The Jonah Center Board of Directors
John Hall, Executive Director, was the primary initiator of the Jonah Center in 2004. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Carleton College and his Master of Divinity degree from Yale. Over the years, he has been actively involved in a wide variety of local and regional energy and environmental efforts. He served as as the City of Middletown’s Energy Coordinator from 2011-2015.
He was instrumental in forming Middletown’s Clean Energy Task Force and Complete Streets Committee, Portland’s Air Line Trail Steering Committee and Complete Streets Group, and Ecoin (the Environmental Collective Impact Network). In the summer, he organizes the Jonah Center’s work parties to remove invasive water chestnut from the Floating Meadows/Mattabesset River and to preserve this freshwater tidal marsh as a sanctuary for wildlife. John is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, and from 1990-2011 was Senior Minister of First Church of Christ, Congregational, UCC, in Middletown.
Krishna Winston, President, served on the municipal task force that created Middletown’s mandatory recycling program, and has chaired the Resource Recycling Advisory Council (now the Middletown Recycling Commission) since its inception. She advocated for the creation of the Swap Shack at the Recycling Center. With a B.A. from Smith College and a Ph.D. from Yale, she teaches German studies at Wesleyan, where she serves on the Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship and is affiliated with the College of the Environment. A professional translator, she has published over thirty books. A former long-time trustee of the Independent Day School in Middlefield, she has also served on the North End Action Team’s Housing Committee.
Jonathan Morris, Vice-President, is a Professor of Biology at Manchester Community College. While living in East Haddam (1994 to 2010), he was a founding member of the reactivated East Haddam Conservation Commission. He also served as a member of the Wild and Scenic River Study Committee for the 8-Mile River, and was a founding member of the East Haddam Lakes Association. After moving to Middletown, he served on the Middletown Commission on Conservation and Agriculture for 5 years. He also served on the Middlesex County Water and Soil Conservation District Advisory Committee, and participated in the Connecticut Amphibian Monitoring Program. For 5-years he led NEAT’s Youth Hiking Club with his wife Pam. He was a participant in the 2011 Coverts Project Seminar on forest management offered by the UCONN Extension System. Jon continues to be active and enthusiastic about forest and wildlife conservation and fighting climate change.
Susan Hall, Secretary, worked for 25 years in museums in Minnesota and Missouri as an editor, curator, associate director, and director prior to moving to Middletown in 1998. She retired as the Development Director for Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in 2011. Susan received her bachelor’s degree in art history from Carleton College and her master’s in art history from the University of Minnesota. She was one of the founding members of the Jonah Center in 2004.
Bob Herron, Treasurer, became a board member in 2015. He enjoys fundraising, while providing oversight of monthly and annual reports including cash-flow forecasting to keep our Board aware of any important financial issues. Bob advocates with the JCEA leadership team to promote practical policy changes within CT and Middlesex County. While learning more about environmental sustainability, he is also very interested in the regulation of discharges into our CT rivers and streams and the Clean Water Act (CWA). Also, Bob is working to connect current, non-motorized transportation networks to improve access and safety, especially in school walk/bike zones. To that end he is a 2014 co-founder of a local Citizen Action Group (Complete Streets Group), and in 2017 was nominated to co-chair a Town Sidewalk Committee. In his down time Bob enjoys exploring, biking, hiking, & traveling with family and friends, reading, and making his wife and daughter laugh often. (…either with him or at him is OK!).
John Shafer, Web Site Administrator, is a Professor at Middlesex Community College where he teaches courses in Film and Media. He is co-founder of the college’s Sustainability Committee and primary author of the sustainability priority of the college’s strategic plan. He is a longtime advocate for environmental issues and has served on the Jonah Center’s Board of Directors for several years, including two years as President. He currently serves on the Air Line Trail Committee for the town of Portland. Originally from San Diego, California, John studied at the University of Southern California, Syracuse University, and the University of Connecticut. John is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and has done several projects with CPTV.
Amanda Arce is a paraprofessional in a Special Education program, teaching students with Autism and intellectual disabilities. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2018 with an MS in Environmental Education. She is the Vice President for the Portland River Valley Garden Club in Portland, CT, where members share their knowledge and love of gardening to the community while promoting horticulture and conservation. Amanda is also a member of the Complete Streets Group in Portland, supporting the community and town government to make the streets in town safe and accessible for all pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Amanda is a coordinator and steward at the Tolland Youth Garden in Tolland, CT. Educating and engaging children to foster a love and appreciation for nature and the environment is her passion. She enjoys playing volleyball, gardening, hiking, kayaking, and playing with her dog in her spare time.
Victoria Boccalatte works as a Developmental Therapist for CT Birth to Three, providing early intervention coaching for families. Additionally, in 2018 she started her own business, Peace of Nature LLC, offering nature-based programs for children and families (ages 0-5) out of The Red Barn in Durham. She enjoys working as a special educator and connecting families to nature on local nature excursions. As her small business grows, she has partnered with Everyone Outside as a volunteer mentor, running their nature-based family playgroups. A Middletown resident for almost her entire life, Victoria enjoys her relationships with a variety of local environmental and community groups, including as a community garden volunteer in Durham/Middlefield and Middletown, most recently with the North End Action Team (NEAT). She is a “zero waste”/eco-friendly living enthusiast who cares deeply for Mother Earth.
Mark Meyering, is retired from 3M Purifications where he was an Advanced Technical Specialist in new product development for water, life science process and industrial filtration. He is a UCONN graduate with a BS in Chemistry, with continued study in engineering and molecular biology. He holds multiple patents in liquid filtration, separations and diagnostics. Mark and his wife Kathy had lived in Middlefield since 1980, where he served on the Inland Wetlands Commission. They moved to Middletown in 2004, when they bought a house located on a former farm and 4H club. They have re-established portions of the property for the practice of organic gardening, and recently restored an area in which they now raise free-range chickens. As an avocation, Mark is an accomplished performance musician, singer, songwriter, and studio engineer. He has deep interests in the Adirondack forest, and maintains connections to the Huntington Wildlife Preserve.
Kathy Meyering is a Master Gardener (certified by the University of Connecticut) and a retired early childhood educator with a background in music and movement for children. In addition to teaching, she worked for many years as a freelance writer for local newspapers. Currently, Kathy serves as a volunteer mentor for the Everyone Outside program that enables children to spend time in nature and learn about the interactions between flora and fauna. She also manages, with volunteers, the native plantings at the headquarters of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association in Middlefield. Informed by faith-based teachings on earth stewardship (she holds a Master’s degree in religious studies from Hartford Seminary), Kathy has become increasingly alarmed at changes in the natural world around us. Her personal goal is to educate and recruit others to engage in sustainable, earth-friendly landscaping and gardening practices, such as avoiding the broad use of insecticides and herbicides that damage inland wetlands and waterways.