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CHAPTER LEADERS

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Susan Eastwood (She/Her)
Chapter Chair, Term: 2024-2025

Susan Eastwood is a long time member of Sierra Club CT. She serves as Chapter Chair and is a member of the Political and Legislative Committees. In her hometown, she founded and Chairs the Ashford Clean Energy Task Force and has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Board of Finance. After working with domestic violence projects for many years, she was appointed to the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Her main focus now is fighting to slow the impacts of climate change. She was active in the successful fight to stop the proposed gas plant in Killingly and is working with the CT Zero Waste Coalition to find sustainable solutions to our waste crisis.

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Tanya Bourgoin (She/Her)
Wildlife Committee Chair
Tanya was born and bred in CT and is a lifelong resident of the state, with the exception of a few years spent in Colorado attending Colorado State University. She started her first conservation advocacy organization in elementary school. After receiving a pin maker for Christmas, she recruited her friends to form a group to sell the pins, baked goods and branded pencils and donated the proceeds to national wildlife causes. In high school, she and a few close friends founded a school-wide organization to promote diversity, tolerance and inclusion long before most people were thinking about such issues. At the age of 6, she helped her grandmother raise an orphaned baby squirrel, and in 1998 she attained her wildlife rehabilitation certification. Tanya is the President of the Friends of Machimoodus and Sunrise State Parks which she co-founded in 2016. In September of 2022, she was proud to be elected to the board of Friends of CT State Parks. Most recently she was appointed to serve on her town's Sustainability Team. She has been a DJ on WCNI Radio, a non-commercial listener-supported station in New London for the past 15 years, serving as the fundraising director from 2015 until this past March. When she’s not in a meeting, she likes to be outdoors with her husband, dogs, ducks and goats.
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Kate Donnelly (She/Her)
ExComm Member, Term: 2023-2024

Kate is a life-long grassroots activist for peace and social justice. Her environmental awareness began at the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. She participated in many campaigns over the years from the anti-nuclear power movement to the recent campaign against the Killingly fracked gas power plant, and against the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. She is co-founder and chair of the Hampton Green Energy Committee, member of the Windham/Willimantic NAACP Environmental Justice Committee, and No More Dirty Power in Killingly.  Kate has been a partner in Donnelly/Colt Progressive Resources for 47 years, providing the movement with organizing materials such as buttons, posters, and stickers. She was First Selectman in Hampton, worked as an organizer for Neighbor to Neighbor and Solarize CT campaigns. She lives in Hampton and has three adult children. She believes that intersectional organizing is the only way to guarantee a future for our environment and for a peaceful and just society for all.

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Shawn Gregory (He/Him)
ExComm Member, Term: 2023-2024

Shawn Gregory is a senior at Wilton High School in Wilton, CT.  He became interested in environmental work after conducting research on the effects of PFAs contamination on mature stem cells at Yale University.  After encountering the potential risks of these chemicals through his findings, Shawn began to work with a variety of local organizations like Wilton Go Green and the Norwalk River Watershed Association to fight for overall environmental change.  Examples of his efforts include preventing the expansion of a methane gas pipeline and successfully protesting the installment of a new turf field at a local, all-natural meadow.  Shawn has also founded his own organization, named "Rhysos," to increase environmental justice coverage in secondary school education.

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Jeff Gross (He/Him)
Chapter Vice Chair, Term: 2024-2025

Jeff Gross is a life-long adherent to sustainable living practices, but only found Sierra Club in 2016, when he volunteered to lead the new program now known as Clean Transportation for All.   As is the case with some of the Sierra Club priorities, including wind and solar energy, the Transportation's campaign work at the levels of legislation and public awareness is being reinforced by market forces.

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Arthur Helmus (He/Him)
ExComm Member
Term: 2023-2024

Arthur is a lawyer and currently develops commercial, industrial and residential solar power projects in four states. Prior to that, he served as a 2nd Vice President in the insurance industry and as corporate counsel where he led teams responsible for remediating hundreds of pollution sites across the United States. As a renewable energy professional and legislative activist, Art has lobbied the Connecticut Legislature, submitted expert testimony on behalf of the Chapter, and has given presentations to industry groups on the need to improve the collaborative relationship between industry and environmentalists.

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Stephen Lewis (He/Him)
Chair of the Hartford Group

Steve Lewis is an avid environmentalist who gained his appreciation for nature and conservation as a Boy Scout and has carried that passion on into adulthood.  As a Scouting leader, he was awarded a significant conservation award for his work on monarch butterfly conservation.  Along the way he also became a Leave No Trace Master Educator and teaches Outdoor Ethics which are rooted in Aldo Leopold’s land ethic. In addition to his Scouting involvement, Steve is a Connecticut Audubon Master Naturalist who loves birding and teaches naturalist history and climate change in their Master Naturalist program in multiple Connecticut Audubon locations. Steve worked in the Connecticut General Assembly for over a decade and brings his policy and legislative process experience to the CT Sierra Club Legislative Committee. Steve helped South Windsor host its first Drive Electric Week event and worked with the town on model EV charger zoning regulations.  His work with the town on behalf of the Sierra Club helped the town earn Sustainable CT Silver Status.

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Brian Martin (He/Him)
ExComm Member, Term: 2024 -2025

 

A resident of the city for the past 13 years, Brian Martin has a heart for Hartford. His passion stems from the fact that Hartford is nearly 18 square miles, and though replete with innumerable religious institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, people and entire families continue to fall through the cracks. Brian has always had a love for nature. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, he lamented the fact that he had limited access to the great outdoors. Summers were spent in North Carolina, where he could explore with abandon. And that’s what he wants for Hartford youth: The benefits of learning to recognize and appreciate the nature in their own neighborhoods and connecting them with programs that take them beyond the confines of the city. Currently, Brian is completing his undergraduate studies at Trinity College, and works on campus in the Career & Life Design Center as the Career Programming Intern. Additionally, through the local nonprofit, Hartford Communities That Care, Brian works at New Visions Alternative School as the Youth Empowerment Coach. And he serves as Community Organizer for the national nonprofit, Trust For Public Land.

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Roxanne O'Sullivan (She/Her)
ExComm Member, CCL Delegate, Communications Committee
Term: 2023-2024

Roxanne joined the Connecticut Sierra Club Communications Committee in 2017. Since then, she has worked on communications for the Chapter, including the website, social media and the newsletter, and has also been involved in data base development.  Roxanne is a millennial, a digital native, and am deeply committed to the Sierra Club mission. When not working for the Sierra Club, she works full time as a Registered Nurse and in her free time enjoys the outdoors by biking and hiking.

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Susan Petit (She/Her)
Shoreline Group Representative

Sue Petit serves on the Sierra Club Shoreline ExCom and the Connecticut Chapter Political Committee, on the latter helping to conduct interviews for candidates looking for endorsement.  She has also been fortunate to have been able to travel back and forth to Africa, meeting with researchers and working on wildlife conservation projects, and is passionate about wildlife photography, both here and in Africa.  

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John Pilgrim (He/Him)
ExComm Member, Communication Committee Chair
Term: 2023-2024

Backcountry camping devotee turned environmentalist, John meshes a passion for data with the outdoors. He discovered the Sierra Club in 2020, and what John lacks in experience he makes up for in his fervent and detail oriented nature. John chairs the Communication Committee and has been involved in various initiatives including air quality research. When he’s not out hugging trees, John can be found throughout Hartford country driving the speed limit on his growing collection of electric PEVs.

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Tenaya Taylor (They/Them)
ExComm Member
Term: 2024 -2025

 

Tenaya Taylor is a Capital Community College graduate, rapper, artist, business owner, writer, executive director, and founder at Nonprofit Accountability Group (NAG). NAG is an inclusive arts and social justice organization dedicated to grassroots movement building. Tenaya's work in Greater Hartford includes housing families facing eviction, creating 3 community gardens,100 paid internships for young people in Hartford ages 13-30, two little free food pantries, and a statewide mutual aid network for frontline communities impacted by climate change, the housing crisis, and environmental racism. Tenaya has been an advocate for intersectional solutions on housing reform, clean energy, and abortion access at the Connecticut State Capital and Hartford City Hall.

Diane Crawford (She/Her)
Chapter Treasurer

 

Diane Crawford is the Connecticut Chapter's treasurer.  

CHAPTER STAFF

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Samantha Dynowski (She/Her)
State Director

Samantha joined Sierra Club Connecticut as the State Director in August 2018. Samantha works alongside Sierra Club Connecticut's dedicated volunteers organizing activists to fight climate change, reduce pollution, protect wildlife, and eliminate threats to air, water and land. Prior to joining the Sierra Club, Samantha was Director of Advocacy and Outreach at the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. She grew up in Wethersfield and West Hartford, and graduated from UCONN. When not advocating for a livable planet, Samantha can be found hiking, gardening, cooking and pursuing her best life. 

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Jhoni Ada
Organizer

Jhoni Ada joined the Sierra Club Connecticut as a Community Outreach Coordinator in May 2020. Jhoni works with Chapter staff and volunteers to promote chapter priorities. Jhoni also works in the city of Bridgeport with Green Village Initiative, teaching youth about urban agriculture, leadership, and action. Prior to this, Jhoni worked at UCONN as the Administrative Lead for the Digital Media and Design Department. She has done community organizing work in the South Bronx and approaches the ecological justice work she is doing in Bridgeport with rigor. When Jhoni isn't dreaming of innovative ways to empower communities, she is binge-watching Netflix series, trying new recipes, visiting new trails, and farming. 

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Alycia Jenkins
Organizer

Alycia D. Jenkins is an organizer at the Connecticut Chapter; she is also an emerging scholar, a freelance teaching/performing artist, poet, writer, and activist. Alycia is a Trinity College graduate who currently resides in Hartford, Connecticut where she has lived for the past eleven and a half years. She is a proud African American feminist who believes in the power of liberation of Black and American Descendants of slavery families. Alycia advocates to change the world one city at a time by way of environmental justice.

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