American Friends is governed by a talented board of directors representing both Canada and the United States.

John Ross

President
John W. Peirce

John W. Peirce

Vice President

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.

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. in a 22-sided, geothermally-heated house. In retirement, John operates a market garden on their property featuring numerous shared-land projects and designs rainwater-harvesting systems.

John is 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 BC conservation easement. His many other community roles include 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 is a member of the Corporation (essentially an extended Board of Trustees) of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Christopher Baines

Christopher Baines

Secretary

Christopher Baines has extensive experience working with land trusts in Canada having served as both staff and on the board of the Georgian Bay Land Trust. He is also a past Chair of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (the service centre of Ontario’s 34 land trusts) and served on the board for seven years. He was also involved in the formation of the Canadian Land Trust Alliance and was instrumental in the adoption of the set of Canadian Standards and Practices for all land trusts in Canada.

Christopher has experience in government (executive assistant to two cabinet ministers in Ontario), business (publisher at Southam), and the non-profit field. Mr. Baines, a mediator since 1996, is a principal with Allport Associates, a firm that specializes in dealing with estate planning around “family lands transfer” issues.

Hally Swift

Hally Swift

Co-treasurer

Hally Swift, MBA, is Director of Finance for the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington, where she oversees a complex $7 million budget composed of state, earned income, grant and gift funds.  She has worked with staff and consultants to implement institutional and departmental dashboards tied to the museum’s strategic goals.

Hally has 20 years of experience in nonprofit finance, accounting, and management including executive staff positions at the Burke, The Mountaineers Books (a nonprofit publisher), and King County Emergency Medical Services; as well as volunteer positions as a board officer of Washington Trails Association, Publishers Association of the West and a backcountry plant monitor for Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program.  As time allows she spends time on her family’s American-owned Canadian land.

Ron Rose

Ron Rose

Co-treasurer

A Chartered Accountant from New Brunswick, Ron is a Tax Partner with the firm of Grant Thornton LLP, a major international firm. Ron has been in public accounting practice for more than 40 years, all but 3 years as an income tax specialist. He has provided wide-ranging tax planning and compliance services to corporate clients in numerous industries. Estate and succession planning is another key focus area for his practice. Ron has extensive experience implementing estate plans and estate freezes for high net worth individual and advising large estates on post mortem planning. Ron is a member of the Grant Thornton Succession & Estate Planning Committee, and has spoken frequently on the subject of estate planning and wealth preservation. He has also authored a number of papers and articles on these and other income tax topics. Ron was a long-time member of the firm‘s Tax Solutions

Jerry Brunen

Director

Jerry Brunen has enjoyed an extensive career in land and water conservation.  He has previously served with Ducks Unlimited Canada, overseeing Calgary area wetland projects integrating watershed management with urban growth, agricultural sustainability and economic development.  He has also led conservation policy development, youth education, and fundraising.   He was a founding director of Western Sky Land Trust in 2005, and served as board chair.  Jerry assumed the role of executive director of Western Sky in 2012, with a primary focus on watershed conservation within southern Alberta.

John Finley

Director

John and his wife Freda make their home in Toronto where he has practiced law for more than 40 years. And for almost 40 years they have been seasonal residents of the Muskoka region of Ontario where John has been engaged for the last 20 years in the activities of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation and in the establishment of the Muskoka Heritage Trust, a Muskoka based land trust that currently holds over 1650 acres of land, including 250 acres of wetland and more than 24,000 feet of Muskoka lakes shoreline. He is currently the past president of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation and a director of both the Muskoka Heritage Foundation and the Muskoka Heritage Trust.

Gary Goodwin

Gary Goodwin

Director

Executive Corporate Secretary and Counsel at Ducks Unlimited Canada, based at DUC’s headquarters in Manitoba.

Michael J. Hart

Director

Michael J. Hart is a Principal of LandVest, Inc., and is a real estate consultant specializing in the valuation of significant land-based assets, including institutional timberland, urban and suburban development land, coastal resort land, remote natural amenity land and residential estate property. He is experienced in federal estate and gift tax valuation, feasibility and highest and best use analysis, and the valuation of conservation easements. He has worked for government agencies, non-governmental organizations, conservation non-profits and private landowners.

Mr. Hart joined LandVest’s Real Estate Consulting Group in 1990 and currently sits on the firm’s Board of Directors. Mr. Hart is responsible for appraisal production and internal appraisal review and oversight at LandVest, and engages in a broad spectrum of real estate advisory, consulting and brokerage activity.

Mr. Hart’s practice has involved assignments for significant property located throughout the United States, in Canada, the Caribbean and in Latin America. He appraised the largest conservation easement in the U.S. (by land area), which involved the 755,000+ acre easement on the Pingree heirs’ land in Maine.

Jane Prohaska

Jane Prohaska

Director

Jane Prohaska is an attorney and independent consultant providing advice to conservation organizations around the country. She also currently serves as the Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota Zoo.

Jane has decades of experience in the conservation field. She previously served as President and Executive Director of the Minnesota Land Trust—one of the ten largest as well as one of the first accredited land trusts in the country. Prior to that, Jane worked for The Nature Conservancy—initially as Regional Counsel and later as Vice President and Midwest Regional Director. She has also worked for the Minnesota Attorney General where she practiced civil and criminal law in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels.

Jane is a frequent lecturer on conservation and legal issues. She is the author of the Land Trust Alliance curriculum publication Nonprofit Law and Recordkeeping for Land Trusts as well as numerous other conservation articles. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and is a cum laude graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Dave Secord

Director

Dave Secord lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, where he operates a small consultancy, Barnacle Strategies. An intertidal ecologist by training, he has divided his career between academia and foundation philanthropy. At Tides Canada Foundation, he founded and led a strategic grantmaking team focused on environmental and social solutions in several regions of Canada. Before that, he oversaw conservation granting in Alaska and BC for the Wilburforce Foundation. He has been active in philanthropic affinity groups including the Arctic Funders Collaborative, Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network, and Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. As a full-time professor for 12 years, he guided diverse environmental research and educational partnerships. He has been a Fellow of the International Canadian Studies Institute and the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, and retains faculty appointments at Simon Fraser University and the University of Washington.

Sandy McCoy

Sandy McCoy

Director

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.

Henry Tepper

Director

Henry Tepper has been a conservation leader in both the United States and abroad for twenty five years. He has been directly involved in the protection of almost one million acres in the US and Latin America. From 2013 to 2015, Henry served as the President of Massachusetts Audubon in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Previously Henry was Chief Conservation Officer and a Partner at Patagonia Sur, LLC, working to acquire and protect ecologically significant properties in Chilean Patagonia. In the past he was Vice President of State Programs for the National Audubon Society, and spent thirteen years at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), serving as State Director of TNC’s New Hampshire program and then in New York State.

Henry was a member of the Land Trust Alliance’s National Leadership Council, served on the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, and is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the International Land Conservation Network.

Henry holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and Admission to Doctoral Candidacy from Cornell University. He lives in Lincoln, MA, outside Boston, and is married to Jane Henoch, a nurse practitioner. They have two college-age children, Katherine and Miles.

Sandra Tassel

Sandra Tassel

Program Coordinator

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.

Konrad Liegel

Konrad Liegel

Legal Advisor
1463 E. Republican Street, #190 (mailing address)
Seattle, WA 98112-4517
206.491.2200 (phone/cell)
206.913.2794 (fax)
konrad@konradjliegel.com