Board of supervisors & Staff

Hampden Hampshire Conservation District Supervisors


Leon Ripley

Maple Corner Farm


[email protected]


Antonio Laudati


[email protected]


Eileen Gates


[email protected]

Vice Chair

Connie Adams

Yellow Stonehouse Farm


[email protected]

District Supervisor

Roberta DuComb – Monson


[email protected]

District Supervisor

Joyce Ripley

Maple Corner Farm


[email protected]t

Hampden Hampshire Conservation District Staff

Matthew Karas

Matthew Karas

Conservation Program Manager

Matthew was raised on a farm in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, where his family grew a variety of cucurbits, decorative flowers, hay and straw. Matthew studied conservation biology, botany, and sustainable agriculture as an undergraduate. During his Masters of Public Administration program, he studied water law and policy, the human water cycle, food insecurity among SNAP-Ed participants, and environmental justice.

Matthew started working from Hampden-Hampshire Conservation District in September of 2022, and is primarily responsible for developing and managing the Healthy Soils Program, conducting outreach and administration, providing technical assistance to farmers, and assisting with conservation plans. Matthew started receiving Conservation Planner training through NRCS in 2023, and is expecting to become a certified Conservation Planner in 2024. He is also a member of the Diversified Agriculture and Agroforestry cohort of the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship.

What is a Conservation District Supervisor?

A Conservation District Supervisor is a volunteer who serves the people, landowners, and communities within their district by observing, reporting on, advocating for, and directing efforts to address natural resource issues within the community.

The Supervisor is knowledgeable about natural resource issues. They know the people, businesses, agencies and organizations in their community who are affected by these issues, particularly those involved in agriculture. They also know which issues have the potential to affect the health and well-being of human and natural communities within their district.

Supervisors are elected by the landholders of the county to serve on a seven person board of supervisors that guides the actions and efforts of the county conservation district. These boards hold open public meetings, usually monthly, where any landholder in the county can bring forth conservation concerns or request assistance from the district on matters related to soil, water and natural resources; and district supervisors can discuss, debate and resolve to take action.

The Board of Supervisors works cooperatively with landowners, concerned citizens, local governments, community organizations, and state and federal agencies to address these matters by seeking out common ground and sensible solutions. They apply available resources in a cost-effective manner.

A Supervisor’s roles and responsibilities are defined by state law, but are not limited by that definition.

Become a District Supervisor!

The Hampden-Hampshire Conservation District is seeking to add new District Supervisors in 2022-23.

Why you should join us:

  • Take an active role to identify conservation needs and guide projects that improve environmental health in your community.
  • Connect with other farmers and learn about opportunities available to farmers and landowners.
  • Learn about and work with our partner organizations that are driving sustainable agriculture and conservation issues in the Pioneer Valley.
  • Great resume builder for folks who are looking to pursue a career in conservation.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information.

The HHCD Board would like to recruit a Board that truly represents the diversity of people, lands, and land uses present in the 43 municipalities of Hampden and Hampshire Counties.

Useful Capabilities include:

  • Availability to participate in monthly board meetings and volunteer on projects. 
  • Passion for conservation, community, and protecting the natural world.
  • Open minded, informed, dedicated, personable, and honest. 
  • Ability to think and act long and short term.
  • Willingness to attend events and stay up to date on the district’s activities. 
  • Good communication skills, ability to motivate and be effective at community outreach. 
  • Willingness to promote the Conservation District.
  • Live in Hampden or Hampshire counties

Though it is not necessary, we especially encourage anyone with knowledge or experience in farming, fundraising, gardening, urban agriculture, natural resource management, forestry, fish & game, biology, soil science, plant taxonomy, etc. 

Supervisors serve for three years, are voting board members, serve as officers, and provide inspiration, assistance and direction to the District. In order to be elected to a Supervisor position, candidates must live in Hampden or Hampshire County, have an interest in the field of conservation and a dedication to their responsibilities as a Supervisor of HHCD. Training is provided.

Associate Supervisors serve for two-year terms as non-voting members. This is often a training position for people interested in becoming a Supervisor. It can also be a good balance for those interested in participating but have less time to dedicate to the Board. Associate Supervisors have a voice in the running of the District and can serve on subcommittees, and as secretary or treasurer and, with the permission of the Chair, represent the District at meetings.

Junior Supervisors are high school or college students with a demonstrated interest in soil and water conservation. They are also non-voting members of the Board and usually help with education and demonstration projects. The term is one year, with the ability to be re-appointed for multiple years. 

Roles and Responsibilities of Individual Board Members

  1. Be a diplomat/advocate/ambassador for HHCD.
  2. Attend board meetings. There are 10 regular meetings, plus the annual meeting.
  3. Maintain knowledge of HHCD, its work and the evolving requirements of natural resources conservation. 
  4. Participate in fundraising activities for HHCD, like our annual bulb sale. 
  5. Attend HHCD functions and volunteer to help when needed.
  6. With staff support, make a plan to recruit your replacement on the Board.
  7. Elect new Board members annually.


For further information: For more information, or to submit your name for consideration, please contact the District Administrator at [email protected]

Alternatively, the public is always invited to the Board of Supervisor meetings, currently being held virtually.