaking, walking, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities that draw her into the beauty and diversity of natural landscapes. She and her husband Ned have lived in Auburn since 1978; they have two grown sons and a granddaughter. She currently chairs ALT’s Development Committee.

Mary Howes

Secretary

Mary is a life-long resident of Maine. After running her own businesses for 34 years, she is now retired and enjoying her time as a grandmother. She is still active in volunteering her time – as secretary for ALT and Chair of the Board for the Greater Franklin Development Council, which encourages economic development. Mary is president of the North Jay White Granite Park, which celebrates the history of the granite quarries in North Jay, along with outdoor recreation. The park with hiking trails and picnic areas was established on her family property. She is married and a proud mother of 2 grown sons.

Dana Little

Treasurer

Dana has worked as a family practice doctor in the Lewiston/Auburn area since 1991, recently focusing on addiction medicine.  He came to this area from Cleveland, Ohio where he taught family medicine at Case Western and before that practiced medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Dana has a degree in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts and a medical degree from Tufts University in Boston.

Dana loves being outside whether that is bird-watching, gardening or hiking on ALT lands.  He has been with ALT since 2005.

He lives with his wife Kay in Auburn, has three children who grew up in the community and now enjoys watching his grandchildren experience the natural world in Maine.

Melissa Bilodeau

Missy is from Auburn and loves to hike, walk her dog, and enjoy the outdoors.  Missy began with the land trust in 2014 doing trail maintenance for the LA Trails along the Androscoggin river.  Because of the Land Trust’s focus to conserve areas of ecological importance and promote outdoor experiences, Missy has become more involved with ALT, Co-chairing the Stewardship Committee, and becoming a Board Member in 2016.  Missy graduated from Springfield College with a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training.  She works as an Athletic Trainer at Central Maine Conditioning Clinic helping active people rehabilitate injuries, strengthen their bodies and lead healthier lives.

Deb Charest

Deb was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine and is now raising her family in Auburn. After working in banking for nearly 20 years, Deb went back to school and graduated from the University of Southern Maine earning a degree in Natural and Applied Science and Environmental Issues. Upon graduating Deb spent several years working as an environmental educator as well as three years working for Androscoggin Land Trust, and now Deb is enjoying her rewarding role as a Lewiston Middle School science teacher. Deb is thrilled to be returning to ALT in this capacity to help carry out the important mission of conserving Maine’s beautiful lands and waters.

Robert Kleckner

Bob has been a member of ALT since the late 1990’s, starting with a couple of years on the Board of Directors before having to back off in the face of a daily commute to Portland. Now retired, he has been enjoying his return to active duty with ALT. He has a BA in Biology from Hartwick College and PhD in Zoology from URI. Happiest when in the field, he participated on 15 oceanographic cruises and spent six lovely February through April seasons working on the Penobscot estuary, all while studying aspects of fish migratory biology. Love struck and in 1985 he accompanied his wife Nancy from Orono to UNC Chapel Hill where she completed a PhD in neuropharmacology. There Bob spun his varied background into a statistical analyst position in Epidemiology at UNC. He has a truly bizarre publication list including 15 research paper’s each in Ichthyology and Epidemiology. Nancy accepted a position at Bates College in 1994 and Bob kept his UNC position for another 5+ years by telecommuting. He then worked for Anthem as an epidemiologist and finally retired in 2013 from the Informatics Department at Martin’s Point Health Care in Portland. Bob and Nancy love to cross country ski, hike, kayak and travel.

Paula Curtis Everett

Paula is a retired registered nurse and health educator who has worked with elders, children, and in the health insurance industry. She became a Maine Master Naturalist in 2015.  She has seen herself as a naturalist/environmentalist since 1973 when her son Andy was about three. She owned an old farm in Chesterville, Maine, where she lived late spring and summer. She and her son, Andy, had a favorite place they walked to in the woods to sit under an old hemlock and read stories together.  The summer when Andy was turning four, she gathered their books and they walked to the their favorite spot in the woods. When they arrived after a year’s absence, what they saw broke their hearts. Acres and acres of trees had been clearcut, their favorite tree gone, no bird song was heard. Andy looked and said “Mummy, where have all the trees gone?” No answer came, only silence.

Paula has lived in North Auburn for 35 years on an old farm of seven acres that abuts the water district land. She calls it a habitat where she lives with her husband, dog and cat, many birds, porcupines, skunks, deer, squirrels, fishers, coyotes, foxes, deer mice and whatever else wants to live in the back yard.  She is an Androscoggin Hospice volunteer, a member of Stanton Bird Club’s Board/education committee, the Auburn Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, and recently the Senior College Board/curriculum committee.  She has lead hikes and snowshoe treks with her husband, and enjoys snowshoeing/hiking, drawing, camping, painting, reading, keeping a nature journal, and gardening.

Judy Marden

Judy lives in an old farmhouse on a “mountaintop” in Greene, Maine. Her surrounding 200 acres of woods and fields, called the “Marden-Chittick Refuge,” are covered by Conservation Easements held by ALT since 2003. She is returning to the Board after a hiatus of two years, having previously served as Vice President, President, and Chair of the Lands Committee. Before retirement, her last career (of five, all at Bates College over a span of 38 years) was managing the coastal Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area. Judy remains an advisor to the Bates Outing Club and co-chair of its Centennial Celebration. An avid cross country skier, snowshoer, and kayaker, her favorite way to spend time is in the woods and on the water.

Wylie Mitchell

Having grown up in Kansas City, Wylie graduated from Williams College in 1973. His career in college admissions began at Boston University before moving to Maine where he worked for 33 years at Bates until retiring in 2011 as Dean of Admissions Emeritus. More recently he was the Visiting Dean at Bowdoin and Colby, and college counselor at Waynflete, Chewonki Semester School, and Aiglon College in Switzerland. He has served on the boards of Chewonki, Hebron and Waynflete.

Residing in Auburn for over 40 years, Barbara and Wylie’s three grown children and their families live nearby in Portland and Boston. They all enjoy activities such as hiking and maintaining trails, kayaking and sailing, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. One of Wylie’s favorite activities is outdoor photography.

Joshua Nagine

Originally from New Hampshire, Joshua has called Androscoggin County home for almost two decades. As a child spending summers on the family subsistence farm in Richmond, NH with his grandfather, he developed an interest in the interplay of natural environment, local history, agriculture, and outdoor activities which has blossomed into a passion. An avid hiker and outdoors enthusiast, Joshua believes that empowering people to experience our shared wild and green spaces facilitates stewardship and conservation. Joshua gravitated to ALT’s mission due to the overlap in focus and currently volunteers for ALT as a Property Steward of the Packard-Littlefield farm. A former business owner in Lewiston, Joshua works as a business development manager for a leading international travel company located in Portland, ME when he isn’t promoting public trail access, expansion, maintenance and usage or supporting local food access and agricultural small business integration in our community.

Debbie Poliquin

Debbie is from Lewiston. She is a wife and mother of two young adult children. Her daughter, Jamie, currently attends UMO, and her son, Adam, is a graduate of MMA. Debbie attended Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She is employed as a Senior Accountant at Androscoggin Bank where she has worked for the last 22 years. She first became involved with the Androscoggin Land Trust when her bank participated in an Androscoggin River Clean-up Event in June of 2015. She has more recently taken part in some of the Androscoggin Land Trust snowshoe hikes in 2018 and 2019. Debbie is a member of the Central Maine New England Mountain Bike Association, and enjoys biking the Maine trail systems with her local biking group known as the Dirt Divas. When not working or biking, she enjoys spending time with her family, snowshoeing, reading, and listening to blue grass music. Debbie looks forward to serving the land trust by helping to promote outdoor experiences along the protected lands of the Androscoggin River Greenway.

Amy Soper

Amy Soper works as a Conservationist with 7 Lakes Alliance in Belgrade, managing the organization’s Stewardship and Courtesy Boat Inspection programs. One of her main responsibilities is stewardship of the Kennebec Highlands, which spans more than 10,000 acres. Amy earned a Master’s degree in Sustainable Natural Resource Management from Unity College, during which she worked on a project with the Maine DEP focusing on public support to combat aquatic invasive plant species. Amy has also worked as an intervention teacher at RSU 73, where she incorporated conservation and wildlife into her curriculum. She has been actively involved in her family’s logging business since she was a young child, and continues to live in her home town of Livermore where she is now raising her two very busy boys. Her hobbies include almost all forms of outdoor recreation: snowmobiling, skiing and ice fishing in the winter; hiking and riding her motorcycle in the summer. Amy has hiked many of the great peaks of Maine, fished some of the most pristine lakes and ventured through some rugged terrain: these experiences have solidified her belief that Maine’s natural wonders need to be conserved for all to experience and enjoy.

Travis Sparks

Born and raised in Windham, Travis is a lifelong resident of Maine who now lives in Bowdoin with his wife.  He earned a BS in Computer Science from the University of Maine at Orono, and has worked as a Software Developer/Engineer for twenty years. Travis grew up in a rural, riverside area, and with a wildlife rehabilitator parent, nature was a part of everyday life.  Today, he loves to be outdoors as much as possible, and especially enjoys hiking, exploring the woods, bird-watching, gardening, and working around the homestead.  He is a Maine Master Naturalist, and leads groups on nature walks to explore ALT properties.  He is excited to continue sharing his love and knowledge of nature with others, and to help ensure that there are ample public spaces available for exploring.

Rick Speer

Rick, originally from western Pennsylvania, moved to Androscoggin County in 1984 where he served as the director of the Lewiston Public Library for 33 years prior to retiring in 2017. Many of his lifelong interests revolve around his love for Maine’s wild landscapes. Over the years he has backpacked the entire Appalachian Trail in Maine and has canoed many of the state’s waterways. A volunteer stint as a guide at Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary led him to an interest in the flora of Maine which he nourishes through his involvement with the Josselyn Botanical Society and his work as a Plant Conservation Volunteer with the New England Wildflower Society. Other community commitments include serving on the Boards of Directors of both the Maine Humanities Council and the Auburn Nordic Ski Association.

Elwood (Woody) Trask

Woody is a Bates Alumnus who earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Tufts University. Now retired, he previously led textile product design and development for a range of industries involved in the use of recycled plastics for over 35 years. He remains connected to chemistry in retirement by serving as the volunteer water quality monitor for Taylor Pond, where he will be involving Bates students to encourage their research of water quality year-round. Woody is a firm believer in the power of education and ‘on the land’ experiences as part of learning. His support of youth and education includes 12 years of active leadership with Head Start. Also dedicated to music, Woody sings with the Androscoggin Chorale. Woody and his wife live in Auburn.

ALT Staff