Audubon Vermont welcomes three new board members

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Mon, 05/13/2019 - 3:07pm -- Anonymous

Audubon Vermont today announced the appointment of three new members to its board: Cheryl Pinto, John Buck and Lukas McGowan. Cheryl Pinto leads Global Values Led Sourcing for Ben & Jerry’s, Vermont’s iconic, progressive ice cream company. As the company’s ‘"Sorceress," Cheryl works to advance positive social and environmental impact across all of Ben & Jerry’s value chains.

John Buck was hired by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department as a founding staff member of the Department’s new wildlife habitat management program for private and public lands. Throughout his 39 year career John managed habitat conservation projects, including threatened and endangered bird species.

Luke McGowan is the US-based venture partner for Mustard Seed, a social and environmental impact venture fund. He served as a White House aide during President Obama's first term and worked as an organizer on his presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008.

Audubon Vermont’s Board of Directors plays a vital role in supporting the mission of Audubon Vermont to protect birds and the places they need to thrive. Audubon's Board is made up of a dedicated group of individuals who provide leadership and advice to the organization. Audubon Vermont engages people of all ages and backgrounds in education, conservation, stewardship, and action. Learn more about Audubon Vermont's work at http://vt.audubon.org/ Connect with Audubon on Instagram and Facebook.

“We welcome these three outstanding new board members at a critical moment when Audubon Vermont is working to grow its impact,” said David Mears, Executive Director of Audubon Vermont. “Given the enormous threats posed by climate change to our human and wildlife communities, we need their energy and ideas more than ever.”

“I could not be more pleased that these talented individuals have joined our board,” said Curt Alpeter, Chair of the Audubon Vermont Board of Directors. "Each of them brings a unique and important perspective and set of experiences, which will build on and complement the strengths of our existing Board.”

Cheryl Pinto - South Burlington, VT: Cheryl Pinto leads Global Values Led Sourcing for Ben & Jerry’s, Vermont’s iconic, progressive ice cream company. As the company’s ‘"Sorceress,"  Cheryl works to advance positive social and environmental impact across all of Ben & Jerry’s value chains, from dairy and cocoa to chocolate fudge brownies. Cheryl was born in Nairobi, Kenya, lived a short while in London, and mainly grew up in Toronto, where she earned her B.Sc. in Biology. Cheryl moved to South Burlington from Chicago where she received her MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago. While in Chicago, Cheryl became involved with bird and wildlife rescue - this fueled her curiosity and desire to do more to bring about healthy interaction between human activity and wildlife. Cheryl currently sits on the Board of Directors of Divine Chocolate and the Sustainable Food Lab. When home in South Burlington, Cheryl bikes, paddles, and recovers with hot yoga.

“I have long been an ardent advocate for conserving wild-spaces and wildlife,” said Cheryl Pinto, Global Values-Led Sourcing Manager with Ben & Jerry’s, “and advancing how people connect with nature is critical to supporting thriving interfaces between these ecosystems and human activity.”

John Buck - Waterbury Center, VT: John is a fifth generation Vermonter. John’s interest in the natural world was shaped during his early years in rural Orange County at a time when there were more cows than people. A lot of his spare time was spent hiking and camping in the surrounding woods where his appreciation for natural processes began to take shape. John received his BS and MS degrees in Wildlife Biology at University of Vermont. Following graduation, John was hired by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department as a founding staff member of the Department’s new wildlife habitat management program for private and public lands. Throughout his 39 year career John managed habitat conservation projects. He served as lead biologist for the Department’s white-tailed deer management project for 17 years. Until his recent retirement, John led nongame bird biologists, where he focused on threatened and endangered species and conservation of their respective habitats. John lives in Waterbury Center with his wife Cathy. In his new career, along with his family, John runs a small organic bird-friendly maple syrup operation in Washington, Vermont. When not working the woods, John sings in the baritone section with the Burlington-based choral group Solaris Vocal Ensemble and with the Vermont Symphony Chorus.

“I had the distinct pleasure of working closely with the team at Audubon Vermont while working for the state,” said John Buck, who recently retired as the state’s lead bird biologist, “and I know what a talented group they are.” He continues, “I could not be more excited to help support this vital organization as we tackle some of the most difficult conservation challenges that Vermont’s environment has ever faced.”

Luke McGowan - South Woodstock, VT: Luke is the US-based venture partner for Mustard Seed, a social and environmental impact venture fund. Prior to joining Mustard Seed, he launched his own consulting company in Vermont, Dirt Road Consulting, which helps businesses and nonprofits grow and reach new potential. His experience with startups includes helping to build Thumbtack, a tech company based in San Francisco, as well as two non-profits, Plus1 and the Center on Rural Innovation. Before that, he served as a White House aide during President Obama's first term and worked as an organizer on his presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008. He lives with his family on a small plot of land in Vermont's Upper Valley.

“I have been looking for a way to help protect the amazing landscape that drew me and my family to the Green Mountain state,” said Luke McGowan, who works with Mustard Seed Venture Capital out of South Woodstock. “Working with the innovative team at Audubon Vermont provides a great opportunity to be part of work that I see as vital to the state’s reputation, quality of life and economic future,” he stated.