Clearwater board members play key creative roles in fundraising, event planning, program development, financial management, public relations, and project management, and serve as spokespersons and ambassadors for Clearwater. The Clearwater Annual Meeting provides members with the opportunity to participate in the vital function of electing board candidates into office. Clearwater members and the public may communicate with the Board at any time: Communications will be acknowledged and responded to, when appropriate.

Strategic Plan

In spring 2020, an ad hoc advisory committee of staff, board, members and environmental leaders set out to gather feedback regarding Clearwater’s role in Hudson River environmentalism, clarify and update the organization’s vision for the 21st century, and lay out a strategic plan to achieve that vision and promote our evolution into a more sustainable organization. With help from the Hudson River Foundation and the Support Center for Nonprofit Management, the planning effort identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to be considered in working towards that outcome.

The committee solicited input via a community survey, a carefully curated roster of interviews, retreats, and an organizational assessment tool. Data gathered were both quantitative and qualitative, including information on member demographics, entry points and ongoing participation. Findings confirmed the sloop as the organization’s core strength, education and advocacy as the most important and successful of our programs, and music as a unique and central means of promoting our mission and engaging our members and Hudson Valley communities.

Based on the findings, the committee identified seven priorities necessary to bringing Clearwater stability, maintaining its relevancy and fulfilling its mission to the highest potential. Each priority includes goals aimed at fulfilling the priorities and specific action items needed to achieve them over a three year period. These priorities, goals, and actions constitute a strategic plan intended to establish a path to stability and sustainability for Clearwater over the next three years.

The plan, approved by Clearwater’s board of directors in December 2021, calls for the organization to focus and then act, all the while operating in adherence to the goals and management practices we have set for ourselves. Otherwise, we risk maintaining the status quo of being spread too thin, and doing many things shoddily instead of a few things with excellence. If we can do this, Clearwater will not only survive but prosper in years to come.

Read Clearwater’s strategic plan

Board Meeting Schedule 2023-2024

(Clearwater’s Fiscal Year starts December 1 and ends November 30.)

All board meetings are open to members to attend.

The meetings are currently virtual on Zoom, and are 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, except for the Annual Meeting
(unless otherwise indicated)

Downloadable List of Board Meetings for 2023-24

July 11, 2024

August 8, 2024

September 11, 2024

Saturday, October 5, 2024, Annual Meeting in person, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

Samantha Hicks, President

Second term, expires October 2024

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Samantha, AKA Captain Sam, started working on the sloop as an apprentice in 1994 at the very beginning of what would become a 17- year career in sail education. She worked her way up through the ranks on numerous vessels including the Schooner Ernestina out of New Bedford, sailing as chief mate for the maiden voyage of the brigantine Irving Johnson and sailing to both Europe and Asia aboard the Pride of Baltimore II. After sailing as captain of the Sloop from 2000 to 2005, she signed on as chief mate for the Barque Picton Castle’s fourth World Voyage, circumnavigating the globe.

Arthur Jones, Vice-President

Second term, expires October 2024

A lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, Arthur Jones has been a Clearwater member and perennial sloop volunteer for 22 years. Arthur is a dedicated environmentalist, an avid sailor and an award-winning filmmaker who has made several short films in support of Clearwater, The NY Democracy Project and other local non-profits. Arthur is serving his second term as a board member but has been involved with Clearwater most of his life. He currently lives in Jersey City and works in New York as a full-time television professional, specializing in the management of large and complex projects. As a board member, Arthur offers a unique blend of digital media expertise, love of the Hudson River and a passionate commitment to Social and Environmental Justice.

Neil Gordon, Treasurer

Third term, expires October 2025

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Neil is starting his second three-year term on Clearwater’s board. He has also served for the last two years as Clearwater’s treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. Neil is a longtime on-board Clearwater volunteer and has great passion and regard for the Sloop and its crew. Neil is politically active in local government, and has served on a number of not-for-profit boards, including the Andover (MA) Historical Society, where he also served as Treasurer. Neil was raised in the Bronx and Yonkers and currently lives in Brookline, MA. His mother, children and grandchildren live in New York City.

Rosemary Thomas, Secretary

Second term, Expires October 2026

Rosemary is a long time Clearwater member and a resident of the Hudson Valley for over 40 years. She strongly believes in the Clearwater mission to educate the next generation of environmental leaders and stewards of the Hudson. A Sloop Woody Guthrie sailor and a former President of the Beacon Sloop Club, Rosemary is an active member of the extended Clearwater community. She is currently the Sloop Club’s vendor coordinator and co-coordinator of the riverfront festivals. She is dedicated to improving the health of the Hudson River and its watershed through education and community involvement. Rosemary is a retired metallurgical engineer and a certified project manager with experience in managing international client relationships. She believes strongly in citizen participation and has recently completed 8 years on the Dutchess County Mental Hygiene Board.

At-Large Board Members

Mitzi Elkes

Third Term, expires October 2024

Mitzi has been a board member of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater since September 2015. In addition to the board, she was part of the Executive Committee and spent four years on the Finance Committee. Additionally, she helped launch and coordinate the highly successful, annual fundraising event, Chefs for Clearwater ( since 2016.

Mitzi serves on several other environmental boards and committees, including member of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment Board of Visitors since 2018, Chairperson of the Town of Ossining Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) since 1996, and member of the Leadership Committee of the Pocantico River Watershed Alliance since 2015. [READ MORE]

Tom Murphy

First term, expires October 2025

Tom Murphy is a Hudson Valley native – he grew up in Newburgh, attended Newburgh schools and Orange County Community College. He has been a banker since the early 1980s when he got his start at a small bank in Newburgh. He is currently a Senior Vice President at M&T Bank, running their Government Banking Division here in the Hudson Valley and Long Island. Tom serves on M&T Bank’s local Charitable Foundation Board, providing funding to over 100 non-profit organizations in Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties. He is currently on the Board of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley and Chair of their Ulster Board, and previously served on the boards of the Bardavon Opera House, Mohonk Preserve, and many other community organizations. While on the Mohonk Preserve Board, Tom was Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee for many years, and also spent time on their Environmental Education and Finance and Development Committees. Tom lives in Kingston, NY with his wife Ellen and their two college age boys, along with two dogs, two cats and five chickens. He is an avid reader, skier, hiker and fisherman.

Steve Stanne

Second term, expires October 2026

Steve Stanne has been teaching about the Hudson since 1980 when he stepped aboard Clearwater as education director, a position he held for 19 years. His time with the organization also included two stints as acting executive director. From 1999 until retirement in 2017 he was employed by Cornell University in partnership with NYSDEC to direct education efforts of the agency’s Hudson River Estuary Program.

Over his career Steve designed signature river education programs including Clearwater’s Classroom of the Waves and the Estuary Program’s Day in the Life of the Hudson, as well as coordinating placement of the familiar blue and white sturgeon signs at highway crossings of Hudson River tributaries. He is the principal author of The Hudson: An Illustrated Guide to the Living River, published by the Rutgers University Press, and the Estuary Program’s State of the Hudson reports in 2009 and 2015.

Steve is also a musician, performing with the Hudson River Sloop Singers while at Clearwater, and with the folk quintet Betty and the Baby Boomers, which earned the Hudson River Environmental Society’s 2016 “Outstanding Environmental Communicator” award.


Sarah Armour

First term, expires October 2024

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Sarah has been lucky enough to be part of the Clearwater community since before she was born. She grew up volunteering at the festival, singing with Clearwater’s Power of Song Program, and working on the Sloop in a number of capacities, including as a volunteer, educator, and first mate. Sarah has spent the last ten years working in environmental education, sail training, and experiential learning and she credits Clearwater with sending her along that path. Sarah works at Mystic Seaport Museum as the Captain of the classic Schooner Brilliant, running one of the oldest Youth Sail Training programs in the country. Sarah has a degree in Earth Systems Science from Cornell University where she focused on applied ecology, sustainable agriculture, and environmental education.

Adenike Bamgboye

First Term, expires October 2026

A seasoned administrator and expert in public procurement, small business, and vendor management, as well as process reengineering. In her career of over 20 years, Adenike has served in various capacities for over a decade at the City of New York, including contracting, environmental health and safety, and quality assurance. She pioneered a number of initiatives for small business contracting opportunities, not limited to MWBE participation and outreach. Adenike is passionate about environmental conservation through policy making. In one of her past projects, she unraveled the impact of single-use plastic carry-out bags on environmental footprints, as a contribution to a NYC legislation for its ban. Adenike developed health and safety programs for four bureaus at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. She currently lives in Elmont, and consults for the NYC DOE and serves as Assistant Deputy Comptroller for Nassau County.

Peter Capek

Third term, expires October 2026

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Peter has been concerned with environmental issues for most of his life, but has taken a more active role since his retirement from IBM Research. The increasing awareness and seriousness of the climate change issue has led him to increase his involvement with Clearwater with the goal of increasing public awareness and response to the crisis. [READ MORE]

Josh Clyburn

First Term, expires October 2026

As an accomplished utility professional, Josh brings extensive expertise in digital transformation, product development, and data analytics. He found his love of the sea and naval engineering during his eight year enlistment in the U.S. Navy, while a part of the Nuclear Program. During his time at NYSERDA, he successfully designed, launched, and managed the $75M Real-Time Energy Management program. As Manager at the New York Power Authority, he orchestrated energy solution projects and strategic marketing initiatives in clean energy technologies. His educational portfolio includes an MBA in Finance, an MS in Information Systems, an MS in Environmental Management, and a BS in Nuclear Engineering. Josh served as voluntary crew on the Clearwater Sloop, and was quickly reminded of his love of the water, and passion for environmental education through community engagement. Josh lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wonderful wife of 10 years and two fantastic kids.

Joan Gaylord

Joan Gaylord

Third term, expires October 2026
Joan Gaylord currently serves on Clearwater’s Executive Committee and Chairs its Communications Committee. A correspondent for “The Christian Science Monitor,” she previously headed press relations at Pace Law School, the country’s leading environmental law program. A photographer and graphic designer, as well, Joan has had credits in “The Wall Street Journal” and the “CS Monitor” and served as calligrapher for the United Nations. She is an Associate Fellow at Yale University where she is the advisor to the Undergraduate Jazz Collective.

Scott Greathead

Second term, expires October 2026
Human Rights and Environmental Law, Senior Counsel at Eversheds Sutherland law firm
– First Assistant Attorney General of New York State under Attorney General Robert Abrams
– More than 30 years experience as a trial lawyer and appellate advocate in the state and federal courts in New York
– Co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Human Rights First (formerly, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) Scott is an officer or director of several public interest organizations, including the American Conservation Association, the Sperry Fund and Human Rights in China, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gareth Hougham, Ph.D (Chemistry)

Second term, expires October 2026

Gareth is president of Hudson Valley Arts and Science, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving the water quality, fish migration, recreation potential and public access to the Hudson River, the Long Island Sound, and their small, neglected tributaries. He is also an adjunct professor of environmental science at SUNY Purchase and a member of the Town of Ossining Planning Board. When not working, Gareth can be found canoeing and biking or as pictured here, helping with eel counts.

Steve Kielar

First term, expires October 2025

Steve Kielar grew up in upstate New York and recalls how important playing in the woods and a connection to place were to his future. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, he worked as a Deckhand/Educator aboard SoundWaters. The experience teaching and living on a sailboat instilled a passion for learning and community.

For the next 9 years Steve taught environmental education both at sea and on land in various places throughout the United States. He received a master’s degree in Marine Biology from San Francisco State University with a focus on Scientific Teaching. He spent a few years teaching oceanography at Diablo Valley College and working as an Assistant Scientist with Sea Education Association. He is currently the Director of Education at Call of the Sea who operate the Seaward and Matthew Turner. He is passionate about educating himself and learning how to take action around equity, inclusion and diversity in the tall ship world.

Aaron Mair

Third term, expires October 2026

Aaron Mair of Schenectady, New York, is an epidemiological-spatial analyst with the New York State Department of Health and is President of the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors. Aaron’s experience includes more than three decades of environmental activism and over 25 years as a Sierra Club volunteer leader, where he has worked diligently for environmental justice.

Jennifer McMillan

First term, expires October 2024

Jennifer is a lifelong, passionate advocate for environmental issues, and has lived in Wappingers Falls for 20 years. She is an adjunct professor at Marist College and Dutchess Community College, works as a freelance editor including for Clearwater, has volunteered in the Clearwater office, and with her two children, volunteers at Revivals and other Clearwater events. She is an artist and herbalist, teaches herbalism, art classes, meditation, Reiki, and has lead meditation classes and held Reiki sessions for Clearwater employees. As a current board member with East Fishkill Historical Society, she helps organize events and fundraisers, and holds classes specifically directed towards public education and as fundraisers for the organization.

Jeremy Rainer

Third term, expires October 2026

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Jeremy Rainer is a sound engineer and producer at WFUV FM in New York. His family fostered in him a deep love and respect for Pete Seeger and the principles he stood for. He’s been going to the Revival all his life, and has been a Festival volunteer for twenty years. When he was seventeen years old, Jeremy invited Pete to his high school to play a concert, and since that time he saw Pete whenever and wherever he performed. In his work at WFUV, Jeremy produces “Woody’s Children” with Bob Sherman, and once was able to set up an interview with Pete for a birthday special. In addition to maintaining a relationship with Pete himself, Jeremy has fostered friendships with many of Pete’s own friends and fellow Clearwater artists, including David Amram, Tom Chapin, and Noel Paul Stookey. [READ MORE]

Daniel Riesel

First term, expires October 2024

Daniel Riesel was raised in Croton on Hudson, but presently resides in Manhattan and Arlington, Vermont. His love of the outdoors and the Hudson Valley led him to be a Clearwater Board member for over a decade during the 70s and 80s–and also served on the boat crew. Daniel has been practicing law for 60 years, and since 1970, his practice has focused on environmental litigation. He is a founder of the first Environmental Protection Unit in the Department of Justice. In his capacity as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. During the period 1970 to 1973, the Unit successfully prosecuted over 30 Hudson River polluters. In 1973, he entered private practice and joined the country’s oldest environmental law firm, (now) Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C. He has taught environmental law and litigation at Cardozo and Columbia Law Schools for over a decade, and chairs the American Law Institute annual courses on environmental law and environmental litigation.

Daniel is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Larry Rothbart

First term, expires October 2024

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Lawrence (Larry) Rothbart has lived in Brooklyn for more than 40 years but is a life-long New Yorker. He is a lawyer-mediator-Collaborative Professional focused on Family Law issues. His first memory of the Clearwater was soon after it first sailed into New York harbor going to the old, gritty South Street as a child. He had to go through a hole in the fence for the sail. Fast forward a bit. Larry became a member of Clearwater in his own right as a young adult when he returned to New York after college in Boston (where he worked on environmental issues including Seabrook). [READ MORE]

Gabbie Spielberg

First term, expires October 2026

A native New Yorker, lifelong Clearwater kid and recent graduate of Oberlin College where she studied theater, politics, and film. Gabbie has experience as a board member of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, a fully student-led multimillion dollar 501(c)3 dedicated to cooperatively providing housing and dining for students. Clearwater was always the highlight of her summer, and an inspiration to her activism, which now informs her goals of breathing new life into the in-person aspects of the organization in order to create stronger networks of community organizing and open avenues to new forms of activism. She understands the needs of young activists who come of age in overlapping global crises and believes that the Clearwater organization has the tools to build intergenerational coalitions among advocates for environmental and social justice.

Donna Stein

Third term, expires October 2024

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Donna Stein’s interest in social and environmental justice reaches back to singing Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie songs around a campfire when she was nine years old and forward to her present role as producer and co-host of Eco-Logic, an environmental program on listener supported, non-corporate radio station WBAI-FM in New York. A perfect harmony of purposes aligned when, with experience as an entertainment agent and event producer, she was called on to produce the NYC Friends of Clearwater Water Festival. Pete Seeger was the headline performer! NYCFC is one of Clearwater’s independent sloop clubs. Years later Donna produced the Honoring Pete’s Vision event filling 780 seats. [READ MORE]

Sarah Underhill

Second term, expires October 2025

Ambassador Program Fundraising Page

Sarah Underhill’s love of the Hudson Valley began in the 1980s when she worked on the “Clearwater” as an environmental educator, activist, and sailor. A singer and song collector, her love of music and the arts combines with her dedication to community building. Sarah serves on the Town of Wawarsing’s Environmental Commission, and on the boards of Mohonk Consultations, the SeedSong Farm Center, the Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance, Ulster County Environmental Management Council, and Slow Food Hudson Valley. She has worked as an RN since 1998, and is a member of the Ethics Committee for Health Alliance Hospitals. Her Quaker heritage, with its emphasis on justice and mercy, informs her work.

Julia Wilson

First term, expires October 2025

Julia became involved in Clearwater as a high school boat and office intern in 1991. During college at Cornell, where she majored in premed studies and environmental science, Julia continued to intern on the sloop, and after graduating decided to spend a year or two sailing on Clearwater and other boats before grad school. By the time she started graduate study four years later, she had been the sloop’s engineer, deckhand, bosun, second mate and educator. After earning a doctorate of chiropractic in Portland OR, Julia came back to the Hudson Valley and to Clearwater as mate and relief captain. That led to her becoming captain, a position she held until a week before the birth of her first child in 2008. Since then, Julia has done occasional relief work, but mostly has been working hard at raising two kids and running a thriving and successful chiropractic office and business in Kingston and Hudson. She is looking forward to bringing her in depth knowledge of the many facets of Clearwater together with her business knowledge to help bring Clearwater to the next level.