George Leinbaugh, President
George has always been interested in ecology, dating from the beginnings of the modern environmental movement in 1970. After retiring from the military he settled his family in Downeast Maine, which afforded him the opportunity to volunteer his time over the last fifteen years to the conservation effort of the Atlantic salmon. Toward this effort he has held the position of President of the Narraguagus Watershed Council and currently serves as President of the Downeast Salmon Federation. In his off time he enjoys fly fishing, kayaking, hunting, and snowshoeing.
Don Sprangers, Vice President
Don Sprangers was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin and moved to East Machias, Maine in 1990. He is a secondary science educator with 30 years of teaching experience; serving students at Washington Academy in East Machias, Maine since 1992. Don also teaches science methods courses at the University of Maine at Machias and is adjunct summer faculty at Lesley University in their Ecological Teaching and Learning (ETL) masters program. Don is the recipient of the 2002 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He was also honored in 2007 by The Conservation Fund with the International Paper Environmental Educator of the Year Award. Don has good organizational skills that serves the efforts of the DSF with collaborative partnerships and educational programs.
Don has served on the DSF board since 1995 and has held leadership positions on the Machias and East Machias River Watershed Councils. In his leisure, Don enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, gardening, and woodworking.
Tora Johnson, Treasurer
Tora Johnson has a B. S. in Biology from University of Oregon and an M.Phil. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and a PhD in Natural Resource Policy at the University of Maine. Since 1996, she has taught marine, environmental, and geographic information systems (GIS) at the college level. She teaches GIS and environmental studies at the University of Maine at Machias and serves as the director of the GIS Laboratory and Service Center. Tora was the principal investigator for a statewide GIS education initiative in GIS education involving nine colleges and universities. Also a writer, Tora’s award-winning book, Entanglements: The Intertwined Fates of Whales and Fishermen, was released in 2005. She was the marine reporter for the Martha’s Vineyard Times from 1998 to 2000. In addition to columns and feature articles for magazines and newspapers, she has published the Guide to Freshwater Animals without Backbones (with Arlene De Strulle; The Catskill Center, 1997). Tora and her husband, live in Sullivan with their son, Wolf. They spend as much time as they can in the summer aboard their 1941 wooden sailboat, Betsy, which Tora and Chris rebuilt.
William Otto, Secretary
William Otto is an analytical chemist with a very strong focus on the environment. He is interested in environmental monitoring with a focus on the Downeast rivers that are home to the endangered Atlantic Salmon. He also has a strong interest in energy, working with students to identify green features to be incorporated into new buildings at the University of Maine at Machias. He has also developed a greenhouse gas inventory for the university.
Gerry is an associate professor of biology at the University of Maine at Machias where he teaches a variety of biology and recreation courses. By training, Gerry is a conservation geneticist. He serves the DSF as the Downeast Rivers Land Trust Committee Chair, and has held positions on the executive board as President and vice-President . In his spare time, Gerry enjoys hunting and fishing. He tries to get out on our local rivers as often as he can. When he can’t get outdoors he pursue his interests in traditional boat making and craftsmanship.
Sculptor in stone and wood for the past twenty years. An award winning member of the Society of Animal Artists and his sculpture is known regionally and throughout the United States. He has pieces in both corporate and private collections in the United States and Europe.
Tom Hitchins is a self-employed professional architect living in Steuben, Maine. Tom brings many talents to the DSF including organizational skills and fiscal responsibility. Tom serves as the chair of the finance committee and oversees DSF’s facilities construction and operations. Tom enjoys kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, and gardening.
Alan “Chubba” Kane of Gouldsboro, Maine is a retired marine engineer. His career at sea was heightened by opportunities to work on a variety of merchant vessels including tankers, bulkers, freighters, and containerships. His travels took him to ports all over the world, with one voyage including a circumnavigation. A career ending accident and injuries moved his business interests ashore to Downeast, Maine. It also opened up the chance to devote more time for his passion for water related activities. His work with the Narraguagus Watershed Council led him to the Downeast Salmon Federation. Having served on their board as president, he is presently serving on the board of the Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation as their president. His voice and efforts have enhanced fisheries restoration and conservation in Maine, especially for the Downeast region. He has helped promote the East Machias Aquatic Research Center (EMARC), which now houses the Peter Grey Salmon Hatchery. Chubba enjoys sailing, canoeing, boating of all types, fishing, and hanging out at camp.
A lifetime Down Easter, Mike graduated from Washington Academy in 1971 and UMM in 1975. He taught math/science and coached in local high schools for 27 years. He retired from teaching in 2003 and now raises 160 acres of wild blueberries. Mike has been involved in conservation for many years. He founded and was president of the Washington County Conservation Association. He is currently the president of the Down East branch of The Quality Deer Management Association. He has been the chairman of the East Machias school committee for ten years and has been on the DSF board for eight years.Mike also loves to hunt deer and rabbits, and fish and hike. Active politically, Mike has made many trips to Augusta to testify on education and conservation issues.
Sunrise Realty, real estate appraisals and sales; semi retired. Joe is an avid sports fisherman and has been involved with DSF since it was established in 1982. Joe has actively served on the Board of Directors and been a proponent of the DSF mission for over 30 years. He was raised Downeast and spends time both here and near Augusta with his wife Gretchen.
Greg Gilka is a carpenter who lives in Machias, Maine with his wife, Suzanne. He is a graduate of University of Maine Machias and his favorable hobby is target shooting. Greg represents Pleasant River Fish and Game on the DSF Board. He has a strong interest in environmental issues and in promoting productive relationships among sports, business, and conservation concerns in rural Maine.
Al Eggleston is a member of the Union Salmon Association, serving on the DSF as a liaison. Hatchery work on the Union River was a primary USA program. He and his wife are 50 year residents of Ellsworth and have two daughters who are true downeasters. His experience as an engineering geologist with the Maine DOT is an asset in reviewing many DSF projects. This includes waterway restoration projects and the Union River Dam relicensing in Ellsworth.
Morris Lambdin, Ellsworth Maine, studied wildlife management and forestry at the University of Maine – Orono, moved to Alaska in 1974 and spent 34+ years developing his career. Morris worked 29 seasons with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Primary projects were adult sonar counts as well as smolt, fry and fishwheel studies. Morris also conducted herring monitoring studies and moose enhancement projects. Morris was part of the first electronic fish harvest monitoring system in the world. Morris kept and managed a data base for 11 years for the 25 – 30 million pound ground fish industry for the Central Region of Alaska.
At times, Morris worked as an electrician among many other jobs. Today, Morris brings his knowledge of fisheries habitats and their assessment to the DSF, with an emphasis on research that guides the management of the resource. Morris was a class II scuba diver and worked on king crab and urchin studies. He was also a part of clam assessment and monitoring programs as well as longline and trawl surveys. Morris has an affinity for the outdoors and in his leisure you will find him gardening, hiking or fishing.
Dennis Smith started fishing at the age of five, and since catching his first salmon on the Machias River in 1973, he has become a passionate advocate for the recovery of salmon in the U.S. Dennis is a fifth generation “Otter Creeker” from Mount Desert Island. It was there that he learned to tie flies – such as the Roger Dangerfield and Lady Joan – from Dr. G. M. Haskell, and has been tying his own flies ever since. As Board President of the Narraguagus Salmon Association, Dennis pushed for catch and release practices, and has worked hard as an advocate and fundraiser for Atlantic salmon through the Downeast Salmon Federation. After hearing Peter Gray speak about his innovative conservation hatchery methods on the Tyne River, Dennis became a fierce supporter of the Parr Project in East Machias and continues to push for the recovery of this iconic sport fish as a member of the DSF board.
It was through teaching canoeing over a decade ago that Joe first realized the tremendous power of outdoor education to immerse and captivate students in the content of their lessons. Since this early realization, Joe has studied natural history and education from California to Maine, Missouri to Wyoming, and many places in between. Joe graduated from Unity College in Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology. He also earned his Master’s of Business Administration in Sustainability and Master’s of Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education at Antioch University New England. Joe currently lives in Cherryfield and is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Maine Outdoor School, L3C–an educational organization dedicated to personal and community resilience in rural Maine.