Grania “Binti” Ackley
Binti is a longtime member of Avalonia and has served as both the Stonington Town Chair and Town Director. She was a nature kid growing up and, after time spent as a theater stage manager and later a nurse, she is happily back to nature.
Richard Davis Conant Jr.
Richard “Dick” Conant has a Masters degree in Marine Science and is recently retired from a 33 year career with the Federal government working as a marine biologist for the National Park Service, a freshwater wetland biologist for USDA, a wetland regulatory biologist for the Corps of Engineers and finally as the Environmental Director at the Naval Submarine base in New London. Dick has lived with his wife Catherine in Mystic for over twenty years and has three sons. Dick is an avid hiker and skier and has recently completed the AMC’s 100 highest peaks of New England and a quest to ski all 89 alpine ski areas in New England.
Scott Dawley has a degree in Forest Technology from Unity College in Unity, Maine. He has worked for State of Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for 34 years and currently holds the position of District Operation Supervisor for Parks an Forest for the Eastern District.
Russell “Rusty” Morrison is a retired U.S. Navy submarine Commander who currently works in the pharmaceutical industry. He is a longtime member of the Stonington Town Committee.
Dennis S. Main has an MBA, with a concentration in Finance and Accounting, from the University of CT and is a retired Financial Manager with the State of CT. Dennis is also a CT Licensed Real Estate Broker and is a contractor for forestry management projects with USDA. He and his wife Renee reside at Mainagery Farm in Bozrah. They have two grown daughters Carrie and Rachel. He has served on the Inland Wetlands Commission and Board of Finance and is currently the Chair of the Bozrah Board of Assessment Appeals. He is also a Norwich Golf Course and Audubon Society member, enjoying forestry, gardening and golf in the north and kayaking and bird stalking in Florida in the wintertime.
Michael Pernal has a Ph.D with a major in higher education administration from the University of Connecticut. He recently retired from Eastern Connecticut State University where he served as Executive Vice President from 1998 to 2013 and, in 2006, as Interim President. During his years at Eastern, he was also active as a member of the Windham area United Way Board of Directors and as co-chair of the March of Dimes walk. In addition to Avalonia, Mike volunteers at the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center and is on the board of the Friends of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony.
He and his wife, Maureen, summer on Cape Cod and there spend time with their favorite hobby, grandparents to five grandchildren.
Sue has an MBA in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and is a retired financial executive and corporate treasurer for a multibillion dollar global manufacturing company. She has over 30 years’ experience negotiating financial transactions for sales, debt, foreign exchange, leasing, real estate, insurance, etc.
Since 2007, she has identified, negotiated and teamed with other volunteers, the State and Federal Government to preserve over 1,000 acres of environmentally rich land now open to the public. Recently, numerous landowners have contacted Avalonia to preserve their land. A capital plan has been formed to accomplish this which will add to greenways in Southeastern Connecticut. Sue enjoys hiking, mountain biking, boating and growing native plants.
Chuck Toal – Director of Development and Programs
Chuck moved to Noank, CT in 2013 with his wife Deb after living in Colchester, CT the previous 30 years. He retired as Eastern Director of Sales for Wigwam Mills, Inc. in 2015 in order to spend time with family and pursue his passion for land conservation. Chuck is a founding board member of the Colchester Land Trust, serving as its vice president for six years and chairing the Accreditation and Funding Committees. He currently serves as vice chair of the Steering Committee for the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, a statewide guidance association for Connecticut’s 130+ land conservation groups. Chuck is an avid fly fisherman, having fished the rivers of 30 states. He and Deb have two grown sons and four grand kids.