Urban & Community Forestry Council

The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Council has advised staff in determining the direction and implementation of the Program since 1991. The Council is comprises twenty members representing professional associations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, regional officials, community tree boards, and state agencies. The Council is governed and operates under adopted bylaws; its members meet quarterly to share information and advise Program staff. Active membership and strong leadership through the Leadership Team of the Council are critical components to the group's effectiveness.  

The Council meets the second Wednesday of March, June, September, and December. All Council meetings are open to the public and meeting minutes are available upon request. If you are interested in attending, email elise.schadler@vermont.gov for time and location.


Council Members

Leadership Team

Melissa Levy, Chair
Community Roots, LLC

Melissa is the Principal and Owner of Community Roots, LLC, which is a small consulting firm specializing in wealth-based and natural resource-based community and economic development. Melissa has over 20 years of experience in the area of small town community and economic development.  She has worked with federal, state, and local governments, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and citizens groups on a wide range of natural resource based issues, including agriculture, forestry, nature-based tourism, community conservation, and more. 

Melissa earned her Master of Science in Natural Resource Planning from the University of Vermont and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Binghamton University. She is Secretary and Board Member of the Vermont Environmental Consortium. Melissa lives in Hinesburg, where she serves on the Economic Development Committee and also on the Revolving Loan Fund Committee.

Bonnie Waninger, Vice-chair
Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission

Bonnie provides leadership and visibility for the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission. She handles the administrative and organizational issues, as well as financial oversight. She also coordinates with other Vermont regional planning commissions, State agencies, and the Vermont General Assembly.

General Council Membership

Richard Amore
Planning and Outreach Manager, PLA/AICP
State of Vermont, Community Planning & Revitalization

Richard Amore is a licensed landscape architect and AICP certified urban planner with 17 years’ experience leading community-driven initiatives that builds local capacity through placemaking, urban design, and downtown revitalization. His experience in urban planning, community development, and landscape architecture gives him the ability to connect place-based initiatives with local and statewide economic development efforts. Amore serves on the executive board of the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council and is a guest lecturer at the University of Vermont. Richard holds a B.S. in Environmental Design, a Master of Landscape Architecture, and Master of Community Planning from Auburn University.


Josh Behounek
Business Development Manager
Davey Resource Group

Hi my name is Josh Behounek and my technical title is Business Development Manager for the Davey Resource Group's Environmental Consulting division although sometimes I prefer Theoretical Arborist.  I've worked for Davey for 20 years and currently my focus is on providing innovative and technical solutions for communities, nonprofits, commercial clients, and state agencies throughout the US & internationally to proactively and sustainably manage their trees and other natural resources.  I spent many years as a commercial climbing arborists and plant health care technician in the Chicago region.  I then moved to Columbia, MO where I started traveling the country for Davey, assisting communities with innovative urban forestry projects like inventorying all of Detroit's trees, writing the first Urban Forest Master Plan in Pittsburgh, and doing the largest i-Tree Eco project in the world in Chicago, to name a few.  While in Columbia I was also an Adjunct Professor of Urban Forestry for the University of Missouri.  I'm currently part of the Society of Municipal Arborist's Municipal Forestry Institute teaching cadre.  

I recently moved to Vermont and am loving living and working based out of this beautiful state!  I graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a bachelor's in Forestry Resource Management, am an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist with the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification, a graduate of the Society of Municipal Arborist's Municipal Forester Institute, and have hugged dozens of national champion trees.  I've also ridden in 3 Tour des Trees and love spending time on my bike, hiking, rock climbing, and winter sports.  

Cecilia Danks
Associate Professor
University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources

Cecilia's research at UVM focuses on the intersection of community well-being and forest stewardship. Her work has addressed issues in community-based forestry, community-based forest enterprises, communities and carbon markets, forest certification, community-level socioeconomic monitoring, institutions for collaborative management, and the working forest. Cecilia is interested in institutional arrangements for community-based resource management, especially as they affect equity and sustainability in: climate change policies, community-based forestry, and forest carbon.

Mike Fallis
Limbwalker Tree Service, Inc.

Mike has followed a crooked road getting to where he is today. He wandered around for a few years after leaving college and ended up In Oregon with a job at a tree service there called General Tree Service.  As time went by, he found himself more and more interested in the nature of trees, in the challenges of the work- both physical and mental, and in being absorbed in the task of climbing and working on trees. Tree work has a way of ensuring that problems, cares, or issues he might be dealing with stay on the ground as he begins to climb a tree in the morning and do not return until he reaches the ground again.  

Mike became a certified arborist, moved back to Hubbardton, VT, where he grew up, and started Limbwalker Tree Service. He completed the SOUL program in 2001, became an ISA Tree Risk Assessor in 2014, and hopes to eventually qualify to become a Registered Consulting Arborist. When not talking, climbing or analyzing trees, he enjoys summertime swimming holes, coaching youth soccer, playing with his kids and dog, and wandering in the woods with his wife. 

Steve Handfield
Independent Consulting Forester

Steve is an independent consulting forester based in Poultney VT. He prepares VT Current Use and NY 480A plans and maps for private landowners, and prepares and oversees the implementation of timber sales. After graduating from Poultney High School, he attended and graduated summa cum laude from Paul Smith’s College in 2012 with a B.S. in Forest Management and a certificate in GIS Technologies.

Steve is a Society of American Foresters Certified Forester, VT Licensed Forester, American Tree Farm Inspector, and NRCS Technical Service Provider. He is a member of the Vermont Forest Products Association and the Sons of the American Revolution. He has been on the Vermont Woodlands Association Board of Directors since 2016.

Ann Hazelrigg
Plant Pathologist
University of Vermont Extension

Ann has worked for UVM for over 30 years. She runs the Plant Diagnostic Clinic, where she diagnoses diseases and insect and weed problems for commercial growers and the general public. She also oversees the IPM program, the Pesticide Education and Safety program, and the Master Gardener Program for UVM Extension. 

Ann is a plant pathologist and received her B.S. from Colorado State University, M.S. from Cornell University and Ph.D. from UVM.

Emilie Inoue
State Pest Surveyor Coordinator
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets

Emilie grew up in Tokyo, Japan and came to live in the United States 19 years ago. Despite enjoying urban living in the center of one of the busiest cities in the world, Emilie realized her love of the natural world and more rural living after spending a summer of backpacking in Montana. With family on the east coast, Emilie ultimately decided to attend the University of Vermont to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry and graduated in 2004.

Emilie works for the Agency of Agriculture as the State Survey Coordinator and has been with the Agency for 10 years. The exotic pests that she surveys for are typically insects or pathogens that have been designated by the USDA as organisms that could cause harm to the US agriculture and/or general natural resources. In addition to surveys, Emilie also coordinates and oversees various Farm Bill related projects including the Forest Pest Outreach Project.

William Jewell
Owner/ Environmental Consultant, Landscape Architect
Wm Jewell and Company

William is the owner of WM Jewell and Company which Is an environmentally concerned firm dedicated to finding creative, practical and aesthetic solutions for land use projects and their interaction with the natural environment. The company offers a full range of landscape design and planning services to individuals, groups, state and local governments, and public and private agencies. Included are all phases of landscape design, town planning, permitting, environmental impact studies, and expert witness on: aesthetics, planting design, noise abatement, ecologically sound gravel mining reclamation and oil spill reclamation, erosion control, town plans, and agriculture lands. 

William is the vice chair of the Guilford Conservation Commission. Has a bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from Pennsylvania State University and masters degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England. 

Suzanne Kelley, MSW
Healthy Communities Coordinator
VT Department of Health

Suzanne manages the Healthy Community Design Program for the Vermont Department of Health, providing support to state and community-based health, planning, and municipal leaders to increase access to healthy food and places to be physically active for all Vermonters.  Suzanne also manages Vermont's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), a USDA obesity prevention program for people who are eligible to receive SNAP benefits.  Suzanne is dedicated to promoting physical activity, healthy food access, and supporting vibrant, livable communities through programs, policies, and systems changes where all people regardless of race, gender, economic status, or ability, can thrive.  

Lee Krohn, AICP
Town Manager
Town of Shelburne

Lee is currently the Town Manager for Shelburne, VT.  Lee is AICP certified senior planner and previously worked for the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC), on land use, transportation, and emergency management issues. Prior to working for CCRPC, Lee was the longtime Planning Director, Tree Warden, et al for the Town of Manchester. He was a founding member and longtime Chair of the Manchester Community Land Trust and played a key role in a number of land conservation projects. Lee has a BA from Franklin and Marshall College and a Master's degree from the Duke University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Lee graduated with the inaugural class of the Vermont Leadership Institute, holds Vermont Firefighter 1 certification, and serves on the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department. Lee is a widely published, award-winning professional photographer, is an Outward Bound alum, and enjoys road cycling, running, open water kayaking, and nordic/backcountry skiing.

Robert L. McCullough
Professor, History Department
University of Vermont

Bob teaches in the University of Vermont’s Historic Preservation Program and writes about American landscapes. His books include; Landscape of Community- A History of Communal Forests in New England; A Path for Kindred Spirits- The Friendship of Clarence Stein and Benton MacKaye; Crossings- A History of Vermont Bridges; and Old Wheelways - Traces of Bicycle History on the Land.  His current project documents the bicycle industry’s contributions to nineteenth-century industrial architecture.  Bob has been a member of the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council since 1995 and has sought recognition of New England’s town forests as important historic cultural landscapes.  He and principal author Sarah Graulty nominated the Hinesburg Town Forest to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, the country’s first individually listed town forest.  He has also contributed a chapter, “Town Forests–The Massachusetts Plan,” to Stepping Back to Look Forward. A History of the Massachusetts Forest, Charles H.W. Foster, ed.

Sara Packer
Transmission & Distribution
Vegetation Management Program Manager
Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Sara is currently the Transmission & Distribution Vegetation Management Program Manager for Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc. (VEC), the State’s second largest electric utility based in Johnson, VT. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of a Vegetation Management Program, which is largely responsible for notable improvements in the company’s electric reliability. Sara joined VEC in 2005 after practicing forest management throughout the Northeast Kingdom for nearly 15 years.

Sara is a Society of American Foresters Certified Forester and is a Licensed Forester in the States of Vermont and New Hampshire.  She is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Utility Arborist Association.  Sara holds an Associate degree in Natural Resource Management from Sterling College and a B.S. in Forest Management from the University of Maine.

When she is not working to improve reliability to VEC’s 32,000 member-owners, Sara enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.

Tim Parsons
Landscape Horticulturist
Middlebury College

Tim Parsons has been the Landscape Horticulturist at Middlebury College since 2006. His responsibilities include care and maintenance of the colleges’ urban forest, landscape design and installation, and sustainable turf grass management. He teaches a winter term Biology class, Trees and the Urban Forest, which looks at not only tree and urban forest biology, but computer modeling for urban tree benefits. He is a member of the college’s Master Plan Implementation Committee, the Emergency Response Team, and the Community Council, and has served on the Environmental Council. Tim graduated from the University of Vermont in 1989 with a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science with an Environmental Studies co-major. He is a Vermont Certified Horticulturist, and a Certified Arborist and Tree Risk Assessor qualified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

In the Green industry for over 35 years, he has run a garden center, ran his own landscape design/build company, and been a caretaker for a large estate. Tim lives at the base of Snake Mountain in Weybridge, Vermont, with his wife, 3 daughters, and too many gardens. He writes about the landscape and environmental topics on his blog, The Middlebury Landscape.

David Raphael
Principal/Landscape Architect & Planner

David founded LandWorks in 1986 after ten years of professional work as a Landscape Architect and Planner for the public and private sector. He is a graduate, with honors, from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he studied English, ecology, and graphic design. He attended Harvard University Graduate School of Design with a Crocker Scholarship and graduated with a Masters in Landscape Architecture. He also completed the Dartmouth College Outward Bound January Semester and the Snelling Center Vermont Leadership Institute.

David has been an Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University, on the faculty of Middlebury College, and is currently a Lecturer in the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, where he has been teaching courses in aesthetics, environmental design, and landscape architecture since 1982. Additionally, David has been Chairman of his local Planning Commission and Development Review Board for 25 years and was a founding member of the Middlebury Design Advisory Committee. David is a member of and served as chair of the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council, he is a Trustee of the Lake Champlain Land Trust and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association and The Society of Environmental Graphic Design.

David has lived in Panton, VT for 36 years with his wife of 43 years, Diana, and has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. 

Tim Smith
City Arborist and Forester
City of Rutland

Tim was hired by the City of Rutland as the Assistant Forester in November of 2016, and then took over as the City Arborist and Forester upon David Schneider's retirement in January 2021.  Tim earned his bachelor's degree in Forestry from Paul Smith's College and holds his ISA Arborist Certification, Vermont Pesticide Applicator's License, and Vermont Forester's License.  Tim is an avid hunter and resides in Orwell with his wife and children.  

Warren Spinner
Retired City Arborist
City of Burlington

Now retired, Warren was Burlington’s City Arborist for 34 years. He is an ISA and Massachusetts Certified Arborist working in Commercial, Municipal, and Consulting Arboriculture since 1976. Warren has served as State Director, President and Certification Liaison for the New England Chapter – ISA. He is a member of the advisory board for the Arboriculture and Landscape Management program at Paul Smith’s College. Locally he has been actively involved with the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program and is a current council member and past chair. He is also the volunteer Tree Warden in his hometown of Essex Junction, VT which also has an active Tree Committee that has completed a Tree Inventory, Tree Policy and recently completed a Tree Management Plan.

Ethan Tapper
Chittenden County Forester
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Ethan has been the Chittenden County Forester for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation since 2016. In this capacity, Ethan advises and educates landowners and interested citizens regarding forests, forest ecology, and forest management, administers Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal Program, and manages municipal forests in Chittenden County. Ethan is a native Vermonter and a graduate of the University of Vermont. 

Heather Voisin
Green Infrastrucutre Engineer
Vermont Agency of Transportation

Heather is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and has been working as an engineer with a focus on stormwater for over 20 years.  She is the Green Infrastructure Engineer for the Vermont Agency of Transportation, promoting the incorporation of vegetation and natural treatment measures within the transportation network.  She has also worked as the Agency's Construction Environmental Engineer for several years.