Our Mission & Board
To protect the Deerfield River and its watershed in Massachusetts, with diverse community partners, and to enhance wild and native trout habitat for future generations through science-based conservation and education.
Mike Vito – President
A Greater Boston native, Mike moved to the region in 1985 where, upon arrival, he’s been happily fishing the area rivers and streams. He has enjoyed several careers, as a newspaper reporter, aide to a Mayor and U.S. Senator, and his own communications and political consulting business. He enjoys hiking with his wife Anne and their dog Daisy.
Eric Halloran – Vice President
Eric is a retired math teacher who has fished all his life and lives on the North River just a few long casts from her confluence with the Deerfield. He has been fly fishing the Deerfield since the late 1980’s. He has taught many how to fish with success and how to tie flies. Dry fly fishing is his first love but he enjoys the most productive fishing sub-surface, drifting nymphs and swinging wet flies. Eric has been a member of the Deerfield TU Chapter (#349) since the early 90’s and was present at some of the meetings when the chapter was revived and rejuvenated. He aspires to continue the work of his predecessors in moving the Chapter forward as an effective conservation organization, one that values science-informed direct action as well as advocacy in collaboration with various partners.
Sheila Kelliher – Secretary
A resident of South Deerfield, Sheila is passionate about protecting and restoring the Deerfield River Watershed and recognizes the value and critical importance of doing so while respecting the natural world. She is currently pursuing a degree in Fisheries Science and Environmental Economics and Policy. She enjoys fishing, kayaking, snowshoeing, and bird watching along the Deerfield. She works at an environmental non-profit helping businesses improve their environmental performance through energy efficiency and waste reduction. She also serves on other boards within the community such as the Deerfield River Watershed Association and the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership.
Bill Obear – Treasurer
For most of his life, Bill’s been involved in environmental and conservation activities. He started recycling in the town of Whately and served two years as chair of the Franklin county Solid Waste Management District. He’s always been volunteer minded and when he learned about the DRWTU chapter, he was anxious to join. He loves fly fishing, tying and briefly holding beautiful trout, however, he’s really drawn towards the behind the scenes work that makes this chapter special and the Deerfield River healthy and wild. He’s participated in numerous chapter activities over the years, including the brown trout spawning study. He recalls being one of the first folks to see viable eggs collected on the first day of the chapter’s field research and describes it as a humbling and exciting experience.
Kevin is a proud dad of two boys and practicing attorney in Shelburne Falls. He is a founding board member of DRWTU. Over the initial 10 years of DRWTU Kevin served as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President. Working alongside state and federal agency partners, Kevin has been the DRWTU point person in the FERC relicensing of Brookfield Power Operations on the Deerfield.
Jason grew up fishing the inshore waters of Charleston, SC and Amelia Island, FL. After moving to Western Massachusetts from New York City, he took up fly fishing for the first time. He was drawn to the Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited because of its commitment to science-based conservation in support of wild trout and their habitat. He teaches music theory at UMass Amherst, enjoys playing clawhammer banjo, and lives in South Hadley with his wife Alesia and cats Maddux and Murphy.
Besides fly fishing, Kevin’s passions include thoroughbred horse racing and golf. A native of Ware, MA, Kevin now lives in Greenfield and works for the City of Northampton’s Department of Public Works. Kevin was one of the first recipients of the “Spirit of TU Award” from TU National. The award is given to individuals who show leadership and outstanding commitment to their chapter’s mission of enhancing wild trout fisheries. When the Covid-19 pandemic nearly shut down the chapter’s groundbreaking Brown Trout Telemetry Study, Kevin stepped up and dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours to keep that project afloat.
Although Anthony is a native of the West Coast, his family roots in Western MA afforded him the chance to visit every summer growing up. As a long-time fly fisherman, it wasn’t until he moved to Greenfield, MA in 2018 that he grew to appreciate the value of conservation organizations like Trout Unlimited. After finding out about the chapter through a friend, he quickly joined and is proud of the hard work and dedication the small but mighty Deerfield Watershed Chapter invests to protect and preserve this unique angling resource.
Kris Van Naerssen
Kris is an aquatic ecologist with 20 years of environmental consulting experience and has been a DRWTU Board Member since 2018. As a wetland scientist, Kris has focused on a variety of natural resource assessment, permitting and ecological restoration projects throughout New England. He has extensive ports and harbors, impacted sediment and fisheries management experience, and previously worked as a NOAA fisheries observer. Kris completed his masters in freshwater conservation and is passionate about river restoration and dam removal projects. In his free time, Kris can be found exploring the outdoors – fishing, hiking, running and spending time with his family.
As a Franklin County native, Brian has had a front row seat to the transformation of many of our local rivers; the Millers River post passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972, the completion in 1980 of the Turners Falls Fishway at Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, and the sustained quality of the Deerfield River and Swift River. He proud to be a part of an organization who’s mission is dedicated to the long term health of a local watershed. Besides fly fishing, he enjoys baseball, singing and playing guitar, and comics and animation. Brian also enjoys spending time with his wife Sue, his adult daughters Emily, Danielle, and Sara, and their dog Tucker.
Jim graduated from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture in 1982 and has been working for the University of Massachusetts since he graduated. He’s been a research technician for over 30 years at the University’s research orchard. He was also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for 25 years before retiring.
Randy is a University of Massachusetts Extension Weed Specialist where he works with agricultural producers, green industry professionals and land managers to solve a variety of weed problems. Randy fell in love with fishing and the great outdoors at a very early age while fishing a small stream on his grandparents’ dairy farm with his father. Randy has been on the board for several years, including a stint as Board Secretary. Randy continues to be excited about the chapter’s various conservation projects focused on improving the Deerfield River watershed.