A member-based nonprofit. Connecting people to the land since 1895.
Home » About Us » Staff



Clare Cain - Trails Director

Clare Cain 4x6.jpgClare loves being in the woods! As CFPA's Trails Director, Clare works closely with volunteers and partners to manage the 825-mile Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System. After graduating from the University of North Carolina-Asheville with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature & Creative Writing, Clare pursued her dream of being paid to live in a tent and work in the woods. She traveled to Montana where she worked as a trail crew leader with the Montana Conservation Corps and the Bob Marshall Foundation. Clare also spent a season working as a trail crew leader for the Maine Conservation Corps.

Clare worked for the North Country Trail Association (NCTA), the national not-for-profit partner responsible for stewardship, protection, and promotion of the North Country National Scenic Trail. As the NCTA's Director of Trail Management, Clare was responsible for building partnerships, organizing trail trainings, pursuing trail extensions, and advocating trail preservation.

Clare's passion for trails has taken her backpacking across the country and she has thru-hiked both the Appalachian & Long Trails. When not working or hiking, Clare enjoys playing soccer and Ultimate Frisbee, acting as a "fierce warrior trail ninja," and hanging with her beau in Old Lyme.


Amelia Graham - Development Assistant

Amelia CFPA photo_0.pngAmelia joins our team after working for the Connecticut Audubon Society as a teacher-naturalist and development coordinator. As development assistant, she works closely with the rest of the development team, researching grants and working in the donor database. With a B.S. in environmental studies and writing from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, Amelia returned to her hometown of Old Saybrook to pursue her passion for protecting the Connecticut River ecosystem.

Amelia is a volunteer plover monitor with the Coastal Waterbird Alliance, and when she’s not in the CFPA office, you can find her birding around the state with her dad, working on her wildlife photography skills. Amelia loves being outside and enjoys cycling, lacrosse, and kayaking. She currently lives in Newington.




Eric Hammerling - Executive Director

Eric Hammerling 4x6.jpgEric has been CFPA’s Executive Director since May 2008. Prior to CFPA, Eric was the Executive Director for the Farmington River Watershed Association. Eric holds an M.S. in Environmental Science/Range Management from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Eric is the lead advocate for CFPA at the state legislature where he works primarily on forestry, recreation, education, and trail-related policy issues. Eric led CFPA's efforts to secure recreational liability reform to encourage municipal entities to open their lands for recreation, as well as helped protect 14,000 acres of forests in the 10-Mill program by easing tax burdens on landowners. Eric worked with CFPA and as Treasurer of the Protect CT Public Lands Coalition, Inc. to place Question #2 on the statewide ballot in Connecticut. This ballot question passed with ~85% support in 2018 adding a new Amendment to Connecticut's constitution that will protect State Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Management Areas from being given away by the Legislature without adequate public input. Most recently, Eric served as Chair of the Forests Sub-Group which is part of the Governor's Council on Climate Change. 

Eric currently serves on the Boards of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Friends of CT State Parks, and of Connwood Foresters, Inc. He is also on the Steering Committee for the Friends of Auerfarm Scenic Reserve, and the Working Lands Alliance.

Eric enjoys working on difficult conservation challenges, and was appointed as Chair of the State Vegetation Management Task Force which was formed by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection in April 2012 to balance the sometimes-conflicting goals of safe roads, reliable electricity, and healthy roadside forests. Eric has also served as Co-Chair of the Environment Committee providing policy recommendations to the Lamont/Bysiewicz Administration, and as Chair of the Forests Sub-Group making recommendations to the Governor's Council on Climate Change in 2020.

In his 30 year conservation career, Eric has also worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation on both coasts, the Center for Ecological Technology in Northampton, and for the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte who represented Western Massachusetts. 

James W. Little - Development Director

James Little 4x6.jpgJim is responsible for member relations, developing grants, program sponsorships, planned giving, and for public relations. He spent the first 24 years of his career in the trust and financial services industry, eventually becoming Senior Vice President and Department Manager of the American Savings Trust Department. It was at American Savings that Jim first came into contact with CFPA when the bank was hired to restructure CFPA’s investments. When American Savings was acquired, Jim declined an offer to stay with the bank and chose to pursue a personal goal to teach English in an urban school. At that time, Jim was invited to join CFPA’s Board and chair the Finance Committee. He taught for four years at a magnet school, the Metropolitan Learning Center, before agreeing to help create an expanded development office at CFPA.

Jim has served on several boards including Easter Seals, the New Britain High School endowment, and CFPA. He was Telethon Chairman of the Easter Seal’s telethon, Chairman of the Norwich Annual Bishop’s Appeal, and a corporator of New Britain General and the Hospital for Special Care. Jim is currently investment chair of the Diocese of Norwich Foundation and he is also treasurer of the New England Vincentian Order endowment. Jim lives in Hebron with his wife, Margaret, and has three children.


Teresa Peters - Office Manager

Terri Peters 4x6.jpgTerri graduated from University of Hartford with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and has worked a variety of positions through the years from Aviation Services to Youth and Family Services. Working at the Connecticut Forest & Park Association has allowed her to combine work with her interest in trails, hiking, and conservation. 

When not holding down the fort at CFPA HQ, Terri can be found pursuing her hobbies of stained glass, walking with her dog, and her newest hobby learning guitar. Terri enjoys camping and travel. Terri and her family live in Cheshire.

Beth (Rhines) Bernard - Education Director and Program Director, Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center

Beth for web_0_0.jpgBeth (Rhines) Bernard joined Connecticut Forest & Park Association in Fall 2015 as the Program Director for Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center in Hampton, CT. Having worked in environmental education for over fifteen years, Beth is passionate about creating opportunities that connect people with their local environment. Beth received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University in 2000, followed by a Masters Degree in Environmental Education at Antioch New England Graduate School in 2005. After her education, Beth gained experience as an educator, volunteer coordinator, and camp director at various environmental and educational organizations including Green Chimneys Children's Services in Carmel, NY and Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, NY.

Having recently relocated to Connecticut's quiet corner, Beth enjoys spending time with her husband Glenn, hiking the local trails, gardening, and playing music. Besides her old childhood haunts in central Connecticut, Beth loves to explore New York's Hudson Valley, where she lived and worked for ten years up until her recent move.