Celebrating Women of the Forest Society

March 18, 2021
Onlooker of a view at Madame Sherri forest.

A hiker enjoys the view at the Madame Sherri Forest, one of the many Forest Society reservations. (Photo: Emily Lord)

In honor of Women’s History Month this March and International Women’s Day, we would like to take a moment to express our appreciation for all of the women — staff, volunteers, landowners, members and donors, and board, committee, and community members — who made the Forest Society what it is today and who continue to support and further our mission. 

We are lucky to have so many outstanding, inspirational women involved with the Forest Society, but it is impossible to capture the essence of all these women in one article! Here are some highlights of only a handful of these individuals at the Forest Society today.  

Staff member, Carrie Deegan with volunteers at Lost River, North Woodstock, NH.
Carrie Deegan with volunteers at Lost River, North Woodstock, NH.

Carrie Deegan, Reservation Stewardship & Engagement Director

Carrie Deegan started at the Forest Society in 2008, as the Land Steward Program Coordinator. Now, she works to engage more people in the work of the Forest Society through programs such as Community Science projects, Forest Society Conservation Corps, Creek Farm education, and others organization-wide. Previously, she worked for the Town of Williston, VT, Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, and the Community College of Vermont.

Susanne Kibler-Hacker, Senior Philanthropy Advisor 

Susanne has been with the Forest Society since 1998 and is currently responsible for private fundraising, and securing and administering federal, state, and foundation grants. Susanne successfully designed and implemented the Forest Society's Centennial Campaign which raised $31 million in capital, endowment, and project funds.  

Michelle Morse, Human Resources Director 

Michelle has been with the Forest Society since 2008 and has dabbled in both finance and human resources. Now, as the Human Resources Director, she works diligently to make sure that being a Forest Society staff member is the best experience it can be.  

Wendy Weisiger teaching tree ID at the BelaBrookConservationArea in Dunbarton
Wendy Weisiger teaching tree identification in the Bela Brook Conservation Area in Dunbarton, NH.

Wendy Weisiger, Managing Forester 

Wendy started at the Forest Society in 2004 as a forester. Today, she now leads a team of two other foresters who together manage the more than 190 Forest Society reservations spanning more than 56,000 acres, each with their own Forest Management Plan updated every 10 years by the team. Wendy has also been active in the Society of American Foresters, Project Learning Tree, NH Timberland Owners Association, NH Prescribed Fire Council, NRCS State Advisory Committee and the Tree Farm Program. 

Sharon next to large redwoods that were logged.
Sharon Francis next to recently harvested redwoods near Redwood Creek, California, 1976.

Sharon Francis, Policy Committee Member 

Sharon is a former trustee and long-time member of the policy committee. She began her environmental career in Washington in the Johnson White House and worked with Stuart Udall. Throughout her career she and received numerous prestigious awards for her work as a conservationist. Read more about her story in the Winter 2017-18 edition of Forest Notes.

Janet Zeller, Board Member, Outreach Committee Member  

Janet is retired from the U.S. Forest Service after 27 years with the agency, the past 17 years serving as the agency’s National Accessibility Program Manager in Washington, DC.  Previously, she worked in education and as a school librarian. Janet has resided in NH for 50 years and growing up spent her summers in the White Mountains. She is a lifelong outdoor recreationist with a deep commitment to land conservation, sustainable land management practices and wise recreation use. 

You can read other stories of amazing women in these blog posts: 

Or browse the online version of Forest Notes.