Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Lucy Crocker Abisalih

Lucy Crocker Abisalih, Chair

Lucy is a native of Lunenburg who spent many weekends of her youth hiking and picnicking in the very woods we are working to protect. For the past 30 years her work has included board service to public and independent schools in Massachusetts – as a school committee member to the Pentucket Regional School System, a trustee to Applewild School in Fitchburg, Lawrence Academy in Groton and Trustee Emerita at Pike School in Andover. Other board leadership positions include The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, The Georges River Land Trust (Maine) and the Community Advisory Board of the Fitchburg Art Museum. She also serves as a personal fiduciary.

Betty Reid

Betty Reid, Clerk

Betty is a life-long resident of Fitchburg and educator. In her distinguished 35 year career, she served in the Monadnock Regional School District as an elementary school teacher and as Adjunct Faculty Member/ Master Teacher for the Critical Skills Program at Antioch University. She has always enjoyed walking in North County Land Trust’s Crocker Conservation Area and is an avid outdoor enthusiast. Now that she has retired, she hopes to continue to share her passion for environmental stewardship in her work with the North County Land Trust.

Angela Kearney, Treasurer

Angela is the owner/proprietor of Minglewood, LLC an ecological design/build company. With a M.S. in Ecological Planning & Design from the Conway School, and BS and BA in Biology and Art from Lewis & Clark College, Angela brings passion and knowledge to the board. She has 20 years of experience in Conservation Planning and Design overseeing the successful development and execution of two Open Space Plans and countless other land protection projects. Her commitment to the environment is also demonstrated in her many accreditations and certifications including LEED Accredited Professional, Accredited Organic Land Care Professional, Ecological Landscaping Association, and SOMWBA.

Wilson Acuna, Director

Born and raised in Colombia, Wilson has been a resident of North Central Massachusetts since he moved to Leominster in 2013. He is a graduate of Tufts University, with a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies.  Over the years he has worked and volunteered with multiple environmental organizations such as the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and more recently The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Wilson is an avid naturalist and nature enthusiast who enjoys hiking, swimming, kayaking, and birdwatching; he is also an artist who draws inspiration from nature for all of his artwork.

Laura Barooshian, Director

Laura is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy.  She is a Partner at DGC, a division of PKF O’Connor Davies.  At work she counsels clients on giving; accommodating not only their tax planning, but also their philanthropic goals. She received a bachelor’s degree from Bentley University, and a Master’s in Taxation from Northeastern University.  Laura resides in Lunenburg with her husband Mark and children Tyler and Emma, and appreciates the green space and preserved land she and her family are able to enjoy. Together they support local organizations, schools, and the environment by giving time, monetary support and advocacy.  

Mary E. Cringan, Director

Mary Cringan, retired after 38 years as a classroom teacher and elementary/middle school principal in Fitchburg, Lunenburg, and Princeton, MA. She serves as Chairperson of the Project 351 Educators Advisory Group and Secretary for the Friends of Coggshall Park. She loves running, hiking, volunteering for non-profit organizations and traveling. Mary enjoys helping with maintaining the trails for North County Land Trust.

Desiree Demski-Hamelin, Director

Desiree is the Deputy Director at Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area and knew the work of NCLT since her days working for us as an AmeriCorps service member.

Ben Howard, Director

Ben is a passionate outdoor enthusiast who grew up in Luneburg, MA. After spending the better part of the last decade living and working across parts of Asia, he has recently moved back to his hometown. His outdoor passions stretch from hiking, biking and backcountry snowboarding to bird watching and backyard gardening.  Ben has worked in wide range of Sales, Business Development and General Management roles and is excited to use this experience to support NCLT and further the mission of preserving, protecting and promoting the landscapes of North Central Mass.

Linda Mack, Director

Linda is a private non-profit consultant drawing on her decades of experience leading non-profit work at the staff and board level. After recently leaving her position as the Vice President for Philanthropy at the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts after almost a decade, she brings a wealth of leadership and fundraising skills as well as deep networking connections throughout the region. Linda has a foundational love for the environment beginning with her career as a Conservation Commissioner and Agent. She was the ED for the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners and one of the founders of the Townsend Conservation Land Trust.  She has always had a passion for the environment and is excited to serve as a NCLT Board member where her practical experience, technical knowledge, organization, and a high level of interpersonal skills will be used to grow NCLT.

Carrie Novak

Carrie Novak, Director

Carrie lives with her husband and daughter on a small farm in Templeton. Carrie worked as a Senior Loan Officer for the USDA Farm Service Agency, for over 35 years before retiring. She is active in Town government, chairing Templeton’s Open Space Committee and serving on its Agricultural Commission. Carrie is also an active member of Bethany Baptist Church in Gardner.  Carrie has a long-standing interest in natural resource conservation, especially the conservation of open space and agricultural land. In her leisure time, Carrie enjoys gardening, working on her small farm and visits with her grandchildren.

Alan Roussea

Alan N. Rousseau, Director

Alan has been a NCLT director since 2005 and has served as Board President from 2006 till the beginning of 2018. He has had a lifelong interest in conservation that began with spending a lot of time on his families’ woodland in Gardner MA. Alan served as a volunteer Boy Scout Leader from 1990 to 2006, and co-established the Gardner Alliance for Responsible Development in 2002. He retired from working in the Computer Industry (Digital, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard) over the past 40 years in a number of professional and management positions. Alan resides in Gardner with his wife, Susan, and is the father of three grown children, James, Jennifer, and Thomas.


Anna Wilkins, Executive Director

Anna Wilkins,, Executive Director. A native of north central Massachusetts, Anna holds a B.A. in Wildlands Ecology and Management from Sterling College, VT.   She has worked in the land conservation community in Massachusetts since 2004 having experience in both the private, non-profit and municipal sectors. Anna serves on the board of the Mass Land Trust Coalition. As a resident of Ashburnham, she volunteers as a member of the Ashburnham Open Space Committee and with the Ashburnham Conservation Trust doing trail work. She enjoys nature photography, painting and hiking with her husband, kids, and two dogs.

Jo-Anne Crystoff, Director of Land Protection

Jo-Anne Crystoff,, Director of Land Protection.

Jo-Anne Crystoff is an environmental scientist whose work centers around the protection and conservation of land for its multiple ecological and community values. She has been involved with land trusts, environmental education, and sustainable development planning in Central Massachusetts, coastal Connecticut, and nationwide over the course of her 30+ year career. Jo-Anne holds an A.B. degree in biology from Vassar College and a M.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design from Harvard’s Landscape Institute.

Maggie Agurkis, Operations Manager

Maggie Agurkis,, Operations Manager.

Maggie Agurkis joined NCLT in 2022. Maggie brings a degree in Business Administration and 25 years of experience in various small business settings to the table. Her passion for the outdoors drove her to pursue a position in which she could put her customer service and bookkeeping experience to work supporting something bigger than herself—building relationships in the region and supporting the wise stewardship of both natural and financial resources. Additionally, 16 years serving on multiple boards and committees in her hometown of Sterling, MA, has given her plenty of insight into how a small group of people can work together to make a big impact on their community. Maggie hopes to balance an orderly office with some vigilante justice against invasive species.


Emily Merlino, Stewardship Manager

Emily Merlino,, Stewardship Manager

Emily Merlino is a north central Massachusetts native, who grew up in Groton. Emily came to NCLT as a TerraCorps Member in 2019 serving the community in Land Stewardship and Community Outreach capacity. Prior to that, she began her career in health sciences with an M.S. in Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences.  She decided to change careers to align her personal passion for the environment and outdoor recreation with her profession. NCLT hired her on in 2020 as our first Stewardship employee. Em has since received additional training. She received a Graduate Certificate in Ecological Restoration from University of Florida. She also received her Wilderness First Aid and Chainsaw Certification from Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and is a Certified Wildland Firefighter.  In her role as Stewardship Manager, she also maintains our robust stewardship volunteer program. She monitors our 7 conservation restrictions and implements the care for our 11 publicly accessible conservation areas. Outside of work, Em volunteers as a board member for the Sterling Land Trust, she’s a Midstate Trail Sawyer, “Merch Maven”, Trail Maintainer and Committee Member for the Midstate Trail Committee and was Appalachian Mountain Club’s Volunteer of the Month in April 2020. Em shared her growing expertise by co-presenting at the Mass Trails Conference in 2022 on the Fitchburg Trails Wayfinding Signage Project.

Megan Walsh, Special Project Consultant:

Community Engagement Coordinator for NCLT and JUMP, Inc.

Megan joined the team in September of 2022, as a recent college graduate. She majored in psychology and philosophy at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Megan was a passionate student, graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors, after being awarded a grant to do independent research in philosophy and completing a senior thesis in psychology in half the standard time to allow for an early graduation.  During her time at MCLA she participated in the volunteer center, first as a volunteer and then as a program coordinator, taking part in the College Cadets program, Mentoring for Tomorrow, The Louison House, Berkshire Food Project, the Berkshire Break Out program with Williams College, and more. In addition to her services as a volunteer program coordinator, Megan has also served as the nature counselor at 4H Camp Middlesex, staff leader at Hilltown Youth Recovery Theater, and as a counselor of LEAD Academy at MCLA. Among the skills Megan brings to her work for NCLT is her experience working with community members to address issues that most affect their lives, reaching and organizing volunteers, working closely with other organizations, community leaders, and businesses to create meaningful programs and events, and a background with academic, leadership, and multicultural experiences which empower her to tackle the challenges of a new field with enthusiasm.