OARS Staff

Matt Brown—Executive Director
Matt joined OARS as Executive Director in 2024. Prior to OARS, Matt had been Chief Operating Officer at Lowell House, Inc., and addiction treatment non-profit serving the Merrimack Valley. Matt served on the Randolph Conservation Commission and Community Preservation Committee before moving to Westford, MA. In Westford, Matt served on the Westford Affordable Housing Committee and coached youth baseball and basketball. Matt holds an MS in Non-Profit Management from Worcester State University and an MA in English from Clark University.

Alison Field-Juma—Policy Advisor
Alison joined OARS as Policy Director in June 2005 and became Executive Director in 2010 till early 2024. She is Vice-Chair of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild & Scenic River Stewardship Council, serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Steering Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership and is Environmental Co-Chair of their Water Resources Committee, is the Chair of the Aquatic Invasives Management Subcommittee of the SuAsCo Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) and past CISMA chair, and represents OARS on other state and regional advisory boards. She also serves on the Muddy Water Initiative Advisory Board in Boston. Prior to joining OARS, Alison was Director of the Environmental Governance Programme of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi, Kenya. Alison holds an MSc in Natural Resource Policy and Planning from Cornell University, a BSc in Biology from Tufts University, and is Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness certified.

Ben Wetherill—Water Quality Scientist
Ben leads the water quality monitoring program. Ben has been a freelance consultant providing support with water monitoring projects and specializes in water data analysis and water monitoring sensor technologies. He worked for several years managing the lab and leading water quality monitoring projects at the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research, and taught high-school water science and technology. Ben has a BA from Wesleyan University, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science & Technology from UMass Boston. Ben loves canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and hiking, and he is an active advocate for safe biking infrastructure in Boston.

Heather Conkerton—Ecological Restoration Coordinator
Heather coordinates Ecological Restoration efforts in the SuAsCo watershed for OARS. She has over 15 years of experience in environmental conservation and brings her passion for environmental protection and community outreach to her role. She holds a B.A. in Communications and an M.S. in Environmental Science, focusing on Conservation Biology. Heather has extensive field experience studying aquatic invasive species, threatened and endangered species, water quality, and marine mammal monitoring. She has experience collaborating with state, local, and tribal organizations on techniques to restore native species to habitats, as well as controlling invasive species. When she’s not putting her skills and passion to work for the environment through OARS, she is either volunteering in the marine mammal department for the New England Aquarium or sharing her love of West Coast Swing with her students.

Adam Nolde—Finance and Operations Manager
Adam is a true riparian spirit who spends much of his time paddling the SuAsCo and other waterways. He brings a passion for water quality and safety combined with enthusiasm to create and manage new opportunities to make OARS ever more effective. Adam is also civic minded and serves on the Town of Acton’s Finance Committee, is Treasurer for the Acton-Boxborough Baseball Boosters, and is the founder of the Acton Area Gnargonauts, a youth mountain bike club where he coaches kids and adults. As a former business owner, commodities trader, and business consultant, Adam jumped at the opportunity to combine his skills and experience in finance and accounting with his passion by joining the OARS team.

Sarah Kwan—Director of Communications and Development
Sarah has over 20 years of experience in communications and development/fundraising and has a strong passion for and background in environmental issues. She holds a BA in Interior Architecture and a BS, MS, MPhil, and PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. During her undergraduate studies in engineering, Sarah was a Physical Science Technician intern for the US EPA, Region 9, and became a licensed EIT. She attended Yale University for her graduate studies, where she researched the impact of indoor microbiology on human health in the Cherokee Nation. Sarah is thrilled to be able to put her skills and passion for the environment to work for OARS as the Director of Communications and Development.

Laura DaCruz—Education Coordinator
Laura is the Education Coordinator for OARS for the summer of 2024. Before moving to Massachusetts, she lived in Montana, where she advocated for clean energy and local food legislation in her community. She holds a BA in Journalism from Marietta College and an MA in Social Transformation from the Pacific School of Religion. She is on track to be a licensed teacher in Massachusetts. Laura loves backpacking, horseback riding, and gardening. She has nine chickens and one beloved Emden goose.

Nathan Callan—Environmental Intern
Nathan is a student at UMass Lowell studying Environmental Engineering and an intern with OARS. He is passionate about river restoration. His work at OARS focuses on creating a dam removal guide for private dam owners in Massachusetts. When Nathan isn’t in class or researching dam removal, he can be found fishing many of New England’s unique waterways.

Contact Us!
To contact OARS staff, please email us at office @ oars3rivers.org (delete spaces) or phone 978-369-3956 and we'll connect you!