Friends of connecticut

state parks, inc.

Eileen Grant, Past President

Eileen served as a tireless leader of FCSP for eight years. She deepened the FCSP partnership with DEEP and CFPA, and led a successful multi-year campaign to raise awareness of the lack of funding and need for additional staffing at our State Parks. Eileen is a landscape designer and sole proprietor of Latin Roots Garden Design in Madison, CT. Her interest in historic gardens led her to Harkness Memorial State Park in 1996. She has volunteered at the park for 18 years, assisting with the restoration of the world renown Beatrix Farrand gardens, co-chairing the Friends of Harkness horticulture committee and organizing its Annual Plant Sale. She served as President of the Friends of Harkness for four years (1999-2003) and is at present a member of its Board of Trustees. She joined the board of the Friends of CT State Parks in 2004, focusing her efforts on legislative issues. She remains active with Legislative issues.

In September of 2014, Eileen was recognized nationally for her efforts on behalf of Connecticut State Parks when she received the 2014 Presidents Award by the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). The award is given each year to an individual or organization who has made an extraordinary contribution, innovation, and/or best practice at a state, regional or national level, furthering the goal of a system of state parks.


FCSP Board of Directors


Susan Whalen, Deputy Commissioner, CT DEP ~ Ex Officio

Susan has served as Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Conservation at DEP since April, 2008.  She is an avid gardener and outdoorswoman.  For more than twenty years, she has held a variety of environmental management and policy positions in both the public and private sector. She has been responsible for developing and implementing innovative public private partnerships, and for expanding educational programming and recreational opportunities in parks.  In her hometown of Harvard, MA, as a member of the Harvard Historical Commission she led the effort to develop design standards for historic buildings, and has served as Co-President of the Friends of the Harvard Public Library since 2004.

William Doheny, FCSP Legislative Committee

William Doheny, DDS, a lifelong resident of Hamden, became a founding member of FCSP through his involvement with West Rock Ridge Association. He retired after practicing dentistry for 40 years. He is an active member of the community serving on numerous Boards and Commissions in Hamden including, Inland Wetlands, Natural Resources and Open Space, Historic Properties, Historical Society, West Rock Ridge Park Assoc. and the West Rock Ridge State Park Advisory Board. A crowning achievement for Bill was his involvement in creating the 1500+acre West Rick Ridge State Park. Bill was a founding member of FCSP and currently serves on the Legislative committee. He is married to wife Barbara and has two children and four grandchildren.

Pamela Aey Adams, President
Pam was born in Norwich, CT and currently resides in Colchester. She is an active volunteer, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Friends of CT State Parks, Mystic Country (Eastern CT Regional Tourism District) where she serves as the Chairperson and, Friends of Harkness Memorial State Park. She was also a member of the CT State Park Centennial Celebration Committee-2013-14 which helped to raise nearly $50,000 for the Centennial Celebration and the CT State Parks Centennial Commemorative Book. Pamela serves on the America State Park Foundation as a Retiree member of the National Association of State Park Directors and, is a member of the Thames Maritime Heritage Park Board. In her leisure time, Pam is a member of the Norwich Power Squadron (US Power Squadrons), a boating education organization and the West Highland White Terrier Society of CT. Ms. Adams was elected as a Justice-of-the-Peace in 1981 and continues to serve in that capacity. Prior to her retirement in 2009, Pamela served as Director of the Connecticut State Park system for 12 years and was a dedicated public servant with the CT Department of Environmental Protection; retiring after 33 years with that agency. Other Information: BA, Wittenberg University, MS University of Connecticut. Married to Thomas.

Eric Hammerling, Executive Director, CT Forest & Parks Association

Eric has been Executive Director of CFPA since May, 2008 after serving for over five years as the Executive Director for the Farmington River Watershed Association in Simsbury. Eric holds an M.S. in Environmental Science/Range Management from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Under Eric's tenure, CFPA worked to have the New England Trail designated as the most recent national scenic trail in the U.S. and the first in the northeast since the Appalachian Trail over 20 years ago. Through his work at the Farmington River Watershed Association, Eric spearheaded the ongoing effort to designate the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook as Wild & Scenic Rivers. In his 22-year conservation career, Eric has also worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation on both coasts, the Center for Ecological Technology in Northampton, and for the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte who represented Western Massachusetts. In addition to serving on the Board of the FCSP, Eric currently serves on the Board for Rivers Alliance of Connecticut and Connwood, as well as on the Steering Committee for the Working Lands Alliance and the Connecticut Land Conservation Council.

Diana B. McMasters, Past President

Diana grew up exploring the woodlands surrounding her Waterford, CT home and studied Environmental Studies in college. She worked in research and writing for Rodale Press and Organic Gardening magazine in the 1970‘s and is currently a technology teacher and at the Interdistrict School for Arts And Communication in New London, CT. She began volunteering for CT State Parks in 1992 as the first elected president of the Friends of Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford. She worked to build the fledgling volunteer organization and led a successful campaign to restore the mansion and gardens at the estate. She is a founding member of FCSP and served as its president for six years, traveling about the state to help create new local Friends groups. She currently works on membership and web page development for FCSP.

Sheila ONeill - Board of Directors

Sheila has served as Secretary of FCSP for the past seven years. She is the past president of the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park (2007-2011) and is currently their vice president. During her tenure as president, she and the group focused on building their relationship with the DEP and construction of the Nature Center. Her interest in Long Island Sound hypoxia issues involved her with Save the Sound for twenty years and as President from 1997-2001. Her interest in conservation and preservation was developed as the Executive Director of the Westport Historical Society for seven years (1994-2001). Sheila is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Tom Tyler, Director, State Parks Division, CT DEP, Ex-officio

Tom is the Director of the State Parks and Public Outreach Division of the DEP, and serves on the FCSP Board as an Ex-Officio member. Tom began his career working for DEP in the early 80’s in the State Parks Division. For 5 years, Tom worked at several parks in the greater Hartford area, including Penwood, Stratton Brook, and Talcott Mountain State Parks. Tom then worked for 10 years in the private sector, doing legislative advocacy for a number of clients, several focusing on environmental issues. He returned to the DEP in 1997 to direct the legislative program for the DEP working for each of the past five Commissioners representing the DEP before the General Assembly on a wide range of issues, including significant collaboration with the Friends in their legislative work. Prior to becoming Director of Parks, Tom’s other duties for the DEP have included leading the Land Acquisition and Management Program, as well as the Indian Affairs program.

Sally Harold, Treasurer

Sally Harold is the Director of River Restoration and Fish Passage for the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy where she has been employed for the last thirteen years. Sally works with colleagues in the Connecticut River Watershed and around Long Island Sound to develop and find funding for projects at priority barriers to allow fish passage upstream to important spawning habitat. In Connecticut, Sally has been involved in over a dozen fish passage projects including three dam removals. She has also been involved in dam owner outreach, legislative initiatives and regional conservation planning efforts for The Nature Conservancy.

Margot Burns, FCSP Board
Margot Burns is currently the Environmental Planner for the Lower CT River Valley Council of Governments where she coordinates the Lower CT River and Coastal Region Land Trust Exchange and recently led the development effort of the Menunketesuck / Cockaponset Regional Greenway and its 2012 designation as a CT State Greenway.  Margot earned her MS in Geography/Environmental Protection and holds a BA in Environmental Geography from Central CT State University. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Connecticut Land Conservation Council as Secretary for the Eastern CT Resource, Conservation, and Development Area, and is a member of the Chester Conservation Commission.

Jay Willerup - Board of Directors

Jay joined the FCSP board in 2013. He started his tenure with the state parks simply by offering his services in the visitors book at Heublein Tower. He joined the Friends of Heublein Tower board of directors in 2002. In 2009 accepted the position of Co-President of the board. As an architect, Jay brings his interest in restoring buildings back to their original integrity. His ability to gather support, secure materials and labor have led to many successful restoration/recreation projects at the tower. He, other members of the board and the Park Manager have collaborated on many projects together, relying on their individual strengths and talents to accomplish daunting tasks. Jay’s never afraid to be hands on, from bending copper for light fixtures to climbing up to the cupola to change the light bulb in the beacon. Jay lives in Simsbury with his wife Tara and daughters Taylor, Maggie and Maeve.

Randy Miller, Founding President FCSP

Randy was a founding member of the FCSP in 1994, serving as its first President from 1994  to 2000, and then remained on the Board for several years in various capacities.  He returned to the FCSP Board in 2014.  For most of the past 30 years, Randy has been a Board member of The Sleeping Giant Park Association, the oldest state park friends group in CT having formed in 1924, and served as its President from 1990 to 1996.  Randy was also a member of the CT Forest & Parks Association Board and served on the CFPA Finance Committee. In recent years he has participated in lake oriented environmental activities as a member of the East Haddam Lakes Association; and in June 2014, presented at the New England Conference of the North American Lake Management Society. Most recently, Randy is involved in development of a lake and watershed management plan for Lake Hayward. Randy is a long-time officer of First Niagara Bank currently working in risk management. In his spare time Randy enjoys hiking, running, sailing, and participating in dog agility with his Golden Retriever Tallie (she is the important half), qualifying for the AKC National Agility Championships the past six years.

Steven O. Fish, Vice President

Graduated from UConn with a BS in Wildlife Biology in 1974 and earned his MS degree in Environmental Science and Education from Central State University in 1977. Also earned his teaching certification in primary and secondary education. Worked with the Manchester, CT Board of Education from 1973 to 1978 at the Center for Environmental Education teaching and conducting classes for K-12 students in environmental studies and conducted workshops in environmental education for teachers. Adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford for three years.
In 1978, Steve was hired by the CT Department of Environmental Protection as the Assistant Director for Education tasked with developing and conducting education and outreach programs on DEP related topics in state parks, forests, and school sites throughout the state. In 1998, he was named Deputy of DEP Natural Resource Center and assumed responsibilities for our Natural Diversity Database, GIS Technology, the agency website, and other strategic planning functions. Over the last 10 years of his career at DEEP, he worked directly for three different commissioners at a senior management level directing the planning and implementation of the agency backbone computer technology.

After 36, Steve retired in 2014. He lives in Andover, CT with his wife, Linda. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and one grandson.

Ex Officio Members

Shaun Roche, Secretary
Born and raised in Waterbury, Shaun has been visiting Connecticut state parks since the earliest days of his youth. Parks like Harkness, Gillette Castle, Black Rock, Devils Hopyard, Wadsworth Falls, and numerous others, shaped Shauns love of both the natural world and of the human stories of our states past. These places are part of the reason Shaun attended Central Connecticut State University and majored in history. After finishing his B.A. and M.A. degrees, Shaun worked for the National Park Service as a ranger at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, New York for more than six years. In 2011, Shaun accepted a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was happy to return to Connecticut. He now works on the shoreline and owns a home with his wife in the Middletown area. Shaun joined FCSP in 2015 to advocate for our state lands and raise awareness so more citizens will enjoy them.

Bob Bell, Board of Directors
Born in Valley Stream, NJ May 1940. Attended Poly Technic Institute of Brooklyn and RCA Institute. Electronic Engineering. Founded New England Hobby Supply, Manchester, CT in 1971. Retail, manufacturer, and wholesale hobby business. Largest hobby shop in the northeast. Included Enchanted Doll House, a mail order toy and hobby business, Founding member of the Hobby Industry Board Board of Directors 1982-1985. Retired and sold New England Hobby Supply in 2004.

In 1975, helped set up the gift shop for the Valley Railroad. Elected to the Board of Directors of the VRR and served until 1991. Reelected to the Board in 1991. Elected president of the Valley Railroad Company, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in 2002. Retired as president in 2015. Member of Mystic Coast and Country Board of Directors 2004 - 2010. Member of Board of Directors of Central CT Tourism District. Winner of Pineapple Tourism Award 2005.

Theodore B. Lynn, PhD, Board of Directors

Ted, whose home adjoins West Rock Ridge State Park, is director of research and development at Dexsil Corp., a Hamden business that makes environmental test kits. Ted earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Vermont and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Yale University. Ted did three years of post-doctoral work at the Technical University in Berlin, West Germany, before returning to Hamden.

Ted has been a member of West Rock Ridge Park Association since 1996.  He became association vice president in 2002 and president in 2008. Ted is a member of the West Rock Ridge State Park Advisory Council.  He enjoys hiking the trails, bicycling on Baldwin Drive and cross-country skiing in the park with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

Ted is grateful to Bill Doheny, Steve and Barrie Collins, and all the others who had the vision and long-term energy to create West Rock Ridge State Park, and to preserve this valuable and unique landscape for future generations to enjoy, and to the past and present leaders of the Friends of Connecticut State Parks. He looks forward to working with FCSP to ensure the continued success of Connecticut’s wonderful and valuable state parks.