Our Team

Our Staff

Liz Cohen
Camp and Youth Development Director

Liz Cohen is the Camp and Youth Development Director for Friends of the Middlesex Fells. She has over twenty years experience as an educator, teaching and directing summer camp and after-school programs. Liz started her career leading adventure-based outdoor programs for at-risk youth and has a Masters Degree in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Having grown up in Brooklyn, Liz’s love of the outdoors was sparked by her own summer camp experiences where she developed a deep rooted connection to nature. When not directing programs, Liz can be found kayaking, hiking, and happily tending to her vegetable garden with her dog, Silus.

Diana Lomakin
Babes in the Woods Coordinator

Diana began volunteering with the Babes in the Woods hikes in November of 2015. Now she helps coordinate and lead the hikes every single week. When she is not helping parents get exercise, socialize, and improve their mental health, she is making fonts full-time for an international design company. Keeping the Babes hikes going improves her own mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Maddie Morgan
Community Engagement and Operations Manager

Prior to joining the Fells, Maddie worked at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) where she was the Director of Programs and Services, focusing on managing the events and programs for nonprofits across the state. Maddie graduated from Kenyon College where she worked on the Brown Family Environmental Center’s programming efforts. If she’s not out running or hiking, you can find her volunteering at a local farm or enjoying the Somerville Community Growing Center, where she serves on the board. Maddie is excited to be part of the Fells team and looks forward to seeing the organization and community grow!

Chris Redfern
Executive Director

Chris Redfern has led the Friends of the Middlesex Fells as its executive director since 2019. Prior to joining the Friends, Chris was executive director of San Diego Audubon for fourteen years. Chris is a nonprofit professional with extensive experience in outdoor nature education, community-based habitat restoration, endangered species recovery, and community science. Chris also has more than a decade of experience collaborating with federal, state, city, and non-profit organizations to protect wildlife and restore local habitats, co-founded San Diego Children and Nature, and served for more than eight years on the Board of Directors of Audubon California.

Our Board

Anita Brewer-Siljeholm
Board Member

Anita Brewer-Siljeholm has been acquainted with the Middlesex Fells Reservation since she moved to Melrose in 1981. She holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.A. in environmental planning from Tufts University, where her thesis concerned the conversion of Basin 3 of the High Service Reservoir in the Fells to underground storage. She has worked in the transportation, planning and health care fields as a writer and editor and has a special interest in maps of the reservation. Anita has been a Board member since November 2018 and lives in Manchester by the Sea.

Jeff Buxbaum
Chair of the Board of Directors

Jeff Buxbaum was a planning consultant for 34 years, specializing in funding and finance of transportation projects and programs. He began his involvement with the Friends through the trail adopter program, and is currently heading up the Inspiring Stewardship in the Fells project. He lives in Medford, hiking in the Fells several times a week. He also advocates for a safer walking environment through his involvement with WalkMedford, and for food security through Food Link.

Steve Engel
Board Member

Steve chairs the Advocacy Committee, focusing on preserving amenities of the Fells and improving awareness of its unique place in and for communities of eastern Massachusetts. An attorney by profession and historian and outdoors enthusiast by avocation, Steve appreciates the Fells for its natural wonders and opportunities for sustainable recreation. In 2018, he became interested in The Friends’ efforts to preserve the “90-mm site” when threatened by development of a hockey arena. He and his family have been living since 1996 in Winchester’s “East Hill” neighborhood where the Fells is “just around the corner.”

Jill Geisler
Board Member

Jill likes to say that she’s been out walking in the Fells for 6 out of every 7 days since 1981 when she moved to Stoneham. She got to know it much better through serving as a docent for the Stone Zoo, a trail guide with Winchester Trails, and as Outdoor Coordinator for the Stoneham Girl Scouts. She believes in the importance of hands-on stewardship for our planet. She has served on the Stoneham Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Melrose Recycling Committee and Friends of the Fells towards that purpose. More broadly, she is a member of the Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Nature Conservancy, and Natural Resource Defense Council. Her favorite involvement, however, is being a front-line advocate for undeveloped, clean, and accessible land for all.

Heidi Kelf
Board Member

Heidi’s early career was in newspaper, television, and radio, including six years producing public affairs programming and organizing special events at classical music station WCRB. Her current role is Senior Buyer at Cytonome, where I have worked since 2012. She enjoys managing vendor relationships, negotiating price savings, and working in an industry that helps people. She brought this experience when she joined the Friends of the Fells Board in 2006, and served as Secretary for 13 years. She has visited six continents.

Claire O’Neill
Board Member

Claire is a field naturalist and conservationist, a scientist trained in mathematical statistics and data science. She is the founder of Earthwise Aware (EwA), and leads its Biodiversity & Climate Participatory Science program–an initiative that connects the public with its immediate natural systems and empowers communities through ecological citizen science. Claire is a co-chair of the U.S.-based Citizen Association Ethics Working Group, focusing her efforts on raising awareness and providing resources for advancing ecology and conservation citizen science ethics. Locally, she is a board member of the Friends of the Fells, and an advisor of Green & Open Somerville.

Sandra Pascal
Vice Chair and Treasurer

Sandy has been a long term member of the Friends and served on the Board for many years in various capacities. She has a wealth of experience as a community organizer and consensus building with neighborhood leaders and elected officials. Prior to retirement, she led community relations at a university in Boston. She has a long term commitment to providing educational opportunities for urban youth. She has a passion for animals and the natural world. Supporting the use of native plants in neighborhood gardens, she has a small field of milkweed and other wild plantings at her home.

Robert Weggel
Board Member

1960 Valedictorian of Arlington, MA, a BS in Physics from MIT, and Harvard graduate studies led to an engineering career in magnet design. Interests in hiking and nature photography led to a trek in Nepal and climbs of Kala Patar (18,200’), Mt. Whitney, and all but a dozen of Colorado’s 53 “fourteeners.”

My rockwork skills have improved trails in the Middlesex Fells Reservation and during week-long “Volunteer Vacations.” I’ve established endowment funds for the Friends of the Fells and other organizations. The Friends deserves high praise for its passionate and effective defense of this precious jewel of biodiversity.