Friends of connecticut

state parks, inc.

Eileen Grant, President

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 15 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 has served as President of FCSP for the last 5 years.

FCSP Board of Directors


Paula Schiller, Vice President

Paula served on the Board of FCSP for five years. Her optimism, generosity, energy and intellect made her a fierce but wise advocate for state parks. She gave countless hours of her time to try to protect our natural resources. She was an exceptional board member, but more importantly a dear friend to us all. She will be so missed by FCSP, colleagues in Hartford, and members of her "Friends home" at Hammonasset State Park.

In Memorium


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, 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. Bill’s crowning achievement was his involvement in creating the 1500+acre West Rick Ridge State Park.  Bill serves on the FCSP Board as the Legislative Chairman. He is married to wife Barbara and has two children and four grandchildren.

Pamela Aey Adams 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), Friends of Harkness Memorial State Park and the New London County Historical Society.  She is also a member of the CT State Park Centennial Celebration Committee-2013, The National Association of State Park Directors (Retiree) and the Norwich Power Squadron.  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 Connecticut’s 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.

Pamela Aey Adams, Vice President & Treasurer  

Eric Hammerling, Executive Director, CT Forest & Parks Association

Eric has been CFPA’s Executive Director 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 21-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’s Organic Gardening magazine in the 1970‘s and is currently a technology teacher and coordinator at the ISAAC school 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 served as president of FCSP 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 O’Neill, FCSP Secretary

Sheila has been the Secretary of FCSP for the past three years. She is the President of the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park (2007-2011) and has been focusing on the completion of construction of a Nature Center that opened in 2009.  It was built in partnership with the DEP. She is a member of the Water Committee for Westport based Green Village Initiative (GVI)  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). 

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 department’s legislative program, working for each of the past five Commissioners, representing the DEP before the General Assembly on the department’s wide range of issues, including significant collaboration with the Friends in their legislative work.   Prior to becoming the Acting Director (later Director)Tom’s other duties for the DEP have included leading the Department’s Land Acquisition and Management Program, as well as the Indian Affairs program.

David Lewis, Co-Chair Friend of CT State Parks Day

Having been a life-long summer resident of Waterford, CT, David became a member of the Friends of Harkness Memorial State Park in 2001, and recently became a Board Member in 2010, assuming responsibility for the Docent Program; which provides tours of Eolia, the Harkness Mansion, as well as coordinating many of the special events that are held at the Harkness Mansion.  David is a graduate of the University of Connecticut majoring in Finance with relates studies in Real Estate and Urban Economics, and has an MBA from Rensselaer.  David is currently employed by People’s United Bank headquartered in Bridgeport,  CT, as a Senior Vice President for the National Credits & Commercial Real Estate Participations Group.  Prior to joining People’s United David was the Director of Development for Waterford Group, LLC, whose responsibilities included assisting OPM with securing the GO bonds required to build the public components to the Adriaen’s Landing project in Hartford, CT, as well as securing the financing for the Marriott Convention Center Hotel, one of the private development components of the project.

Marcella Wagner, former president and active member since 1992, died suddenly on August 10, 2012 after a heroic 10-year battle with lung cancer. Marcella  began serving as a volunteer with the State park system with the Friends of Harkness in 1992 and served as their president of the in 2004 and 2005. She coordinated the formal summer teas, and did extensive research into the many Harkness homes, their Pullman car, and uncovered the location of their yacht, the Stevanna. Marcella was an impassioned volunteer.  She most recently served as coordinator of the gift shop where she was able to express her artistic talents and her intimate knowledge of the Harkess legacy. Marcella served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Connecticut State Parks for four years. She will be missed for her creativity and her anything is possible enthusiasm.

Sally Harold

Sally Haroldis the Director of Migratory Fish Projects with the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy where she has been employed for the last eleven years. Her responsibilities have grown from coordinating volunteer programs, public hikes and member outreach at Devil’s Den Preserve to developing and directing a multi-stakeholder watershed partnership involving representatives from the eleven municipalities in the Saugatuck River watershed.  She has successfully secured numerous federal grants supporting fish passage and other conservation projects in the Saugatuck River Watershed, and has conducted public workshops on watershed topics and coordinates annual volunteer monitoring activities. Sally is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German.  She is a Connecticut native (from Guilford) who enjoys the outdoors at all times of the year.

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 will be receiving her MS in Geography/Environmental Protection in December 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 this past year. He started his tenure with park volunteerism simply by offering his services in the visitors book at Heublein Tower, then joined the Friends of Heublein in 2002. In 2009, he 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, gather materials, and organize 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 the cupola to change the light bulb in the beacon. Jay lives in Simsbury with his wife, Tara, and daughters Taylor, Maggie, and Maeve.