Karen Zimmer, President. Karen has lived and worked on small farms in Rhode Island and Ohio and has hiked the Trust’s trails since she moved to CT in 1988. She is a retired registered nurse, having specialized in mental health and addiction settings. Karen has experience as secretary to the board of the CT chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.



Betsy Paterson, Vice-President. Betsy has served on many non-profit boards and is a well-known activist throughout the state. She was Mayor of Mansfield for 16 of her 18 years on the Town Council. Currently Betsy is Emeritus Board Member on the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Chairman of the Board of the Eastern Highland’s Health District, member of the Boards of the Windham Hospital Foundation, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, and the University Town Gown Committee and is the Chair of the Task Force on Sustainability for the CT Conference of Municipalities. During her time as Mayor, she supported the purchase of many acres of open space and believes that “preservation of open space is a key component of building a sustainable community.”



Nancy Silander, Secretary. Nancy has been a member of the Trust since moving to Mansfield in the late 1970’s. She says that the Trust has been an important part of her life here – whether helping as a steward, enjoying the trails, or volunteering for other Trust activities. Since her retirement from E. O. Smith in 2011, she has been a Trustee. Nancy works with Paul Stern on the quarterly newsletter and is a member of the Atwood Farm committee. She is also a Board member for Region 19, a docent at the Benton Museum, and on the board of the Edwin O. Smith Foundation.


Gail Bruhn photo

Gail Bruhn, Treasurer. Gail is a retired investment professional who sits on the Advisory Council of the Hartford CFA Society. She has used her financial skills to help a number of non-profits, including the EO Smith Foundation and the CT Horticultural Society. A Delawarean by origin, Gail lives in Storrs with her husband Tom, who is retired from the University of Connecticut. They were the original tenants of the Wilbur Cross house, following Joshua’s Trust’s purchase of the Gurleyville Gristmill. Trails along the Fenton River remain favorites of their three sons when they visit with their families.


Incoming Executive Director Michael Hveem

Michael Hveem, Executive Director. Mike has been a member of Joshua’s Trust since 2001, even though he lived in the Stamford area until moving to Vernon in early 2013. He is long familiar with the Trust, beginning as an undergraduate at UConn (where he earned a BA in History with honors), continuing as he lived and worked in Stamford and made frequent trips to visit family in Brooklyn. For nearly 3 years, Mike was the Executive Director of The Avon, a non-profit historic film theater in Stamford. Prior to taking that position, he worked for 12 years as a senior analyst for Royce and Associates, a mutual fund company also in Stamford. He earned an Executive MBA from UConn, as well as a Master’s degree in Library Science from SCSU, and is a licensed attorney with a JD from Boston University School of Law. He now looks forward to growing the Trust and making it even stronger as it moves into its next 50 years.