Board of Directors and Staff

The Friends of the Winooski River is led by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Jared Carpenter moved to Vermont in 2007, having grown up in Connecticut and lived in Colorado and Washington, DC. He attended Vermont Law School, receiving both the Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree and the Juris Doctor. At VLS, he focused on water quality and watershed conservation. An avid fly fisherman, he spends his free time exploring the state’s rivers, particularly the Winooski and its tributaries, looking for quiet places to catch big fish. A resident of Montpelier, he is also a Board Member of the local chapter of Vermont Trout Unlimited, the MadDog Chapter.

Tad Dippel is a retired middle school science teacher with a passion for trout fishing in the Winooski River. This passion has lead to his appreciation of the river and all of the life that it supports. He is particularly interested in the benthic macro invertebrates that inhabit aquatic ecosystems. He very much enjoys fly tying and fly fishing for game fish here in Vermont and on the Atlantic coast. He has a Environmental Science from Stockton State College in New Jersey and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from UVM. He is thrilled to be a part of the Friends of the Winoosk Riveri.

Kris Hammer was introduced to paddling growing up in Minnesota and taking extended canoe trips in the Boundary Water Canoe Area and Quetico Provincial Park. He spent 15 years in the Northwest paddling rivers in Oregon and Washington and sea kayak trips in Puget Sound and SE Alaska. Since moving to Vermont, he has enjoyed canoeing and kayaking on Lake Champlain, the Maine coast, and most recently the Winooski River. Kris served for 15 years on the Montpelier Park and Conservation Commissions, worked for 8 years for Vermont Land Trust and is currently working for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. When not on the water, Kris plays tenor sax in a swing band, oboe with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and enjoys gardening, beekeeping, biking in all seasons and Nordic skiing (when there is snow!). Kris lives in Montpelier next to Hubbard Park with his wife Nancy and miscellaneous animals.

Colin McCaffrey (President) is a professional songwriter, performer, and record producer. He is an avid trout fisherman and amateur biologist with a passionate lifelong interest in habitat preservation and improvement in Vermont’s waters. He was born and raised by the Connecticut River and now lives on the Kingsbury branch of the Winooski River in East Montpelier, VT. In 2006 – along with fourth grade students at Union Elementary School in Montpelier -- Colin combined his love of songwriting and the river to produce a full length recording and publication entitled THE RIVER GIVES TO ME: Vermont History Through Song and Story. The recording is a celebration of our rivers from the past into the future and their central role in our lives as Vermonters. Colin hopes to continue using his public profile to educate and inform area residents of the work being done by Friends of the Winooski River.

Noah Pollock hails from Burlington and holds degrees in Natural Resources from Cornell University and the University of Vermont. Since 2007, Noah has worked with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, planning stewardship projects and helping coordinate their summer intern and volunteer programs. In addition, Noah also works with the Vermont River Conservancy, managing riparian conservation and river access development projects across the state, including the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail.


Michele Braun (Executive Director) was delighted to take the helm in 2018 of the watershed organization for which she was the founding president twenty years earlier. In her prior role as the planner for the Town of Northfield, Michele was responsible for the acquisition and demolition of 18 homes damaged in Tropical Storm Irene. Following that buyout, she coordinated a multidisciplinary project team focused on restoring the floodplain to reduce flood risk and enhance downtown recreation opportunities. Previously, she worked as an environmental policy analyst, responsible for managing projects, designing and facilitating multi-stakeholder meetings and workshops for city and state governments, US EPA, watershed organizations, environmental health associations, and multi-partner collaborative environmental planning projects. Michele has a Master of Science in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Vermont, and she earned her bachelor of arts degree in Government & Legal Studies and Romance Languages from Bowdoin College. She has served on the Board of the Montpelier Roxbury Public Schools since 2013, and enjoys a busy life in Montpelier with her husband and children. 

Shawn White (Project  Manager) has felt a deep connection with rivers since the age of 2 when her parents started taking her exploring along the willow- and aspen-edged streams in Colorado. Her work with the Friends involves education and outreach to volunteers, schools, and community groups; management of riparian restoration, water quality monitoring, and stormwater mitigation projects; and data analysis. Prior to joining the Friends, Shawn taught environmental science and biology courses at Norwich University in Northfield, VT, Green Mountain College in Poultney,VT, and the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN. She has been active in several environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, Greening the Great River (a Mississippi River organization), and the Four Winds Institute, and is a member of the Montpelier Conservation Commission. She holds a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Georgia and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas. Shawn lives with her husband in Montpelier where she enjoys gardening, playing classical piano, and introducing her two sons to the beauty of the natural world.