Meet Our Staff

District Manager

Jennifer Byrne has been the District Manager of the White River NRCD since 2019. From 2011-2016, Jennifer worked and volunteered for the USDA-NRCS in over 15 states, comparing targeted conservation efforts and local and regional water quality improvement programs while assisting with conservation planning, rural and urban soil surveys, wetland delineation and restoration, tree and pollinator plantings and monitoring, and engineering surveys.

Jennifer holds a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, a B.S. in Agriculture Science from Oregon State University, and an A.A.S. in Alternative Energy Technology from Lansing Community College in Michigan. Her mission at the District is to help make conservation effective, consistent, and accessible to all farmers and land stewards.

(802) 369-3167

Conservation Specialist

Lisa has been the Conservation Specialist at the District since 2018. She is a licensed forester in Vermont and is on her way to becoming a Master Gardener.  Her work experience includes all aspects of forest and watershed management, land conservation projects, easement monitoring and GIS mapping.  She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and a Master of Forestry from Yale University. Lisa lives in Thetford on a small farm where she can experiment with rotational grazing, nutrient management and how to fix anything with bailing twine.

(802) 222-1293 

Agriculture Resource Specialist

Lyle Nichols is the Agriculture Resource Specialist for the White River NRCD. He also works as the Administrative Assistant with the Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance. In Newbury, Vermont he helps manage his family land, where he is developing an apple orchard and vegetable garden. Lyle graduated from St Michael’s college in 2013 with a BA in political Science and Environmental Studies. After college he spent a year working on food security in Nepal. Once returning to the Upper valley he received his Masters in Food and Agriculture Policy and Law. from Vermont Law School. After graduating in 2021 he joined the district. His mission with the district is to become a Conservation Planner so that he can be a part of supporting Vermont's farmers and natural resources.

(802) 369-3167

Grazing Specialist

Amber Reed is the Grazing Specialist for the Transition to Grazing Program for Dairy Farmers. Amber likes working with NRCD and other Conservation Partners in VT because she is excited to help bring water quality improvements that also improve farmer and livestock quality of life. Amber believes that grazing is the ultimate use of solar energy, and it can also be an incredible tool to heal the land and support thriving local economies. Amber lives in Barnet, VT where she and her husband Chris run a medium sized sheep farm along the banks of the CT River with their kids. Amber has a BA from Bowdoin College in Environmental Studies and Visual Art. She worked as a canoe guide in Canada, an inner city highschool biology teacher in NC, a cheesemaker and herdsman in VT, and a farm manager for a large diversified livestock farm in NH. Amber was trained for 2 years in Planned Grazing and Holistic Land Management through the Quivira Coalition on a Colorado Ranch and a Dairy. In her spare time at home, she tries to fit in some skiing, hiking, and biking in our beautiful VT mountains. 

(802) 535-2262  

Jennifer Byrne

Lisa Niccolai

Lyle Nichols

Amber Reed

Jake Jacobs

Farm Team Coordinator and Insurance Specialist

Bruce Howlett

Grazing Specialist and Conservation Planner