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Center for an Ecology-Based Economy

Resilient Communities Restoring the Earth



Scott Vlaun, Executive Director

Seal Rossignol, Programming

As a permaculturist and father, Scott sees a profound need for change in the way we do business and to rapidly relocalize our economy so that the next generations will have a chance for a high quality life. Climate change, peak oil, and economic instability threaten the future of our youth and the health of our planet. For those reasons he is committed to working for resilient local food systems, community-based renewable energy, public and human-powered transport, and affordable green housing. Scott is a professional photographer and writer and spent many years doing documentary photography in South and Central America. After many years working for the organic seed industry, Scott settled in Maine on his land to begin growing food and saving seeds for himself and his community.

Seal holds a Master’s Degree in Education and a Certificate in Outdoor Leadership. She is committed to connecting with members of her community to problem solve issues stemming from climate change and reduced oil access so that her community can become more resilient in the face of resource depletion. She brings a wealth of experience with curriculum design and is tackling grant writing to help fund the CEBE mission. Seal is an avid nature lover and adventurer.

Zizi Vlaun, Connections & Communications

Zizi began working for the organic seed movement in the mid 90s after graduating from DAAP at the University of Cincinnati and working for Los Alamos National Laboratory as a graphic designer. Taos, New Mexico became home to her and she met her husband Scott through their work with Seeds of Change, an organic seed company. Zizi expanded her skills by working at a large design firm in NYC and then with Scott they moved to Maine and decided to grow some roots. Through their company Moose Pond Arts+Ecology they continued their work with Seeds of Change and expanded their clients locally with non-profits and businesses in the area. Zizi quickly became committed to supporting their local food coooperative, Fare Share Co-op in Norway, Maine, and joined their board early on and continues to work on creating a local food system. They still split their time between Taos and their home in Otisfield, but are committed to working for a resilient ecology-based economy in Western Maine and raising a wonderful son.


Michael Newsom, Board President

Born and raised here in the Oxford Hills, Michael is a fifth generation owner of W.J.Wheeler Insurance Agency. Married to Kathryn, father to Olivia, and living with them in Otisfield's first Maine Passive House. He also worked as Alternative Education Teacher at Oxford Hills, MSAD#17 where he worked with teens-at-risk for school failure or dropout to organize their lives and complete high school. He was a Staff Assistant at Children's Cabinet of Maine, which was a collaborative project of the five state agencies serving youth, while at the Muskie School of Public Policy. Since college, he's been a lead instructor and course director for Outward Bound, including 4 years of full time work, with the remaining years involving seasonal work during time off from other full time work. Currently he is a member of the Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association.

Tony Giambro, Vice President

Tony co-owns Paris Auto Barn in South Paris and is doing everything to be the greenest and most sustainable auto service possible. Tony has worked in the auto industry with Honda for over 10 years and has brought his factory training home to serve the local community. Before receiving the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award, Tony and Adam Beril took Paris Autobarn off the grid by installing a PV system with Revision Energy, installing heat pumps to run off the system, and implementing the use of the most eco-friendly services and supplies on the market. As a model for other businesses in the area, Tony hopes to show that it is possible and in the end, a smart economical choice to go green and make responsible decisions for the planet.

Don McLean

Don McLean has been an environmentalist much longer than he has been a veterinarian. In third grade, he did his science project on pollution. “Since then I have been trying to at least reduce the negative impact of modern life on our environment.”  McLean, who grew up in Oregon without much money, has had “a lot of experience in not wasting, in doing without, in using up whatever you have and in planning ahead.” That attitude appears to inform his approach to every facet of his life. On Earth Day, April 1970, he focused his awareness on what we’re doing to the environment and what we can do to improve it so that we can leave a livable environment for future generations. When living on the Umqua River in Oregon, he and a friend decided to protest the releasing of raw sewage into the river whenever the electricity failed. From their desire to change awareness in a positive way, they started a river appreciation group. Don continues this environmental work

James Miller

James studied Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dal is "Heading into its third century, Dalhousie continues to evolve into an academic and research powerhouse while making a valuable economic and social impact at the local, regional, national and global levels. " James is focused mostly on ecology and conservation which is how he really started getting interested in environmental issues and different kinds of solutions people have proposed to address them. He is also interested in the social side of the environment with local organizing and movements that are pushing for a more sustainable economy. "I really think that kind of local-scale work is going to be especially important going into the future. " James introduced Terracycle to CEBE to raise awareness about waste.  "It's a good way to get people thinking about the kind of waste they generate while giving them an option to do something about it."

Tavia Melhus

With a Master's of Public Administration and a concentration in Non-Profit Management and Leadership, Tavia Melhus brings management expertise to CEBE. She moved to Norway in May 2018 from Tennessee after working for the American Red Cross as an account manager and specialist.

Ben Woodard, Treasurer

Ben's latest work was as a Park Ranger at Bradbury Mountain State Park and before was the Chief Ranger at Baxter State Park.  Ben Is also skilled in emergency management and preparedness, which makes him an asset to CEBE as we move into creating a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the area.

Ted Colburn

Ted and his wife Doretta have been farming the land that has been in his family for four generations. On their farm, Beech Hill Farm in Waterford, they raise grass-fed bison, laying hens, MOFGA certified organic produce, and where Doretta regularly bakes artisan breads and bagels.  By doing so, Ted is continuing his family’s farming tradition, which stretches back to 1900, when his great-grandfather and grandfather bought the rambling, sloped land with views of the Mahoosuc Range and turned it into a dairy farm. Back then butter, not bison, was the export du jour. The retired Coast Guard captain, who remembers working on the farm as a boy, never thought he’d be corralling bison here at 68.  “Regenerative farming reverses the effects of global warming by putting carbon back into the soil,” Guptill said. “We don’t want to just maintain the status quo but improve the landscape.”


Advisory Board

Katherine Bessey

Katherine has worked as a research analyst for Group Dimensions International for over eight years. She double majored in mathematics and the arts at Smith College, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sustainable development and geospatial analysis (GIS) at the Muskie School of Public Service. Katherine is a native Mainer and grew up on the Midcoast. After graduating college she spent two years in Italy completing a “Farm to Table” internship, during which she expanded her skills and knowledge regarding sustainable agriculture, sustainable systems, and the importance of the food system as a cultural focal point of society. After returning from abroad, Katherine returned to Maine to purchase land in the Western Foothills and is developing a dynamic and ecological heirloom orchard along with a permaculture farming project and lifestyle. She loves the complex beauty of wild environments, and exploring the outdoors.

Carl Costanzi, Ph.D.

Scott Berk

Carl got a B.S. in Microbiology from Penn State and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia (now Drexel) and worked as a research molecular biologist for twenty years, most recently for ten years at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine where he studied chromosome packaging and gene regulation.  In 2004 he and his family moved to Norway where his wife Carolyn took a position at Stephens Memorial Hospital.  Carl learned carpentry working in construction for a couple of years before co-founding and teaching at Ganderia Middle School.  There he developed an integrated, project-based curriculum grounded on a sense of place and community engagement.  Carl currently coordinates the Let's Go! program for Western Maine Health, promoting healthy eating and active living in Oxford County.  He loves growing food, cooking for his family, spending time with his three grown sons, Ben, Nick and Dan, and exploring the natural world with a camera.

Jim Douglas, M.Ed.

Jim is the Partnership Director for Healthy Oxford Hills, which is a community coalition operating as a Healthy Maine Partnership and funded primarily by the Master Tobacco Settlement, mandated to build coalitions and partnerships locally to improve nutrition and physical activity and to fight tobacco, alcohol and other drug abuse.

John S. Gunn, Ph.D.

John is the Executive Director of  Spatial Informatics Group–Natural Assets Laboratory (SIG-NAL). Prior to SIG-NAL, John was a Senior Program Leader within the Natural Capital Initiative at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. John has a B.S. in wildlife management from the University of Maine, an M.F.S. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Brunswick studying the landscape ecology of forest songbirds. He has a broad background in sustainable forestry, including a position developing FSC-certified forest management systems for a large private landowner in Maine and extensive work on family forest and group certification issues throughout North America. John’s recent work has focused on developing the tools and science necessary to implement payments for ecosystem services programs (such as carbon sequestration and drinking water quality) involving forest landowners. John has been elected to serve as an Environmental Chamber representative on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) US Board of Directors.

Phil Hawes, Ph.D.

“Home is wherever I am at the moment,” says Scott. Born in El Dorado, Arkansas, but raised in North Africa and Europe, he thrives on movement, and feels kin to the nomads of the world. Being raised as a Third Culture Kid gave Scott a deep appreciation for different cultures and values and has instilled a sense of adventure and responsibility that he has tried to balance throughout his adult life. Scott’s adventuress side has led him to pursue several outdoor passions including rock climbing, surfing, paragliding, mountaineering, adventure racing and ultra-running. His professional life has gone through numerous changes. A degree in mining engineering in 1990 led to working in a gold mine in the Venezuela, working a tunnel engineer and a surveyor in Boston, a 3d computer animator, and a litigation graphics consultant. Interspersed during this time he worked as a paragliding instructor and volunteered his time for a NGO in Uganda. Scott moved to Norway in 2003 and currently owns Café Nomad and Fiber & Vine on Main Street. He is a board member of Norway Downtown, The Norway Opera House Corporation, and is an advisor for the Maine Downtown Center. Scott also continues to work as a litigation graphics consultant.

Fred Garbo

Fred got paid for doing a card trick in 1974, and has been a professional performer ever since. On Sesame Street, he was the acrobat inside Barkley the Dog. On Broadway, he was the chief juggler in the musical Barnum. He toured Europe, Hong Kong and Australia with the Obie Award-winning Foolsfire, with Bob Berky and Michael Moschen. Whether tumbling for the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center or dancing with MOMIX in Brazil, Fred brings a gymnast's timing and an actor's presence to his Inflatable Theater Co. He even was featured on David Letterman's Late Night. Fred Garbo continues to astound and tickle audiences with his pop-action inflatables and hilarious stage presence. For more than two decades he has been inventing inflatables with artist/builder: George York. Fred has trained and performed with the Master of Illusion: Tony Montanaro. (Fred also trains in “snowboarding" every chance he gets.) Recently he now runs his home and car from the power of the sun.

John Howe

John is a mechanical engineer based in Maine and the head of Howe Engineering Co. since 1981. John also manages 175 acres of farm and forest in Maine, where he has pioneered oil-free approaches to agriculture with his solar powered cart and tractor. He is author of The End of Fossil Energy.

Phil was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and went on to become the principle architect of Biosphere 2 in Arizona. He holds a PhD from the San Francisco Institute of Architecture where he is on the faculty. He has developed educational programs related to sustainable community design and green architecture internationally and has developed sustainable eco-village designs in the US and elsewhere. Phil is an architect and town and regional designer whose area of interest and expertise is sustainable community development. He has established programs in architecture and community planning in the U.S., Portugal, and France, and has lectured widely on these subjects in the U.S. and abroad. He has also worked on ecological projects in the U.S., England, France, Nepal, and Australia.

Will Kessler

Will has worked in solar design, installation and project development since 2006, when he took a job with a start-up solar company, installing and servicing solar PV arrays. Since then he has taken on a variety of solar projects ranging from 2–200 kws, and set ground-breaking concepts in motion. His passion for sustainability has breathed life into projects such as the co-ownership model of solar (community solar arrays), virtual net metering, rooftop solar panels in New England’s Historic Districts, and net-zero energy buildings. Hands-on experience comes from hundreds of hours of field experience installing solar systems, and Will holds a PV installer Certification from the North American Board of Energy Practitioners, which is a rigorous standard for solar installation best practice and safety. Before learning solar, Will studied at Cornell University (B.S., Natural Resources), and UNH (M.S., Natural Resources). He often presents at solar energy conferences, and has published articles in industry and academic sources.

Kristine Keeney

Kristine currently works in the Transportation Division for the City of Portland, Maine's Planning & Urban Development Department. She focuses on bicycle and pedestrian related planning initiatives including bike corrals and racks, bike sharing, abandoned bicycles, sidewalk materials, complete street design, and strategic transportation planning. Kristine is currently pursuing a Master's of Urban Planning at Tufts University and working to complete her thesis focused on active transportation and community development in Norway, Maine. She was recently awarded the 2014 Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship by the Federal Highway Administration and the CT APA Diana Donald Scholarship. She previously worked as a research associate for a transportation demand management firm in Boston for almost four years doing transportation surveying and data analysis. Kristine spends her free time in the woods of Western Maine skiing, hiking, biking, and canoing.

Nikki Millonzi

Nikki has been an art teacher in the Oxford Hills for over thirty years and has inspired young artists and the community to make art as important as math. She is an accomplished and prolific artist herself who enjoys combining her art with all other forms of art such as music, dance and theater. She has been a founding and loyal member of the Commons Art Collective for almost 15 years and continues to bring art to the area. Her support and commitment to the local food movement through Fare Share Co-op and other efforts make her one of the most beautiful sustainability supporters around.

Alex Miller

Brendan Schauffler

Alex was drawn to the Western Maine because of his life-long passion for the outdoors. He graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin in 2008 with a bachelors degree in philosophy and geology and lived in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New York and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail before finding his "home" in Norway in 2010.  As long as he's doing good work for great people, and gets to spend as much time outside as possible, Alex is willing to take on just about any task; he works for a land surveyor, does Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis and mapping for area organizations, grows food, makes pottery, dabbles in carpentry and masonry, chops wood, hauls water, and lives year-round in a hand-made canvas yurt. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Alan Day Community Garden and the Western Foothills Land Trust.

Lisa Moore

Brendan is the Active Communities Environment Coordinator through Healthy Oxford Hills and works collaboratively with community partners to increase bike and pedestrian usage in Oxford County, specifically in Norway, South Paris, Bethel, Rumford, Mexico, Hiram and Porter. Brendan’s focus is to raise awareness of existing pedestrian and bike resources, promote education that keeps cyclists, pedestrians and motorists safe, and implement wayfinding programs to facilitate the use of pedestrian and bike resources. Brendan works with the Oxford County Wellness Collaborative and other community partners to establish a county-wide education and awareness campaign. Brendan is currently completing his Masters in Community Planning and Development at the Muskie School of Public Service in Portland Maine. He has previously worked as a Project Manager with Moose Pond Arts+Ecology and he is currently the Coordinator at Good Food for Lewiston/Auburn.

Lisa is Norway’s Poet Laureate. She writes materials for the educational industry and facilitates the Mountain Poets Society that has performed at the Norway Arts Festival for many years. Her book There is a Crooked River offers poems about the Maine woods for young readers. Other recent works include The Haiku Project, a collaborative celebration of 100 original Haiku, a biography of Elie Wiesel for high school students, and an annual  collection of poems, such as Smoke that was letter-pressed in West Paris. Lisa has been a member of Fare Share Co-op since the 1980's and has been serving the Co-op in many different ways, including having a knowledge of Policy Governance and the ability to train others in using it well.

Ken Morse

Ken grew up and worked on a 60 acre family apple orchard in the foothills of Western Maine. For 40 years, he’s been involved in community organizing, mostly focused on food. As a food co-op organizer, he helped start Fare Share Co-op in Norway, Maine in 1978. He also worked at the Maine Federation of Cooperatives, which operated Fedco Warehouse that delivered natural foods and produce across the state. His role there as newsletter publisher led to opening Grassroots Graphics, a graphic design and print shop that he operated for 18 years. Ten years ago, he became the director of Healthy Oxford Hills, one of 28 community health coalitions that cover the State of Maine. He’s been active in the Local Foods movement for years and most recently focused on Farm to School efforts. A year ago, he started Community Food Strategies. In this role, he coordinates the Maine Farm to School Work Network and the Maine Network of Community Food Councils, and serves as Maine’s rep on the Leadership Team of Farm to Institution New England.

Sarah Shepley

Sarah is a full time artist, interfaith minister, and faculty member at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. She teaches bookmaking, printmaking and writing classes throughout Maine and New England. Ordained in 2011, Sarah’s ministry includes being a celebrant, offering UU services and volunteering her time at the Center for Wisdom’s Women where she facilitates creative expression with the women. Sarah also works independently as a community minister specializing in bereavement support. Recently, she traveled to the Dominican Republic as a chaplain with Partners for Rural health, a non profit organization treating chronic health issues in the village of Lajas. Sarah Lives in South Paris, Maine with her husband. Together they have three children.

Travis Ritchie

Travis  grew up in South Paris, Maine and graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in 2001. He began researching alternative energies including electric vehicles, biodiesel and hydrogen fuel while still in school. He holds a bachelor's degree in Space Studies from American Military University. where he focused on ways to produce food in the spacecraft environment for long-duration spaceflight. "...my idea was to work for NASA or SpaceX and find some way to help humanity become a multi-planet species. I figured that wherever humans go, we need food, so I focused on growing healthy food in the spacecraft environment." Travis has also worked in the automotive industry for over a decade and is now the office manager and education outreach coordinator at Paris Autobarn, where he continues his work in sustainable energy and transportation, driving EVs and waiting for his Tesla to arrive.

If you are interested in joining CEBE's Board or Advisory Board, please let us know.


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