Ralph Peck, President, and his wife, Jane, have lived in Holden since 1974. For 15 years Ralph has been chairman of Boy Scout Troop 180, formerly known as Bob Elms’ troop. He was among those present with the Scouts when they demonstrated camping out at Trout Brook, in Winter Carnivals past. He is a native of Springfield, a graduate of Williams College and The University of Michigan Law School, and worked with the commercial real estate department at State Mutual and has practiced law independently.
Scott Morrison, Vice President, is a wetland and soil scientist. Formerly he was a park ranger working in several Massachusetts State Parks. His interests include environmental education and land preservation. In his free time he enjoys hiking, kayaking, and skiing.
Paul McManus, Treasurer, has managed to turn a life-long love of the outdoors into a career as an ecologist and wetland scientist. In addition to working with White Oak, he is active in the International Society of Wetland Scientists, and has served as the New England Chapter President. He lives in Holden with his wife Margaret. The McManus family and dog Minnie spends as much time as possible on the snow, in the woods, and messing around in boats.
Kenneth Strom, Secretary, a lifelong resident of Holden, is a Professional Land Surveyor and civil engineer with LandTech Consultants in Westford. He holds BS Civil Engineering Technology from Central New England College. He has been a member of the Holden Conservation Commission for 19 years and was involved with the Boy Scout program in Holden with Pack 46 and Troop 182 for nearly 20 years as Cubmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster in charge of the troop’s camping and high adventure activities. In his free time he enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and camping.
Richard Callahan has enjoyed a lifetime interest in nature. He received a BS in Biology from Holy Cross and a PhD in Entomology from UMass Amherst, where he developed methods to detect and measure the sub lethal effects of pesticides. He developed the method used to destroy Agent Orange, led large oceanographic surveys, cofounded a public pharmaceutical company and an electronic chip maker, and helped others start technology companies. He currently studies the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on honeybees. A runner for decades, he enjoys bike riding, kayaking, dog training, travel, and preserving natural places.
Anthony Costello was drawn to conservation work as a result of spending his childhood in the English countryside, and has been an enthusiastic naturalist since he was five. He loves rural places and wild places, preferably open upland. A retired psychiatrist and university professor, he worked for the British Medical Research Council on studies of child development before coming to the States. He is now a member of the Holden Conservation Commission.
Dixie Estes is the principal of Naquag Elementary School in our neighboring town of Rutland. She has worked in the Wachusett Regional School District for over twenty years. Before she was a school administrator, she was a 4th grade classroom teacher and a K – 12 curriculum liaison. As an educator, she is committed to enhancing environmental education and considers it her responsibility to share, model and teach the importance of land and natural resources conservation. Originally from Tennessee, Dixie’s enjoys enjoys kayaking, hiking and traveling whenever possible.
Jennifer Leith is a retired elementary teacher who worked for 37 years in Maine and Massachusetts. She is passionate about environmental education and has won two environmental awards from the Commonwealth. She has been instrumental in creating and maintaining nature trails for elementary students and instilling the love of the outdoors. In 2010 she was awarded “Preserve America teacher of the Year” for the state of Massachusetts.
Kelley Lindquist grew up in Holden and graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in 2013. She then went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Framingham State University in 2017. In between school years, Kelley spent her summers volunteering at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary with their weekly field crew, whose jobs consisted mainly of trail maintenance and overall upkeep of the sanctuary grounds. She turned her passion for the environment into a reality when she accepted an internship with the Brewster Conservation Trust in the summer of 2018. Kelley loves spending time in nature and working towards her career goals in the conservation world.
Craig McColl, a retired airline pilot who grew up in Holden, has degrees in history and education from The University of Connecticut and Assumption College. He taught history at the Thomas Prince School for nine years and led local history tours for many years. In his free time he took flying lessons and left teaching to pursue a flying career retiring from US Airways. He moved back to Holden in 1993 and joined White Oak because he believes in the mission of saving open space. He enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and cross-country skiing.